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Last Post 08/26/2010 11:22 PM by  CatAdjusterX
Questions about the claim adjuster business
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JHoward23
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08/13/2010 2:48 PM
    I just graduated college with an insurance degree, and got married 2 months ago....I have a few questions that I wanted to ask current adjusters. Are you away from home a lot, and for how long on average are you away from home? Are you gone 4 days out of the week, etc... And in a few years we plan on having children, any adjusters with families; how often do you see your children? Is the money worth the travel? I'm new to this and the amount of time spent away from home is a concern of mine.
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    olderthendirt
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    08/13/2010 3:35 PM
    Simple, If you decide to try and break into Cat adssutering you will be away for long periods (my longest was 11 Months). It is not (IMO) a job for someone thinking of marriage and children. There are many jobs in claims, full handling of losses as an indedendant or staff adjuster. This seems a better route for someone in your position. Good luck.
    Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put in it
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    Ray Hall
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    08/13/2010 3:59 PM
    If  was in your position, with your education I would apply to the large all lines carriers that write personel (houses-contonts, auto, pleasure craft, commercial, inland marine, ocean marine etc. I would try to get into underwriting instead of claims. The advancement is more rapid, and leads to  a 6 figure income faster. Very little extended travel. I love claims, just don,t get into traveling catastrophe claims. I am a 54 year old veteran who was trained by several insurance carriers. In those days claims people that were sharp could change jobs. These big insurance companies like Travelers, Hartford, CNA, AIG, Utica, Erie, Farm Mutual, Safeco,   Go to claims mentor she posted about 200 jobs yesterday for trainees in almast 20 states
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    JHoward23
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    08/13/2010 4:29 PM
    Thanks Ray! I'm new to this website, how exactly do I go to Claims Mentor to see the trainee jobs, what do I click on, where do I go?
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    host
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    08/13/2010 5:14 PM
    Here on CatAdjuster.org we offer free resume hosting for those looking for a career in adjusting. Also, on the Career Page there are some jobs for trainees.


    I agree with olderthendirt in that Cat Adjusting may not be the correct line of adjusting for a young family.   When I started I had young family and missed a lot of the activities.  For example I had three assignments back to back and each assignment lasted for over two years, six years away can be tough on the family life  However, one assignment was in Alaska (oil spill) and I was able to bring my family up there one summer and they did visit on the other assignments as well.
     
     
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    brighton
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    08/13/2010 6:49 PM
    You can go to a number of online job sites. Indeed.com is probably the best as it filters a lot of sites finding postings for jobs from numerous sites. Otherwise, go to each companies web site and look for jobs in their site.
    Rocke Baker
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    Ray Hall
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    08/13/2010 9:47 PM
    This is just me, who was a staff adjusters for many years, before I was an IA. Storm Troopers was the title. Most of the cat. claims picked up these temp adjusters when a storm hit. GAB started the fee bills in 1960,s to replace the T & E billing. This has worked out to be the wise move for cat. losses as NFIP adopted the fee bill in about 1984-85. These temp employees were hired to work for a discount of the posted GAB schedule. Good deal for both carrier, who got the one,s they knew and wanted, and all the adjuster had to do was turn in good work as fast as they could.
     
    I never thought about leaving my children and wife to work storm claims for weeks or months. I worked for IA,s who had a large property reputation or General Liability reputation. A old partner of mine in the  called me and stated he just got back from the Santa Anna winds in the high desert of California in about 1968-09. He said he was working for Walter Pilot (who) and explained he hooked up with them, and he could get me on. Nope was my answer. I met the adjuster when he was working fire claims that I, (we) assigned him when he was with GAB.
     
    I also remember in 1965 hurricane Betsy he was gving 600 property loss in New Orleans by an older IA who was overehelmed with losses .  Many cat. adjusters wonder why they can,t come back to their city and get "some regular claims". Its about 3 or more good reasons, you are what you are, no need for short term adjusters (incompetant, bad appearance, will leave when the first wind blows etc.

    It,s almost impossible to work as a cat adjuster(direct) today, let the vendor assume the bad and also the good. The vendor system is good for the carriers. Just hook up with the good ones . All vendors have a list of top adjusters. These are the one,s who do branch assist, ( the only one in the office are several more). This is the list you must get on to make ( travelers)  a life time career. We have travelers in Electrical, construction, refinery turn around, roughneck, almost any job you can think off. Think of the Power Companies who pay their travelers double or triple time to get all the electric service back up after a big storm.
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    WILLIS
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    08/14/2010 1:57 AM
    This business is not for a young person who wants to have a family.  Like many others I have spent years aways from my home. The longest  well  8 months with Hugo,  2 years with Andrew,  over a year with Charley, Frances and Jeanne,  18 months with Katrina  That is working seven days a week a good 10 hrs a day every day  I have worked in about every state doing something.   Carriers and Vendors want individuals they can depend on who can self start, do the job correct with no supervision and no complaints. 
     
