THE PRIMARY QUESTION: “ I have received my Adjuster’s license and completed the application process for several Independent firms but no one has any work for me! How do I get my storm claims career started?”
The Good News: Once you have reached this point your first assignment becomes less a question of if and more of a question of when. Your first assignment will most likely be a large catastrophic occurrence or as I like to call it, a jumping on event. Large events such as this happen about once a year. MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY FOR IT BECAUSE MOST NEW ADJUSTERS ARE NOT!
“Spring 2009 has produced a lot of hail storm assignment, why haven’t I been asked to work any of them?”
Nobody likes to take a risk on the unknown. This fact applies to the Independent companies as well. Remember that they too are in the industry for profit. Fact is, they do not have to gamble on hiring someone new as long as they have a pool of proven adjusters to draw from.
“But my resume lists 60 hours of claim specific training and 10 years of construction experience!”
Most independent firms have very little interest in what you have listed on your resume. Actions speak louder than words and truth be told, resumes do not provide much insight with respect to professional integrity or raw ability. A resume cannot answer many of the most important questions such as: Is this person willing to work 16hr days, 7 days a week? Will this person ask for time off during the first month of the assignment? Is this person afraid of heights or crawlspaces? Can this person effectively deal with difficult policyholders? Can this person work effectively with a micro-managing or uninvolved claims manager? CAN THIS PERSON BRING TOGETHER ALL OF THE SKILLS NEEDED FOR ONE OF THE MOST STRESSFULL JOBS ON THE PLANET? (just to name a few)
OK. Here I am. Just got my Georgia license (god, what a drag that was!) and ready to make millions I've been in construcion for a few years (roofing estimator) and dealt a lot with claim based construction work. So, I just wanted to hear some advise from you guys, hardened in battles veterans....
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Greetings! My name is Zach and I recently got my GA adjusters license in August and I'm looking for a little advice on how to get started and get more involved in the industry. I know a couple of independent adjusters here in Athens and they are assigned a couple of claims here and there but I'm thinking I want to start out working for a company for the first couple of years until I get some experience under my belt. I know that Crawford looks for experienced adjusters but unfortunately I don't have it at this point.
Is there anything I can do to connect with other adjusters that are willing to train me and show me the ropes? I have scoping pretty much down.My next step is to take a class and master Xactimate. Have a great day everyone and I look forward to your responses!
A goof discussion related to work schedules to give an example of what can be required.
Newt, here is a new thread for you or whoever else may be interested. Again, I emphasize that each topic like this should have its own identifiable thread, so as in the event that it develops into anything, and as a result has some future value, it can be found.
Here is the scenario - stick within its framework - consider it 'real' and start to develop your own 'flow' as opposed to relying on others, and offer it up for critique and refinement if necessary. Maybe by the time it has gone through the grinder, if there is sufficient participation, it will evolve into a useful general template.
A fairly significant hail storm ('hail' used because it is the least cumbersome peril regarding the effect the damage has etc) passed through ClaimCity on Thursday May 1/03.
Saturday May 3rd at 9.00AM a vendor called you and after a 'know before you go' chat (which is not part of this thread) you agreed and were deployed by the vendor.
You agreed during the above call on Saturday May 3rd at 9.20AM that you be in ClaimCity - which is 1,200 miles from your home where you took the call - in time to attend the storm orientation meeting at the vendor storm office in ClaimCity, on Sunday May 4th at 8.00PM.
At that storm orientation meeting Sunday May 4th you were presented after the meeting with 58 new claim files at about 10.00PM, and told they were all in one county.
This was your first deployment, and although 40 other adjusters were at the meeting, you only recognize a few other names, and as everyone else leaves the meeting; you are at that point alone and like everyone else have an armful of new files.
You accepted these 58 new files, agreeing with the vendor supervisor, that you would DO the following;
(a) 'contact' all insureds within 24 hours, i.e. by Monday night
(b) 'attend & inspect' all claims within 7 days, i.e. by evening of May 11th
(c) 'close' all claims within 14 days, i.e. by evening of May 18th
(d) 'provide a regular flow' of closed files to the storm office, starting Tuesday May 6th
(e) 'attend' the storm office at least twice weekly
(f) 'call' the storm office at least twice daily
Now, within the parameters of this 'scenario', develop your 'flow' in point form. Starting with the first thing you would do after hanging up the phone from the deployment call, through to being signed off by the vendor on the evening of May 18th or thereabouts.
There is no room in reality for 'maybe & if', stick to the scenario - what is your 'flow'? This thread is NOT about how to adjust a hail claim, it is about leaving home prepared, getting to where you have to be in time, accepting your assignments, and the organization required to complete the tasks.
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"
I realize that everyone has to pay their dues but at what point do the cat adjusting firms give you your first chance and how do you get trained. I am what you would call a newbee. I have trained with my brother John for about a month on property and been doing cars for about two months now. I have construction and autobody work in my background as well. I know that it will probably take me several years to make it in this business, but I was just wondering how everyone is finally able to get into the cat business. Is it just a lucky day for some that the Cat firms need extra people or what. Thanks for any insight into the business.
The above question was first posted in the forum on 8/25/2005 and received 123 replies.
We are insurance adjusters that travel the world handling claims from natural and man-made catastrophes.