Posted By MarkGehring on 10 May 2011 09:31 PM
Hello.. I'm STILL a newbie... 54 yrs old, former private investigator. Wondering if I'll finally (or ever), get some work as an IA as a result of recent damaging storms. I've been working as a seasonal employee at Lowe's for the past 3 months, thinking maybe I'll get more work if I leave Texas, since I've heard that 85% of all Independent Adjusters live here in Texas, I might have better luck moving out? I've had my license for almost 2 years now. I've had more experience over the years with personal injury claims... but still no luck getting day claims or anything related to property. Trying to get more training and deployment through Pilot if I can get it together, but my house is in foreclosure here just north of Houston (since 2008) and my Ch13 has been discharged, so some of the wolves are back at my door!! I know, it could always be worse. :)
I don't particularly care for the moniker "Newby" when talking of newly licensed folks. It probably has more to do with when I was the "FNG" in my platoon back in my Army days.
So with that being said, Mark I have a few questions and some solid advice .
You state your home is in foreclosure and your bk is recently discharged (Brother there is no shame in that!!)
Anyway, when I read posts from aspiring adjusters talking about why they came to our industry, unfortunately the all to common answer is they got layed off from a once thriving industry and are now looking for a new industry to make a living.
I am NOT nor will I ever be a doomsayer telling new folks they are certain to fail, but I do NOT blow smoke or paint the industry with rose colored glasses. Granted I have but 8 years of experience working in our industry. I have NOT JUST been licensed for 8 years, I am truly lucky and fortunate that those 8 years were spent actually working claims except for the end of 2009 and Spring and Summer of 2010(I broke my leg, pelvis, ribs, jaw and fractured my skull from falling off a ladder)In the Summer of 2010 I was fortunate to become a claims manager and continue to make a living. The solid income to which I have earned over the years has taken care of myself and my family nicely. However the reason for the solid income has more to do with the solid IA firm to which I was employed as opposed to my skill level. There is also a large amount of..........LUCK!! (I think all my fellow CAT adjusters with experience will tell you that luck does play a part in this industry) No matter how good of a CAT adjuster you may be, there are certain variables to which we have no control over( When a storm and/or event hits and where a storm and/or event hits) Yes there are some of us that are able to work between events, (hailstorm or a hurricane or tornado or flood) doing daily claims or managing those IA's doing daily claims.
Unfortunately, in most cases a new adjuster is not qualified to work daily claims or even a new CAT adjuster who did well on their first storm will have a hard time doing daily claims till the next storm.
What I am getting at is I am not sure why someone would want to become a CAT adjuster unless they have a relative in the industry, know someone in the industry or are financially stable enough to keep your head above water before you get your shot. I only say this because the income for the first few years will be spotty and inconsistent at best in most cases.If you are having financial problems(no shame there brother) and are looking to support a family by becoming a CAT adjuster, you will be in deep trouble. I never chose to become a CAT adjuster, I fell into it by accident because a friend owned an IA firm and asked if I wanted to go to Florida to work some claims back in the 4 from 04( I have been a concrete contractor for 18 years and the guy figured I know my way around construction and estimating ) I figured what the heck , let's give it a try. I had never heard about CAT adjusters until I literally became one.) I had no idea that this would become my future or how successful I would be, but it did and I cannot imagine doing anything else.
The problem with having no connections on the inside is that even if you do get deployed when you are new, many folks do not have the financial ability to sustain themselves and a family back home until you start generating cash flow by closing claims. You have to be able to support your operating costs(food.fuel,lodging) anywhere from two weeks to 2 months in some cases.
Does this mean you are destined to fail ? Hell no it doesn't!!! It is hard ,very hard to break into the industry but when you do ,remember that your first CAT deployment does NOT mean you have made it, not at all !! You must make the most of that opportunity by viewing the deployment as a TRYOUT. Lots of new adjusters (60%+)will either quit or be asked to leave because they could not manage the chaos that can be a CAT deployment . The #1 reason for a new adjusters failure is lack of knowledge of their estimating software (in most cases XM8). If you want to make a career out of this and want to be invited back to the next event or asked to stay around for cleanup(doing cleanup is huge for the rookie adjuster) you need to do your job better, faster than the next guy. There is no real difference between a 20 year vet as opposed to a rookie in that they are both expected to close claims, period!! The last place you want to realize that you need more training on XM8 is out in the field.
As a new adjuster, many firms will try to get you to take their course or this cert or that cert. Whilst some certs are important for an adjuster, in regard to a new adjuster you should only spend money on XM8 XM8 XM8. Take as many classes as you can afford on XM8. Outside of XM8, bury your nose in a book regarding policy, learn policy, know the differences between an HO-3,4,5 etc and a DP policy. You can learn everything you need to know by going to www.claimspages.com , it is free of charge. Take policy knowledge seriously learn what is and isn't covered because trust me when I say you do NOT want to turn in an estimate to replace a roof due to deferred maintanence.
Save your money for licensing ,XM8 and more XM8. Dwhat you have to to get field experience, ride-alongs, apprentice, write up your own house if you have to.
If I have two rookie adjusters before me and am only going to deploy one of them, remember this. The first rookie has gotten licensed in 10 states has 10+ certifications coming out the wazoo but no field experience. The other rookie has a few licensed , has no certs other than having level 3 knowledge of XM8(not level 3 certified, but level 3 knowledge) but has a good bit of field experience. The rookie with field experience is going to work. That he has a solid working knowledge of XM8 will keep him out in the field.
You can do it but you must have all the facts to make a good decision for you and your family. It's hard very hard, but nothing worth having is easy. If you commit to yourself and your family to do what is necessary, you have a damn good chance to succeed and a whole new world awaits you and yours.
"A good leader leads.....
..... but a great leader is followed !!"