The Do’s and Don’ts Every Adjuster Needs to Know

When trying to decide on a new topic for the blog this week, I sat down and started making a list.  As you can imagine, the list became exhaustive.   One thing that always rings true, is that all storms, storm managers, and adjusters are not created alike. The same can be said with insurance companies and their customers. If all of the aforementioned items were static, what a simple place the world of adjusting would be.  Simply said, we would be bored out of our minds.

We can teach many things but we cannot teach good, old fashioned common sense.  Looking back on my years of experience and recalling the conversations , or I should say the calls that I dreaded having, have formed the basis of this latest blog post.

The Do’s

Contact, Contact, Contact
The amount of pressure on an adjuster can be severely limited by making the initial phone calls and setting the stage with the insured. Triage the claim, discuss the claim and damages, inform them of what they need to do and set an appointment. The way for an adjuster to climb to the top of any roster is to shut down the phone calls and complaints  to the insurance company. Once the claim has been assigned to you, it’s your baby now.. so take care of it.

Do What You Say You Will Do
Be on time to appointments, meet your deadlines, do what is asked of you by the storm team. Be a good manager of your time and resources and promote good faith between the insurance company and the insured.

Be Dependable
Always respond to calls, emails or texts from interested parties in a timely fashion. I’ve seen many adjusters go AWOL for extended periods of time. I personally know adjusters that bailed out, went home, took the claims and the company checks with them and never told anyone until it was too late to reconcile a huge problem. If you need help ask.

Ask for Help
Most adjusters have an air of confidence in their abilities and knowledge. Arrogance and cockiness get you fired. As a storm manager it would be foolish to expect every adjuster to know every item of construction material known to mankind, however I can assure you some of the old timers probably do. If you don’t know or have hesitation, ask, ask , ask. Your ability to ask questions to bring the claim to conclusion is a quality that is greatly appreciated on our end and will be rewarded with continued deployment.

Be Involved
Attend meetings, webinars, conference calls, read email directives, etc.  If any of these are called, they are usually mandatory. Make the meetings. The adjusters that are defiant usually get a free pass to go home. Attention to detail is critical.

The Don’ts

This list could go on forever, but these are the 5 key areas of concern.

Argumentative and Confrontational Behavior
A sure method of a fast pass home is arguing with an insured, a storm manager or an insurance company staff member.

Don’t Over-scope
Do NOT go out and inspect more claims than you can write up in a day. Many adjusters do this and ultimately, information is lost, forgotten or the insured begins to call inquiring of their claim status. I have been as guilty as anyone of this and when I had 20 claims sitting on my desk, it appeared to be an insurmountable task to accomplish closure.

Don’t Promise Anything
In most instances, you are only making recommendations to the insurance company on the required repairs. Insured’s will remember everything you say. If you promise it then we are all on the hook to pay for it. Recommend.. that is the word to add to your vocabulary for the day.

Keep it Professional
Do not become buddies with the insured or the contractors. This has been the demise of many good adjusters. Keep it professional at all times. I shouldn’t need to go into detail on this one at all. Common sense (ah, there it is again) will identify multiple areas of conflict regarding this situation.

Do Not Leave the Storm Site Unannounced
If you have an emergency or an urgent situation that you must attend to, make a phone call to your storm manager and explain the situation. Arrangements can be made to compensate for your absence. If you are scoped out, do not leave the storm site to go home and write up the claims. You never know when a re-inspection or another storm may hit the same area.

The job of an adjuster can be exhaustive, but you can minimize it by incorporating a well balanced, organized approach to your daily schedule. Put yourself in the shoes of the insured, the storm manager and the insurance carrier. Do things in a professional, conscientious manner. Any problem can be resolved if it is addressed early and with clarity to your storm manager.

Good luck out there and keep your ladder on flat ground.

Authored by Randy Allgood – Lead Instructor at American Adjuster Academy

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