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By Rob Wile
September 15, 2017
Palm Coast, Fla., in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Palm Coast, Fla., in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images

The costs of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma are expected to surpass the devastation associated with Katrina. In fact, if the early estimates are correct, 2017 will break records as the costliest hurricane season ever, perhaps approaching $300 billion.

In every tragedy, though, there is opportunity. And while it may seem insensitive to even discuss the issue, some people are making serious cash quickly in the aftermath of 2017’s two historic storms. According to the Wall Street Journal, independent insurance adjusters — individuals who come in to assess how much an insurance company will pay out on claim — can earn up to $30,000 for just a few days’ worth of work after a disaster.

The work can be inconsistent, but insurance adjusters are in extraordinarily high demand after natural disasters, especially if they can handle the most complex cases, like an industrial site. “Some adjusters can make $65,000 to $100,000 in the first month after a major hurricane,” the Journal reported.

It turns out that anyone can become a claims adjuster too. All you generally need is to take a course load of about 40 hours and perhaps complete background and fingerprinting checks.

How likely is it for a rookie insurance adjuster to earn six figures right away? Robert Hartwig, an insurance professor at University of South Carolina’s business school, told Money that you likely won’t be able to get the most complex, high-paying gigs without a few years’ of experience. And there is a decent amount of overhead involved, mainly traveling to disaster sites. Hartwig also warned that the work can be grueling and emotionally draining.

But he confirmed that adjusters’ annual earnings can range from $60,000 to $100,000 a year.

“Where disaster strikes, you’re going to in great demand,” Hartwig said.

AdjusterPro.com has a guide on how to become an independent adjuster. Most states require a license that involves taking an exam.

AdjusterPro calls the occupation “one of the last ‘hidden gem’ careers in America,” as it is “a stable industry, easily entered by new adjusters, with excellent earning potential.”

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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