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Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 4:19 pm:   

Sounds like a winning plan to me. As a newbee that would be wonderful to pick the brains of the experts on site. Thanks. Now for the weather to hit.
Jim Flynt (Jimflynt)
Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2001 - 1:14 pm:   

CADO Hurricane Claims Clinic's the deal.

Should a major hurricane hit somewhere along the East coast, we will put together a claims clinic for Newbee and newer adjusters for the first week to 10 days.

The concept is that we will find a centralized hotel location (meeting room hopefully) where each morning from 5:30 AM until 7:30 AM and each evening from 7:30 PM until 9:30 PM we will have a corps group of CADO pros/volunteers to assist Newbee and newer adjusters by answering questions, making suggestions, and providing some small accelerated learning modules for estimating, scoping, policy, contents and ALE handling. Hopefully, we will also be able to provide coffee and doughnuts as well. (Donations appreciated)

The major emphasis will be focused on policy applications and claims handling techniques but other topics will be covered as well. We will also focus in more closely on such topics as FWUA and Tower Hill coverages should the damage occur in areas where applicable.

We will post information on this board to inform readers where these clinics will be held as well as any revisions in time schedules.

You will be invited to bring along with you any or all of your claims in case you have general or specific questions. If time allows, we may be able to arrange some volunteers to ride along with you to help you with your first few claims.

Hopefully if the needs arises, we will also be able to enlist cooperation from the software vendors in providing their onsite expertise to assist with questions and an orientation on using their particular software estimating programs.

We are going to need some of the pros on the CADO site to volunteer to help with this project, so if you are interested old timers, please send me an email to inform me of your interest and availability.

We can't train you overnight, but perhaps in doing this, we can get you off to a great start, and help you with problems you are encountering as well as assisting you with any problem files you may have.

Best of all, it will be FREE.

I would especially appreciate comments and suggestions from the many old pros (including carriers and vendors) on how to make such a clinic work efficiently and effectively.

I'm not sure that I will be there to personally handle claims on the next storm, but the least I can do is to show up for a week or so to "help the Newbees." J
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 11:16 pm:   

That is a good idea Jim, I'll do that. It's a good way for people to get to know us and our backgrounds.

Thanks for the suggestion.
Jim Flynt (Jimflynt)
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 8:23 pm:   

May I suggest to all the Newbees who have been posting here that you post your resumes on the CADO Resume page. Even if you have not worked as a cat adjuster before, it helps those of us willing to work with a Newbee to understand your background and perhaps strengths and weaknesses as they may relate to this profession.

It cannot hurt with what appear to be storms on the horizon.
Brian Knowles
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 6:58 pm:   

There's two newbees over here looking for some help/experience/training/ect... We just got our NC adjuster license a few days ago and we are both extremely eager to get started. Please email me if you're willing.
alan jackson (Ajackson)
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 6:36 pm:   

Hurricane Brewing!

School is soon to be in session.
Steve Byrd
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 1:26 am:   

I'd like to throw my hat into the ring also.
I would be happy to tote the ladder, input data or whatever.....
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 8:50 pm:   

Thanks for all the good advise. If anyone is interested in an assistant, e-mail me and maybe we can work something out. I'm just setting here.
Lenny Wenrick
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 8:29 pm:   

Is it possible to establish a roster on the CADO of short resumes/background, names, and phone numbers of Newbees? Then an experience adjuster could call from the list at will.

The short resume would provide a brief of the individual’s background to help determine the best assignment to call them out on. This would also allow them to discuss the financing.

Just a thought.
alan jackson (Ajackson)
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 3:22 pm:   


What you are proposing is what I refered to as the Old Fart School of Adjusting. I have had several, "Assistants" who are now out on their own making the big bucks. If I was out working now, I would be happy to take on an assistant, "newbie". We all started somewhere and we all had our first storm. I wish you well.
Jim Lakes
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 2:19 pm:   


Look at the post right below yours, from John Durham.

He has suggested the very thing you are asking for and I will personally recommend John to anyone that wants to learn. John has worked with us and is a very "qualified" adjuster.

What you are asking for is nothing new to this side of the isle. There are many good adjusters out there that have and will work with a partner or "newbee" because it increases their output and income. I would suggest it to anyone just begining in this business.

Jim Lakes RPA
National Catastrophe Director
RAC Adjustments, Inc.
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 11:22 am:   

I for one have found this forum very interesting. I am a "newbee" and through this sight I did find a person that took me under his wing and give me a pretty good foundation. However, I know that it is only a foundation.

I am willing to pay my dues as it has been said, but one thing that all of you experienced adjusters have to remember, we newbees have bills to pay as well and if we can learn and make enough to make ends meet until we are experienced enough to make the kind of $$ that you-all make and help you-all out with the clerical side of the job, then we all win.

Think about it. You could get help, pay a bit for that help which is tax deductable, have someone to help with the never ending paperwork and you could pass on your vast knowledge and train that person up in the way that would make you and the industry proud.

