Thursday, April 24, 2014
floodinsuranceedu.com
Menu

Catastrophe Central, Discuss, Share, Learn

Let's get real about the money
Last Post 05/01/2012 10:20 PM by stormcrow. 29 Replies.
AddThis - Bookmarking and Sharing Button Printer Friendly
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Sort:
PrevPrev NextNext
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Page 1 of 212 > >>
Author Messages Informative
Dadx9
Member
Member
Member
Posts:4


--
03/05/2012 9:30 AM

    It has been a long time since I have posted anything but thought the following information might be valuable. It sure was sobering to me.

    I have been a property Claims Adjuster for over 19 years. I have done may years solely as a Catastrophe Adjuster, two stints as a Staff Adjuster and now am primarily an Independent Daily Adjuster. (I did work 5 months away from home last year).

    I recently was offered (and still debating) an inside Claims Examiner position at $65,000 annually. In order to make an informed decision I actually put everything in a spreadsheet. After taxes that number reduces to about $42,000. I have put all my expenditures into the spreadsheet and as you can imagine, pretty much a wash or break even.

    Then I thought it appropriate to list real expenditures to continue to remain an Independent Adjuster...... The right way. My household expenditures remain the same but I added the following: This is where it became sobering and enlightening even for a 19-year veteran.

    1. Medical Insurance                $700 a month
    2. Travel Expenses                    $500 a month (every month as a budget could be higher)
    3. Medical Savings Account    $500 a month (for your deductible and 80/20 expenses)
    4. Fuel                                       $600 a month (what would it be for diesel?)

    The are many other incidentals (licenses, continuing education, conferences, tools, toys, etc.....) When I totaled the real number I needed to make to pay the bills and "do it right", the total was $78,000!!! Now factoring in taxes and FICA the real number is $105,000. All of this to live at the same level of the above-offered $65,000. Sobering only begins to describe how I feel.

    So how do I make $100,000 + every year? Well, I guess at a conservative claim payment rate of $200 per claim x 500 claims = $100,000. That's only 2 claims a day. Sounds doable, but every year? Remember I am primarily a Daily Adjuster. But if I averaged 3 claims a day that equals about $140,000 a year.

    Why did I compose this? Most Cat Adjusters, I know and have met do not put aside funds for taxes, medical insurance, budget expenses, continuing education, etc.... We pay it as we have it. Heck, I haven't even allowed for retirement! Too many folks have entered our profession because we talked about how much money we have earned. We leave out the details of how much it costs to maintain our mercenary lifestyle. I wanted to share this, especially for those that are new to our profession. It appears it could be a very busy season and we could all be financially rewarded. I only hope we take pro-active steps so next January we aren't asking ouselves, "where did all the money go?"

    ChuckDeaton
    Life Member
    Posts:1110


    --
    03/09/2012 10:06 AM
    a Pilot adjuster posted on FOATA saying that his monthly expenses are somewhere around $4000 per month. I doubt that $4000 included everything.
    "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
    cwrundell
    Member
    Member
    Posts:22


    --
    03/09/2012 10:27 PM
    $600.00 a month in fuel? What are your driving? I am not ready to part with my Toyota Tundra yet... never know when I will have to but the contractor hat on again. Last week I spent $493.00 on fuel.

    I need a V6 that seats six, (I have 4 kids) is capable of carrying a 32' ladder and is not a mini van. I like the Ford Flex and the Subaru Tribeca. Does anyone else have any advice?

    Chad W. Rundell
    ChuckDeaton
    Life Member
    Posts:1110


    --
    03/10/2012 12:45 PM
    I buy good used vehicles from a local salvage yard. Low price and they fix any problems before the vehicle leaves the premises. The Dodge Durango that I'm driving at the moment cost me $2700.

    I drove the Durango all over the East Coast working Hurricane Irene claims, then to Tampa for the Crawford seminar and in the morning I'm going to Dallas for a Crawford seminar.

    in April I intend to drive it to Dallas for another Crawford seminar and then to Kansas City for commercial adjuster seminar.

