Frankenstorm has everyone up-in-arms at the moment! It's nearly impossible to predict what the ever-changing weather patterns are going to do. When in doubt, prepare! At this stage, I would begin a checklist of items you would need to carry with you to your designated deployment site - from clothing to tools to medications, all the way down to your Sriacha. If you have pets that will not be traveling with you, begin making arrangements for them to be tended to in your absense. These are a few small things you can take care of so you are not scrambling at the last minute and waste critical time in arriving to the orientation in a timely fashion.
Be thorough, and be quick. Worse case scenario is that you will be 100% prepared and the storm will be not be too severe. The best case scenario, you will be packed and ready to go immediately!
Safe travels and the best of success to you out in the field!
The general meaning of success has evolved over the years. Whether that is positive, or simply what it is, the one thing that is unerring is our love of hearing and sharing success stories! No matter in which industry you have chosen to work, it's a competitive market. In every field there are challenges to be faced, obstacles to overcome and accomplishments to be achieved. It's enlightening to see how we rise and face these challenges and overcome our own doubts.
Today, I received an email from a former student that has recently obtained his Texas All-lines license at the Mile High Adjusters Training Academy. I recall speaking to him while he attended class, and he was incredibly concerned about finding work, being under-qualified and the ultimate angst we all possess, of not performing at a level that would promote him in the claims industry. I remember telling him to think outside of the box and be creative. And, that's exactly what he did!
Like all career paths on which we choose to embark, education and experience top every employer's list. The pure reality of these seemingly simple pre-requisites can be conquering when you lack one or the other. So, how do you overcome this uphill battle? Think outside of the box! Paul pondered the idea of seeking an apprenticeship, or internship, with a senior adjuster and then adjust independently. He pondered, then actualized.
I would like to share Paul Durlin's first success story with you and highlight his creativity and drive to jump into an industry full speed ahead and carve his own path to achieve his personal and professional goals.
"I have been pretty busy, working a few claims with Claims Service Professionals local in Colorado Springs. I am also doing High Value home inspections for Castle Inspections, they are out of Kansas. I'm getting more experience with some different Valuation and sketching programs. Most of the work they feed me is in the Denver area, the inspector that has been training me with Castle has been at it for a long time. The money is better in Claims but the experience that I'm getting there is priceless. The best thing is that Valuations are very steady at about 10 to 15 inspections a week and the fee schedule works with my immediate income requirements." -- Paul Durlin
At the end of the day, we are all concerned about the same thing: our bottom-line. How can we increase our proficiency and productivity? Whether you are closing claims, writing estimates for remediation projects, or replacing a roof, your software platform and your knowledge of that platform is your profit-maker.
Productivity is key. However, it is only the end result! It's crucial to be accurate, efficient and agile. Lucky for us we are in a healthy technological age where we don't need to necessarily work hard, we need to work smart. The technology we employ is only as exceptional as we make it. Xactimate and Symbility are the leading estimating solutions in the industry and these platforms are not only your moneymaker, they are your personal assistants. As with most software solutions, the breadth of the products are far and wide and without continuing education, we rarely use the technology to its fullest capacity.
From the beginner to the more advanced users, make sure you are keeping up-to-date with the industry changes and the innovative advances in technology. Whether you are improving your team's workflow management processes or working to enhance your marketability and productivity, Mile High Adjusters Training Academy is here to ensure your team and you are the best you can be.
MHTA has increased the frequency of our Xactimate and Symbility courses to better accommodate teams and individuals seeking a more in-depth education of their software solutions. Take the time to look at our Career Center or contact The MHA Team directly for more information.
Just when you think you have a handle on things, they start changing! There will always be a need to reinvent ourselves, discover new technology and forge forward with these ever-changing times.
The Claims industry is not immune to this “event”. Over the past years, technology in claims and insurance has continued to pulse forward. For the insurance carrier, the F-word is right at the top of their agenda – FRAUD. For the adjuster, it’s increasing efficiency, accuracy and output through demonstrating best-practices. At the end of the day, it’s about the bottom-line – increasing profits while maintaining security for all parties involved!
