Becoming an Adjuster
From the Forum
Subject: Becoming an Adjuster
Came across something the other day that maybe has some relevance in this thread.
"10 habits of Highly Effective Adjusters", it is on the web version of Claims Mag (August 2001), but I'll summarize the points.
(1) Reading - An effective adjuster can actually read and comprehend a policy. That is, they know the coverage, they what the policy says. Also, an effective adjuster must be able to read and comprehend the technical correspondence related to the claims they handle. For property adjusters that would include engineers and fire investigators reports. A liability adjuster to be effective must be able to read and comprehend court documents and medical reports. To be effective, you must be able to understand and convey to others the technical details of a claim.
(2) Writing - "Check-off" and short forms reports as well as email have eroded this skill. The effective adjuster has the ability to prepare professional correspondence.
(3) Keeping a diary - a suspense diary is just about the most basic tool one can use in handling claims. When our peers review an open file that shows no activity for two months, one of three things is happening; (a) the adjuster is not using a diary, (b) the adjuster is not keeping notes, (c) the adjuster is doing nothing. What's the alternative to a diary? You must wait for something to happen and react to it. An effective adjuster does not do that.
(4) Keeping activity notes - One of your greatest challenges will be the first day you sit for a discovery / deposition, or find yourself in the witness stand of a court room; and try and remember with clarity what you did on a file four years ago. Adjusters notes are the only way to tell what is happening on a file. Activity notes provide the history of how a claim was handled and effective adjusters always make an entry each time they "touch" a file.
(5) Keeping others informed - Communication is key to an effective adjuster. Consider being a DAPIST - detailed as possible, in simpliest terms. Communicating regularly with all concerned parties is critical to success.
(6) Learning - A great deal of adjuster training is task oriented. That sort of training taught you how to fill out forms, how to measure a building, how to estimate damage, how to photograph and how to take a statement. If all you learn are "tasks", then you will only be capable of doing tasks. An effective adjuster never stops learning. An effective adjuster will learn about human relations and how the claim adjustment process fits into the insurance "big picture".
(7) Don't beat a dead horse - or "dog files" by another name; those files that just seem to linger on and don't get closed. There comes a time in every claim where an effective adjuster must be an "adjuster", and use the skills of an adjuster to negotiate and bring the file to a resolution. The effective adjuster knows when to fight a battle, and when to concede.
(8) Don't burn your bridges - An effective adjuster is reasonable and fair in dealing with others, not stubborn and unyeilding. An effective adjuster knows that being reasonable and fair will make the job easier, but they also know that that behavior will allow them to build a network of contacts for future use.
(9) Massage a/o manipulate - Adjusting is far from an exacting science. An effective adjuster knows that part of adjusting involves smoothing his way through troubled waters towards resolution of the file. An adjuster is on the front line and has latitude to work with what he sees - use your skills, adjust where necessary, be fair and reasonable, apply the statutes and policy, pay or deny the claim.
(10) Ethics: To thine own self be true - The effective adjuster is above all else, professional and ethical. The common thread among all Codes of Ethics is honesty and fairness.
Things we want to AVOID are found in the following terrible article I found; "Chapter 8, Techniques not found in Claims Manuals"
Source: Forum Archive Post by Clayton Carr
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