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Russ Lott
Posted on Friday, September 03, 1999 - 7:12 pm:   

As a follow up what does everybody do to keep the critters from coming back home with you. The explosion of insects after hurricane Hugo taught me the value of unpacking in the snow when I got back to the house. Moth balls worked too, but the odor will knock you out. But what does everybody else do?
Jim Flynt
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 3:27 am:   

I have been fascinated for a very long time by watching and observing how different adjusters "set up" and start a new storm assignment.

Some will focus entirely on finding just the right place to stay, while others will jump in and start contacting claimants before finding a place to stay.

Some adjusters hire temps, or bring a spouse along to assist in contacting insureds. Some send out computer generated contact cards and some call first. Some map out all their claims and then start scheduling while others schedule based more on damage intensity or a random method.

Some adjusters wash their own clothes while others have to find a "chinese" laundry before they do the first thing.

Arranging to have checks cashed at a storm site or pulling it out of an ATM machine.

These are the questions:

What methods do you use to set up?
What have you found that doesn't work?
Any helpful hints which can save time?
Any helpful hints which can save money?

There are no right answers here just whatever works for each individual adjuster. Perhaps by sharing these stories and ideas we can help each other and help the NEWBEES who will be coming out on a storm for the first time.

Please share your set-up methods with all of us.
RD Hood
Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 1999 - 7:12 am:   

Interesting Topic:
Of course, storms require the approach to each assignment be dependant entirely on the conditions.
If there is a 'Cane, I usually take the Motor Coach, with enough food, water, 12.5 KW gen, cell phones. Park in a RV park if available or a large parking lot etc., (Can be totally self sufficent for 10-14 days), until more suitable arrangements can be made. Other times, I call ahead or make reservations on the Net. I NEVER leave till I have acconmodations. Rent a long term apartment or house or condo whenever available.

2) Usually hire competent assistants to do the more mundane items, such as filing, photos, also to make initial contact,and use my time to the best advantage.

3) Have all required banking always in place beforehand, wire transfers setup, ATM , CC etc.

4) Have 2-3 computers and printers on hand,along with everything I need for 2 weeks, minimum.

5) Have a W/D in the Coach, DIY, or if in a long term situation, have W/D in unit, take clothes to cleaners every 3 days, (Helper).

6) Eat-in whenever possible, (I like to cook).

7) And being close to a Sr. Citizen, HA HA, I prefer to work smart not as hard as I used to.

8) Other times, when the assignment requires immediate departure, I have someone make the initial contacts and schedule the appointments for after my anticipated arrival time. Always give priority to those that are the worst hit.
Use the Net, for receipt of files when possible, use e-fax, e-mail, anything to get the results that will reduce the stress level, and "Make it happen".

These are my personal preferences, and even with all this, the "on the road" expenses will always be a minimum of 35% and can approach and even surpass 50% of the Gross Income. Not to mention, last year being on the road 44 weeks.*(UGH)

Probably my 50 years of Boy Scout rememberances of " Be Prepared". Has not failed yet.

It is incumbent on all of us to provide the best possible work product, in the most expedious manner possible, while maintaining a reasonable cost to do this. Only if we make a profit on our work will we be here next year, or be in businesss at all.

Small thought for everyone "Always leave some meat on the Bone", goes a long way.
James Heiden
Posted on Thursday, August 19, 1999 - 12:58 pm:   

This is a good question.

1. I generally like to get a motel near the office initially. Find out where they are going to send you before committing to a rental apartment. Hurricane Fran, I was bounced from coast to Raleigh to Greensboro before I got any claim files. Same thing in Georges, Biloxi to Mobile to Gulfshores.

2. Look for a motel that will negotiate rates for long term (they all will). Look for data ports on phone, and lot's of plugs (electrical).

3. I bring computer, printer, copy machine (necessity), Digital camera, 35mm backup, film, paper, cords, and CEL Phone. I make long distance calls with a card (cheaper and for records later)

4. I agree with the previous letter, boy scout training for "be prepared" really helps.

5. The first thing I do is contact the insured. First contact is so important. Either the day you get the file or next day at the latest. Set the apointments according to your schedule. Suggest: "I have an opening Wednesday between 2pm and 3pm, will that work for you?". They then can work their schedule around yours. If you ask them when it will be convenient for them all your scopes will be between 6pm and 8pm (after work).

6. I also like to eat in. I cook myself.

7. Laundry, I find a coin operated nearby. Don't leave your clothes, bring something to read.

8. Keep your expenses lean and mean, this is not a vacation, it is a small business. Be prudent and save every dime you can. You will be glad when you get home.

9. I always set up direct deposit of checks. Use ATM when I need to and use credit cards when I can because I then have records. I use one card for gas only, another for room and travel expenses.

10. Get to know the QC (Quality Control) person in the office you are working. They are the ones that will initially review your files. They all have little things they like to see on files that are different. Listen to what they tell you! Make the changes, ask how you can produce a better product (they will tell you!). Generally they are the senior members of a CAT team and can help you gain valuable experience and education at no cost to you. Use this resource wisely, don't cringe if they return a file. Learn, it's new every time. I did this on my first CAT event and the next event I went out on they were handing out copies of my files to the adjusters as a "how to write proper claims" example.

11. Talk to the older adjusters, they know the good motels, restaurants, etc. Ask the permanant people in the office you are working for recommendations for local motels, where to stay away from, etc. They live there, they know.

12. Have a really nice dinner out right before you leave town. It makes a nice memory of the place after all the destruction.
Leonard Parker
Posted on Friday, August 20, 1999 - 7:20 am:   

I have always looked at the adjusters who hire people to help them at the cat and wondered how they do it. I am such a control freak that the idea scares me to death.

RD, other than making your job easier, does this increase the number of assignments you get or just get you through quicker? Just what can the helpers do for you in developing the files? How do you pay them?

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