Xactimate has been at the front lines for adjusters and contractors for 25 years. This high-powered package is the leading estimating platform for adjusters, insurance-repair contractors and property insurers because of the proficiency in calculating the cost of repairs and its organizational abilities. However, there is one thing that any adjuster will tell you, whether they are new to the arena or a veteran of the industry, it’s not the most intuitive software. Don’t worry! It’s not going anywhere! Xactware is still used today by 80% of the industry and remains one of the most prominent solutions available. No matter how proficient or innovative our technology is, we are forward-looking to improved and ground-breaking solutions.
Today, there is a new platform nipping at Xactimate’s heels, and it’s quickly lending itself as the most intuitive estimating application on the market – introducing Symbility! Symbility is a cloud-based claims processing and estimating technology that is geared toward optimizing your overall performance. This emerging solution offers the versatility and agility that is specifically designed to enhance adjuster and third-party contractor productivity. Not only will it have the ability to capture photographs, voice files, and laser measurements, it also offers real-time data synchronization.
The average adjuster will complete five claims in a day. This seems easy enough, but take into account the amount of measurements, photos, sketch time and miscellaneous information that needs to be organized and filed per each claim. This can be overwhelming at times! After a couple of years of experience and Snafu’s, you begin to polish your modus operandi and before you know it, you can close an average of eight and a half claims per day. We all know what that means!
Xactimate and Symbility are both capable and esteemed options within the claims industry. Take the time to learn both solutions and continue to enhance your marketability. Knowledge is power!
On my first deployment as an adjuster handling hurricane claims in Raleigh, NC, it very quickly became apparent which things were essential to success and which things weren’t.
Equipment in general and gadgets in particular, weren’t vital to my success. I didn’t have the latest and greatest laser tape measure. I only had one, modestly sized fold-up ladder. Unlike some adjusters who towed a second home behind their tricked out dually pick-up, I drove a decade old Dodge Durango with pieces of pipe screwed to the top for a ladder rack.
My years of in-depth knowledge of construction really wasn’t my most essential tool. Did it help? Absolutely, and I feel I did a better job having it. But, truth be told, I would have been able to learn a sufficient amount about materials and building composition as I came across it in the field. Sure I made mistakes here and there, but they weren’t egregious, and I never make the same mistake twice. The learning curve was pretty manageable for me.
What was without a doubt, vitally essential, was mastering the estimating software appointed for use by the carrier I was representing – in this case, Xactimate. This is, in my opinion, the single greatest challenge to serious success for CAT adjusters. If you don’t know your Xactimate (or Symbility, PowerClaims, IntegriClaim, Simsol, etc.), and know it well, you will never realize your full earnings potential as a CAT adjuster, plain and simple. Thinking you can just learn on the fly during a real deployment is a recipe for firing yourself.
There are a couple of factors at work here. First, Xactimate is not an immediately intuitive program and the learning curve can be steep. There are just a couple of things I know and retain in my memory on the construction end. When policy questions come up, the only skill I really need is the ability to read. But understanding and truly knowing Xactimate requires very specialized knowledge and skill that my basic reading, writing, and arithmetic cannot deliver in and of themselves. Pure and simple, you need training, and you need training prior to deployment. Second, I think that mastering Xactimate does more towards increasing your efficiency in closing claims than any other single item. Why is that important to a CAT adjuster? Simply put, because closing claims quickly means more satisfied customers, more money, more claims, better claims, longer deployment, and finally rock-star status with the folks at the home office. Closing claims quickly and efficiently with minimal hand-holding out in the field is the name of the game as a CAT adjuster, and knowing your estimating software can be the difference between a $15,000 storm and a $30,000 storm...not to mention almost a guarantee on future deployments with that firm.
Important Licensing Information
It’s pertinent to know as an Independent Adjuster that it's your responsibility to maintain compliance. This is crucial when you’re a CAT responder. Requirements are constantly being amended and changed.
MHA received a few calls this past week regarding “Home State Designation”. The majority of these inquiries were questions regarding the initial application for the adjuster’s license where it asks you to specify your Home State. When working in the states that don’t require you to carry a license, it’s best practice to name a Home State, such as Texas if you have the All-Lines Texas license. The All-Lines Texas License is reciprocated in most states.
