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Last Post 01/01/2010 11:46 PM by  brianlamothe@hotmail.com
Getting a job.
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marcab
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12/24/2009 10:21 AM

    Hello,

    I am a newly licensed adjsuter in NC. I have just completed basic and advance Xactimate training at Xactware in Utah. I have read some of these posts off and on for a couple of months and have come to the conclusion that most do not recommend newbees trying to land a Cat job. So my question is what is the best way to land an entry level daily claims job? I am not in it to make a killing. I want to earn an honest living and I am willing to do whatever it takes to break into the adjusting industry. I have 25+ years of construction experience including restoration work, I have been estimating for 15+ years and I have previous estimating software experience. Thank you in advance for your advise.

    Respectfully,

    yankee

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    Ray Hall
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    12/24/2009 12:49 PM

    Do not give up. I would first try to get on with a large contractor in your area that does insurance restoration work as this will give you some very good experience on scoping and estimating insurance losses from the large perils, fire, wind, water etc. Most contractor use xmate. If you have a license in NC contact Pilot, Ebrels, Renfro and Crawford and Co. they will take you on under some circomstances and train you as a cat adjuster. You chances of getting on as a local adjuster WITHOUT any carrier experience is very slim. Good luck.

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    marcab
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    12/24/2009 4:54 PM

    Ray,

    Thanks for the advise. But if you didn't notice I mentioned that the construction industry is out of work. If I were able to get an estimating job with any type of contractor I would have already done so. There aren't any jobs out there. The ones available are typically in industrial work or government contracts, which all require engineering degrees and the competition is unbelievable. That is why I am trying to transition into a related field. Would you recommend attending one of these three or four week training classes at Vale or Eberl or ACI to give me a better chance at landing a job with an IA firm? Also, what about the Claims mentor program would it help or how about attending one of the upcoming trade shows for adjusters? Thanks for the help.

     

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    Ol' Ghost
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    12/24/2009 5:53 PM
    For all you out of work or under worked contractors out there seeking a whole new deal, please recognize the grass on this side of the fence is no better than yours. Very many of us in this herd are waiting for a storm to be called out on and we have many more decades of experience and industry contacts than you do. Yet, here we sit. Sure, do as Ray says and call the big vendors. Spend your time and money jumping thru their flaming hoops. Then you will be at the end of a 10,000 person line, all of you begging the ladies in the deployment department for work on a daily basis. Is it any wonder Dana or Melissa at Pilot are so short tempered? They hear the same plaintive whining all day, every day. With each new group who go thru a vendors dog & pony show, the braying crowd only gets bigger.

    This is the reality of our world. Until there is a massive series of storms that use up all the company storm adjusters and all of the extra company people from the other departments, only then are the independents called. The first to be called are the vendors friends and relatives, then the experienced troops with a good history of service. Next are the second or third time folks. Finally the fresh meat.

    Now, where are you in the pecking order? How often do you think an Andrew or LA earthquake or 4 sisters party of 2004 or the 3 sisters party of 2005 occur. How much time can elapse between these events? Do you have the nest egg to tide you over till the next one? Now do you realize why I am not Mr Encouragement to all who aspire to chase the Storm Troopers pot-o-gold at the end of the rainbow?

    Please, if you wish to change careers, start at the bottom rung of the business ladder and work your way up to be a true insurance professional. Then call us.

    Ol' Ghost
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    marcab
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    12/24/2009 6:15 PM
    Ol Ghost,
    That is what I am trying to do. I would like to get my foot in the door doing daily claims, not doing cat claims. I would like a little realistic advise as to whether my background will afford me a resonable opportunity to get my foot in the door with any type of organization that does claims adjusting. Tell me where to start, that is what I am asking. How did you start? Did you get a 4 year college degree and begin selling insurance and then start adjusting or what? I want to know if Vale or whoever can help me get my foot in the door with someone, that's all? Thanks.
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    Ol' Ghost
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    12/24/2009 6:46 PM
    Insurance companies tend to view adjusters as management trainees. Ones vocational background carries less weight than ANY Baccalaurete degree. Once accepted into carrier employment, that soul will be sent various schools to learn what's required to perform the chores. After a few years, the carrier winnows out who they deem as promotable and makes life a living hell in order to run off those left so they can hire more fresh meat to start the process anew. This is a continual process. If you do not have a degree, some smaller carrier may find you acceptable, but again the same mentality applies.

    Finding daily claims work thru a local independent is unlikely as they need experienced adjusters who won't blow away with the next strong breeze and have little in the way of resources for trainees.

    Perchance, have you considered out of country contracting work for an international company? Just because work has died in the U.S of A. doesn't mean your skills can't be put to use elsewhere. I have pondered this question a lot lately. South America, Australia, the Far East, some place on this globe must be benefiting from the stupidity of American financial disasters.

