We are insurance adjusters that travel the world handling claims from natural and man-made catastrophes.
I generally lurk in the shadows on this site. I am posting without my name or company name as I am a principal with a nationwide cat company and prefer the security of anonymity for this particular posting. Not one of the biggest vendors but, in my opinion, one of the best. I am writing to hopefully shed some light on this subject of resumes and how to break into the "bidness".
We receive a lot (A LOT) of unsolicited resumes. I am the one who sifts through them and files them accordingly. To streamline the process I have three doors for these resumes.
Door Number One: Former contractors, former auto sales/body repair people, former real estate appraisers, former insurance agents, and former anything that is not related to insurance adjusting. This door is for the folks who have no experience in adjusting a claim and who prefer to explain to me how their unrelated skills can quickly be converted to the claims field. This door is for them folks that couldn't make it in their chosen field. Sorry, but that's reality.
Door Number Two: High school and college graduates with a limited understanding of the King's English or basic grammar structure. "I looking for a position with you company." Also, the ones who hide their lack of communication skills with $67 words that I have to go look up in the dictionary. I'm not wasting my time doing that. Believe me, I know why you're sending me a resume. If you prefer to waste your time with unsolicited resumes, at least keep it simple, to the point, and with Standard English construction.
Door Number Three: These are the folks who enjoy listing all the other vendors they've worked with since 1957. Of course, they fail to realize that all these vendors are also my competitors. Let's say that ABC Adjusting is my biggest competition in the Texas market and I know in my heart that the adjusters they use put out an inferior product. How do I know this? Because I know we put out a superior product. When I get a resume from an adjuster who has plenty of experience in the claim industry but 80% of that experience is with ABC Adjusting then, in my mind, this is an ABC adjuster and will always be an ABC adjuster. I'm also suspicious. Why is he coming to me now? Did he have a falling out with ABC? Did they run him off or did this adjuster become dissatisfied with them? These are questions you do not want raised in my mind if you are serious about getting on our list.
Here are the lessons you need to learn from my experiences.
First, if you are serious about getting out on a storm then get out to the storm. If you have claims experience, then find where the vendor has his storm office and go talk to someone face to face. Bring a copy of some estimates you have written in the past (oh, and that resume, if you insist). When all of our regular adjusters are working and I'm casting about for extra help, if you are standing there, ready to go to work, then chances are good that are I'll give you a shot rather than looking up someone in the resume file. Don't count on unsolicited resumes, unless you just enjoy typing up your accomplishments. They are not productive in this industry and, in my personal opinion, are a waste of time. In other industries (sales, marketing, manufacturing, etc.) they are the way to go, but not for this business that we have chosen. I cannot remember the last time I called someone to work a storm just from a resume. It doesn't happen.
Second, if you have no claims experience then the best way to get out on a storm is to get out to the storm. Find an adjuster who will be working and make some type of arrangement for assistance services. Computer entry, drawing diagrams, making phone calls, anything that will get you out to the actual storm. We have found several good adjusters who have started out by working as an assistant to one of our regular adjusters. Those former assistants made themselves known and are now working claims as adjusters.
Third, if you list the vendors you have worked for by name then you run the real risk of listing one of my enemies and you will never know which one not to list. Tell me the storms you have worked (Northridge Earthquake 1994; Hurricane Lili 2002; Oklahoma Tornado 2003; etc.) and the insurance carrier to whom you provided your services. I know who the major vendors are for the carriers. Also, show me a sample of your work. A sanitized copy of an estimate with a sample of a short caption report is a good way to demonstrate your adjuster skills and communication talents.
The new adjuster who is looking to break into this business should be out and about breaking into the business. Flooding the market with resumes then sitting at home and complaining about how no one has called you to go to work is indicative of an adjuster who is not very hungry. A hungry independent adjuster will go out and kill something. A hungry independent adjuster will make himself known.
As my grandmother used to tell us, "Tell the truth and shame the Devil". The truth is that this industry really is a good ole boy network and you have a choice. Either sit at home and complain about it or go out and become one of the good ole boys. It can be done. I've seen it happen too many times.
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