Make sure you are taking advantage of the many channels that discuss changes and trends in the industry. Though it is not their responsibility, most IA Firms will release information to its adjusters as updated information trickles down the pipeline in attempt to make sure that adjusters have the most current industry information. Other great sources of information are discussion forums such as From One Adjuster to Another and CADO.
For further information, contact your state’s Department of Insurance, Sircon, NIPR, or organizations such as Adjuster Pro or Mariposa Insurance Services Group.
The one thing that I’ve learned that we can count on remaining constant is CHANGE. It never stops, it never rests, it just keeps changing. Most people tend not to change too often, nor do they really care to change. It interrupts comfort zones, or more plainly stated, perceived comfort zones!
In today’s insecure economic climate, it has forced significant changes in lifestyles, career paths and in extreme cases, standards of living. As published by the Associated Press, the amount of unemployment benefit applications has fallen to a mammoth 5.4 million people, but also circumvented the fact that while layoffs are decreasing, overall hiring is not picking up. The economy is not growing fast enough to support much hiring, and projections for the balance of 2012 are dismal at best.
When hard times hit, you don’t reinvent the wheel, you reinvent yourself! Do you really need to leave your trade, passion or natural skillset behind in the pursuit of happiness? Absolutely not. This is your time to transition yourself into an opportunity that employs and capitalizes your strengths and allows you to “earn” the benefits.
The first step towards reinvention is realizing and understanding your core competencies. Once you have a basic apprehension of your strengths, and ideally your challenges as well, you can explore what options are available to you. There are many channels accessible that provide funding to veterans, dislocated and under-employed workers for additional training and education. Call your Chamber of Commerce, visit your local Workforce office, find a local recruiter, or reach out to your industry contacts you’ve developed over the years and forge a new partnership. Options are everywhere!
With the erratic and devastating weather patterns that keep persisting, there is a colossal opportunity for you to be innovative with your trade, especially if you are currently in the roofing, contracting or construction industry. Each time a major storm or natural disaster strikes an area it drains the adjusting professionals. Not only in numbers due to deployments, but in augmented workloads.
Maybe it’s time to stop the rigorous manual labor routine with minimal return and explore the adjusting industry. Use your gifts to your advantage. You have the fundamental customer service skills and building knowledge it takes to competently address the insured, assess and scope damage, and proficiently write up estimates. Oh, you don’t want to work for someone else? That’s simple, don’t!
There are more insurers outsourcing their claims needs to independent adjusting firms to minimize costs for their organization. With this emergent need coupled with the waning population of adjusters, this is your time to take advantage of an industry in-need and spur yourself into an understaffed, recession-proof industry.
Reinvention is an art. Trade innovation is creative. You are the architect. It’s time to re-build, remodel and reinvent you.
As a claims professional, you understand how hectic events can become and how quickly! There are key steps you can take to minimize the overwhelming workload you will incur and to ensure that your technology is working for you… not the other way around.
As you know, preparing your claims and getting them completed quickly and efficiently is the key to your professional success. Not to mention, the key to your financial bliss. When preparing your estimates, most importantly, you want to make sure they are comprehensive and correct. This will eliminate many future issues that may arise from insufficient and omitted details and gain acknowledgement from your employers earlier.
Before you are activated and deployed, take the time to prepare yourself. Do you have the Xactimate training you need and owe yourself to be a successful claims adjuster? If you are not proficient in Xactimate, then you are not providing yourself the best opportunity to work in claims with a finely-tuned workflow. Understand the features and benefits of your software. Through a thorough understanding of the software you employ, you are setting yourself up to achieve an enhanced and streamlined operational process – increasing your efficacy and overall output.
You skillset is your resume and your marketing tool to the staffing firms that will employ you. It’s important to obtain your Level 1 and 2 Xactimate certifications to increase your marketability. By obtaining your Level 3 certification, you are showing Independent Adjusting Firms that you are serious about working in this industry. Set yourself ahead of others who may not put forth the effort to receive this training. Remember, they don’t pay you for scoping the damage…..they pay you for completing the claim!
As in most all things in life, you will get out of this profession what you put into it. Xactimate is a tool of your trade. Know your tools to the best of your ability. Get trained, get on those rosters, get to work and get paid! You owe it to yourself and those who count and depend on you to be the best claims adjuster you can be.
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