    The only way to make net net money in this business is to keep your expenses down.
    "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
    Dadx9
    Member
    Member
    Member
    Posts:4


    --
    03/11/2012 10:26 AM
    I guess the point I was trying to make was not communicated properly. I was not attempting to discuss how much or how little our expenses are, but what conservatively is required to stay afloat in this business. We have had so many people leave their jobs and families to chase the pot at the end of the rainbow. How many adjusters began their careers during the 2004 hurricane season or Katrina? Only to find out they didn't have the resources or skill set to continue? I see many resumes or ready for deployment with less than a year of experience. I am all for new blood in the ranks, I only want them to hear what I never heard how much (conservatively) it takes to run their business. I'm sure it would sobering to see how many of us are working in this high-risk industry with no medical coverage or self-funding our retirement (all waiting for the mother of all storms to fund our retirement) or are current on FICA and taxes. I have seen too many of our brothers and sisters pass away, chasing the big one only to leave their families, too soon, and in financial trouble.

    To quote a great departed friend and mentor, "Know before you go". I miss ya Dave
    CatAdjusterX
    Posts:959


    --
    03/11/2012 8:41 PM

    Posted By Dadx9 on 11 Mar 2012 10:26 AM
    I guess the point I was trying to make was not communicated properly. I was not attempting to discuss how much or how little our expenses are, but what conservatively is required to stay afloat in this business. We have had so many people leave their jobs and families to chase the pot at the end of the rainbow. How many adjusters began their careers during the 2004 hurricane season or Katrina? Only to find out they didn't have the resources or skill set to continue? I see many resumes or ready for deployment with less than a year of experience. I am all for new blood in the ranks, I only want them to hear what I never heard how much (conservatively) it takes to run their business. I'm sure it would sobering to see how many of us are working in this high-risk industry with no medical coverage or self-funding our retirement (all waiting for the mother of all storms to fund our retirement) or are current on FICA and taxes. I have seen too many of our brothers and sisters pass away, chasing the big one only to leave their families, too soon, and in financial trouble.

    To quote a great departed friend and mentor, "Know before you go". I miss ya Dave

    ....................................

    Dadx9,

     

    NoNoNo, your message was heard loud and clear! What a wonderful insightful post that was right on the money and something that is RARELY spoken of in great detail.

    I am indeed one of those described, I got started in 03 and began working real world claims as an apprentice with Jeanne in 04. Katrina/Rita was when I was allowed to work my OWN claims. I am indeed one of the lucky ones who has survived up to and including today. Most of those who worked Katrina/Rita as rookies are long since gone from the industry.

     

    In closing, THANK YOU for your spot on analysis!

     

     

    Robby Robinson 



    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
    ChuckDeaton
    Life Member
    Posts:1110


    --
    03/13/2012 4:55 PM
    In your case, Robby, you are lucky you didn't get caught working without a flood license or dead!
    "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
    CatAdjusterX
    Posts:959


    --
    03/14/2012 10:43 PM
    Posted By ChuckDeaton on 13 Mar 2012 04:55 PM
    In your case, Robby, you are lucky you didn't get caught working without a flood license or dead!

    .........................................................................................................................................................................................................

    Wow Chuck, you are like a regular "Coon Hound", I can't seem to get you off my trail, you even followed me to another thread!!(LOL) I don't know what you are inferring about me being lucky I am not dead. This issue is put to rest Chuck, I will no longer respond to this nonsense or snide comments.