Sounds like a plan to me, or am I crazy?
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 9:44 pm:   

I, for one, would be glad to volunteer my time to this most noble undertaking. I would also agree to take a new adjuster for a few days of claims running to show them some of the "ropes". The class idea is excellent, count me in for any help I can provide.
JimLakes (Jimlakes)
Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 4:38 pm:   


I am glad that you have jumped into the conversation about this issue. You perhaps have asked some questions and brought out some answers that many would like to hear.

First let me say that I in NO WAY resent or oppose new adjusters coming into this business. I am sorry if I gave you that impression. I am sure that Ghostbuster and many others feel the same way. I have personally never met Ghostbuster but would be willing to bet that he would be one of the first to jump in and help a new adjuster on a storm site when they were in need. As most, ALL seasoned adjusters would. I don’t think you ruffled any of our feathers.

I think the thing that stirs up more controversy about this subject is that there are MANY new adjusters that think just because they go to a school or obtain a state license they ARE ADJUSTERS. The best example of this fact is that the State of Florida has probably the hardest test and once passed you ARE an adjuster, according to them. WE all know, however, that all the tests you could possibly take DOES NOT MAKE YOU AN ADJUSTER. It takes experience and dedication and a lot of hard work. Most all, good adjusters started out as construction workers, body shop workers, or staff adjusters. I was fortunate in that I have been all three. Moreover, I am not saying you can’t be a good adjuster without being one of those; it just makes it a lot easier if you have that experience.

Jim Flynt and I have talked about this subject many, many times in the past and how we wish we could afford to have a school that really taught adjusting and not just answers to a test. It would be very simple to start a school, charge a high fee, and give everyone attending a diploma. BIG DEAL. It would be very hard to teach someone things that took 20 to 30 years to learn by others in a short week or two. This I believe is part of the problem. A lot of adjusting cannot be taught; it must be obtained by experience and hard work.

The same questions were asked in an earlier forum. If you should have doubts as to my sincerity please, look, at my answer to Chris on the “How Do I Get Started?” thread.

If you are determined to be a “good adjuster,” work hard and learn all you can and you will succeed. Set your goals high and when you reach them, set more. I have been at it many years and have never reached the “mountain top.” Why? If I did, I would probably just fall off anyway.

Jim Lakes RPA
National Catastrophe Director
RAC Adjustments, Inc.
Steve Byrd
Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 12:31 pm:   

Hello to ALL,
I am the NEWBIE that had the "questions" First let me thank all of you for your input. And especially thank those who replied to me directly.
I respect you all and your opinion. I now have a direction anyway....
I AM IN NO WAY looking for a FREE RIDE. I fully understand PAYING ONES DUES. I am in a constant search for education and experience. Sorry if I ruffled a few "fogeys" feathers! I hope to be a "fogey" some day too, but hopefully will not resent the fact that someone younger wants to gain knowledge from my "paying of dues"
I think the idea of starting a "newbie school" is outstanding. A reality, I don't know, but I think that the experienced adjusters out there would love to scare the hell out us newbies! ha.
I for one, would be the first on the list and say "lets get it on" I want to know if I can/could stand the heat.
I'll close now and continue my quest for education and experience.
Thanks again to all and hope to meet up with you some day.
Steve Byrd
Claude, Texas
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 11:55 pm:   

Jim (Lakes) you are no big sucker but yes for the most part my post was tongue in cheek and is based on observations since I am not in the field like you. Like you I am stressed by a lot of mind-sets in the adjusting industry. I do feel that the thread has become a little less positive than it could be perhaps.

Since I am in the position of CEO and especially Director of Marketing for Hawkins Research, Inc. I get to hear things that perhaps many don’t get to hear because I spend every day on the phone talking with people from all segments of the insurance adjusting industry perhaps and since I am kind of a neutral third party perhaps that encourages some that need a ear to bend.

There was not a view in my post that I have not heard from someone in the industry. The volume vs. quality issue is real from carrier to carrier. Personally I think the carriers are basically the ones directly or indirectly support both the good and the bad of this industry because they are the ones that promote the volume vs. quality debate.

From personal experience we like to deal with IA’s, adjusting firms and carriers that support quality. The ‘volume’ and the ‘quick and dirt’ crowd are a pain to do business with for many reasons. They seem to want their cake yet eat it as well. They refuse to pay the price for quality yet complain to high heaven when they do not get it but this is not news to you.

I do think Jim Flynt is on the right track in his last post. Some may not realize it but if I were directly in the adjusting business and could have only one consultant on staff I would like for it to be Jim Flynt because I could learn to live with his lack of having a built-in intensity control. :)

Many carriers do support quality but it is just human nature to want to kill the bearer of bad news. Often the adjusting industry is viewed as the bearer of bad news I am afraid at least in the eyes of some carriers.

