, Resources for Adjusters from Adjusters
Becoming an Adjuster | Archive Index |

The Adjuster's Forum » General Discussion » Becoming an Adjuster « Site Map »
Topics | Home | Current Forum | Jobs, Training and more | Adjuster Roster | Channels | Resources | Contact Us

Author Message
Clayton Carr
Username: Clayton

Post Number: 81
Registered: 11-2001
Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 - 12:31 pm:   

Came across something the other day that maybe has some relevance in this thread.
"10 habits of Highly Effective Adjusters", it is on the web version of Claims Mag (August 2001), but I'll summarize the points.

(1) Reading - An effective adjuster can actually read and comprehend a policy. That is, they know the coverage, they what the policy says. Also, an effective adjuster must be able to read and comprehend the technical correspondence related to the claims they handle. For property adjusters that would include engineers and fire investigators reports. A liability adjuster to be effective must be able to read and comprehend court documents and medical reports. To be effective, you must be able to understand and convey to others the technical details of a claim.

(2) Writing - "Check-off" and short forms reports as well as email have eroded this skill. The effective adjuster has the ability to prepare professional correspondence.

(3) Keeping a diary - a suspense diary is just about the most basic tool one can use in handling claims. When our peers review an open file that shows no activity for two months, one of three things is happening; (a) the adjuster is not using a diary, (b) the adjuster is not keeping notes, (c) the adjuster is doing nothing. What's the alternative to a diary? You must wait for something to happen and react to it. An effective adjuster does not do that.

(4) Keeping activity notes - One of your greatest challenges will be the first day you sit for a discovery / deposition, or find yourself in the witness stand of a court room; and try and remember with clarity what you did on a file four years ago. Adjusters notes are the only way to tell what is happening on a file. Activity notes provide the history of how a claim was handled and effective adjusters always make an entry each time they "touch" a file.

(5) Keeping others informed - Communication is key to an effective adjuster. Consider being a DAPIST - detailed as possible, in simpliest terms. Communicating regularly with all concerned parties is critical to success.

(6) Learning - A great deal of adjuster training is task oriented. That sort of training taught you how to fill out forms, how to measure a building, how to estimate damage, how to photograph and how to take a statement. If all you learn are "tasks", then you will only be capable of doing tasks. An effective adjuster never stops learning. An effective adjuster will learn about human relations and how the claim adjustment process fits into the insurance "big picture".

(7) Don't beat a dead horse - or "dog files" by another name; those files that just seem to linger on and don't get closed. There comes a time in every claim where an effective adjuster must be an "adjuster", and use the skills of an adjuster to negotiate and bring the file to a resolution. The effective adjuster knows when to fight a battle, and when to concede.

(8) Don't burn your bridges - An effective adjuster is reasonable and fair in dealing with others, not stubborn and unyeilding. An effective adjuster knows that being reasonable and fair will make the job easier, but they also know that that behavior will allow them to build a network of contacts for future use.

(9) Massage a/o manipulate - Adjusting is far from an exacting science. An effective adjuster knows that part of adjusting involves smoothing his way through troubled waters towards resolution of the file. An adjuster is on the front line and has latitude to work with what he sees - use your skills, adjust where necessary, be fair and reasonable, apply the statutes and policy, pay or deny the claim.

(10) Ethics: To thine own self be true - The effective adjuster is above all else, professional and ethical. The common thread among all Codes of Ethics is honesty and fairness.

Things we want to AVOID are found in the following terrible article I found; "Chapter 8, Techniques not found in Claims Manuals"
Tom Toll
Registered User
Username: Tom

Post Number: 84
Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2002 - 4:50 pm:   

Linda, if you desire, truly desire to become a good catastrophe adjuster, let no one stand in between you and your mirror. Only you can decide what you wish to become. Life has its uncertainties every day. No one can be certain they will wake up the next morning and they cannot be certain that it will be a wonderful day. Nature always provides work for a good adjuster that cares about what they are doing and cares for those they are helping and working for. Let no one stand in front of the mirror but you. Pursue your dreams with vigor. Some day you may not be able to, so, go girl, go.
Kelley Roberson
Registered User
Username: Kelley

Post Number: 24
Registered: 12-2000
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2002 - 12:16 am:   

Degrees are great if you want to be staff. Cat adjusters find life much easier if they have construcion experience or exposure to construction in some manner.

You deal with construction materials,construction methods, pricing & contractors... and those are the good points.....

Cat life is a life full of uncertain paydays, days & often even months spent away from home. Packing up & moveing a full office on a moments notice. There is a need for $$ in the bank to walk out of your front door once you purchase the needed equiptment. Camera's, ladders, computers, printers, schooling come at different price levels.

