by Gene Strother, President of Adjust U
Not long ago, I spoke to a class of claims-adjusting hopefuls. They were preparing to take the Texas All-Lines Adjuster Test that very afternoon, after spending three days preparing. They had so many questions for me about how to launch a career, get on the roster of an independent adjusting firm, how to best prepare themselves for success, and so on. I was happy to answer each question and provide guidance to the prospective claims adjusters.
One gentleman caught me as I was on the way out the door. He needed an answer to just one question: “How do I know if adjusting is right for me?”
As I talked with this man, I realized what a huge moment it was for him. He was not a kid. He had a family, bills, obligations, established routines, and the need for a solid plan for the financial well-being of his family going forward.
My answer to his question was to ask him to answer five vital questions for himself:
First, Are you willing and able to properly prepare yourself for a career as a claims adjuster?
Too many hopeful adjusters think getting licensed is the only prerequisite to rolling in adjuster money. That just isn’t so. An adjuster license means you may adjust a claim. You are licensed to do so. The state(s) where you are licensed certifies that you may perform the duties of an insurance claims adjuster. The adjuster license does not guarantee that you can properly adjust a claim.
There is so much to know, so much to learn about being a claims adjuster:
- Can you read, interpret, and explain an insurance policy?
- Can you efficiently utilize adjusting software like Xactimate?
- Can you identify construction materials? Do you have a basic understanding of construction?
- Can you confidently deal with the insured and his or her representatives (contractors, public adjusters, etc.)?
In other words, will you prepare yourself for success?
Seneca, the ancient Roman senator, wisely asserted, “Luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.”
Do you want to make your own luck? Then you must commit some time and resources to training for your new career.
Second, are you able to commit to the time demands associated with insurance claims adjusting?
Catastrophe (CAT) adjusters are not always deployed but when they are deployed, they find themselves in a work environment that makes grueling demands on their time and energy. Working seven days per week, 12-14 hours per day is not unusual. Deployment does not last forever. It may be only a matter of days or weeks. It can be much longer – months or even a year or more – especially if you are working as a desk adjuster.
The financial rewards of a good deployment are substantial but they are earned. Time is money in this industry. Early on, the best way to spend your time is by learning all you can, increasing your knowledge of the industry, and honing your skills.
Third, are you able to meet the travel demands?
Catastrophe field adjusters will find themselves away from home, sometimes for weeks at a time. Desk adjusters also may find themselves working in an office 11-12 hours per day. The office may or may not be in their hometown.
We use the word “deployment” for a reason. When an adjuster is working a storm, he or she is deployed. The word itself implies certain sacrifices like giving up the comforts of home for a time and being fully committed to your duties while deployed.
Fourth, how well do you deal with people in a stressful environment?
A claims adjuster often encounters people when they are at their worst. They have suffered an unexpected loss. They need guidance for the process of recovery. They need to understand their policy and its provisions. They need an empathetic ear, and a steady hand to help them recover.
Are you able to empathize and remain professional and faithful to your duties as an adjuster? Can you teach what you know? Can you be a stabilizing, steady force in a chaotic situation?
Fifth, do you know or are you able to learn the basics of construction and estimating software?
It is impossible to use an estimating software like Xactimate without a basic understanding of construction. If you have a construction background, that is a plus. If you do not, don’t fret. Neither did I. But can you learn it? Are you able to absorb knowledge from others in a classroom or real-time, hands-on environment?
If you can answer these five questions in a positive manner and feel good about your answers, then, yes, claims adjusting may be just the ticket for a bright, rewarding, and fulfilling career.
If you have questions about becoming an adjuster, contact Adjust U at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you find the answers you seek. If you want to know more about being an adjuster for Mid-America Catastrophe Services, contact us at email@example.com.
If you are looking for affordable, always-at-your-fingertips online courses to increase your knowledge and sharpen your skills as an adjuster, please visit our Virtual Training Center, enroll as a student (with NO obligation or cost), and then select the classes that are right for you. Each class is individually and affordably priced and tailored to help you meet specific requirements and gain valuable insights and skills to further your career.
Got a question for me? Want to share your story or insights? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.