    Ol' Ghost
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    Ray Hall
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    12/24/2009 7:24 PM

    I can say it a little softer than Ole ghost, but its does not change his post. I( think estimating is the easy part, its the insurance law and procedure that can not be learned in less than 2 years as a staff adjuster or a IA like Crawford and Company. The Vale school is excellant this is were the new staff adjusters go, but it would not help you. Wait until thousands of adjusters are needed and it comes along about ever 3-5 years.  BUT, you have very little chance of working until then.

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    stormcrow
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    12/25/2009 1:00 PM
    Way back when I stared (but not as far back as Ray who handled the fire claim for the burning bush) I was told that people started in underwirting, and some moved in to inspecting, as they worked their way to management, then a pause and the boss said oh, and some people end up in claims.
    I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
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    Olegred
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    12/30/2009 11:12 AM
    Ok, as an ex-newbie, I will bring some light into this gloomy picture painted by our veterans. I've been adjusting for ... hmmmm.... let's see... last 18 months. Got into the industry with 0 experience right when Pilot was amassing adjusters for Aug 08 hurricane party (Gustav, Ike). Worked non-stop since then. In 2009 handled more than 1100 files for Crawford and Co. (which I was told by experienced ppl I would NEVER make) made tons of money, got lots of experience, got licensed in 18 states, got my AIC (working on CPCU) right now, got flood certified, various vendors certified (State Farm, Allstate, Citizens and so on). So, basically it's just hard to get your foot in the door, but once you do and show that you are a good worker, things are not that bad.

    Regards
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    Medulus
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    12/30/2009 12:24 PM

    Sounds a lot like my first couple years as an independent, Olegred. And I will certainly agree with you on the importance of showing what you can do when you get an assignment. That will make all the difference. Those adjusters who hit the bottle hard after hours, or take time off to watch the football game instead of watching it out of the corner of their eyes while continuing to work, or want the weekend off or to get back home as soon as possible will not be as impressive as those who just keep pushing themselves. And they will get far fewer assignments because we have to be better than the rest to get noticed and make the "A" team.

    And.......yet......there are also the down times. Even people (like myself) who had a great start and those who become well respected will experience dry years where there just isn't any work out there. I had at least one year where I grossed (not net, mind you) six figures less than the year before. When we get used to living at a certain standard, living on six figures less the next year is problematic. I hope you put a lot of the money earned over the last eighteen months in the bank or other liquid asset. I will spare you the details. And I congratulate you on your good start. And I hope it continues for you. But, a word to the wise is sufficient. It really is a feast or famine business, and I had very good reasons why I came in off the road and took a staff position two years ago.

    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
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    Ray Hall
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    12/30/2009 1:00 PM

    Olegred, its evident you did all this work yourself, not many adjusters like you.Stick with the one's who brung you.

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    Olegred
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    12/30/2009 4:10 PM
    Medulus

    I do realize, that I am going to run out of work eventually. All the money I made went straight into my bank account (well, minus new car and everyday expenses). I knew that this is up and down type of business. But, man, last year I made as much as some staff adjusters make in 2 years, and I worked for like MAYBE 10 months. With that tempo I can afford to sit and wait till next year hurricane and/or hail storms. I am going to get more licenses and get on the roster with as many decent vendors as possible. And then, boom, little hurricane hits Florida next year. 6 claims a day, for a few months and I can sit back and relax (or not). It's really make as much as you can and then be smart with your money type of game.

    Ray

    I agree, too many adjusters do not think of tomorrow, they are lazy and have no "plan B". :)
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    Medulus
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    12/30/2009 4:32 PM
    There are intangibles that affect how much we work, as well. Sometimes making the right or wrong business decision is just dumb luck. 1998 I turned down an assignment in Chicago because Hurricane Bonnie was off the east coast and the weather channel was proclaiming it to be the biggest thing since Andrew. The Chicago assignment would have kept me busy all winter. Bonnie gave me 21 claims when she limped on shore. 2004 I was one of the few working all year. Most people forget that, until Charley arrived, most catadjusters were twiddling their thumbs in 2004. I was still in Boston and New York where I had been working freeze claims since mid January when the four hurricanes hit Florida. I stayed put and turned down over 75 offers of work in Florida (after 75 I quit counting) because I usually found it to be a good idea to stay where I was until the job was done. I should have gone down for the hurricanes. The income differential would have made it worthwhile. I'll leave it at that. 1999 Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd - I said to the local Crawford and Co branch that I could not work under their system - that it was too inefficient and was wasting one out of every three days for me. So I went 500 miles north and worked for GAB. Best dumb luck decision I ever made. I had steady work from October 1999 until December 2001 because of that one decision. I attribute all those decisions to dumb luck rather than business acumen because none of us have a crystal ball.
    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
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    Ray Hall
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    12/30/2009 8:23 PM

    Iworked my first catastrophe losses as an IA in the late 1960's Most of the job,s were  direct as a temp with a 1099 from the carrier and a handshake on a fee bill that was usally something like 10% less than the GAB billing schedule. We all knew each other and recommended other good adjusters if the boss ask you to recommend someone else.

