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In the previous post in the series, we looked at using Microsoft Streets & Trips mapping software to get a birds-eye view of all claims in a storm.  In this post we’ll go a little deeper into the actual prioritization and strategizing.

My strategy has always been to get the urgent and troublesome claims out of the way first, because it’ll either harm them or me if they sit too long unvisited.  However, I don’t just schedule all of them one after another.  Rather, I use urgent and/or troublesome claims as an “anchor” for other claims.  Let me explain:

Let’s say, hypothetically, I’ve got seven urgent claims and three troublesome claims.  I’ve got them marked as red flags on my Streets & Trips map.  I’ll choose one of them that is in close proximity to other claims I need to inspect.  I’ll call and schedule with the urgent and/or troublesome claimant (who is often the lest flexible about schedule time) then I’ll schedule other claims that are in close proximity to that same claimant so I only have to drive once across town, inspect losses in one neighborhood, then drive back to my hotel and write claims.  This is huge.  I can’t emphasize how important it is to schedule geographically like this; it eliminates massive drive time.  On the other hand, if you are careless about your scheduling and don’t schedule by using a map, you’ll be driving like mad back and forth across town, squandering one of your most precious resources in a storm – time.

One very cool aspect of this mapping strategy is that I also know where my “anytime” claims and my “can’t reach ‘em” claims are.  If I end up finishing a scheduled inspection early, I can easily inspect an “anytime” claim and/or knock on the door of a claimant that I couldn’t reach via phone.  These claims are great fillers.  I can’t afford to waste any time in a storm, and I choose to make every moment of every day count!

I forgot to mention that Microsoft Streets & Trips also acts as a GPS (it really works!), can optimize your driving route to get you to all houses with the least driving, and you can eliminate push-pins as you go, so you can actually see your map clearing out as you inspect claims.

After I’ve eliminated an urgent or troublesome claim, I repeat the process; find the next urgent one, schedule it, then schedule around it, and in this way eliminate that neighborhood from the map until they’re all done.

More to come!


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