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Automotive Body and Glass Repairers

Automotive body and glass repairers restore, refinish, and replace vehicle bodies and frames, windshields, and window glass. Show Details

Duties

Automotive body and glass repairers typically do the following:

  • Review damage reports, prepare cost estimates, and plan work
  • Remove damaged body parts, including bumpers, fenders, hoods, grilles, and trim
  • Realign car frames and chassis to repair structural damage
  • Hammer out or patch dents, dimples, and other minor body damage
  • Fit, attach, and weld replacement parts into place
  • Install and weatherproof windows and windshields
  • Grind, sand, buff, and prime refurbished and repaired surfaces
  • Apply new finish to restored body parts

Automotive body and glass repairers can repair most damage from everyday vehicle collisions and make vehicles look and drive like new. Damage may be minor, such as replacing a cracked windshield, or major, such as replacing an entire door panel.

Repair technicians use many tools for their work. To remove damaged parts, such as bumpers and door panels, they use pneumatic tools, metal-cutting guns, and plasma cutters. For major structural repairs, such as aligning the body, they often use heavy-duty hydraulic jacks and hammers. For some work, they use common handtools, such as metal files, pliers, wrenches, hammers, and screwdrivers.

In some cases, repair technicians do an entire job by themselves. In other cases, especially in large shops, they use an assembly line approach in which they work as a team with each repair technician specializing.

Although repair technicians sometimes prime and paint repaired parts, automotive painters generally perform these tasks. For more information, see the profile on painting and coating workers.

The following are occupational specialties: 

Automotive body and related repairers, or collision repair technicians, straighten metal panels, remove dents, and replace parts that cannot be fixed. Although they repair all types of vehicles, most work primarily on cars, sport utility vehicles, and small trucks. 

Automotive glass installers and repairers remove and replace broken, cracked, or pitted windshields and window glass. They also weatherproof newly installed windows and windshields with chemical treatments.

Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators

Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators evaluate insurance claims. They decide whether an insurance company must pay a claim, and if so, how much. Show Details

Duties

Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators typically do the following:

  • Investigate, evaluate, and settle insurance claims
  • Determine whether the insurance policy covers the loss claimed
  • Decide the appropriate amount the insurance company should pay
  • Ensure that claims are not fraudulent
  • Contact claimants’ doctors or employers to get additional information on questionable claims
  • Confer with legal counsel on claims when needed
  • Keep claims files, such as records of settled claims and an inventory of claims requiring detailed analysis
  • Negotiate settlements
  • Authorize payments

What insurance adjusters, examiners, and investigators do varies by the type of insurance company they work for. They must know a lot about what their company insures. For example, workers in property and casualty insurance must know housing and construction costs to properly evaluate damage from floods or fires. Workers in health insurance must be able to determine which types of treatments are medically necessary and which are questionable. 

Some claims adjusters work as self-employed public adjusters.

Often, they are hired by claimants who prefer not to rely on the insurance company’s adjuster. The goal of adjusters working for insurance companies is to save as much money for the company as possible. The goal of a public adjuster working for a claimant is to get the highest possible amount paid to the claimant.

Sometimes, self-employed adjusters are hired by insurance companies in place of hiring adjusters as regular employees. In this case, the self-employed adjusters work in the interest of the insurance company.

Adjusters inspect property damage to determine how much the insurance company should pay for the loss. The property they inspect could be a home, a business, or an automobile.

They interview the claimant and witnesses, inspect the property, and do additional research, such as look at police reports. Adjusters may consult with other workers, such as accountants, architects, construction workers, engineers, lawyers, and physicians, who can offer a more expert evaluation of a claim.

They gather information—including photographs and statements, either written or recorded audio or video—and put it in a report that claims examiners use to evaluate the claim. When the examiner approves policyholder's claim, the claims adjuster negotiates with the claimant and settles the claim.

If the claimant contests the outcome of the claim or the settlement, adjusters work with attorneys and expert witnesses to defend the insurer's position.

Appraisers estimate the cost or value of an insured item. Most appraisers who work for insurance companies and independent adjusting firms are auto damage appraisers. They inspect damaged vehicles after an accident and estimate the cost of repairs. This information then goes to the adjuster, who puts the estimated cost of repairs into the settlement.

Claims examiners review claims after they are submitted to ensure that proper guidelines have been followed by claimants and adjusters. They may assist adjusters with complicated claims or when, for example, a natural disaster occurs and the volume of claims increases.

Most claims examiners work for life or health insurance companies. Examiners who work for health insurance companies review health-related claims to see whether the costs are reasonable, given the diagnosis. After they review the claim, they authorize appropriate payment, deny the claim, or refer the claim to an investigator.

Examiners who work for life insurance companies review the causes of death and pay particular attention to accidents, because most life insurance companies pay additional benefits if a death is accidental. Examiners also may review new applications for life insurance policies to make sure the applicants have no serious illnesses that would make them a high risk to insure.

Insurance investigators handle claims in which the company suspects fraudulent or criminal activity such as arson, staged accidents, or unnecessary medical treatments. The severity of insurance fraud cases varies, from claimants overstating vehicle damage to complicated fraud rings. Investigators often do surveillance work. For example, in the case of a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim, an investigator may covertly watch the claimant to see if he or she does activities that would be ruled out by injuries stated in the claim.

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