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In my last blog post, I promised some details about Carla, one of the “ top 15%” of CAT adjusters we’re profiling.  Her story’s very inspiring.  In this blog post, I’ll do my best to give a brief overview of her career.  In the next post, I’ll examine some of the ways that Carla thinks, believes and acts that have set her apart as exceptional.

Carla entered the claims business with some reluctance after Hurricane Katrina hit, ending her “comfortable” job in a bank.  I first met her as a student in our Xactimate class back in ’05.  Shortly after class she began her career as an inside adjuster (inside adjuster = working in a call center helping to close smaller claims).  Her managers soon realized that she would quickly and thoroughly master every position she was given, which got her promoted to positions of continuously greater responsibility.  For example, at one point she was promoted to the mold unit.  She voraciously attacked the task of learning everything there was to learn about mold, mold laws, and mold claims. She stayed up late on her own time even making spreadsheets of mold facts, state laws and policies!  Eventually she graduated to outside claims, but was still seen as the mold authority in the company; if a mold issue arose, she was called in as the “guru”.  Her skills were in demand, and her career was on a great trajectory.

At one pivotal point, a large, nation-wide insurance company asked the manager at the IA (IA = claims-handling company) that Carla was working for if they had a particularly talented adjuster who could help them solve a problem in California.  They needed to “shut down” a storm; that is, they needed to close up the remainder of the claims (all “problem claims”) in a mere 30-days.  Her manager recommended Carla without hesitation, and of course Carla knocked it out of the park.  She closed all of the claims except one in litigation, an accomplishment still admired as an almost superhuman.  Doing this greatly improved the reputation of the IA she was working for, earning them a significantly larger contract (i.e. more claims) from that carrier.  She helped her IA grow, and in so doing she developed a bullet-proof reputation as an adjuster who could “get it done”, no matter what the claim.

Unfortunately, there was a set-back; at one point Carla had to undergo surgery that took her out of work for a season.  When she had fully recovered and was ready to resume claims work, she notified her old IA but it seemed that she had been pushed down the totem pole under other less-qualified adjusters.  This surprised and dismayed her, but she was not discouraged.  She knew she had developed a great reputation, tremendous trust, and a number of key relationships in the industry.  Moreover, she had saved a great deal of money.  She just decided to start her own IA!  Her new company quickly earned several contracts to handle claims for smaller insurance companies, and the claims began to flow in.  This is where I found Carla at the time of her interview; running a successful and growing IA.  Her little claims company is thriving; the carriers she represents love her service, the adjusters she employs are fiercely loyal, the claimants they help are given 110%.  It’s a true success story.

So, the question I had for Carla; how was she able to achieve this success?  I’ll give you a spoiler for the next post; the answer is that Carla thinks and acts in ways that are exceptional.  When I say “exceptional” I don’t mean miraculous; I mean she has developed deep habits that enable her to do things others are not willing to do.  In the next blog post, we’ll look at some of these key characteristics that set her apart, and we’ll examine how you can adapt these same traits to get similar results.

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