I wish I had a dollar for every person that received their adjuster’s license in the mail and immediately called and asked if we had claims for them. I have to laugh a little, but mainly, I feel a sense of responsibility to the industry.
Hurricane Andrew of 1992 and the Hurricane outbreaks of 2004 and 2005 were responsible for thousands of new, unqualified adjusters to enter into the workforce. I can remember vividly, a large IA firm calling in 2004 and asking if I knew anyone that could read a tape measure and follow directions. Of course I did and they became licensed adjusters. Looking back, I wish I would have declined the offer of assistance. These newly licensed adjusters did not meet the criteria for a professional adjuster, in fact they knew nothing of the industry and were merely warm bodies to pacify the policyholders until higher level management could complete the claim. This is not what our industry needs or wants. The traits that are important in this industry may have been inherent in some, but those traits have to be polished and honed to perfection to be a professional. In my experience, the best adjusters, all portray the following five traits:
This is a broad trait that includes all facets of knowledge of the industry. Construction techniques, building codes, software knowledge, insurance law and policy. A professional adjuster is well rounded in all areas.
Honesty and Integrity
These two words need to be synonymous and without question, are probably just as important as professionalism. If I need to go into depth on this one, then choose another profession. This one is not for you.
Probably the biggest complaint we hear from a management perspective is lack of prompt contact or communication with the insured. The adjuster that has a set schedule for completing tasks will seldom have this issue. Most catastrophe adjusters work 12 to 14 hours per day and take on heavy work loads. You must be a go getter and be organized to be successful in this business.
This one is key. I will take on any rookie and train them if they have the right attitude and exhibit all of the traits above. The adjuster that wants to argue every topic and look for a different way of doing something is begging for a single storm deployment with most companies. My best advice is to ask questions when needed, but more importantly, be a sponge and absorb. Be the person that quietly closes the most claims. Be the adjuster that no one hears about until it’s review time. Let the gold stars by your name do your talking. This is when you go to the core adjuster list and are called first.
Especially in the catastrophe claims business this is so important. Many times people have lost everything and the adjuster is the critical link to putting their life back into place. The adjuster is their lifeline. Treat them as you would want your own mother treated and you will thrive in this business. Remember, the adjuster’s job is to indemnify the policy holder and put them back whole, according to the policy. In short, spend time with them, reassure them you will do your best to take care of them and leave them with a method of reaching you.
While there are many more important traits a successful adjuster must have, these are the traits that offer the most value to an IA firm. These are the adjusters we want on our roster.
Authored by Randy Allgood – Lead Instructor at American Adjuster Academy