Of many important topics discussed on most ADJUSTER related websites, the most common subject and easily the most "contentious" topic seems to be the mass exodus of individuals that have swelled our ranks long past the point of "SATURATION"
We can almost trace this exodus to it's beginning as I myself came to this industry(along with many others) back in 2004 in response to the 4 hurricanes that made landfall in quick succession on the Florida peninsula.
Then came the storied 2005 Storm season that brought us hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
These EPIC storm seasons brought some interesting facts to the many folks who were just beginning to suffer from the effects of the downward spiral of our Nation's economy which was now moving towards mass layoffs, the slowdown of the Construction industry (which as we all know now is at a standstill)
Folks became aware of how much money there was to be made in the Adjusting Industry and because of the overwhelming number of claims filed from these two seasons, the Insurance carrier's and Independent adjusting firms were scrambling trying to find enough people required to put "BOOTS ON THE GROUND" and were forced to literally put almost anyone with a "pulse" out in the field and thrust into the position of an ""ADJUSTER", these new "adjuster's" thought "WOW, I AM MAKING SO MUCH MONEY AND THE FACT OF HAVING NO EXPERIENCE MUST MEAN BEING AN ADJUSTER IS EASY MONEY !!!! "
Just thinking back to so many folks who were flipping burgers on a Friday, through these mass cattle calls, were herded through a weekend seminar and on Monday were now tasked with putting the insureds lives back together by trying to adequately asses the damage's to these damaged properties with ZERO KNOWLEDGE of what they were doing, It's not hard to see why our industry is where it is now.
Many of these instant "STORM TROOPERS" and the horrific mistakes they made from being thrust into a position they were not qualified to handle along with certain Carriers putting profits ahead of Customer Service has given rise to and contributed to the EXPLOSION of Insureds being represented by Public Adjusters and Attorney's.
These days there are so many "schools" popping up everywhere offering a 3 day course for a few hundred bucks and almost anybody can be an adjuster.
With the state of our economy , folks from many defunct industry are coming to our neck of the woods in droves wanting in on "THE GRAVY TRAIN".
We cannot blame them, they are just trying to survive and we would all do the same thing to feed our families..
So , here we are, those of us with some experience( DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND ME AS WHILE I HAVE 6 YEARS OF CLAIMS EXPERIENCE , I STILL BELIEVE MYSELF A NEWCOMER COMPARED WITH OUR INDUSTRY VETERAN'S WITH 10 ,20 YEARS OF CLAIMS EXPERIENCE) watching our industry become completely saturated with inexperienced folks and our deployment opportunities are becoming fewer and farther in between and when we do get deployed, we are seeing our fee schedules becoming ever smaller because the one entity that may have benefited from the influx of new adjusters is the Carriers and they can now fill their ranks of deploying adjuster's with those who are new to the industry and will work these claims for a lot less than an experienced adjuster would because many of these folks are coming from a world where they were working for wages around 10.00 to 12.00 an hour and to those folks , even a reduced fee schedule is much more than the wages of their prior industry.
I have a site dedicated to helping these folks and I have always tried to point them in the right direction and I will continue to do so because of the dozens of folks who were with me in my training course and licensing school when I started back in 04', I am the only one left and the only who was fortunate enough and LUCKY enough to work continuously up until my accident back in October of 2009 (another story entirely)
The only reason I am still here and been able to find some degree of success is because of a group of "OLD SCHOOL ADJUSTERS" who took me under their wing and taught me not just how to do claims and inspections, they taught me how to be an adjuster !!
I will never forget what those guys did for me and is why I will help as many new folks as I can and try to put them down the path of becoming an adjuster and not just someone out to make a quick buck.
No matter how much we don't like the direction our Industry is headed, no matter how many "GOOD OLE BOYS" voice their disapproval , no matter how many newbies get ripped apart when they come on the adjuster forum's asking for guidance, the fact is these new folks are going to continue coming to our industry because where else our they going to go ?
Most folks are coming to our industry because they have too, there are no other options and who are we to ridicule somebody who is guilty of trying to feed their families and make a better world for their children and themselves ?
