Today I’d like to give a word of encouragement about the power of finding a way to get things done. First, a bit of history re. my CAT career.
My last real position as a salaried employee was as a high school math teacher in ’97. Although I made very little, I knew exactly what I was going to have at the end of each month. This gave me and my wife a relative sort of comfort. The stress of moving to a commissioned position was intense; every month I started from scratch, and had to work my tail off, just to start all over again next month. I almost gave up at the end of the first year, but then I got my W2 – which showed that I had doubled my salary from my last year of teaching!
Jumping into CAT adjusting was a whole new step. Now, not only was I directly responsible for how much I made, I was totally self-employed, and responsible for everything. I arrived at my first CAT with a brand-new lap-top, digital camera, tape measure, a few other nick-nacks and a recently maxed-out credit card for these purchases. I had a wife, three daughters and a big mortgage back at home. I was now REALLY stepping up to the plate of believing in my ability to make it happen, to provide for my family. I’d be lying if I said i wasn’t a bit scared.
Here comes the happy part of the story. I worked harder than I had ever worked, and the results were beyond my wildest expectations. I took my job very seriously, worked 16 hour days, 7 days/week, and daily sought to improve my skills as an adjuster. This meant massive efforts in communication, time management, industry knowledge and more. It meant learning what policy holders need as well as what bureaus and carriers need (I will be blogging about all of these topics in the future!). After a while, with this attitude, not only did I succeed in that particular catastrophe, but I developed a reputation and relationships that have endured and have secured my future in a career that I love (the adjusting industry).
There’s one thing in particular that I learned that I feel called to share with you today. It has to do with closing a claim. The bottom line in this industry is that bureaus and carriers (and policy holders, for that matter) want a claim assigned, inspected and quickly closed. After my first few months of adjusting, I started getting calls from my storm manager asking if I could take on an additional claim here and there from another adjuster who wasn’t getting his claims closed. I always eagerly agreed. Eventually, I got larger and larger numbers of claims from other adjusters, and realized that I had developed a reputation for being able to close a claim. This opened my eyes to the fact that there were others out there that could not seem to close a claim! I learned more about this when the daily claims business I had developed had grown so large that I needed to hire another adjuster to assist me.
Let me tell you this story. “James” (not his real name) had a wonderful resume – I was relieved to find such a qualified adjuster. I quickly assigned him several claims. After a week, I expected to see some of them closing. When we’d have our weekly touch-bases, he always seemed to have reasons why the claims were not closed. Further, those reasons always seemed to be legitimate. At first I chalked it down to coincidence, but as time when on, I realized it had to be more than coincidence. I don’t want to judge James, but I realized something that differentiated us – I looked for ways to close claims, he looked for reasons why they couldn’t close (yet).
Let me tie this back into my history above. In the beginning of my work history, I had an “employee” mentality. As I developed as an adjuster, I developed an “owner” mentality. As an independent Adjuster, I “owned” my adjusting business – I was responsible for making it happen, 100%. James looked to others – to things outside of his control – to be responsible for the claim. Sometimes it was an insured who had not produced his contents list. Sometimes it was an engineer who needed to finish a report. Sometimes it was a policy holder reluctant to schedule. There was always someone or something else that was responsible for the claim being closed or not being closed.
I’m thankful that when I first started CAT adjusting I was able to step up to the plate with an “owner” mentality. I was constantly looking for ways that I could take responsibility for the closing of the claim. Sometimes while others were stuck without gas, I’d have driven 100 miles to a distant home depot, purchased 5 five-gallon gas tanks, filled them up, chained them in my truck and I had gas when others didn’t. I camped out at Kinko’s when they had the only internet connection. If an insured failed to produce their contents list, I’d have them sit down right then and there at their kitchen table and completed it before I left the scope, or – if they could or would not – I’d do my own research to price our their damaged contents that evening so I could close out every claim I inspected that day before I turned off my laptop for the night. I shunned the folder in my file called “waiting on someone else” and loved the folder called “closed and invoiced”!
So today’s post is about the power of closing the claim. There’s always 1,000 little reasons why the claim could be delayed, and one big reason why it shouldn’t. Taking on the “owner” mentality, finding creative ways to get things done and close the claim will be an all-important key to success in your Adjusting career. And what’s more – if I can do it, you can too!
We’re glad you’re part of our community here at AdjusterPro. Please stay tuned in our social network and on this blog for lots of good info about succeeding in this awesome industry.