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Steven W. Ebner (Medulus)
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 3:02 am:   

There's not a lot I can add to this thread except to echo Cecil's Amen. Two of the things I appreciate most about this career are 1) I often find new challenges I need to ask questions about, even after more than ten years as an adjuster, and 2) I get to work very, very hard (then rest just as hard). I am not signed up with Wardlaw, so I did not receive the voice mail message. My jaw dropped when I heard about it. I have all the work I can stand, but if I knew less or worked less or were a little less lucky, the wolves could easily be at the door. This is not Amway. You just don't run out and sign up your friends and neighbors. I let Big Red train me at their expense for five years and then got a little more experience under my belt before setting out on this grand quest. I wouldn't trade it for anything else I know of (unless someone wants to offer me a position as an independently wealthy jet setting playboy), but it certainly isn't a career you just jump into. I would certainly like to see vendors and carriers look for more quality rather than looking for warm bodies then expecting quality. Any new adjuster can luck into an assignment sooner or later, but the performance on the job is what gets us asked back, often to the same locations, again and again.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 11:27 am:   

Good post Sandra. Glad to see that you too are working. Deadhorse is right. This needs to be put to pasture and quick. After 40 years in this wonderful business, I can see that we have a mix of adjusters that want to be pushy and feel they know everything, which they do not. I don't, so how can they. Keep on truckin girl.
Sandra Thompson (Workingstiff)
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 8:55 am:   

Concerned Professional

I, too, have been in this business, but more than 20 years. I also spent more than 10 years as a staff adjuster. I, too, direct others, who ask how to become a CAT adjuster, to go to work for the vendors. Most people who ask do so as they see me sitting in front of my computer, at home, writing estimates. They don't see me getting up at 3:45Am and working until 8 or 9pm and popping something from freezer to microwave for "dinner". They don't see me make a plane reservation to visit friends or relatives and watch it collect dust when I can't go because I am at the mercy of my job, the elements and, these days, vendor staffing issues. These are people that I know think I make too much money, but don't realize that I don't have health insurance, I have to pay a commercial policy premium on my vehicle, I have to keep licenses and CE current at my own expense, I have to carry an inland marine insurance policy for my business equipment that travels in addition to a regular renters policy that normal people can pay and, as we all know, the list goes on. My Leica and my Sony Mavica FD 91 were not cheap.

I got the Wardlaw voice mail as well. I don't know the zone in which you work or training procedures for that zone. But we don't throw green trainees to the wolves out here on the West Coast.

The problem is, and I think this horse has been beaten to death, that there are many adjusters who are not working. We all know that. I've seen some of their work. I can understand why they're not working. There may be many qualified, good adjusters on the Wardlaw roster not working. Are they responding to the voice mails to go to Detroit or Chicago? How many of THOSE did we get before those storms were adequately staffed? Maybe there were a few people who just felt it was a little too cold and a little too close to Christmas to leave family and friends. That's an independent's choice.

How many of our own Wardlaw people have been called up, now publicly on our email system, for issuing fee bills for checks to insureds that don't match the amounts on the estimates? An occasional error can occur, but these voicemails have come in quite a few times.

How many times have we been told we need to be working electronically in sending our paperwork and producing neat and accurate paperwork for the carrier? And how many of us just don't feel the need to learn a new way of doing things?

I'm asksing questions that have answers to which I am not privvy. However, I think that if these issues keep surfacing, which they do, the answers might be larger numbers than we would think. There are rules, new ones each day it sometimes seems. I choose to learn the new ways and continue to work. I worked most of last year and it doesn't look like I'll have a vacation this year. Oh well. I know I can pay the bills.

Someone here mentioned a "special schedule" for each assignment. I have worked for Wardlaw for a number of years. Other than the occasional OCR branch assist (which is a set fee schedule) and day rates I have always worked off the same fee schedule as the one posted on the website (and before that FAX'd to me by Wardlaw).

Maybe a CAT is sometimes overstaffed. The pendulum swings. First we are understaffed (I'm sorry, but the 150 claims handed to you when arriving at a storm site are NOT my idea of the
"good old days". Customer service suffers even if we make the big bucks. Then we are overstaffed. Why? Because of complaints from insureds that they didn't receive a call or a visit from an adjuster during one of those understaffed storms. And all have to follow the lead of the company, whoever that may be at a given time, who gets adjusters to the site the fastest and out to the people the fastest. Because, as we all know, the neighbors compare notes. The insureds want speed and as much accuracy as we can give them up front. I do not, personally, have many reopens that are legit. I do have reopens, of course. Because no one is perfect and there is always the day when we're a little too tired or are on the verge of the flu and it just doesn't come together. It is never for lack of trying.

