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Five Daily
Registered User
Username: Kitchenista

Post Number: 6
Registered: 4-2002
Posted on Thursday, May 09, 2002 - 9:48 pm:   

I've watched this conversation with great interest recently. I come from a perspective that I believe few on this board share. I was a staff adjuster who was hired right out of college with no claims, or even insurance, experience. I was part of a great wave a few years ago. When I look around as I approach the end of my 3rd year, I see few of the people I started with. The "bad seeds" so to speak, were weeded out within 12-16 months. (It wasn't that they were BAD, cat adjusting just wasn't the right fit for them.)

I have excelled at my job. I think I can say this with confidence by relying on customer feedback, low reinspection opportunities, awards given by my company, and the respect of my peers and management staff.

I do believe I am the exception. I like to think of myself as the "trainee" Clayton Carr described in his most recent post as the person he would decide to hirer. I am a "people" person, but not a pushover, with a desire to learn.

Now, as to my experience, I spent my first 3-4 months doing ride alongs and learning policies from more senior adjusters. This was my best experience, especially b/c I rode with several different people and was able to choose the best from each of them to create my own style, so to speak. After that I began handling light wind claims, then into hail claims. I have had a brief stint in a tornado (those cats don't usually last too long, unlike hail that is contractor driven) but have spent the majority of my time handling hail claims. I have even been left to do "clean-up" at the end of the storm, that is how much I am trusted by my employer.

So, to my point... my education and experience have come hand in hand. I have had ojt and taken the iniative to complete courses through IIC. (I am currently working on my AIC and will complete it this year.)

I think it is up to each person to find the mix of education & experience that meets their own needs. I know this isn't easy, I got lucky that some great people decided to help me out early on, but it is important just the same. Each of us needs to know how they learn and try to get the information in the way best suited for us.

(This post might just as well go in the "newbie" thread, but it fits here well just the same I suppose. By the way, I still consider myself a "newbie." I hope one day to be able to really follow and contribute to these great policy discussions I see going on here.)

Enough rambling.... Jennifer
(currently testing her windshield in the state of MN)
Clayton Carr
Registered User
Username: Clayton

Post Number: 52
Registered: 11-2001
Posted on Thursday, May 09, 2002 - 12:31 pm:   

It is good to see this thread back on topic. Tom, you have created an interesting thread by bringing forward a critical issue faced by insurers and other employers every day. My input is based on experience from the carrier side, but I suggest it equally applies to a landscaping company or a retail clothing store.

I didn't take the time to go back and find a previous post I made last year that is related to this issue, but I think it is within the thread I started, "Cat adjusting as we know it will be dead in 2 years". It is there that I spoke of carrier management types when I entered the industry in the 60's and their evolution to their general current management makeups today. That is, years ago senior claims people and their management types came up through the claims ranks and were technical mentors to all who came behind them. In the last decade or a little more, claims are generally managed from spreadsheets and graphs, by people with financial services backgrounds. To excel in this manner of management specific training at university or college is required in finance and commerce. Therefore, this latter group that generally and currently manage the fortunes or misfortunes of insurers, when looking to add troops to their fold; I suggest instinctively look for the individual who has a degree.

When you take this mindset from the management level of claims or underwriting departments and follow it up through the Human Resources, Admin., and financial sectors of a carrier to the core Head Office management - there is I suggest a prevailing attitude that a degree is a prerequisite to success today in insurance - a financial services industry.

I further suggest that is why there is a greater general reliance on I/A firms that can supply seasoned and sound technical expertise to carriers that lack those types of staff.

Ghost brought some good points to the table with his reply, some of which I agree are very valid to a carrier's prospective to fill a position.

I don't fully agree with his first point on being a whole lot cheaper (today)in terms of salary. Yes, when I started as a trainee at $80./wk as opposed to what they would then pay a five year experienced person, that would be true. But today, entry level in claims for grads is much more in line with entry level financial services positions.

The "taint" of experience - is a very valid issue faced by employers. I often heard in my first 10 years comments about this, but specifically centered on handling techniques and philosophy inherited from a previous employer that did not mesh with the current employer style. Later, as a Claims Manager I was often frustrated with that situation. At that time, (and I presume it is similar still today) a carrier average claims volume (based on the mix of their book) and the mix of the incumbent claims people, is what dictated the need for additional staff and made it evident you needed a trainee, intermediate or senior person. You may have interviewed the greatest person with the proper skill set and apparent people skills, but once they actually started to function, the adverse habits (solely judged by the current employer) surfaced. The new hire who had experience from another carrier imparted that previous carrier's style of handling until we could mold that person with our own philosophy. That I believe is just human nature. Therefore, whenever there was a need for an additional person at no more than an intermediate level (at that time 3 to 5 years) I would still try and find a great trainee or someone with no more than a year of claims work elsewhere, and place them at that junior position and move one or more others up with greater responsibilities. In "those days", a "great trainee" was an obvious people person, with a thirst to learn, had a professional attitude, and didn't need his/her hand held constantly.

