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Last Post 02/25/2015 4:56 PM by  Marcus
Need help getting started as a CAT adjuster
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BrianTonia
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08/31/2009 1:15 AM

     I am interested in becoming a CAT adjuster and need some pointers.  First off from reading the posts on this website it seems that attending an actual classroom is no better than just doing it online at home.  I want to get off on the right foot and make myself stand out so I can be successful. 

    Once I have done the training and receive my license what is the best avenue to take getting in as an independent adjuster with a company? As an IA do you have to get your own hazard insurance to protect you while on the properties your adjusting?

    Having no experience in adjusting, any comments or suggested paths for training and employment would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

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    Amart
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    08/31/2009 7:58 AM
    Getting a license online is no different than actual classroom. Learning to adjust a loss online would be very difficult. Check out a school named Vale as they offer top notch training and are well known in the adjuster community.

    Once you have a license you are now on par with about 80% of adjusters, in order to work you need to be in the 20%. Sign up with independent adjusting firms and when a big storm hits you will get a call. As a IA you provide a service and get a paycheck, but everything you want or need you must supply for yourself. E&O is something many IA have and is a great idea.

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    ChuckDeaton
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    08/31/2009 6:12 PM
    If you read the posts and understood them, you understand that there is little chance of you being successful catastrophe adjuster. Best stay on the porch and not waste funds on schooling.
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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    dcmarlin
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    08/31/2009 7:13 PM
    I agree, do not waste your money. Unless a big one hits like Katrina, you will not be called.
    You would be much better off trying to get a job with a carrier or large IA, like Crawford, GAB, CL, etc. Let them train you and get a couple of years under your belt. At that time, you would be in a much better position to be a CAT adjuster.
    Gimme a bottle of anything and a glazed donut ... to go! (DLR)
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    BrianTonia
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    08/31/2009 8:03 PM

    So if someone is employeed by lets say Pilot are you working as an idependent contractor or are you an actual employee and on a salary? I think I am be a little confused as to the difference between an independent cat adjuster and working for a firm. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

     

    Thanks

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    BrianTonia
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    08/31/2009 8:05 PM

    So are you saying to not even start as a CAT adjuster and to work just as a general adjuster? If so who would you suggest trying to get on with?

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    BobH
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    08/31/2009 8:20 PM
    Posted By BrianTonia on 31 Aug 2009 08:05 PM

    So are you saying to not even start as a CAT adjuster...

    As a CAT adjuster you will be expected to handle a large volume of claims in a professional manner.  If you "start" as a CAT adjuster, you will wish you had a few years experience doing "daily claims" (non-CAT) so you know what to do.

    Claims adjusting was very difficult for me during my first 2 years of daily claims, and when I did my first hurricane after that, it was adding to the demands of knowledge, speed, adapting to changing logistics, etc.  I would have been a deer-in-the-headlights if I hadn't at least been reading insurance policies, scoping damages, writing estimates, for Dates of Loss scattered throughout the year. 

    In a CAT site, you get handed a big stack of claims that happed a week or more before your arrival.  They all have the same Date of Loss.  And all the people you have to call wonder why you haven't been to their house yet, and can you come over now.  You will wish that you started with daily claims and established the BASICS of the profession before jumping into the deep end.  I am into my 20th year, and still find this job rather difficult.  You just need to take it one step at a time.


    Posted By BrianTonia on 31 Aug 2009 08:05 PM

    ...If so who would you suggest trying to get on with?

     DcMarlin actually answered that in his post above.  Not to be a jerk - but this business is very detail oriented, and you have to listen.  OMG do you have to listen, understand, enter your conculsions to a report that supports your findings...

    Bob H
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    BrianTonia
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    08/31/2009 8:41 PM

    Thanks for your fast reply and advise.  Can you tell me how I could get started in daily claims? Also should I still go ahead and get my All Lines 40 hour adjuster license or do I need to go a different route if I am doing daily claims? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

     

    Thanks

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    BobH
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    08/31/2009 8:44 PM
    Posted By dcmarlin on 31 Aug 2009 07:13 PM
    You would be much better off trying to get a job with a carrier or large IA, like Crawford, GAB, CL, etc. Let them train you and get a couple of years under your belt. At that time, you would be in a much better position to be a CAT adjuster.