We cannot stop them from coming, so we can sit around and rip them apart but that doesn't change anything !!
All we can do is try to educate them, explain this is not the "GRAVY TRAIN" and being an adjuster is not "EASY MONEY" and try and point them in the right direction.
I strongly believe that receiving an adjuster's license DOES NOT make somebody an adjuster and a license should be not entitle an inexperienced person to do claims, I believe it should entitle the holder of said document as a license to learn !!
Florida has initiated a new statute that as of now only pertains to new Public Adjusters in that they must go through an Apprentice period, I believe it is for a period of 2 years that they must accompany an experienced licensed Public Adjuster before they can become a full fledged licensed Public Adjuster.
Why can't this wonderful statute apply to all new adjusters whether a PA or an IA, I honestly believe that no brand new person in our industry with a newly printed adjuster's license has the knowledge nor experience to competently handle a claim from start to finish.
Whilst I did not go through a 2 year apprentice period, my whole experience for the 8 months or so that I was deployed for hurricane Jeanne, I was not allowed to do a claim by myself, I was not allowed to go near any adjusting software until I had learned how to competently scope a risk from start to finish, every room , every square foot of the exterior, every square on a roof with nothing more than a pad ,a pencil, a tape measure and a camera.
I remember being so angry , felt I was being used by these 'old school guys" I was getting picked on , doing the grunt work while all my buddies were doing there own claims with other companies by themselves, with their adjusting software making the "BIG BUCKS" !!
By the time my firm was done with our little corner of the world, I had still not done an entire claim by myself , I had been under the watchful eye of an experienced adjuster and while I made decent money , it was not what my buddies made, not even close.
The powers that be decided I had demonstrated a working knowledge of competently handling a claim and decided I could begin handling my own claims when I was deployed to the next event whenever that occurred.
I didn't have to wait long before Katrina and Rita reared their ugly heads and found my firm along with myself deployed to that chaotic wasteland that used to be Southern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi !!
I remember so clearly how I would lay in bed at night before Katrina/Rita hoping and wishing for a hurricane to blow through somewhere so I could get work !!
Well I got my wish and I felt so awful inside for wishing this disaster on these folks so I could make a buck, seeing so many homes obliterated and peoples ways of life forever altered and seeing people who's whole family had drowned, for as long as I am able to be an adjuster , I will never EVER write another post about hoping for a hurricane to make landfall so I can work.
When I was cut loose on my own , I felt confident and I felt I knew what I was doing and I was efficient and effective, of course I asked questions, but my core base of knowledge was strong and I stayed on Katrina/Rita from October of 2005 till February of 2007.
I worked the Southern California wildfires in 2007, Gustav in 2008 and back in Southern California for the wildfires of 2009 until my accident, all for the same firm.
All my buddies from My licensing class, they worked Katrina/Rita, they all washed out from that storm except for one and he quit the industry after not finding work after Katrina/Rita.
I envied these guys during Jeanne because they were thrown out there on their own , but they are all gone now, I fully believe it was because they did not have the knowledge nor support system , I didn't like being an apprentice when I was new but it made the difference in who I am today.
I think all new IA's should have to apprentice before they are cut loose on their own before they can truly become an adjuster, spend 2 years under an experienced adjusting firms guidance and tutelage and after that period of time if they can demonstrate a working knowledge of working a claim from start to finish, they can be awarded the coveted title of an adjuster and then receive an adjusters license.
Many will disagree with me on this
I believe most carrier's would oppose an apprentice program, but who knows, maybe someday it will happen, that would go along way towards addressing the problems in our industry in regards to poor adjusting skills leading to claims being reopened by PA's or attorney repped insureds, it won't stop all the claims being reopened as many claims being reopened have nothing to do with what the adjuster did, it has to do with upper management decisions on declining higher payment's and some have to do with the greed of some insureds , PA's and Attorney's.
Whether or not an Apprentice program is ever implemented by states other than Florida or wherever, I will never forget what those guys did for me way back when during Jeanne and I will continue to help as many new folks as I can in the hopes that one day , these guys I am helping now will be able to help those folks that are now the new guys
"A good leader leads.....
..... but a great leader is followed !!"