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Last Post 09/29/2009 1:19 AM by  HuskerCat
Cat vs. Staff
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Olegred
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09/21/2009 3:56 AM

    So, here I am now in Crawford cat department. Doing pretty good, I have some work, and hopefully, will have some more. BUT!  I am starting to have some thoughts about going staff with Crawford, you know it's less money but more stable.  AND my goal is to reach EGA level in few years.

     

    So, those of you who's been in business for years, do you mind giving me your opinion?

     

    Should I stay Cat and make more money in short run? But with no guaranteed work and no benefits?

    Or should I go staff with less money, BUT, benefits and stable work?

     

    Thanks

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    c.crone
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    09/21/2009 7:21 PM
    Stable work!
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    WILLIS
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    09/21/2009 7:39 PM

    I have been an adjuster for 38 years; 20 staff, 18 IA  There are costs on both sides of the issue to consider.

    CAT work comes if Mother Nature is working, if not, like now no Hurricane it can be rough,  If you take the CAT route start with a good vendor and stay with them, if they like your work you have a better chance of staying busy most of the year but expect many dry spells of no work and that can be stressful  You can gross more money in CAT but you will have all the expenses to pay + qtrly taxes and if you want benefits you have to pay the full cost 

    Staff you have day to day work with a Salary + paid benefits + maybe a car if it is Crawford and outside work. Those latter two will cost you big if you stay with CAT  

    You need to weigh your options  Are you single or married? If the latter, do you have children, if so take the staff job you only see those kids once & trust me your wife will appreciate the thought.  It cost money to remain CAT  all the expenses for travel, taxes, equipment, vehicles are yours 

    Comes down to this if you have a family and would like to keep them and want a stable environment take the staff job. If you like serious risk take the CAT 

    I have worked with and for Crawford. They are stable and will not be bought out any time soon. For a young person Crawford has worldwide options that you could reach. Crawford is also big on CAT and if you are strong as Staff you will likely have CAT as well, might be best of both worlds in this uncertain world.

    Best of luck to you either way  

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    Olegred
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    09/22/2009 12:33 AM

    Willis, thanks for the answer.  I am a single guy, and expenses don't really bother me as soon as I am getting work. Car and benefits are nice, but I get 60 % as cat guy and staff gets something around 30 % I think. So, it's like double money for the same work. And another thing. As CAT I work when it's hot  and make a bunch of $ and then I have time for myself whereas staff is 8 to 5 every day, with a vacation, of course.  Benefits... well... the only benefit I need is health insurance and I got the policy for myself with high deductible  for like 90 bucks a month. Crawford still treats me as W2 employee, so they are doing my taxes.  The only thing that bothers me is that where do you grow in CAT? Well, you can go core and then get them big commercial projects etc.  but that's about it. Whereas staff you can be EGA in a few years and NEVER worry about a thing.

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    dougbrsrd
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    09/27/2009 11:02 AM
    Why ask the question if you refute the answer, justifying your action. A basic law of physics states "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". Follow your instincts.
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    Olegred
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    09/28/2009 1:06 AM

    I haven't asked for a phsycoanalytic help, I asked for advise based on experience, if you have none, just pass on, dude. 

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    jlombardo
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    09/28/2009 7:54 AM

    Olegred,

    You may want to consider a "blend " of the two......try to cultivate daily work through a number of different adjusting firms, and do a good job.....when a CAT hits, you will have choices......Just be up front with the IA firms that you are doing daily and absorb their excess and do not be their mainstay in an area....This way you can work more consistently, get a feel for several different company requirements and network and leave you a place to come back to after the storm is over...........At some point, you will know what to do...whether to go Staff or stay IA.....
    Several good IA firms that come to mind are Pacesetters, Team One, and Precise Adjustment....
    Just remember, one benefit of working the daily claims is that it keeps you sharp on your adjusting program use and you learn the different Policies that are out there...

    Just my.02.......Good Luck with whatever you do.......
    Joe Lombardo Jr.
    Oh,please go easy on your fellow adjuster...after all, we are all we got and sooner or later, we usually end up working together..........

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    Tom Toll
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    09/28/2009 10:05 AM

    Most ol timers started with a staff position, as I did. I worked with Southern Farm Bureau for 6 years, then became an IA with a state organization working claims within my resident state. Most of my knowledge and education came from the staff position, which led me to where I am today.

    I became interested in cat work many years ago and finally made the transition. I enjoyed cat work while I was able to work. Joe has the right idea. A mix of the two will be beneficial. Just remember to learn as much as possible and as quickly as you can.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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    HuskerCat
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    09/29/2009 12:16 AM

    From one who worked for Crawford as a branch adjuster, and also knew those that worked Cat core....it can be the best of both worlds.   But it can also be the worst of worlds if there is no cat/hurricane activity, and/or you are working for a branch manager with no compassion or sight beyond the bottom line when there is no local claim activity and their pocketbook is being affected.   As a branch adj only, appreciate the vehicle and benny's....but don't overlook the cost you incur for gas if you have a co vehicle and are getting soaked on the mileage reimbursement. on those little Ford gas guzzler pickups (unless it's changed in the past couple years). 

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    dcmarlin
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    09/29/2009 12:49 AM

    If your goal is to become an EGA (which realistically will take much longer than just a few years), I suggest the staff route.  If you stick with Crawford or other good IA firm, you will get better training and be exposed to many different policies, coverages and claims which most will never encounter handling just CAT claims.  

    Gimme a bottle of anything and a glazed donut ... to go! (DLR)
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    HuskerCat
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    09/29/2009 1:19 AM

    DC is correct, if you want to be an EGA....staff is the best route.  A mid to large regional carrier that would hire you as a multi-line adjuster will give you the training and claims experience to lead toward being an EGA, but it will take time.  Any experience you've gained in the Cat area only puts you a little ahead of the curve as far as dealing with adverse conditions and understanding the other side of the coin.  But, to be an EGA, it comes down to knowing your coverage forms...whether they are available/potential or actually in force....and then upon recognition of the coverages in force, to investigate the COL for each and document the loss to be attributed to each coverage line.   As an independent, your carrier contact will guide and instruct you along these lines.  You may actually find yourself in this role of guiding/instructing if you go the staff route first.  But learn to read and understand those policies, and ask the oldtimers many questions, particularly on commercial forms.  There are a lot of  bells & whistles, curveballs, and different interpretations from one carrier to another. 

    An IA firm (including Crawford) generally cannot provide much coverage training other than the generic forms, and limited at that.  It has been my findings that IA firms employ those that possess the technical skills first (estimating & investigating), and coverage knowledge second.  Nothing wrong with that, as the coverage always lies with the carrier anyway, and the type of assignments that generally go to IA's (wind/hail/theft/etc.).

    But EGA's will be assigned the large losses and/or losses due to other COL.  It is difficult to get the type of training necessary to handle those types of losses unless you've been first been a staffy type for a few years. 

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