    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
    ChuckDeaton
    Life Member
    Posts:1110


    --
    03/15/2012 8:14 PM
    You post and brag about injuries suffered as a result of falling off a two story roof, every time you repeat the story, listing your injuries I am amazed. According to your posts you went into parts of New Orleans were guns were necessary and came out alive. Man, have you had death defying adventures or what?
    "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
    CatAdjusterX
    Posts:959


    --
    03/16/2012 8:02 PM
    Posted By ChuckDeaton on 15 Mar 2012 08:14 PM
    You post and brag about injuries suffered as a result of falling off a two story roof, every time you repeat the story, listing your injuries I am amazed. According to your posts you went into parts of New Orleans were guns were necessary and came out alive. Man, have you had death defying adventures or what?


    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
    Tex Walker
    Member
    Member
    Posts:58


    --
    03/19/2012 12:47 PM
    Robby is quite the story teller I have gathered from his post.. Chuck, spot on !! haha This usually happens when a new adjuster hops on the bandwagon after a big event ( 04-05 hurricane season ) and claims to know everything. We got a regular Man vs. Wild sharing his stories, just dont tell us you drink urine please....
    CatAdjusterX
    Posts:959


    --
    03/19/2012 8:45 PM
    Posted By Tex Walker on 19 Mar 2012 12:47 PM
    Robby is quite the story teller I have gathered from his post.. Chuck, spot on !! haha This usually happens when a new adjuster hops on the bandwagon after a big event ( 04-05 hurricane season ) and claims to know everything. We got a regular Man vs. Wild sharing his stories, just dont tell us you drink urine please....

    OUCH!!
    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
    ChuckDeaton
    Life Member
    Posts:1110


    --
    03/20/2012 1:33 PM
    Tex, I, just this morning, saw his falling story on LinkedIn. The injuries he describes would kill anyone but Robby and Bear Gyllis. Oh, and Robby has a 30% service related disability.

    And he got permission from the NFIP to handle flood claims without being licensed, an apprentice he says.
    "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
    CatAdjusterX
    Posts:959


    --
    03/21/2012 8:21 PM
    Posted By ChuckDeaton on 20 Mar 2012 01:33 PM
    Tex, I, just this morning, saw his falling story on LinkedIn. The injuries he describes would kill anyone but Robby and Bear Gyllis. Oh, and Robby has a 30% service related disability.

    And he got permission from the NFIP to handle flood claims without being licensed, an apprentice he says.

     You go ahead and twist folks words to your heart's content (this is something you do that you obviously enjoy) but DON'T YOU DARE EVER QUESTION ANYTHING RELATED TO MY SERVICE TO THIS COUNTRY!! 

    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
    olderthendirt
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:142


    --
    03/22/2012 3:29 PM
    OHHH a little name call'n and mud slinging, just like the old days.
    We could use a bit of life in here.
    Robby I for one appreciate what you are doing, even if I do not always agree with you.
    And storm season is a coming, could be a long one this year and I might even be available this year.
    I actual miss doing a hail/wind cat. It has been a while. And maybe a hurricane again.
    Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it depends on what you put in it
    okclarryd
    Posts:954


    --
    03/22/2012 3:43 PM
    I think we need a group hug or somethin'

    Happy Trails
    Larry D Hardin
    Dadx9
    Member
    Member
    Member
    Posts:4


    --
    03/23/2012 10:17 PM
    Let me see if I can redeem this thread.

    Today after many hours / days / weeks of negotiating offers and counter offers, I suspended my attempt to take a inside position for a carrier.

    If nothing else else the journey revealed how inadequate I have been in taking control of my business. That is the purpose of this thread. Being REAL about the money. For fifteen years I have visited and contributed to this site. I get frustrated defending all the drama to my clients. (They read the posts and don't take us as serious as they should). Trust me they know who we are and judge us by what we say.

    Back to the money. In addition to working a full week of wind, hail, lightning, water and fire claims, calculated 2011 taxes and revised seven previous years. Fun days, eh. To those who are still trying to gain stability in our business, be of good cheer. We have the opportunity to provide great service and be rewarded financially! Although this is a site for catastrophe adjusting, you may be able to parlay your talents and skills into working for various independent companies doing daily claims. While earning money and keeping your travel expenses down, you can develop relationships and hone your adjusting and writing skills. When they need bodies you will be at the top of their list, if you have proven yourself.