    I know quite a few very successful catastrophe adjusters  they are not the most proficient with any computer program. They do not rely on the latest gadgets. They each share a philosophy that makes the claim you are working their only claim.  They send frequent reports and update the reserves. They get the insured involved in their claim and keep them busy.  They are usually not the first adjusters to arrive after the storms impact.  All of us were carrier trained, real adjusters turned IA's for various reasons. I was trained to handle every line of business produced by my carrier employer.    We are friendly but we all work alone.  I have worked storms and never saw another adjuster;  been on roofs looked around and did not see one person on a roof anywhere. 
     
    This job works well for my personality. My wife reminds me I do well in a disaster. I adapt well to temp sites.  I make an effort to build a solid working relationship with each assigned insured. Never leave a loss with bad feelings; you just might have to go back. No one can avoid complaints especially in these times where we have trained people to expect fast claim handling.  Fast is not always the best policy. If the loss is serious  tell the insured the hard truth. Be honest and never tell an insured you can get him anything without approval from their carrier.  
     
    I have been married to the same wife for 39 years. She is special, but evenso, being away from home long periods has taken its toll.
     
    If I were you just starting out wanting to be in insurance and stay married with children,  I would pursue underwriting then move into an agency, then build my agency around solid staff and good carriers and stay out of claims.
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    DelGroves
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    08/14/2010 9:07 AM
    WILLIS' description on a professional attitude and demeanor is about as well-said, as can be.
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    Barneym
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    08/14/2010 10:01 AM
    Wilis:
    As a professional insurance recruiter, I must compliment you on the advice you shared in your posting.  It's good to see someone every now and then who "Gets it".  I grew up as the son of an IA.  I can recall him telling me every so often that the real road to success in the business was as a "Producer".  How right he was.  I occasionally am invited to speak to graduating seniors in Insurance and Risk Management at colleges and universities.  I really enjoy it.  I find it interesting that when I ask for a show of hands of all of those who are going to be a Producer no one raises their hand.  I tell them that I understand.  It's because of a 4 letter word called "Fear".  First of all, they have a negative idea of what a Producer is.  It's usually because they associate it with that faceless person on the phone calling Mom and Dad about giving them a quote on their home and car.  If you can explain to them that what you are talking about is an independent agent who can truly be an advisor, who has studied the business, who can handle their personal and commercial needs, and who is building a "Book", it begins to make sense.  Having your own Book is the key to security and success.  It has value.  It is Yours.  It is portable.  It gives the Producer financial independence.  Believe me.  I get calls all the time asking me to find a good Producer with a Book of business.  I usually tell the person that a good Producer doesn't need a recruiter to find them their next opportunity.  All they have to do is make a call and they'll have new home by the time they hang up the phone!
     
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    Ray Hall
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    08/14/2010 10:18 AM
    All my training was with the big I system (Independent Agents). The real great ones teach CPCU course,s at local community college at night. Claims is the red headed step child in multline Property & casualty insurance. Get into underwriting or production. One of the trainee underwriters for the same carrier I worked for opened a large Brokerage in Mew Orleans for Oil and Gas Operators 25 years later. Another trainee wirh another carrier, became the "risk manager" with one of the largest intergrated Energy Company in the world. I used my old connections for many years and it worked both ways.
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    WILLIS
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    08/14/2010 2:11 PM
    To BarneyM  I was trained to be an adjuster first with Travelers.  I made friends with the underwriting manager who became their leading agency producer. That person advised me I had the talent to be a good producer.  We talked often.  A company opening developed in Baton Rouge and this producer was moving there and wanted me to take the opening.  I am sure "FEAR" was my obstacle. I did not take the leap.  What a major career mistake. I stayed in claims, left Travelers shortly after the offer, worked commercial losses with CNA before moving over as an IA. Claims have changed so negatively in recent years. Claims were perceived as second class citizens in Traverlers and CNA  We were the necessary evil. Our claims office got all the used equipment from Underwriting.   I now know I could of made a strong producer, could of spent my time home every night with my family and could continue working into my 70's without the constant worry,  will this tropcial depression become a hurricane and if so will I be able to get any work.  Those storms are coming more and more infrequently. I am not getting any younger or agile.   I do not know a single agent who has ever had to climb a roof, or crawl through a flooded or burned out house, yet with all my work, that agent gets to deliver the checks to that insured. He then gets to sell more coverage and in the long run makes considerably more money than me who did all the grunt work. 
     
    So for the young man just out of college wanting to go into insurance. Learn from all us old IA's  start as an underwriter, be the upper tier of a carrier, then move to the agency where the real money and satisfaction can be gained in the Insurance field.
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    Ray Hall
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    08/14/2010 3:30 PM
    This is one of the real crimes that take place in TX. You can get an adjusters license in 3  8 hour classes and $50.00. To be an Property & Casualty Insurance Recording Agent License (Broker) in TX. It takes over 90  college hours.
     
    I am an old TX. licensed adjuster, (grandfather for that matter). I have sent letters to the TX. insurance commish, the TX attorney General , some politcos in Austin. My wife is a residence real estate broker for over 35 years. I remember how much study she had to do to upgrade from salesperson to a broker.
     
