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Catastrophe Central, Discuss, Share, Learn

Property or Auto adjusting...which one and why?
Last Post 08/30/2012 11:37 PM by BeauKron. 6 Replies.
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Author Messages
chadecoen
Member
Member
Posts:19


--
05/29/2012 2:46 PM

    Hello everyone,

       I have mentioned in another post but will say again for the sake of this post that I am very new and am looking at getting on rosters and having my arse handed to me and all that BUT I just spoke with a friend of a friend about doing auto claims. Well, let me back up a little. I got interested in this field cause of another friend that does cat adjusting. My kids are getting a little older and I felt like I could be out of the house more and, when my friend is working, the money isn't bad. Conditions are usually terrible and hours suck and if you can't budget you will starve when not deployed and all that (by the way, most all of the posts here say exactly the same things my friend has been saying to me so thanks for not sugar coating anything around here). But I want to be an overnight success, just like him, pun intended (10 years of hard work later he feels like he is finally comfortable doing what he is doing:)

     So I took the cheesy course, read some books and am now licensed in GA! YAY me, right. I am pretty sure I have a good idea of what I am getting in to being deployed, if that ever happens. I have some basic knowledge of xactimate, a few years of construction knowledge, and a decent head on my shoulders (I think anyway, just ask me). I have been deployed with a Sprint tech when Katrina and Rita came through getting generators and parts in to the area and installed to get cell towers back up so I know what a cluster mess being deployed can be. I have worked as a residential and light commercial building superintendent, and am pretty computer literate. So here I am thinking I want to get in to this cat adjusting industry and am reading all the forums I can get and registering for all the rosters I can when another friend says, "hey, why don't you do auto claims?" 

     I do have a love for cars that goes back longer than my construction experience. I have bought and sold cars from my driveway for a long time for profit. I have sold cars for dealerships both new and used. Worked as a used car manager for a big name dealer and was a buyer/wholesaler for several used car dealers. I have restored them, worked on them, modded them, blah, blah, blah. I know body shop rules, rates, and techniques.

     So, with all that being said, I mean typed, what do you experienced guys and gals think of your field? Why do you property people do property and not auto? Do you do both? Does anyone do both? Auto people (are there any on this forum?) why did you choose auto claims?

     It looks as though some of the big outfits (Pilot comes to mind) provide both property and auto claims adjusters for storm hit areas. I very much enjoyed both construction and vehicle jobs. I know this is primarily a property adjusters populated site but can anyone offer up words of advise or get a decent conversation going on either field (other than "just stay on the porch, it sucks" type answers??

     

    I really love y'all's forum. Thanks for all the good reading.

    Chad

    okclarryd
    Posts:954


    --
    06/12/2012 9:30 PM
    Chad,
    I've done both for Pilot and there's some differences and some similarities.

    Generally, the property deployments last longer and you will make more money. Your expenses are higher due to your longer stay but it is a better deal. The auto deployments are usually much shorter and you will get day rate for a 12 to 16 hour day in a drive-in. No fuel costs though. The auto estimating software used to be cheaper but I really don't know now. Also, the property work will last late into the night while the auto guys are gathered around the campfire in the parking lot roasting marshmellows or whatever those auto guys do.

    They both have their good sides and their bad. Both are enjoyable or are a nightmare, depending on many factors mainly your attitude. I think there is a shortage of good auto guys right now but that's only what I've heard.

    The industry is changing and is in a state of change at present. I would humbly suggest you go with your gut feeling and find out if it's gonna work for you.

    Happy Trails
    Larry D Hardin
    chadecoen
    Member
    Member
    Posts:19


    --
    06/13/2012 10:50 PM
    Hey Larry, Thanks for the advise. I kinda figured somewhere in the back of my mind most auto deployments were at a drive through center. I guess that ruins my idea of doing this to be out doors more!

    My take on it is that I am going to try out auto claims for a few years and then get in to property. I'm thinking this for several reasons.

    One, you guys are pretty scary when it comes to what to expect out there in the real world of property cat adjusting. Has me kinda nervous about being deployed the first time. And to be honest even though I fully expect to have my you know what handed to me the first time, construction is pretty darn complex, it is way too easy to forget stuff or just plain screw up a report from inexperience. Who wants to do all the work and not get paid for it!?!?