    This journey has confirmed the necessity to incorporate and register as a S Corp. Once this is done, all billing will be issued in the companies name. A company debit card will be used to document business expenses. The business can pay me a salary. Just like an insurance file, the documentation must thorough and simple. It must tell the story.

    I am looking forward to a successful 2012! Not waiting for the BIG ONE anymore. There is work out there if we take the time to develop it!

    I hope we can continue this dialogue. I look forward to you sharing your stories, comments, questions and answers.

    Let's contiune the Let's Be Real About the Money discussion.

    Thanks!

    Dadx9

    mxr618
    Member
    Member
    Posts:19


    --
    04/05/2012 8:07 PM

    DadX9 -- (nine!)

    I'm picking up what you are putting down. I'm cutting my teeth running daily claims to get the experience I need to possibly make the leap to Cat adjusting. 

    The financial discipline it takes to set aside monies for taxes (and winter) is not easy to come by. Fortunately, I have a good accountant who laid a program out for me. It's easy, in her accounting terms: stick to the plan and succeed, blow it and fail. That's logic I can get behind. 

    I had my heart set on a monster diesel F250 with ladder racks and a computer stand ...and it just doesn't make any sense. I'm shopping for high milage zippy little cars that can take a folded-up Little Giant. That realization was rough. I've always been a pack-my-lunch kind of guy and I'm lucky because my wife has the insurance in the family. But budgeting every nickel and working the budget can be the difference between success and failure, in my opinion.

    I'm 42. Were I 22 I'd have a different perspective, for sure. I've owned my own companies since I was 24 so this isn't my first rodeo. But I think managing finances is a habit to get into and young adjusters certainly can learn from your posts. 

    Speaking of which, I'd hope the new guys or the guys who lurk on these boards take the time to look past the old guys' negativity and the guys who come across as know-it-alls and you'll-never-make-it-unless-you're-as-good-as-I-am who whack each other in every thread. I did. I got licensed in TX in 10/11, completed my SF training with Worley last month and am adjusting claims right now. Believe in yourself and what you want to do and you'll succeed!

    MXR

    stormcrow
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:408


    --
    04/11/2012 11:54 AM
    Yes we can be negative, it happens every time I see some newby bragg about how he will make $$$$ on the next hail storm and how he know every thing after a 3 day course. Or every time a hear of someone quitting a decent job to risk everything for the promised "big" money in cat after a 2 day course. Actually that is more sad. This is a tough job and very hard work and it takes time to learn properly. mxr618, you sound like the exception. Understand that evertime a few thousand money hungry under trainned adjsuters hit the ground in a major event, we all pay the price down the road. It just re inforces the companies understanding we are the sludge on the pond bottom.
    I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
    mxr618
    Member
    Member
    Posts:19


    --
    04/11/2012 8:40 PM
    Let's be clear, Stormcrow -- I'm as money hungry and undertrained as all the rest of the newbies...don't be fooled. :)

    But every claim I'm on I learn a little more (like waterproof boots and a bunny suit on fire claims) and every day I am able to I read all I can about this industry. And I guess I'm old enough to know that earning a living isn't going to happen without the hard work and the miles on the proverbial odometer. And I'm a realist...and pragmatic.

    Real about the $$, real about the expenses, real about the taxes. I can say with 100% confidence that I will get rich quick in claims adjusting. It will just take the rest of the years of my working career! :)

    It's too bad somebody couldn't run an honest survey to find out how many of those adjusters who made the big bucks had any left at the end of the following February (or April 15th).

    Dadx9, I laid the S Corp suggestion on my accountant today. She said it makes the most sense.

    okclarryd
    Posts:954


    --
    04/12/2012 10:36 AM
    mxr618,

    I'm gonna wade in on this against my better judgement.