There are times the areas you have to work in are bug infested, smell of sewerage & are not always healthy. The roofs you may be required to climb are often steep, wet, hot & very dangerous. There are storms where you spend more time counting the bugs you are putting on your windshild than the bucks you are putting into your checking account.

Being an independent adjuster does not mean you don't have a boss, get to do things you way & work only the hours you want. Being independent just so often means you have no check coming in next week.

There are many things that are wonderful about the job.... I can't not get any of them to come to mind at the moment. ( Especially since my partner in crime just destroyed about 4 hours of worth of my work..... I will kill that sucker some day !).. oh yes, I went into this business so I could spend more time with him.

Cat adjusting is as much a life style & attitude as it is a profession.

Good Luck in what ever you choose.
Jim Docherty
Registered User
Username: Jim_docherty

Post Number: 11
Registered: 3-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 10:37 am:   

To start, take some AICPCU courses. Preferably the Associate In Claims exams. Obtain this designation and you will be streets ahead of many CAT adjusters. Then take the general contractor's license in your state ( so nasty old contractors can't take advantage of your inability to tell the difference between joists and July).

This will also be beneficial when you get sued.

Then get a job framing homes for about a year, graduate to finish carpentry, work with the plumbers, electricians, plasterers, painters, drywallers and anybody else who will employ you, then start shopping your knowledge to claims managers and owners of independant adjusting companies and see what happens.
Oh, I forgot. Visit your bank manager and explain why you need financing to the tune of around $100,000.00. Or, as my wife just commented over my shoulder, "Don't bother. There's not enough work for the rest of us"
After you have accomplished all this, prepare to pucker up 'cos you got some sweet kissing to do. (not the nice kind).
I'm sorry. I just got my bills for the month so today is not starting out well.
Anyway, the first 2 suggestions are right. Good luck and do a rain dance.
By the way, you don't NEED a degree but most companies will ask for one.
Gil C. Newton
Username: Newt

Post Number: 7
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 8:01 am:   

Linda, You have already demonstrated the desire to
do this adjuster thing. the next step is go for it and don't look back. I am taking every course,getting every certification, reading all the posts here,and any information I can get my hands on.
You have an advantage, time. I don't, I came along about the time kerosene did. This is something I want to do also and with time permitting, it will happen. A degree is important,
and I will get a lot of flack from this, try this
first, get the license ,certifications, and maybe work some, better yet ride shotgun with an adjuster. Then go for the degree, you will know what you are after. All the education in the world will not make an adjuster out of you, thats
the monkey on your back. I hope you get what you aim for. I am not giving you this advice as an old pro because I am far from it, how ever I have taken on challenges in my life that looked impossible and I always came out because I try to
be the best at what I do. I have just started this venture and it is not an easy task for me,
for you I am sure it will be easier. Good luck

Registered User
Username: Ghostbuster

Post Number: 310
Registered: 12-2000
Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 6:59 am:   

Sooo, ya wanta be an adjuster, huh? In the past 26 years in this wild game, I have known only two people that actually aspired to be adjusters... and they both wound up in law school within 18 months. Most folks become adjusters by kinda stumbling into it as if it was some sort of pot hole in the road of life, and they never crawled out.

(Ok, OK, I'll get back on topic.) Other than getting an actual formal degree in insurance, (which is extremely rare), the carriers don't really care what kind of degree you knock on their door with. Some folks have degrees in Geology, Chemistry, Law, Basketweaving, English Lit, Business, you name it. Used to be that a lot of ex-teachers wound up here.

But first, have you really, really, really looked into your soul and analyzed your motives for being an adjuster? I mean, what is attracting you to this little Garden of Eden? Have you spent any time with dealing with the prerequiste drudgery and tediums of claims. Are you aware of the true nature of being a problem solver for all the worlds ills while having a public relations image worse than an Islamic Terrorist? ( At least they can afford to go to nudie bars. I know I can't and besides, I've got to return all these phone calls and set some more appointments and close out the days files!)

It ain't all glory and roses out here, nor even a steady paycheck with job security. Besides, with the tremendous employee turnover in claims departments, you may not even need a degree, just a warm body to fill the cubicle.

(Am I being too negative here?)
Linda Dillon
Registered User
Username: Wannabee

Post Number: 1
Registered: 7-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 1:36 am:   

I want to become an adjuster and I am willing to put my best foot forward. However, It seems that one of the prerequisites for this career is to have a bachelors degree. My question is in what field of study would best help in a career in the adjusting field? Please anyone or everyone that answers this question will be greatly appreciated.

(Message edited by wannabee on July 17, 2002)

Topics | Home | Current Forum | The Classifieds | Adjuster Roster | Channels | Resources | Contact Us