    In my opine and thousands of others , the difficulty is about equal to pass the brokers test and the qualified adjuster that has over 10,000 OJT time in. In short if you can get a property & casualty license in TX in 24 class room hours shame on Texas. The carriers have given the plaintiffs prima facia evidence  on unqualified adjusters working their losses.
     
    This is why property insurance carriers do not try cases in TX. The records of the adjuster sinks the boat.
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    Ray Hall
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    08/14/2010 4:18 PM
    The insurance carriers have to be responsible. The Texas Adjusters license has the date the license becomes effective. On the same line it has the expiration date of the license. What the carriers should do is hold the vendors in violation of the specific  contract(qualified adjusters) unless they have worked 2-3 years in property claims or at least 500 catastrophe losses since they were licensed. This would be a passable number.   It give the defense lawyers something to work with. This is not a job to do without proper training, and the carrier/vendor must check ALL qualifications. It is not a Texas License.
     
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    Ray Hall
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    08/14/2010 4:48 PM
    This is not a blast of people who want to get into cat. adjusting. I think to carriers/vendors should allow some room for new people to get in. This could be to work under an experience person as an hourly employee of the experienced person. Many carriers have a firm rule, no helpers of any kind." One house one adjuster". Many adjusters have helpers who can not come out of the closet for this reason. If a new person could print out their work product this would answer most of the requirements of the above post. ( PLEASE don,t start the private  info..... use lots of black markers) because if you can not see the work, it may not exist.
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    CatAdjusterX
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    08/14/2010 10:40 PM
    Posted By brighton on 13 Aug 2010 06:49 PM
    You can go to a number of online job sites. Indeed.com is probably the best as it filters a lot of sites finding postings for jobs from numerous sites. Otherwise, go to each companies web site and look for jobs in their site.


    Hey Rocke
     
    As you know , on my site , I tend to give it to the new folks straight ,However, I also tend to handle some of my newer members a little on the gentle side.
     
    The site is evolving,
    but I must tell you that last night I received a question in regards to the whole Garden City group and Worley situation from someone I assume doesn't have a clue and if this question was for real then , well let's just say this person is better off packing it in now before they waste any more money.
     
    Maybe I am overreacting
     
    but I got a question asking if anyone had the web address for Garden City Group ?
     
    My fricken' jaw dropped
    that someone cannot even think to just google Garden City Group, they can take the time to join a site and post a question , but they can't either do a touch of digging to find some info on their own or even worse
     
    IT DIDN'T OCCUR TO THEM TO EVEN THINK ABOUT GOOGLING (HOWEVER IT'S SPELLED) GARDEN CITY GROUP !!!!!!!!!
     
    I just needed to vent I think
     
     
    Another good website for new adjusters looking for trainee positions  is       greatinsurancejobs
    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
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    Olegred
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    08/17/2010 5:18 AM
    Dude, this site is very specific. I am afraid it won't give you a complete and fair understanding of how this business works. Basically, there's just a bunch of old grumpy guys sitting here waiting for next hurricane. Those who are successful are busy working the claims now, those you need to talk to, buddy...
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    Jud G.
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    08/17/2010 11:59 AM

    After a few years in the insurance industry, I've discovered that the following advice has helped me significantly:

    Don't chase money, but sharpen your skill set. By doing so, the money and promotions will find you.

    What's great about this advice, is that it applies regardless of what industry you choose. The friends of mine that I recall as I post this are very successful in their industry (pharmaceutical sales, pulic affairs, chemical engineer, HR MGr., and a handyman) simply because they've focused on their skill set. Earning money is always nice, but not their objective.  Not only do they have respect, the money has also found them.

    An example of the bad is for you to consider how many people who are out there who sought to become attorneys and have law degrees. Many of them are not working as attorneys. There are people who switch carreers every season that the money spikes/declines and these jobs tend to fall into this group: selling Amway, Primerica, Real Estate, Home Building, etc. By doing this, their skill set diminishes and they loose respect because of a lack of commitment/devotion to developing into a seasoned professional.

    As for your question about claims, the answer is 'yes'. You can work from a desk and field. Your field travel can be 100% or 5% or 60%- the opportunities for job types in claims are endless. Good luck out there.

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    Bobabooey
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    08/20/2010 10:59 PM
    Let me give you some advice you won't take. Go work as a staff adjuster and go back to school at night. Get a degree in the medical field or in the energy business. It will be hard but worth it. I'm not speaking for anyone else but I will tell you that this business is not for young people who want to advance. I have been at it for more than 10 years and looks like I will make less this year than my first year. There is also no place for advancement. Go get a geology degree. I know a guy who has 180k salary as a geologist, has several weeks vacation and great benefits AND most importantly he does not sit up at night worrying about where his next paycheck will come from. One more gripe as the IA you are at the bottom of the whole process. You can have 20 years experience and still catch hail from anyone who wants to give it to you. Just my 2 cents for you.
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    Olegred
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    08/21/2010 12:54 AM
    as far as geologists go

    http://www.payscale.com/research/US...ist/Salary

    cat is a great business to be in, you have flexible schedule, you travel and see places, you make lots of money in a short period of time, of course, you have to be self-starter to succeed....
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