    I've been a staffy guy, an independent daily guy, a cat adjuster guy, and worn a lot of hats in each of these endeavors. I've never had a problem getting work and have learned the hard way who to work for and who to ignore.

    In the cat world, I've always made more money on the smaller events, the hail storms, the wind storms, the ice storms. The other side of the coin,...........I know several guys that were in the right place at the right time and made lots and lots of money working "slab" claims on the coast. That door never opened for me for whatever reason. I'm a little jealous but I've gotten over it. For several years, my phone would ring and I'd be sent to "BFE" by myself to work a small event that would last for 60 to 90 days and would report to a supervisor that might be several states away. I'm not sure that I'm that good an adjuster but I am sure that I would go wherever, whenever they called and do my best.

    The most I've ever made was in Detroit (who would'a thought it) working ice dam claims. I was one of just a few adjusters that would even GO to Detroit, let alone work with minimal supervision. (I'm not going back to South Chicago, no matter what) The claims were easy, no roofs, no BS, just lots and lots of interior damage that included lots of plaster repair. The sliding fee schedule I was working under was adequate and, like I said, I made a lot of money. I did this by closing a lot of claims. THAT STAYED CLOSED!! And the firm I was working for, Pilot Catastrophe, takes money very seriously. They took care of mine and theirs with equal interest.

    The point I'm trying to make, I think, is find a company that treats you with respect, treats your money with respect, and is willing to put you to work. You, and I, need to be able to go wherever, whenever with no drama and do a pretty darn good job when you get there. And, be willing to stay until the assignment is completed. Once you have this rapport established with your employer, you will have work whenever there IS work.

    Ya just have to be a duck...........talk like a duck, walk like a duck and be the duck. There's lots of ponds out there.

    Happy Trails
    Larry D Hardin
    mxr618
    Member
    Member
    Posts:19


    --
    04/13/2012 11:46 PM

    Larry - 

    I can dig it. I've got a 200 mile radius around Chicago that I run day claims in. I know this is a cat website but I think I'd rather do day claims. Being home for the Mrs. is probably the best motivator at the moment.

    I lived in Atlanta in 2009 / 2010 working storm damage restoration. Loved the work, loved Atlanta, loved the money, didn't love seeing my wife one weekend a month. It would have been the same deal as an 'in house catastrophe adjuster' working for 50-70k per year + bennies with some of the companies I interviewed with in January / February. I think I can make a little more than that and be home most nights. Also, if a short deployment to a second or third tier Midwestern city comes up and I can run three, maybe four claims per day for a month it just helps my bottom line and I can handle it. 

    Here's an interesting observation: I'm amazed at how much I've learned since I started running claims. I'm also amazed at how much I didn't know. I can't fathom green adjusters fresh from training hitting the ground with three days of adjuster school, three days of SF training, and two days of Xactimate and getting handed thirty + claims. That's mildly horrifying.

    I have to do South Chicago...no choice!

    MXR

    Atfulldraw
    Member
    Member
    Posts:88


    --
    04/14/2012 10:59 PM
    Well said, Larry.

    Quack, quack.
    Rod
    slims999
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:1


    --
    04/18/2012 11:08 AM
    Man you guys are making out the adjustment world to be a pretty tough gig. I think AMCAT USA apparently sends you to catastrophe areas, but take forever to pay you. Any recommendations on getting into the industry? I live near Irving, so I wanted to take their courses.
    ddreisbach
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:172


    --
    04/29/2012 10:51 AM
    Posted By stormcrow on 11 Apr 2012 11:54 AM 
    ... Understand that evertime a few thousand money hungry under trainned adjsuters hit the ground in a major event, we all pay the price down the road...
    Yeah, but the clean-up pays well.  I had four months of well-paid work re-doing some unbelieveably screwed-up claims after Irene.  Had to do damage control with the homeowners, but most accepted my explanation of why they got a doofus for their first adjuster.

    You are not authorized to post a reply.
    Page 1 of 212 > >>