When damage is small I handle a larger load or I finish faster and cut my expenses. When damage is large I am just as thorough, but it takes me longer to write the scopes and estimates, but I put more money in my pocket because of it.

So you guys go ahead and bellyache and cry. I'll keep my mouth shut because I need the energy to keep working. And working I am!
Greg Scott (Gregs14)
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 5:10 pm:   

egg sackly, Ghostbuster. I once asked an "antsy" insured when he could "Bring his roof by the office for me to check." We both had a laugh and he understood we were just people, too.

Ghostbuster (Ghostbuster)
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 4:43 pm:   

Yeah, Greg,

The psychological term for that is "We now live in a Stop N Go society". America has become just one big convienence store.
Greg Scott (Gregs14)
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 4:38 pm:   

Until we can convince DOI's that speed isn't quality, we will be fighting this battle! Contacting insureds within 48 hours could be done by auto dialer and REAL pros could be hired to take their time to adjust and scope losses as they once did. It seems to me that we are working at cross-objectives here. Carriers and DOI's think "Fast Pay Makes Fast Friends", hence they flood the storm area with hundreds of adjusters and give less work to each adjuster. Some of the consumer protection rules in Texas make you think we are supposed to be ATM's that arrive at people's homes the minute the hail stops or the hurricane passes. It also brings inexperienced and poorly trained people and fly-by-night roofers who realize established roofers will be booked up. No longer is the public willing to wait for us or a good roofer. They want to be able to go to Wal-Mart right now and find it on the shelf. Greg
Ghostbuster (Ghostbuster)
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 4:13 pm:   

Typical! Typical! Typical!

In this business, all you gotta do is shake the litter box to see the cat droppings. In this case the wackos from Waco are just doing what the flakes at Farmers want. Since FIG can't keep staff adjusters on the payroll, Wardlaw needs warm bodies for their only account. Also, FIG would very much like to overstaff the storms to be able to shut them down early. And since their usual source of relatives from the incest capital of south Texas has been tapped out, any ol' paperhanger or busboy will do just fine.

Yesterday I couldn't spell adjuster, now I are one!
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 3:07 pm:   

A very well stated post. As I have said before, Wardlaw and some other Farmers vendors have trouble getting and keeping adjusters because they want the adjusters to make big cash outlays and if they are fortunate enough to get some work, the truth of the "we pay you when they pay us" scam come to light. Combine this with the "Special Schedule" that is put into effect for almost every assignment and you have a sure formula for going broke. Times are hard enough these days.
Also, those so called "well known" Professional Adjusters who have started their own exclusive site might be amazed to find out that prior to CADO, no one I know ever heard of them and I have been doing this a lot longer than they have. The red flag for B.S. is when someone sticks a lot of letters after his name. Roy's dad is the sort of journeyman CAT adjuster that keeps this business going, not people that think A.I.C. means anything.
Cecil Kraft (Cecil)
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 12:51 pm:   

Concerned Professional
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 12:02 pm:   

Bulletin: I recently received a Voice-mail (as did everyone listed with wardlaw) encouraging the recruitment of friends & family interesting in becomming adjusters. This concerns me. There are far too many Prosessional Catastrophe adjusters who are not working more than 2 or 3 months a year (some even less) to ecourage someone to invest several thousand dollars & wait for the phone to ring. I've been in this bussiness nearly 20 years and am fortunate enough to keep as busy as I want or need to be. Only after more than 10 years as a staff adjuster did I decide to become a Catastrophe Adjuster and when my friends or family members ask me "How do I become a Catastrophe Adjuster"? I tell them to find an Insurance company who is hiring Adjusters & work for them for AT LEAST 5 or 6 years. Learn all you can (at their expence) about Policies, Endorsements, Exclusions & handling Insurance claims. Then you may have a chance to make a decent living as a Catastrophe Adjuster. There are far too many Claim Sevice Companies that have become Seminar Companies, bringing in people that have never worked a claim to get out there & make the rest of us look unprofessional. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! If you keep sending a bunch of Know nothing Trainees to work Catastrophe claims, we will all be looking for new careers when the Insurance comanies decide to work directly with contractors. Let's keep professionals in our profession.

Posted: 1/28/01 10:30:40 AM By: Concerned Professional
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