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mark (Olderthendirt)
Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2001 - 11:34 pm:   

Mr Hood , I think (at least hope) that most of us do our best in the trenches. We often work for different masters with different rules (sometimes in the same company) different conditions and strange (sometimes very) places. Our costs are going up and fee schedules have bottomed out. No wonder some good people have left.
I have some simple rules that help me, 1.use the phone, I hate having people phone me. 2. do what your asked how your asked by the people who are paying you, they are paying you. 3. treat everyone with respect! even examiners and contractors. 4. Try to have a back up for every piece of equipment. 5. Have fun and make money, that what it's all about, there is no other career like cat adjusting!!! Sir there are lots of good adjusters around, often they are the one's who ask a lot of questions at first...
Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2001 - 8:07 am:   

Mr. Hood,
With pleasure, I read your posts. What a delight it would be if "all" carriers, supervisors, etc said or gave written instructions when a Cat Adjuster checked in at storm site. We all would be better off.
I agree with your statements, however, due to the facts that "adjusters" or "claims handlers" or payday adjusters, we, who do this entirely and only for a living have the problems of all, yes, i have dropped cameras, walmart has goofed up film (had to reinspect just for photos), car goes out, all the emergencies we have but went on or went home.
I have even supervised Cat offices and at the outset, I give out a "sample" package with estimate, labeled photos, cover report, activity log. along with other necessary items Carrier needed. however, the only thing that I got back right "every" time was the billing invoice, which was correct.
If every Supervisor told the adjusters what they want and how they want it, and when the first claim comes in for review and its not right, replace the adjuster "THEN" and "THERE" then maybe all of us would sit back and reveiw our positions and take better care of "our" package we turn it.
We all have suggestions and good ideas, and we all should listen and act to each and every one no matter who it comes from.
Sam B. Hood
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 8:07 pm:   

Mr Strain,

I'm not looking for the perfect adjuster nor to mold someone into my image from a piece of clay. I'm looking for professionals....who can follow instructions. That's all. In fact, written instructions, not verbal. Every adjuster comes with a varied level of training, experience, skill, and talent. He knows what his strengths are but, most importantly, he knows what his weaknesses are. A professional is one who strives to strengthen his weaknesses and improve upon his strengths.

I have lost three cameras during the course of my years in the business. Two polaroids and a good 35mm that all clattered down the roof and onto the concrete. But not one supervisor was aware of it. I bought a cheap replacement and carried on with the mission. Now a digital camera goes down and the adjuster is out of the loop for a few days to replace it, upload new software, and then get back into the game. Do they replace it with a disposable 35mm? Naw, they usually go back to the digital and the software problems that are inherent in new equipment.

The huge challenges? So what, I face them as well. This is the profession we chose, sir. It's never too late to choose another should the challenges become too huge. This is like the man who signs on to herd cattle then complains all day about having to deal with cows. Yes, it is a hard life; yes, there are challenges. And after the storm we'll all meet somewhere around a campfire and sing Kum By Ya and remind each other how hard our life is...but until then, we need to slurp it up and do the professionals.

Sam Hood
Sam B. Hood
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 8:18 pm:   

Mr Toll,

No sir, I do not expect nor require the adjuster to conclude the claim within a certain number of days after receiving the assignment. From my vantage point I have no idea what the adjuster will find when he gets to the loss location. After the loss notice leaves my hands and into his, I trust his judgement, skill, and talents to determine an appropriate time to conclude a loss.

However, I do require and expect the adjuster to contact the insured and to inform them that he has their claim and due to the unique circumstances, it may be a while before he actually gets out there. I do require and expect the insured to know who their adjuster is and how to contact him in the event of continuing loss because of leaks or another storm. I do require and expect the insured to know that someone has their claim and is working for them.

It appears that you and Miss Janice handle your claims is the way I would expect a professional to act. My congratulations, sir.

Sam Hood
John Johnson
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 7:59 am:   

Mr. Hood, well stated and written.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 8:12 am:   

Sam, I agree with you on much of what you have said. Communication with the insured after you receive the assignment is extremely important, as this allows the insured to know your name, phone number and that you are interested in getting their claim resolved as quickly as possible. However, if you expect the adjuster to contact and conclude the claims within 10 days after handing him 50 to 60 claims, it will not happen in most cases. Janice and I call all our insureds leaving our name and number, set 8 appointments per day each and explain to the others that we will call them back and set a specific date and time to meet with them. The cat office loves this because they don't receive nasty phone calls from insureds wanting to know why their house has not been inspected. The majority of people understand that adjusters are very busy during a catastrophe and most are understanding of this. We always carry a case with policies in it for review when a coverage issue comes up. Some coverages are cut and dried, some are not. You are right, in that professionalism has left this industry. I call it the need for greed syndrome. Money has become the driving proclivity of many. We should and need to attune ourselves to helping the company we represent and the insured. An automatic end result of good work is good income. We too have heard adjusters bitching about too little income, standing in their little corner of the world, when all they have to do is go to work and not concern themselves with income. AGAIN, the end result of a good and professional work product is INCOME. Equipment fails and so do we if we do not conduct ourselves as professionals. I wish someone or some entity would start a school, specifically designed to catastrophe adjusters. We see claims being paid that should not be paid and claims underpaid because the adjuster does not know or doesn't care what he or she is doing. I do not believe in the turn em and burn em attitude many have. Our work techniques should be progressive with positive demeanor. Good work = work = income. Is that not simple to understand. The formula works.
Dale Strain
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2001 - 12:45 am:   


My guess is that you've had a bad day or week or whatever. This can be a very frustrating business.

