This is a continuation of an earlier post on CAT claims vs. Daily claims. In this post, I wanted to share some personal experience on the difference.
After my first significant CAT deployment, I knew I loved the industry and I knew for certain that I wanted to stay in it. I enjoyed it, I was good at it, and I had never made so much money in my life! Unfortunately, the reality was I only had one season of experience under my belt, and most of the IA firms advertised that they “required” three or more years of experience. But I didn’t get discouraged; rather, I set about strategically and systematically working to get myself on the rosters of almost every IA firm I could find.
After a few weeks of serious effort, it paid off. I started getting calls and offers. One of the calls surprised me; it was from a company asking if I could handle claims locally in Southern Florida. This sounded great, but they were a bit hesitant, given my limited experience. However, I think they liked me on the phone, so they offered me a chance. What they proposed is that they’d give me one trial claim. If I handled it well, they’d give me more. So I accepted the trial basis offer and started working the claim.
Now, I didn’t think I was doing anything particularly special by calling and scheduling that claim immediately, inspecting it the next day, and submitting the report before that day ended. Heck, that’s what I did all day long working CAT claims. HUSTLE. But apparently, they thought it was pretty awesome. After review, they called almost immediately and asked: “can you do that again?” I said of course! Within a month they informed me that, because of my performance, they were able to contact their client (an insurance company in the North East) and tell them they now had a top-notch adjuster in South Florida and were prepared to handle a greater volume of claims. After that, the volume really picked up. Not long afterwards, yet another TPA called and asked if I could do the same thing! Soon the volume of claims in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach area constituted full-time work for me. Without really intending it, I had become a full-time daily claims adjuster.
People often ask me if they can get hired directly into daily claims as a brand-new adjuster. I answer “yes, anything is possible, and it’d take some creativity, but… this is not the typical career path.” Again, I’ll share some personal experience. When the volume of claims that I was handling as a daily claims independent adjuster got overwhelming, I had to look for help. Being a one-man show and still somewhat new myself, I was inclined to find an adjuster with proven experience who was ready to go right out the gate because I didn’t believe I had time to train up a totally green adjuster. Taking on someone brand new is always a bit of a risk. Newbies are a risk, however, that TPA’s must take during a catastrophe to fulfill their promises to the insurance companies, and this is where many independent adjusters get their break. Interestingly (and ironically), the veteran adjuster with years of experience I chose to hire turned out to be a real dud and a huge liability. Looking back, I wish I had found someone with the right character, even if I had to do some training in the specifics of the career. But the point here is that there is typically less urgency and demand to assume a risk on the part of the IA firm for daily claims. They can take their time hiring and be more discriminating than a CAT claims company with an urgent need to fill up rosters.
This is actually good news for the independent adjuster with experience and – interestingly – I believe this can be good for the new adjuster as well, IF that new adjuster is an out-of-the-box thinker.
For the proven adjuster, your options expand as you become a known quantity. When you’ve established a solid reputation of being able to get the job done creatively while handling people respectfully and with integrity, the sky is the limit. You can specialize in any number of diverse areas, or you can focus on a geographic area.
For the new adjuster, I emphatically assure you that this business – at its core – is about customer service. And what customer service boils down to is communication and relationship. With the right perspective and attitude, you’d be surprised what you can do in this business. Anything is possible if you are willing to creatively approach companies that employ independent adjusters to handle daily claims. But don’t worry if your career doesn’t launch directly into daily claims. Remember, I had my own license for a while before I ever used it.
But once I did – I’ve never looked back.