Jim there are several things just below the horizon for the most part today like open standards and the web that will enable to enhance quality control and drive down the carriers claims handling cost. Yet the firms that are involved in bringing about these positive changes will tell you that some retro mind-sets in the industry are retarding true advances in the industry.

Keep up the good work and image that your firm stands for so maybe some others will see the light.
Jim Flynt (Jimflynt)
Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 10:31 pm:   

And son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Ecclesiastes 12:12

As I sit here reading and rereading this whole thread, the thought keeps coming back to me that what is needed perhaps, is for CADO or some CADO readers to put together and sponsor a week long catastrophe adjusting class for Newbees perhaps to be called Cat Adjusting 101.

Beyond just the dry and theoretical information which is sometimes offered in adjusting classes, it seems to me that with some of us working professionals as instructors, we could bring a class alive by teaching from example as well as enlightening by sharing our own experiences and lessons learned. And not a few learned the hard way.

Perhaps too, this could become the first step in ultimately establishing some industry standard of cat adjuster "certification" through a CADO "certification" standard of knowledge and testing of claims essentials.

With the talents of such industry leaders and experts as Roy Cupps, Jim Lakes, Chuck Deaton, Randy Gray, Steve Ebner, John Durham, Linda Asberry, 'Ghostbuster' and many others, we could put together a 5 day/40 hour program of classes in policy, estimating software, estimating, light construction and the other myriad parts of putting together a claim product (digital photography, report writing, setting initial reserves, contents claims handling, Additional Living Expenses, as well as a light general introduction to commercial policies and the many other aspects of claims handling). Such a class would not only benefit brand new green adjusters, but also those with only a year or two of hands on experience.

I am not suggesting that we go into competition with Vale nor that we do this on a profit making basis, but rather perhaps as what could become an annual class somewhere out in a convenient location in middle America. I'm sure with a little hard work we could put together an outstanding class which would not only rival the best that is offered out there now, but exceed the standards of any other current classroom offering, including the AIC 35 property class.

Perhaps we could enlist the wonderful people from Vale to provide us with the use of one of their classrooms for a week, with us proving the instructors, educational materials, and leadership. Surely by enlisting a few volunteers, we could keep the costs to the students down to a minimum amount which they could afford, and certainly less than the current cost of Vale which is still a bargain.

Perhaps some of the vendors would even be willing to assst with some "seed money" or scholarship money to assist newer adjusters in coverning travel or hotel expenses.

If anyone has any thoughts, ideas and suggestions about this concept, please share them here.

I'm more than willing to do my part including volunteering to try and spearhead such an effort, and will be willing to help prepare a classroom outline, write the course materials, as well as teach applicable portions of a curriculum (especially policy) at no cost.

How many Newbees out there would be interested? Let us know by posting here or sending me an email. My personal "target" goal would be to try and keep the week long class portion cost in the $200 to $300 range (not including meals, travel and lodging).

And hey some of you old timers, not only could this be rewarding as well as fun, we might even learn a few new things ourselves. But most importantly, it would afford us the opportunity to give back something to an industry that has given all of us so much.
JimLakes (Jimlakes)
Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 9:48 pm:   

Mr. Hawkins,

I am sorry but I cannot let some of your statements go unanswered. You and I have met and talked and I have the highest of respect for your opinion, however this time I must beg to disagree with you very strongly.

You state, “Since CAT adjusters are temp workers they are not held to as high of expectations as a staff adjuster. Except for the CAT adjuster himself, the rest of the industry accepts the fact that CAT adjusters do not know policies.” And you further state, “most Cat adjusters do not know policy and In fact most CAT adjusters are really never held to as high of accountability because it is a “known” fact that CAT adjusters don’t know much to start with, so why hold their feet to the fire.”

I have been in this business for over 20 years and I have found quite to the contrary, your statement. I believe that Cat adjusters for the most part are much more familiar with policy than a lot of staff adjusters. I back this up by reason that Cat Adjusters deal with many different carriers on a daily basis and must deal with the ins and outs of each of those carriers and their individual policies. Most staff adjusters are probably more verse about their own company’s policy but when it comes to other carrier’s policies, they are in the dark, not to mention the different geographic locations that have effects on those policies. When Cat adjusters work every crook and cranny of this great country, they run into and deal with every loss scenario know to man. This adds to their vast experience in dealing with policy that a lot of staff adjusters never see. Sure, a lot of the policies are similar, however, many carriers have different policies and coverage’s with those policies that the Cat adjuster must be able to recognize and interrupt.

How in the world could you call Cat adjusters “Temp Workers?” All of the Cat adjusters that we work with spend a lot more time “on the job” than any staff adjuster. I know, I have been both.

I also back this up with the following list of several Cat adjusters that we have used in the past year that I have the highest respect for: Jim Flynt, John Durham, Russ Doe to mention a few. Do you think these guys do not know policy? I would put them up against most staff adjusters when it comes to interpretation of policy. And, I am sure there are many others out there that I haven’t had the good fortune to use that are just as competent about policy.

