Cat Adjusting as a Profession (Is It For Me?)
Article ID: 2
Title: Cat Adjusting as a Profession (Is It For Me?)
Posted: Friday, November 26, 2004
Author: Gary White
My son is now ready to go to college away from home and excluding approximately 21 months in an attempt to try something different in my life as a "financial planner", I have been adjusting, supervising or investigating claims for almost 27 years. By the way, I have worked my share of hail, wind, tornado and hurricane cats for other carriers so I know from whence I speak. Even during the time while I was trying to become a "financial planner", I supplemented my income with adjusting temp jobs and contract adjusting work.
Well, here I am at age 50 and have gone back to work for another insurance Company making $14,000 less than when I left my previous employer whose name will go unknown, but which is rapidly becoming defunct due to acquiring another major carrier which did go defunct.
I have asked myself whether or not I would really want to become a Cat Adjuster, which I understand to be politically correct is considered a Catastrophe Specialist. This has come about from talking to a local roofer who commented about this independent adjusting company which solely worked Cats. I was advised that this company had a certain number of claims they wanted you to work daily and the pay seemed astronomical. I contacted this company, after they had sent out some information, and one of the owners commented (in an non-too-excited fashion) that there were no promises about the quantity of work, length of time on the job, etc. He did advise that I would be required to go to a particular school for certification, become licensed in a number of states, provide all my own equipment and be ready to go anytime and anywhere demanded. I recall this was once called indentured servitude. However, in my own way of thinking and using the "glass is half full" mentality, I quipped that this must be somewhat lucrative or no one would work cats as an independent contractor. The response was a surly, "yeah you are probably right. Some of our adjusters who are dedicated solely to us make six figures a year gross. Some adjusters work for us and anyone else who will hire them."
Another independent adjusting company was contacted by an on-line resume (which I felt was not too shabby-not to brag); and, when nothing was heard in a week, a follow up by e-mail was sent commenting on other attributes I had which might be beneficial to their operation. This particular operation had related how they wanted professional adjusters commenting on how they wanted their adjusters to dress and conduct themselves. They remarked at how different they were from the other Cat Adjusting operations. Although this level of professionalism was addressed, I am wondering how professional this company is since it has not provided any type of response to my inquiries?
Lastly, I have viewed your Web Site and note that I cannot locate much, if anything about what the rigors of the job are really like, what type of equipment do you really need, how long Cat adjusters are away from their families and what is a realistic income to be derived from this work. Are these items deep dark secrets? Please note that I am not trying to be sarcastic, but all my impressions over the last two weeks in trying to gain information about how to enter the world of Cat adjusting as a profession has been less than educational and somewhat mysterious.
Now you all probably won't publish this article for what I have said and am about to say, but maybe the impression of the Cat Adjuster by the general adjusting populace (i.e.) persons actually employed by GAB, Crawford, etc. and staff adjusters (like myself) have about this profession. First, the Cat adjuster is not overly well trained and is not a professional. They do the work on an overload basis which we are not able to get to (making them a necessary evil) and then go back to some other employment (I was aware of teachers who did this type of work as a summer job). Secondly, although there were some Cat adjusters who appeared to be neat and well kept, the general impression I had of most were people who had just gotten out of prison or off the farm because of their course mannerisms, speech, and dress. Thirdly, the inexperience factor regarding the application of insurance caused a lot of headaches for the employed independent or staff adjuster as claims were overpaid and damages which did not result from a peril but were caused by deterioration or other non-covered causes (especially hail storms) were paid. Cat adjusters were renown for coming in and paying anything and everything causing major "neighboritis".
Now, why do I want to become a Cat adjuster after making all these apparent disparaging remarks? First, I am tired of working for the "man", being second guessed by supervisors with minimal experience, completing meaningless reports, bean counting for some actuary and making a pittance for my hard work. (Has anyone of you felt the same way? Secondly, I actually believe I could have more time to spend with my family doing this type of work on a full time basis. Lastly, I believe that my professionalism (and the professionalism as noted in your organization) might help "raise the bar" in this line of endeavor.
It is hoped that my comments "from an outsider" and an interested party, might be interesting. If not, I tried. Best luck to all of you!
Sincerely, Gary W. White, SCLA, CFE
IIA (Certificate in General Insurance)
SCLA (Senior Claim Law Associate) Property, Liability, WC & Fraud Law
CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner)
B.S. Language Arts minor in Business (University of Kansas)
Major Catastrophe Loss Team (two companies)
Boiler and Machinery School
GAB Schools (Various)
Claim Supervisor (Multi-Line with three major stock carriers)
SIU (Special Claim Investigator) 4 years.
Currently enrolled in AIC (yeah, I know nobody really wants to do this however they finally made the tests (multiple guess)!! They tell me this designation is "really important"!?
April 1973--Adjuster Trainee with GAB May 2000--Staff Field Adjuster for a well known carrier
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