    Two, I really do like cars. I can do cars in my sleep.

    Three, I think you are right, they are looking for auto people right now.

    Four, I think auto claims are less complex.

    And Five, the software is a little easier (in my opinion). But Mitchell did just quote me $199/mth with yr contract. Not too cheap.

    I mean, (my opinion for what it is worth) for a green property adjuster to just jump right in and get deployed with out a Katrina size hit is pretty much a long shot. I get it. Why hire the likes of me when the likes of Larry can get it done in half the time and twice the accuracy. However, chances of getting deployed for auto claims every time a piece or two of ice falls from the sky is pretty good. And then, when hopefully I have won the love and admiration of a few firms, I can express an interest in property adjusting and move right on over. At least that is how I am dreaming of it happening anyway.

    Just to update my specific situation, I have followed some other members advice of sending out a million and one resumes and following up with every single one of them until someone hires me. So far I have an interview with an insurance company next week (in house auto work), an insurance inspection company wants to talk to me (was thinking would give me something to do between deployments?) AND, the big one, Pilot called me to see if I wanted to attend their 10 day in Mobile. I jumped at the chance. I spoke with the nice lady for some time and after discussing both my construction and auto experience she basically said I should go for auto. She really didn't give a hoot about my construction experience. So I got the packet yesterday and filled it all out and returned it. Am waiting to get more info on the testing/classes for next month. Pretty excited about it. Was shocked to find out they actually hire folks and not 1099 them. I find that really weird. I thought everyone would be independent contractors. Going to be a little trickier using my LLC to write stuff off. I will keep y'all posted in case anyone actually cares! Thanks for hearing me out.

    Thanks,
    Chad
    Medulus
    Moderator
    Posts:785


    --
    06/14/2012 5:05 PM
    The only assignment I ever lost money on was an auto assignment back in 1998 in the home state of Larry Hardin (OK) where I was lured to OKC with the promise of an auto assignment where I would be in a drive in center writing auto estimates for hail. When I got there they assigned me auto claims all over the northern half of the state, sometimes more than a hundred miles between auto inspections at a whopping $75 per inspection. I was green back then so I didn't know enough to cut and run. Then there was the fateful day I encountered the llama curse. She roads were unmarked - so I followed the mapquest instructions that took me to a llama farm about 25 miles from where I was supposed to be - out on the reservation 75 miles from the nearest auto dealer in Ponca City. I went to the door and discovered I was in the wrong place. I went back to my van and discovered it wouldn't start. So I had to get a tow to Ponca City and stay there all weekend until the dealership opened up to fix my van. In about two weeks I lost over a thousand dollars. That was my last auto assignment. I have never lost money on a property assignment. I'd like to continue to make a profit. Be very careful and make sure you know what you are getting into on auto assignments.
    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
    Medulus
    Moderator
    Posts:785


    --
    06/14/2012 5:17 PM
    Oh, I forgot to mention that the OK auto assignment was on the heels of an auto assignment for State Farm in MN where they did have us in State Farm tents writing 10 to 12 auto estimates a day (not that hard, especially the Saturns) where the temperature got down in the thirties in late June and all the Texas boys were dying. Even this Yankee found it a bit grueling.

    I still get a little intimidated at the knowledge of a Larry Hardin or a Chuck Deaton or (geez!) a Bob Harvey, but my best advice for that, Chad, is do far more listening than you do talking. Your silence will be interpreted as if you know more than you do and soon you will know more than you do now due to your excellent listening skills.

    But you can have the auto assignments. That may have been where I started when State Farm Auto hired me back in 1990, but it only took those two back to back auto assignments to turn me off from the experience.

    I'll stick with property, and as much as possible with commercial property and DIC, from here on out.
    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
    CatAdjusterX
    Posts:964


    --
    06/15/2012 7:23 PM
    Posted By Chad on 13 Jun 2012 10:50 PM
    Hey Larry, Thanks for the advise. I kinda figured somewhere in the back of my mind most auto deployments were at a drive through center. I guess that ruins my idea of doing this to be out doors more!

    My take on it is that I am going to try out auto claims for a few years and then get in to property. I'm thinking this for several reasons.