I credit much of my personal experience and learning credits to the above facts. I try to use different Cat adjusters on a regular basis to find those that are the most “Qualified” because it makes my job much less complicated. I am one of those that try to produce the “Quality” product that you allude to, and if we are eaten up by the “Wal*Marts” of the industry, then so be it. I personally will not sacrifice quality for numbers.

Gale, please tell me you were only trying to pull our chain and I was a “Big Sucker” for it!!

Respectfully Submitted,

Jim Lakes RPA
National Catastrophe Director
RAC Adjustments, Inc.
Steven W. Ebner (Medulus)
Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 8:46 pm:   

Just finally got the stack of files down low enough to peek over it at the computer screen and find the forum page. Glad to see some wise and familiar voices still sharing the benefit of their experience. (You know who you are)

There are those adjusters you can tell are going to make it in the business and those you can tell are not. The ones who will survive, and more than just survive, are those who have taken the hard steps of gaining at least some basic knowledge of construction, insurance, business administration, and maybe a little advertising and self promotion thrown in. And they are eager to learn more. There are some of us who are willing to help out with a little training for those who seem promising, and it wouldn't hurt to connect up with a network of those who seem to be able to teach and willing to assist. None of us want to waste the precious little time that we have to ourselves while on assignment, but some catadjusters are willing to show what they know to someone who shows promise of being a good catadjuster, of improving our image in general and potentially being an ally down the road.

(Not a comprehensive answer at all, but an extra two cents thrown in to the pot)
Lenny Wenrick
Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 10:11 am:   

I to love this job for many different reasons, the challenge in reading and interpreting policy, the challenge in trying to scope a loss and not miss any details for the settlement, the challenge in working with the insured to negotiate and control the loss settlement and the with the insurance carriers and their its not covered syndrome.

I came to this industry with a vast background from the fire, safety and construction professions. I have spent my time in the classroom, continued education courses, seminars and certification courses. However, I must confess with all that I had no real knowledge of how to actually perform in the field and complete a job satisfactory. It all came from on the job experience and working with professionals willing to offer advice and a helping hand when asked intelligently.

I have been inspecting losses to life and property for many years. I started in this business three years ago and found this to be one of the toughest jobs to break into and stay working. It has been my experience it is not your abilities that gets you work in this industry it is who you know. I have worked clean up and supplemental claims that so called veteran adjuster have settled to find their abilities to properly scope a loss and settle claims have been totally inadequate and unprofessional. Some how I see they keep working. Like Kile, I am getting about eight months of work per year now. Money is not great but I believe it will come.

I have also found like other professions I have worked in, the professional adjusters I have worked with in this industry who are secure with their professional knowledge/their self, is very willing to provide a helping hand.

To Jim Flynt, Jim Lakes, Kile Anderson, Gale Hawkins and many others who have offered and provided excellent editorials and advice on this site. I hope I will have the opportunity to work with you in the future to extract knowledge from you I believe will help me in becoming a professional adjuster as you are.

To the Newbee, you’re on the right tract. Your desire for information and advice will eventually prevail. This job is like any job. It has its ups and downs. It takes a very unique individual to work in this profession. If you do not have the financial ability to attend one of the schools or a certification seminar, it will be much harder for you to get an assignment. However with your Texas Adjusters License, you will eventually get the opportunity to work an assignment and find out if this profession is right for you. There are many small vendors out there that will put you to work when the time is right. I know this for a fact; I’ve been working for them. I haven’t got my big break yet.
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 10:31 pm:   

Perhaps one is prone to take one’s self too seriously. Schooling is good but very few CAT adjusters I know of that have started over the past 10 years have gone that route. Most were just at the right place at the right time because of a relationship with someone in the industry.

Most anyone can get the hang of any job if they can spend 6 months on the job. That is why an “Andrew” or other similar CATS are such a boost for the industry. The new adjuster works 250 hours a month for 3 – 6+ months and learns the basic ropes.

Just as the typical Olympic athlete is born with the natural skills to be a great athlete so it is with adjuster from my point of view. Adjusting may not be rocket science but it would be best to be hitting an IQ of 120+ if he is to cut the mustard but I know you each know an exception to that rule. :)

It seems that some just catch a good storm and before you know it they are the first to be called out and the last to leave each new storm. We have all seen that. I think it has a lot to the with the CAT manager they work under because some are builders of men and others are destroyers of men.

There are the Wal-Mart type of adjusting firms that try to make in on volume but tend to leave both employees and clients less then totally satisfied from time to time but that has become the America way it seems when compared to the Old World. Some employees make it to the top but pay a high price but loyalty can suffer.