    Gab and Crawford started the large "core adjuster" system used today by many vendors.

    But it was luck when you got a real good gig with 300 losses waiting for you when you arrived. Most of us would not leave home unless we got a promise of 100 when we got to the office site, and they did not fib back then.

    Looking in my crystal ball I see:

    Been a lot of changes some good, some the other way. It will change each month and each year. The squeeze will be on the number of losses assigned DURING a storm and sheer numbers who enter the biz. The one adjuster one house is not as ridgid as it was. Fee bills will all ways have sxtreme downward trends from unemployed people without a record. Super adjusters supervising less trained from afar using etransfer of all data will catch on.The big good vendors will get bigger and the "others" will fall off the vine.

    Its still a good strong honorable industry and will be around as long as large weather events take place. Think of cat. adjusting as a hit and miss job and have something to fall back on when you get home.

     

     

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    Medulus
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    12/31/2009 12:08 PM
    I stand corrected. Apparently Ray has a crystal ball. How about allowing me a peak into it, Ray. I'll treat you to some wings at Hooters if you let me take a look.
    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
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    marcab
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    01/01/2010 2:49 PM

    Thank you for the more encouraging outlook. I have been looking into getting my AIC also. Can you recommend the best place to obtain the materials or did you take course work online? If you did perform online coursework whom do you recommend? Is it possible to get into Crawford and Co. if I go through there training programs? Or is there anyone out there that will take me on if I go through Vale or whomever' s training program? Thanks for your help.

     

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    Ray Hall
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    01/01/2010 9:34 PM

    What a way to spend a large part of my New year first day. Reading the old files in the archives. I found some back to 2002 in the Newbee adjuster questions. Great post from real sage's like Clayton Carr, Kile Anderson, Tom Toll and many others. History buff's hit it on the head. "it's all been ask before".

    It was fun to read the super adjusters(self appointed) plans in 04 to overwhelm Florida Citizens with our talent(I was Trader back in those days) blow by blow on CADO. I think it was about 5-6 super adjusters leading the recruitment of 100 adjusters to commit and we fell apart before the 4 in 04. I remember I was the first dismissed for my strong opinion. And one or two quit the biz. and I may be the last poster from this group.

    Summation: All the questions about getting into this biz. is on this site.

    My opine on Estimatics: All can be learned from all software providers on a trial basis for free. Exactimate is very complex to learn and you could learn from a one or two day school and gain speed on your off time or your first storm(time is $) Exactimate schools have gone down from $125.00 for 7 hours to $99,00 for 7 hours=$14.14 per hour.It exactimate can be taught for a class of 15 for $7.00 per hour would you attend? Private messages only.

     

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    Olegred
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    01/01/2010 10:24 PM
    Possibilities are our there, man. Knock on every door. Pad your resume, do whatever, just get in, get some work, do some files. Forget about schools, training, and all other crap that ppl think will help them to get in. Just be persistent SOB and call vendors periodically, even if they say no, keep calling them. Just get some real work, there's no substitute.
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    Ray Hall
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    01/01/2010 10:29 PM
    This is for new people who have a license and never worked a claim. If you still want to try to beak into this very hard business that is very hit and miss as the USA has thousands of adjusters to work storm claims. IA,s are the last one's to be called out; but several thousand work from 30 to 1,000 losses per year, a very few a little more.

    I have some old files I worked in PDF to email. Please request them by a return email to rhrayhall@gmail.com
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    brianlamothe@hotmail.com
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    01/01/2010 11:46 PM
    Hey everybody,

    I have been reading these posts for a couple of months now and finally registered with this site. In regards to finding a job as a cat adjuster or staff adjuster I couldn't agree more with the previous posts. I myself am a newbie, although I did work hurricane Ike even though it was over a year ago. In my opinion the industry is similar to most in that its all who you know and how you market yourself. Education in this field seems to do little in comparison to experience unless one is trying to pursue an entry level staff position. I was fortunate to know someone whom had a strong reputation with a vendor who put his neck out for me and gave me a chance. Not only did I get a shot but also had the assistance from the group that I was with whom were all seasoned adjusters. Without the help from the team I traveled to Texas with I would have never made it through my first storm. It was exiting but probably one of the most stressful positions I have ever been in as far as work is concerned! Good luck to all and happy new years. Also, if anyone out there lives in the Orlando area and wants to practice xactimate or refresh there skills with someone else send me an e-mail. I have forgotten alot in the last year perhaps we could feed off each others memory. If one has not worked a storm I would be more then happy to teach you what I know, it will probably help me too. This is not any type of job or solicitation!!!

    Send e-mail to:
    brianlamothe@hotmail.com
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