I agree with much of what you say. We do need to measure right and read policies and pay attention to instructions.

It is also true that IA's, and more specifically, CAT adjusters face huge challenges. Travel, equipment, varying requirements by state, carrier, vendor, etc.

It's true that training your people "from scratch" can be tempting. But you will still have someone trained in your fashion, and it is possible you are not perfect either. You may be passing on your "bad genes" as well as those characteristics which made you the superior individual you are. They will also still be inexperienced. Most Adjusters are either inexperienced, experienced, or getting experience. Very few are born "complete".

Adjusters are human, computers DO break. Cameras too. And, we have found, when the roof IS too steep, so do we.

I looked at my homeowners policy. It doesn't say "recoverable depreciation" anywhere. Now, I don't like the term holdback either, but not every word and phrase we use in claim handing is in the policy. One of the software estimating programs uses the term holdback in their reports.

I hope that the next storm you get the group of professionals you seek, or at least a group that you are willing to see as individuals with a very tough job.


Dale Strain
Sam B. Hood
Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2001 - 10:13 pm:   

Can someone please explain to me why IA's have followed the path which has led them to this present condition of a deplorable lack of professionalism? The overall professionalism of IA's has steadily deteriorated over the last five years or so to the point that far too many "seasoned" adjusters are not the folks I'm really interesting in bringing to a storm. These type of "vets" are the ones who recall something that they read or heard about in a policy with some company or other that says this is a covered loss. And when you produce the policy and ask for clarification the response is generally of the mien "Oh, trust me, I know the policy language, it's in there somewhere." Well, trust me, I would rather take the time to train five new adjusters without a lick of experience than to continue to argue with these self-proclaimed Masters Of the Universe.

There are far too many experienced IA's strutting about the storm site with their peacock feathers bristling in full glory looking to proclaim their important status as "Adjuster" but who can't get the right measurements (much less calculations) on a simple hip roof. And these are the same peacocks who complain that the fee schedule is too low, the roof was too steep, the computer broke, the camera broke, and also whine like petulant children about having to conform to the minimum standards of professionalism. ("Why do we have to __fill in the blank___, that's not how we've done it before" or "I have NEVER done it that way!!")Example: As a supervisor, if I say at the initial meeting that the insureds must be contacted within a certain amount of time, why is it inevitable that these same "vets" will be ones that I have to answer to the client company for when insureds begin calling about their claim? The response? "Oh, I went by and left a card." Wrong answer, Bucko. If I had wanted someone to just leave a card I would have hired my high school dropout nephew. A professional makes every effort to accomplish the mission and to adhere to the requirements of the job without the lame @$$ excuses. You either did or you didn't. It's a yes or no answer, not an essay question.

Example: The "vets" insist on calling it "holdback" when the phrase "holdback" is not included anywhere in any policy. Hey Gang, let me pass a little known secret on to ya: it's called "Recoverable Depreciation". Yet I continue to wade through these estimates from the "vets" that speak of "holdback payments". Imagine this conversation in Superior Court: LAWYER: "So, Mister Adjuster, exactly where do I find the word "holdback" in the contract?" MISTER ADJUSTER: "Well, it's not really in there. It's a figure of speech." LAWYER: "Do you mean to tell this jury that this written document of yours is just a figure of speech? That this concept is not in the contract that my client signed with this company? The same contract that you are required to abide by? So you just changed the wording? Would you mind telling the jury what other aspects of this contract that you 'just changed' and didn't bother telling my client about?" If you think that is fanciful and won't happen....think again, Bubba or Bubbett.

Example: As a supervisor, when I give detailed instructions as to how the file should look when turned in, why do so many of the "vets" continue to ignore my instructions? The answer: "Oh, well, that's how Such and Such Company wants it." Guess what, stupid, you ain't working for Such and Such Company, you're working for MY company and this is the way I want it done. On average it takes about fifteen claims before they get it right.

Example: Why do I still get estimates from "vets" with the name of their previous employer and the previous insurance company emblazoned on the estimate? "Oh, heh heh heh, I forgot to change it." Yeah right, how would you feel if I "forgot" to sign your check?Look at it this way: A thoroughbred racehorse can sprint and run the distance of a mile or two mile track but then needs to be brushed, liniment applied, people who worry and fret over his smallest ailments or desires, his feed is carefully weighed and measured, and he receives constant attention to his ego. But the ole plow horse will pull a plow all day long through the hot sun and will need but a quick pat on the back, some feed and hay, and the reward of a warm, clean stall at the end of the day. There are far too many race horses in this industry and far too few plow horses. Give me a crew of five plow horses and I will accomplish more than a whole barn full of egotistical race horses.

Little things? Insignificant details? No, not at all. These are the things that separate a Professional Adjuster from a Bush League Adjuster. If you prefer to cast your lot with the mediocre crowd to whom second or third best is good enough...then by all means, have a good time. But please, do the rest of us a favor; stop calling yourself a "professional".

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