Other firms seem to be more like some of the smaller high-end specialty Shoppe’s where quality is the driving force. If you have been reading USA Today you are aware that Wal-Mart sales are up at the expense of the specialty Shoppe’s during the current recession. Perhaps there is a lesson in that fact.

From where I sit there seems to be a common thread for a new adjuster to make it. #1 is that he does have an IQ above average. #2 is the ability to quick grasp concepts. #3 is the ability to quickly “read” the CAT manager’s mind. #4 is to listen well and talk little but never about how stupid the CAT manager is. #5 is the desire to be the best adjuster the CAT manager has ever known. #6 is to be self-driven. #7 is to be able to “read” the homeowners mind and do his job so as not to ruffle features. #8 perform well on 6 hours of sleep for weeks at a time. #9 remember you are a hired hand and not God. #10 is to really be a nice person from the inside out.

Since CAT adjusters are temp workers they are not held to as high of expectations as a staff adjuster. Except for the CAT adjuster himself, the rest of the industry accepts the fact that CAT adjusters do not know policies.

This hard and fast rule should never be broken by the several CAT adjusters that actually do know polices because when one’s superiors “know” you do not know policies they become upset when you act as though you do “know” about policies.

CAT adjusters typically do not spend a lot of time in the courtrooms across America or at least not testifying about their work product as the “regular” adjuster does from time to time. In fact most CAT adjusters are really never held to as high of accountability because it is a “known” fact that CAT adjusters don’t know much to start with so why hold their feet to the fire.
Kile Anderson (Kileanderson)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 8:31 pm:   

Thanks, Jim, for the kind words. I love this job and I plan to do it for a long time. I don't understand why some folks are so cranky. Maybe it's because they think that us newbees are just more competition for those precious assignments. No offense guys but this job isn't brain surgery. If you are good with computers, know anything about construction and aren't afraid of a lot of hard work, you can do this job. All that is needed is EXPERIENCE. A new adjuster can learn more in a week of actually doing the job than they can in a year of sitting through classes.

As an example of this, I spent years in college learning about the wonderful world of Public Accounting. After sitting through hundreds of hours of lectures, doing class projects, hundreds of homework assignments, taking test after test, I realized that I didn't have a clue what a real accountant did everyday. When I found out, I hated it. That's why I do this now. My point is, you can gain lots and lots of information in a class room, but you don't get knowledge until you actually apply that information to the real world.

Even as a newbee, I can tell when an adjuster really doesn't have a grasp of the job. I have seen many an old pro struggle with things that seemed very easy to me, such as this little gadget sitting in front of me. My generation grew up with these things. I can remember the first computer I ever owned, that was 20 years ago, when I was 10 years old. I have not had any period of time in my life since then when I didn't own a computer and I have never had a job, including the military, when I didn't use a computer on a daily basis.

I have yet to be on a storm where I didn't gladly help an old fogey with his computer because "the damn machine quit working". I have not once considered "charging" these seasoned adjusters for my tech support services. I realize that you experienced guys hold the keys to the kingdom. The knowledge that I so desperately crave. That's why I'm a team player. Maybe if you guys loosened up a little and realize we are all in this together you'd come around.

Remember new adjusters are being created everyday, these fellas and ladies, are the old fogeys of the future. Do you want us to make you proud? Or do you want the industry to decline because you take your knowledge with you? It's your choice.
Jim Flynt (Jimflynt)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 8:19 pm:   

I am posting a follow up email which I received from the same person who had sent the initial email. He raises some new questions which I felt this audience could best address.

(Letter was edited by poster for clarification and to insure anonymity)

How did you get started in this business?

If you were in my shoes, how and what would you do to get started the quickest?

Randy Gray suggested the Vale National school. I have checked them out and know that it would be very good training, but that's another $3000 of out of pocket expenses and I still don't have a job.

I am a hands on type of person. I've taught myself Simsol the last two evenings, not an expert, but made up a dummy claim for a hail loss on my own house, and a fire loss.

Are there any companies that provide training or allow someone like me to be a "trainee" while watching an experienced adjuster work a claim?

I know this might be a dream but again, if someone shows me once how it is supposed to be done....I do it. Kind of like a step by step or check list ???

Thanks for letting me ask questions.

(Name Withheld by Poster)
As I did in the initial post, you are invited to share your comments, feelings, ideas and suggestions with this CADO reader.
Ghostbuster (Ghostbuster)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 2:09 pm:   

Let's put it this way. Once apon a time, three sweet little boys woke up from their nap and all decided they wanted to be proctologists. (Just for fun we'll call them Ghostbuster, Jimmy Flynt, and Davey Hood.) So our three heroes go out and lease an office, hire some pretty office clerks, buy a big bag of disposable gloves and hang out the shingle.

Are they ready to start probeing? Don't ya think they might oughtta go get some schooling and some apprenticing and some certifying and some of this, that, and the other? How much diferent is this sordid example from the brave new realities of our world? I believe the place for trainees at our level is that they be experienced in INSURANCE, estimating, and mature enough to deal with the oddball realities of life on the road.

