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Prior to handing your claims files over to you at the beginning of a storm, most adjusting firms will conduct a storm specific orientation to prepare their troops for the work ahead.

For a newbie, it may be helpful to know a little more about these orientations in general and how they should be placed within the larger framework of adjuster training and your own preparation for assignment.  How many gaps will orientation fill in?

First, it should be strongly emphasized that orientation should not be considered as a stand-in for good adjuster training.  You should arrive on site already schooled in reading and interpreting insurance policy, making a scope of damages, and writing estimates in Xactimate, IntegrClaim, or the appropriate software.  If you are sorely lacking in one of these areas your on-the-job learning curve is going to be extremely steep.   Most adjusters that don’t make it in the field fail because of inadequate preparation – particularly as regards usage of Xactimate or equivalent programs.

What storm orientation should accomplish is to give you the details on company protocol for claims handling for that specific storm.  Protocol will literally change for every single storm you work.  These changes may not be dramatic but where file review is concerned, you must be precise.  So, the questions you should be thinking about at orientation are things like:  What are we to calculate depreciation on?  How many trades are required before adding Overhead and Profit for a General Contractor?  What is storm protocol on totaling roofs?  How are contents to be handled?  How much time do we have to make first contact with the insured?  Etc.  Now, questions you should already feel comfortable with are more like:  What is depreciation?  What is O&P? How do I measure a roof? Is a TV considered separate from the structure itself?

You need to have the general principles down but you will have to wait until orientation (or ask your storm manager if you have no orientation) to know the particular incarnation of those principles for the storm.  Finally, there will be a certain level of uncertainty for every new assignment that will need to be worked out in the field.  You will make mistakes but the goal is to not make the same mistake twice.

– Daniel Kerr

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