Desk Adjusting 101 – A Virtual Path to Success

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So, you want to become a Desk Adjuster? Adjusting can be a very rewarding career – and it can either be a part-time or a full-time occupation. So, before you spend a lot of time, effort, and money you need to make sure that adjusting, particular desk adjusting, will be a good fit for you.
There are a lot of components that go into making a good adjuster, but there is one that trounces all the others, and that is customer service. and this applies to both field and desk. Our mission is to assist insureds in time of need, and it takes empathy and patience to help insureds through the claims process. If you do not possess the two character traits of customer driven service and empathy then adjusting is probably not for you. In your daily email you will find a list of qualities that a desk adjuster needs to succeed. If these characteristics describe you, then maybe adjusting is the right career for you. Read On!

The job of a desk adjuster has always been necessary when working claims. The normal flow of a claim is a field adjuster will be assigned a claim and a desk adjuster would review and process the claim. Two things have changed the role of the desk adjuster greatly – Technology and Covid. Technology allows the desk adjuster to do many things that previously would require the field adjuster to complete. We can measure most roofs, exteriors, outbuildings, and fences from our laptop. Insureds now have Apps available that allow them to share their phone screen with the desk adjuster who writes the estimate from the desk.
Even without Covid, insurance carriers were starting to lean on the desk adjuster to do more with the new technology available. Covid has exponentially sped up the whole process. Some of our clients even go as far as saying they do not want an adjuster on their property due to Covid risks- so the only way to solve the claim is from the desk. Although this creates greater demand for desk adjusters, which is good if you are a desk adjuster, it also requires the desk adjuster to have a more advanced skillset than before. Today’s desk adjuster will write many claims from start to finish from the desk, so you will need to master the technology you will be using. You will hear this multiple times in this course – TIME IS MONEY!

We have made clear that the most important trait of a successful adjuster is customer service, so what are the other traits that make a successful adjuster- They are as follows:

1. Customer Service
2. Understanding Policy
3. Understanding Estimating Software
4. Understanding Construction
5. Organization/Documentation Skills
6. Able to follow guidelines and instructions

We will briefly discuss each of the above traits:

  • Customer Service – Most people never file a claim in their life- so when an insured fields a claim, it is usually their first. Most insureds have no idea about the claims process, and it is the adjuster’s job to explain the process to the insured and make sure they are comfortable and understand every step of the claims process. Adjusters frequently use terms such as Depreciation, ACV, RCV, etc. It is part of an insurance adjuster’s job to take the time to explain insurance terminology to the insured, so they can have a complete understanding of their claim.
  • Understanding Policy – Understanding a policy is what makes an adjuster different than a contractor. An adjuster not only writes for the damage but must also apply his or her estimate to the policy to make sure it is covered.
  • Understanding Estimating Software – When I first got into the business n 2005 one of the first sayings I heard was “If you don’t get on the technology train you will be left behind” The estimating programs of today are not what they were even five years ago. Xactimate has been the downfall of many adjusters who have walked before you. Master it and you will be among an elite.
  • Understanding Construction – Having an understanding is extremely helpful when estimating the repairs of either a residential property, Commercial Property, or Auto. If you have any kind of hands-on construction experience you already have a leg up in this business.  You have a skill that cannot be taught in the classroom. Xactimate, Google, YouTube, and other technology can help us along the way but hands-on experience in construction is extremely valuable as an adjuster. Many times as a Desk Adjuster you may have help decide the type of a certain material, if you have construction knowledge it will assist you greatly.
  • Organization and Documentation Skills – Two sayings apply to this principle:
    • If you do not put it in writing it never happened;
    • Before you put in any note always mentally start the note off in your head with the Phrase “Dear Judge”.
  • Guidelines and following directions- Mid-America has contracts with over 40 different insurance carriers . The tough thing about this business is that all 40+ insurance carriers have different guidelines. The important thing to know is there is no right way. There is the way the insurance carrier tells us to do it.
    A good example is roofing components. Some insurance carriers will pay to remove and replace roofing vents when replacing a roof, but some insurance carriers will pay only to remove the vents as they say they have already paid to remove the vents when they paid to remove the roof. Again – no right or wrong way -just the way the guidelines of that carrier instruct us to do.

Many times the Desk Adjuster is the manager of the entire claim process. Your correct documentation of the claims process is essential. insurance companies must show “Good Faith” in running their claims and documentation is the only way that an insurance company can prove they are doing everything in their power to close the claim in a timely manner. Good Faith will be discussed later in the course.