This ol' fogey curmudgeon is gonna go take his nap now... ZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Jim Flynt (Jimflynt)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 12:57 pm:   

While there is some validity to what each poster has related here, I think the most valuable service we can provide to our Newbee adjusters is in sharing more posts like the one from Kile Anderson.

This is not a debate about 'whether' Newbees should come into our industry, nor how much it should cost them in terms of 'paying their dues' but rather in providing them an honest answer as to how to get started.

I yield to no one in stressing classes, education, seminars and training, but there is the very real question of how one gets started while taking those classes and getting a claims education.

It seems to me that a blended combination of education and on the job training on a concurrent basis is the cornerstone to achieving excellence in this profession. How else does one learn in this or any other profession? How does a newer adjuster obtain both?

What would help this and other 'Newbees' is for more of us old timers to describe how we found our way into this career, the obstacles we faced, how we overcame them, and especially helpful would be more posts from other newer adjusters like Kile Anderson.

Thanks Kile for sharing your story honestly by describing the very real obstacles you faced and had to surmount on your way to becoming a Pro. No doubt you will make it and it sounds like you are well on your way to becoming among the very best this industry has to offer.

Let's hear from more of our newer and 'Newbee' adjusters.

Please let's also hear from some of our incredibly talented Lady adjusters about some of the unique challenges they faced as women in entering this career. More and more of those now seeking to enter our profession are members of the fairer sex, and, I might add, it was and is about time!
alan jackson (Ajackson)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 12:18 pm:   

To All Newbees:

For a big piece of the pie, I will come to your storm and show you how it's done. Mind you now, Old Farts want most of the pie. I think alot of others would be willing to do the same thing.

How willing are you to learn? Or should I say how willing are you to pay tuition!! One call and class will be in session.

P.S. Mr. Gray is a fine fellow to work for. I wish we had more like him.
Jim Flynt (Jimflynt)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 11:39 am:   

Please note the following email which I received from Randy Gray, VP of Catastrophe Operations and National Catastrophe Manager for Lindsey Cunningham with his offer to assist this and other Newbees. I can tell you that Randy is one of the highest class people in this industry and Lindsey Cunningham is one of the national adjusting firms par excellence.

Thanks Randy for your offer and for allowing me to post your email to the CADO Forum. I can and will wholeheartedly recommend Randy and Lindsey Cunningham to this and any other newer (or more seasoned) adjuster. From my own personal experience, you just can't do any better than work or be affiliated with Randy Gray and Lindsey Cunningham.

I was reading the e-mail sent to you from the newbee. If you want to send him my way, I would be more than happy to put him on the right track.

I will either scare him to death with the truth of our business or he will accept the challenges and become a good adjuster in the future.

Thanks -

Randy Gray

Catastrophe Division
phone: 214-488-6603
fax: 214-488-6766
cell: 214-505-8389
Cunningham Lindsey
405 Highway 121 Bypass, Bldg. A, Suite 200
Lewisville, TX. 75067
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 11:24 am:   

Claims Ranger,Ghost,Alan, and all the other "Oldies" have struck another chord.

After DECADES, in this business, and many offers to assist others, and with some acceptance, it is apparant that there will always be those that belive in a "free lunch". Well, that went out with the soup kitchens.

So, how is this for a proposal, the newer people pay the older people a fee for their time and talent, say 30% of their earnings. (Tuition,so to speak), as Alan suggested.

As for fee schedules, hows this one?

10+ Years experience 70-75% of fee schedule.
7-10 " " 60-65%
5-7 " " 50-60%
3-5 " " 40-50%
1-3 " " 35-40%

No one is going to accept this suggestion, BUT, why not at least consider the fact that when the experience,talent, and dedication of the true professional is gone, there will be no one there to steer the ship?

Lets stir this pot a bit more, shall we?

Now that all who wish to work are working, and we dont even have a BIG storm?
Claimsranger-Andrew Sloane
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 10:46 am:   

Ghoust, it's my turn! I had a full time very secure job with the State of Texas in 1993. In '94 Northridge trashed LA. A 30 yr veteran, not computer literate asked me to come out with him as an "Inspector". I am a multi degreed person, 2 in Construction, 1 in Communications and a certifed Code Inspector which is why Heasked me to "HELP". I worked 2 weeks faxed back my resignation to the Technical college I worked for and have been doing this ever since. Now, I gave this man my word I would work with him for 2 years, and I did. Hail, wind , flood, 2 hurricanes and all that came down the pike before I finally took off on my own. I've been broke , busted & disgusted in this business, I have every certification you can possibly imagine but my AIC and RPA, which will shortly be taken care of.All this being said, One rung at a time!!!! And paying your dues. Last night, one of the 3 people I have helped in this Industry called to tell me she was on her way out again for FIG. I'm sitting here chilling a little before I call in to the primary vendor I work for. Family business that has been put aside as I was working in central Tx in 106' heat, 130 on the roof after 10am and the best storm I ever worked hands down and I wrote the carriers VP and told him so. You want in? Get ready to pay for it cause there aint no free lunch! Period. And you won't become a millionare at either unless another Exxon captian gets drunk at the helm or CA cracks off and falls in the ocean. Even then, you won't. So get mad all you want newbie or greenhorn or just getting started, that's how it is. And I'll sign my name to this cause I've paid my dues in full.
alan jackson (Ajackson)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 10:15 am:   