    One, you guys are pretty scary when it comes to what to expect out there in the real world of property cat adjusting. Has me kinda nervous about being deployed the first time. And to be honest even though I fully expect to have my you know what handed to me the first time, construction is pretty darn complex, it is way too easy to forget stuff or just plain screw up a report from inexperience. Who wants to do all the work and not get paid for it!?!?

    Two, I really do like cars. I can do cars in my sleep.

    Three, I think you are right, they are looking for auto people right now.

    Four, I think auto claims are less complex.

    And Five, the software is a little easier (in my opinion). But Mitchell did just quote me $199/mth with yr contract. Not too cheap.

    I mean, (my opinion for what it is worth) for a green property adjuster to just jump right in and get deployed with out a Katrina size hit is pretty much a long shot. I get it. Why hire the likes of me when the likes of Larry can get it done in half the time and twice the accuracy. However, chances of getting deployed for auto claims every time a piece or two of ice falls from the sky is pretty good. And then, when hopefully I have won the love and admiration of a few firms, I can express an interest in property adjusting and move right on over. At least that is how I am dreaming of it happening anyway.

    Just to update my specific situation, I have followed some other members advice of sending out a million and one resumes and following up with every single one of them until someone hires me. So far I have an interview with an insurance company next week (in house auto work), an insurance inspection company wants to talk to me (was thinking would give me something to do between deployments?) AND, the big one, Pilot called me to see if I wanted to attend their 10 day in Mobile. I jumped at the chance. I spoke with the nice lady for some time and after discussing both my construction and auto experience she basically said I should go for auto. She really didn't give a hoot about my construction experience. So I got the packet yesterday and filled it all out and returned it. Am waiting to get more info on the testing/classes for next month. Pretty excited about it. Was shocked to find out they actually hire folks and not 1099 them. I find that really weird. I thought everyone would be independent contractors. Going to be a little trickier using my LLC to write stuff off. I will keep y'all posted in case anyone actually cares! Thanks for hearing me out.

    Thanks,
    Chad

    .......................

    Chad,

    The reality of property adjusting is if you have a decent head on your shoulders, can work under enormous pressure of knowing you need to do more claims yet you know that doing more is next to impossible, know and have confidence in your software(in CAT work usually XM8), can deal with the uncanny certainty that there will be someone in a position above you (who usually doesn't have a clue about adjusting a sack lunch) breathing down your neck that 4 of the "hits" in a test square don't seem like.... well hits and therefore you need to go back and take more pics.....you will end up OK...(When there is work)

    It appears that you understand that this is not a get rich quick job and that you aren't gonna make  6 figures for a summer of work. Most importantly, you seem to have done a great deal of research and have sought out answers for yourself before you came to the boards asking for clarity. Lots of property adjusters fail on their first event because they are of the mindset of getting on these boards and asking the quickest way for them to be making the big bucks 

     I think you are gonna be OK whichever route you choose. Keep your wits about you, know your software and after a few years plying your craft, pay it forward and help those rookie adjusters that show they are willing to help themselves.

    In conclusion, as stated earlier by another experienced adjuster, the adjusting insustry is changing as we speak. I think the skillset of old (being able to adjust a risk from foundation to roof with a pencil, paper calculator and tape measure) is rapidly evolving to the high tech skillset. Back in 2010, I believe it was the CEO of Crawford and Company that was qouted as saying," It is more cost efficient to teach an individual with a strong IT background how to be an adjuster than it is to teach an individual with a strong background of adjusting how to become IT literate."

    I wrote about that here on CADO back then and I thought it was insulting to the old school guys, but now I see it as simply an inevitable evolution that will occur across all industries sooner or later.

    Therefore, I think it is easier now to become successful in this industry that from almost anytime prior  

    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
    BeauKron
    Member
    Member
    Posts:20


    --
    08/30/2012 11:37 PM

    I have experience in both Auto and Property as an IA. From Day One, the guys with experience in both told me to become licensed in Property, too. Their opinion was that Auto would pay the bills, but would never make you wealthy. I really enjoyed Auto, but what they said made sense, and I moved on to Property claims. I've never regretted it.

    If you are a knowledgeable and personable adjuster, becoming an Auto team lead/manager pays a bit more and you go on more storms. Auto storms are generally shorter, but there is certainly less stress. For the most part, when you go home at night, there's no paperwork to bring home. You can relax.  


    Best of luck. A living can be earned either way.

    ~Beau



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