    Got it?

     

    Bob H
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    dcmarlin
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    08/31/2009 10:19 PM

    Brian,

    To ellaborate further, you used the phrase "to work just as a general adjuster."

    Nobody justs works as a General Adjuster. Although some appoint themselves as a GA after a couple of years, it is a "designation" earned after being in the industry for many years and handling large  and complex claims involving many different coverages and issues.

    Based on your questions, it is obvoius you know very little about what you may be getting yourself into. You may want to do a little research on your own. Otherwise, you may find it hard to succeed.

    Gimme a bottle of anything and a glazed donut ... to go! (DLR)
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    Ray Hall
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    09/01/2009 12:17 AM

    Catastrophe vendors as we know them today are about 30 years old. Some older adjusters trained their kin and any of them are still around. But I don,t know any person who decided to be a catastrophe adjuster unless the had a leg up such as a contractor that had been doing insurance claims for many years or kin of a contractor so on an so forth. Learn some estimating program and work under/for a successful IA for one storm season. You will not mane much $$ but you will learn a lot if work on 500-700 losses in a few months 5-6. It really takes about 1,000 if you are the sharpest knife in the drawer to not fall on your face as in the slow years you will have to live of the savings of the good years. The adjusters who do best have some staff adjuster experience or a large IA like C & L, Drawford, GAB, McClairns etc.

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    m.enloe
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    10/03/2009 1:27 PM

    I've been a contractor for several years and have scoped more than my share of large and small claims from the foundation up doing storm restoration. I can pretty much do xactimate in my sleep( not trying to brag just laying the flatwork). I'm going to get my license here in Texas to supplement my income because you can't always count on  storm in the areas we work . I've been a Fireman as well during the last 20+ years and I'm hanging it up and now will be able to travel extensively where before I was tied to the schedule. I figure you guys on here have heard of about every online course available. If you know of a decent course for the money that will get me through the quickest I would appreciate your input. . Thanks

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    Ray Hall
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    10/03/2009 2:15 PM

    Take the license course from the less expensive source you can find. I would take a online course. The storm season is just about over until late December &January when we have some ice storm damage. If you live near Houston look up my resume, pay for the lunch and I will give you some inside poop. If you know xmate and how to estimate insurance losses you are at the 5.5 pole of a 7 furlong race.

    * in my opine the Texas License course is worthless, unless you need a Texas License. It will not make you an asjuster, but it will show the system you have a strong interest. So with my grading system you will now be at the 5.6 pole and in three years you will be ready for the mile and quarter stakes reace.

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    m.enloe
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    10/13/2009 9:05 AM

    Thanks for the reply Ray,

    I actually work in the Dallas and Austin areas most of the time or I would take you up on your generous offer. I was leaning that way ( cheapest, quickest , Texas license), as a starting point and then go from there . Most of the adjuster's that have worked for me seasonally or I've dealt with on claims have told me they hold more than one type and more than one state license. I'm just looking for a jumping on point. If your ever in the Dallas area with some time to kill, drop me and email and I'll buy lunch and pick your brain. ( Like the horse racing reference)  :) I'll pm you my email and number. Thanks again. Mark 

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    quoin4
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    10/18/2009 6:19 PM
    Well... I am an experienced adjuster. I have nineteen years of experience in the handling of property claims. The way to learn how to be an adjuster is to get a job with an insurance company working claims every day. When you do this you have some concept of file management, you understand the policy, you understand a little about loss. Claims adjusters handle loss of others in difficult times under pressure and yes... you can make a little money. I have worked Andrew, Northridge Earthquake, Opal, Fran, Floyd, Charlie, Ivan, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. In every storm I have worked, I have worked behind adjusters that were just starting out and the motivation was to make the big bucks in a hurry. I have seen peoples lives damaged in this process by adjusters being assigned claims they were not fit to handle. How would you like it if the adjuster handling your claim had never worked a claim in his life and he had 100 claims handed to him and could not tell if he were fishing or cutting bait. If you are going to "learn the business" or be a "newbie", don't do it without knowing what you are getting into because this is serious business and it is not unusual to go eight months without work. It is not unusual to get sued. It is not unusual to fall off a roof and end up in a coma. It is not unusual to get into an auto accident while on the way to an appointment. If you are going to get into this business at least get a mentor to work some claims with and watch, learn and listen closely. If you are going to "learn the business" remember you are there at the loss to aid a person who has often paid premium for years and has finally "suffered a loss" and needs your undivided attention, needs you to wait and listen, needs you to be a bit of a saint for a moment. Not just someone out to make a buck. I take this job very seriously and it does bother me a little bit seeing these adjuster factories churning out "adjusters". When I was a "newbie" my supervisor told me don't worry... It will take you two years before you will feel comfortable in this job.. At two years I felt I knew just about enough to be dangerous. Just a little food for thought.
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    moco
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    10/20/2009 1:37 AM