Remember When

1) There was no such thing as a PC

2) No point and click software

3) You went shopping for a new state of the art calculator with tape

4) You had to know how to write a estimate, by hand,(with pen or pencil)

Maybe if the Newbees or Carriers offered a percentage of the newbees gross, we would all feel a little differently. They, The newbees, paid to go to all these schools, to get their certifications, why not pay the old Farts for a little advice? They pay for their computers, software, cameras, why not advice. I remember paying tuition when I went to school. Looks like the newbees are looking for a free lunch.

Ghostbuster (Ghostbuster)
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 9:31 am:   

To start with...It's fogey, not foggy. Foggy is what ones brain is when he makes an entry at 2:28 AM at night. A fogey is what seasoned and experienced adjusters are called when they note that the fresh meat, who are seeking their help, are getting more files than they are!

There-in-lies the rub.

We PAID OUR DUES and expect the fresh meat to do likewise. Will we gladly help the trainee? Will we do so when the trainee has 200 files and we have 92 files? How about if the trainee was a fraternity brother of the storm manager or the vendors forth cousin, twice removed, who was driving a septic tank truck last week? And are we getting paid to train this apprentice while earning our living?

There are other and better venues for the education and training of new personnel in the adjusting trade. I, for one, am eternally grateful for having earned my way up the ladder, one rung at at a time.

Please note that I am not discouraging anyone in ataining this field of endeavor. I am saying that before you can soar with us eagles, you need to evolve from the larva stage.
old and cranky
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 9:07 am:   

I would like to address a comment the questioner made. He/She wants to know more than go to school well, the best advicce that anyone could give them besides talking with someone who has been there is go to school. We all know that most firm will take just about anyone when a major storm comes along and that is where most new people get the chance to prove themselves. The field supervisors usually know who is new and will give them some slack a lerning curve you might say but it is very short and if you don't get it you are gone and your chance went with it. I have seen people who didn't have a clue come into this business and make it big but I have also seen seasoned staff fall flat on thier face because they couldn't maintain the pace. The point I'm trying to make for the new person is know as much as you can before you get put in the hot seat, it's less you have to learn on the fly. I never see any posts telling the people what it is really like to be a "Storm-Trooper". Why don't we tell them that they may end up going on storm and losing money,almost all think that this is a "big money business" and you can, after you have learned the ropes, make a decent living you will not get rich. The divorce rate is much higher in this business. Very few ever enjoy the sights of the cities they go to we are to busy and we all say when I finish I'm going to stick around and enjoy this place but we don't becauseby that time we want to go home. This business is not about money or travel or taking it easy. I once had someone tell me they wanted to get into this because they were tired of working overtime. All that being said this is the greatest job in the world for those of us who love helping people in need and enjoy the freedom of choosing who, when and where we will work knowing full well what those decisions may bring. So, bottom line do not fault anyone telling you to go to school they are trying to help. If you want to know the best way to get that first break, call all the firms the next time a big event occurs they will be looking and that is when you have the best chance.
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2001 - 2:28 am:   

I have sat here and read many threads of "newbees"
or "greenhornes"that are trying to break in the business and it amazes me at some of the responses they get. On one hand you complain about "Quality" yet when someone ask for help they get the same old tired stories of "pay your dues" or, you have to be an "old Foggy" to be a good adjuster.If some of these people are persistent thy WILL become independent adjusters with or without your help. Why not share the wealth of knowledge and experience you have to help them become the best they can be and strengthen the whole trade. The way you can improve quality is to have a pool of proffessional adjusters younger and older,Raising the bar,and making it difficult on anyone that does not perform to that standard.
This is th twenty-first centry these guys don't
need a yellow pad and a pencil to pay their dues like others before them. They will have their own road to walk,their own challeges and could use a little help from you old foggy pros.
Jim Lakes
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2001 - 4:48 pm:   

Jim and All,

I will not repeat what I stated in a prior forum that Chris asked, "How do I get started?"
There were some good suggestions and maybe this one should be moved to it.

I will say that Ghostbuster must be an "Old Foggy" like me, because I would state some of the same questions and repeat some of the same comments that he did.

We all started at the bottom and worked our way up. Of course, I really believe that, as I have stated before, with the software in today’s world you don't have to be an "adjuster" just a good computer operator to get started in this business. This, of course, results in problems for all of us in many different areas, the worst being, our pay.