I can not share all of Ghost's thoughts on his 3rd point. Yes, some companies have formal management trainee programs. A company I worked for had one - a 2 year program rotating in all departments of an insurer to see where the person may shine or develop a keen interest (hopefully there was a mesh of those two factors). Unfortunately, if the person was good and was still around after the 2 years, there was too often a power lobby by department managers to get the person in their department even if the fit was wrong. Yes, turnover rates are much higher in the last decade or more. I suggest that is an inherent risk associated with the type of management style generally in use today as I previously described earlier - in essence the industry lacks mentors to help our "junior" claims people aspire to excel and thrive in the claims environment. I disagree with the suggestion regarding personnel departments. They were and I believe still are there to perform "at the command" of the functioning departments. They do not determine that a claims department needs another person, they do not tell a Claims Manager to hire/fire. It is the functioning departments that utilizes the "expertise" of an HR department to aid them in personnel issues.

To conclude with regards to the title of this thread, unfortunately "today" there is much more emphasis on education as a hiring prerequisite.
Jim Flynt
Registered User
Username: Jimflynt

Post Number: 280
Registered: 6-2001
Posted on Monday, May 06, 2002 - 8:46 pm:   

Tom, think about poor Bill Gates who dropped out of college (Harvard) after his freshman year. We all know what happened to him............
mark salmon
Registered User
Username: Olderthendirt

Post Number: 175
Registered: 12-2000
Posted on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 11:57 pm:   

You said it, I was trained the old way, (there's the cabinets file!) and have seen many of the wonder kids from college, a few become adjusters inspite of the training, but pity the poor public. How about an adjuster would calls the insured and says "I am your insurance company and I am here to make sure you don't rip us off". Scarey but true, I heard it many times before I bailed out. Thank heavens for Cat Adjusting
Tom Joyce
Username: Tjoyce

Post Number: 13
Registered: 12-2001
Posted on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 10:45 pm:   

Amen Ghost
Registered User
Username: Ghostbuster

Post Number: 264
Registered: 12-2000
Posted on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 8:33 pm:   

Well...there I was, full of vim, vigor, and the optimism of youth with a brand new, bright and shiny college diploma. The insurance company hired me rather than the experienced adjuster for several important reasons.

1) I was a whole lot cheaper in terms of salary and the potential of benefits payout on the group health plan.

2) I had not been "ruined" by exposure to the real world and could be brainwashed into the company culture.

3) I was considered to be a management trainee. After a few years I would be evaluated for promotion up or promoted out of the company. (Horrendous turnover rates continue to mean nothing to insurance companies. That's why the personnel departments are so huge, they have become very efficient at processing people in and out of the system.)

If one can manage to sneak back into the corporate fold, one's personal attitude adjustment period can be difficult. Out here we are very independent businessmen and accustomed to doing things in our own efficient manner. This is NOT the way of any corporate culture. Also, a slip of the lip on most any topic can be ones doom.

And then there's the company car. You're used to your truck and they give you an old Plymouth Breeze that you bang your head on the door opening every time you get in or out.

I could go on, but let's hear from some other view points.
Tom Joyce
Username: Tjoyce

Post Number: 12
Registered: 12-2001
Posted on Friday, May 03, 2002 - 5:54 pm:   

If possible I would like to see comments from adjusters, vendors and companies on an issue I have not seen addressed on this site.
Over the last couple of years with work being slow and frankly some of us getting older and thinking about building a retirement fund, health plans,etc. there has been an increase with some adjusters trying to go staff.
Just to get this straight this doesn't involve me as I have a degree and all kinds of certifications (even though some say I might be certifiable)
I have had numerous phone calls from well trained, well educated (in the industry) adjusters whom have been turned down for jobs only for the fact they did not have a four year college degree.
These are people you could drop in any situation and they know how to obtain and interept policies, what steps to take, protect the company. Futhermore, they all are computer literate, work with several estimating programs,all other support items such as cameras, transferring of files, well you got the picture. But these same people whom have more experience with not only the tech side, but have dealt with people in adverse situation are barred from a job because they did not go to Moorehead State or another college, just doesn't seem right.
I know about internal policy and the old arguement about showing commitment in putting 4 years of college in, but how many of us have degrees in insurance or related fields?
Well thought I'd throw this out as I am seeing too many people with good skills being passed over.
Andrew K. Sloane
Username: Claimsranger

Post Number: 17
Registered: 12-2001
Posted on Wednesday, May 08, 2002 - 7:30 am:   

Sorry Uncle Ghoust, as the thread started, I have an AAS in Commercial Construction, am a registered Bldg Inspector, have a BA and BAAS in automated Mfg and commercial construction, the BA is in organizational Communications and a masters in Org. Com and Mgmnt. 5 years teaching and working for TSTC in Wacko as a TEXAS state employee and 10 years and counting as a Stormtrooper/Claimsranger.I'll try and stay on topic 'ol son.oh yeah, and 20 yrs in the construction Industry

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