    * in my opine the Texas License course is worthless, unless you need a Texas License. It will not make you an asjuster, but it will show the system you have a strong interest. So with my grading system you will now be at the 5.6 pole and in three years you will be ready for the mile and quarter stakes reace.



     

    I have a Texas license, and have never worked 1 loss in the State. However, it has saved me alot of time, travel etc. to getting licensed in the other States that i work who also require you to take a pre-licensing course. Texas license reciprocates largely and is worth it's weight in gold.

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    moco
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    10/20/2009 1:47 AM

    The way to learn how to be an adjuster is to get a job with an insurance company working claims every day.

     

     

    I have recently looked into this believing i would be better off making consistent money, as the daily work for the firm i work for is on a roller coaster cycle for now and the last 8 weeks. But even though i have been working daily claims the last 3 years (1,123 losses under my belt) i lack one piece of paper to land a staff job..COLLEGE DEGREE. If i was being interviewed along side another person (neither of us with any experience) and he/she had a degree, then by all means i would expect they be hired over me. But i suspect that even now if i sit along side a degreed person with no experience and me having 3 years  experience, but no degree, that the degreed person would still be hired first.

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    brighton
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    10/20/2009 10:14 AM

    moco,

    There is usually the comment of equivalent experience in place of the degree. If you have not inquired about this you need to. Companies varrie on this and you will need to check in with them. From what you state as number of claims you have handled, you are running just under the 40/mo that many companies lay on the staff as a minimum.

    Good luck.

    Rocke Baker
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    WILLIS
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    10/20/2009 5:40 PM

    To the fellow that wants to be a Cat Adjuster. I have been an adjuster since 1972 ( See Ray Hall above)  Surely by now I would be a millionaire but alas not so and neither is Ray   If you have any kind of job now stick with it, go back to school, learn a real trade,  you will make more money have less heartache and spend far less money  If you have a wife and kids you can keep those as well   Still want to try it   We all depend on Mother Nature  she is taking this year off  well she has taken the last couple of  years off    All you need is a license in your home state and about every other state in the union. You will need to own / rent Xactimate, Simsol, Integriclaim knowing every aspect of every system. Every vendor requires you be certified, Be prepared to travel to who knows where to pay for the right to be certified, only to have no work ( see mother nature) but next year you will need to be certified again   Might as well get a pick up with a ladder rack, you will need a step ladder, a 16 ft fold up, a tube ladder for narrow inside and at least a 30 ft,  Get a pair of Cougar Paws   I call them suicide shoes as they will allow anyone including 60+ yr olds like me to easily walk around on a 12/12 pitch roof 2& 3 story roofs   get a good cell phone and immediately program 911  see the last sentence.  Buy a satellite dish wired to the roof of the truck so you will have internet everywhere. Also get a trailer so you can haul at least 100 gals of gas, buy a big Honda generator, a tent and camping equipment  so when you working in those exotic storm areas, the day after a Cat 5 levels everything for 50 miles & you are facing issues  with no water, no power, no internet   you can still get to every loss within 48 hours    Buy E&O  do not believe the vendor will back you up when you screw up  And this, you might not get paid for 30-45 days after you get work, and some vendors might never pay you   so make sure your credit card balance is zero.   Like I said the job you have now has got to be better that being a Cat Adjuster.

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    tejasjayb
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    10/23/2009 3:02 PM
    unless you were deployed this past Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day this year, please pay very close attention to the advice that WILLIS is offering above!
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