Without saying any more, I will let minds ponder that statement. Hint, "Quality."

Jim Lakes
Chuck Deaton
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2001 - 3:38 pm:   

Cat 102 is available and is free. Email me and ask.
Ghostbuster (Ghostbuster)
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2001 - 12:32 pm:   

Uhhhh...before we go too far, howza 'bout adding a category for 'PAYING ONES DUES' before becoming an overnight success?

Ever hear of the concept of starting at the bottom and working up the ladder. Once apon a time getting a staff adjusters job with a carrier was thought to be a starting point, what happened to that idea? Too old fashioned for ya? I hear tales of how Farmers, with their constant job turnover, is always looking for fresh meat. If your lucky, they might even make you wear a necktie and sportjacket to climb roofs on an August afternoon in scenic Houston. How much better can that be for 'PAYING ONES DUES'?

Boy's and Girl's, this sour grape is brought to you as a courtesy, in that you might better savor the sweetness of this bunch of good grapes, called storm trooping. Really folks, this is the acme of the adjusting industry, to get here requires a little more seasoning than just a mere Texas adjusters licence.
Kile Anderson (Kileanderson)
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2001 - 1:43 am:   

Well, I'm still a newbee, but after a couple of years of struggling, I'm finally working regularly this year. It wasn't easy and I'm still strugling, but the bill collectors have finaly stopped calling and now everyone wants to give me credit so I think I'm headed in the right direction.

I had a friend who knew a couple of guys who were adjusters. He told me that he was going to work in the insurance industry and disapeared for a few months and suddenly he had a big pile of money. Later I learned that he was at the legendary hail storm of '98 in Bowling Green. I was a little bit curious and started asking questions.

I filled out an application, sent it to the vendor he was working for and they sent me to a SF IDL broadcast. After that I took a couple of tests at Sylvan and a month later Hurricane Floyd hit and I was sent to Maryland. I had no clue what I was in for, but a couple of buddies were in it with me so we stubled through it together.
We worked 18 hour days, made a few mistakes, met some great people and learned a hell of a lot.

The following year I didn't work until May 15 or so when I was sent to Indiana to work a hail storm. Once again I had no clue but I had some good mentors there and a good friend staying in the next room and I was able to do what I and my supervisors thought was a very good job. I really loved the work and threw myself into it and learned all I could.

While I was there, the vendor asked if I would be interested in learning how to do auto claims. Seeing how slim the pickings were in the assignment field I said sure, I'd be glad to learn something new. I went to the class and then sat home watching the weather channel for the storm that never came last year.

In the meantime I was able to find some local work to keep the wolves at bay. Finally the phone rang and I've been working constantly since April, auto and property claims. I'm back home now, once again watching the weather channel, but on a much larger TV.

I guess the whole point of this rambling post is, never stop learning. I take every opportunity to learn that I can get. I attended the NFIP seminar, I read everything I can on this message board, I'm hoping to do some formal training at one of the schools this winter. Just keep plugging away, but be prepared to do what you have to for a little while until you get established.
Jim Flynt (Jimflynt)
Posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2001 - 11:55 pm:   

I am posting a copy of a very real email which I received today from a young person wanting to become a cat adjuster.

I am asking for CADO readers to offer their own feedback, ideas, and suggestions in response to this request.


I have read all threads on the catadjuster site with great interest.

You can call me newbie, greenhorn or whatever you would like.

All I want is someone to reply to a simple question. It is almost like you have to have a secret password or something.

How did you get started? I know every one got started "somehow" and "some ONE" helped them but getting any information, other than "go to school," is like pulling teeth.

I just obtained my Texas Adjusters License. I know, big deal, as it doesn't mean squat that I know about adjusting!

I am 38 yrs old. Been farming and ranching for 20. Not scared of hard work, long hours or much of anything else for that matter. Computer literate, in the process of "teaching" myself Simsol, eager to learn all others.

I just need someone to answer some questions? I don't want to bother anyone, but damn, it does get discouraging!


Name Withheld By Poster
Would some of the newer cat adjusters out there please offer their thoughts and ideas about how they got started?

Here are some questions which perhaps you could answer which might be helpful to this person wanting to join the ranks:

Once you got your adjusters license what did you do next?

How did you go about getting your first assignment?

What would you do differently if you had it to do over again?

Did you start out as someone's assistant or did you have a 'mentor' and if so, how well did that work out?

Were you able to get right off to a good start and make ends meet from the very start or were things tough for a while?

How much money did you invest in equipment, computers, software, printers, cell phones, pagers, etc. in order to get started?

What was the most difficult part to breaking into this business? What was the easiest part?

How much can a new adjuster expect to earn in their first year as a cat adjuster?

Come on guys and gals, let's share our own persoal information with this and other interested parties to give back that which was given to all of us: a chance to succeed.

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