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JimF

USA
1014 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2003 :  10:02:10  Show Profile
Excellent posts and ideas from everyone so far. I always learn something new on each storm just from observing what other adjusters bring along and how they handle some of the obstacles we encounter more along personal comfort items.

Like Clayton, I generally carry 90 days worth of clothes out with me in Rubbermaid tubs (great for packing, storage, and having at the ready). No time to worry about washing, folding and laundry those first days especially on large severe storms.

Following along those same lines, I always take a winter coat, winter gloves, boots, and other cold weather gear along with me, even if I am leaving for an assignment in April or May. Here's why: when I leave home I never really know when I'll get home again, and many times have left for one storm in April and 6 or 7 storms later returned home the end of December. Adjusters always seem to be able to find the 'next storm' better when already out on assignment rather than while at home sitting by the phone waiting for a call-out.

Similarly, when I leave in December or January, I always carry my two ladders with me, generally provoking some ribbing or laughter from other adjusters who tell me I don't need ladders for ice storms, which is generally true. But many times, I have handled an ice storm and been invited to stay for clean-up and sometimes the clean-up involves a hail storm from the previous year at this ice location, which most adjusters might not be aware of; or I hear of a hail storm close by just as I am finishing the ice storm. It saves a trip home and may allow me to get there first, which can be important if they only need one or two adjusters. And for winter call-outs, always take some summer clothes along as well, for this reason.

When you arrive and settle into your hotel, apartment or RV park, one of the first things to do is locate the nearest Post Office, Fed Ex drop off, and Chinese laundry (wash, dry and fold).

Especially for spring/summer storms and severe storms, I always carry along a couple of cases of bottled water, Gatorade, Coca Colas, and assorted and sundry canned, bagged or packaged foods, just in case. The early days of a severe storm aftermath can and does result in shortages and/or highly inflated pricing. Just another thing to make life a little more comfortable until things return to normal.

And, don't forget to carry along at least one larger cooler.

One last suggestion which has worked well for me in the past, when hurricane season arrives and a big one is forecast to hit, generally somewhere along the East Coast, go on the Internet or telephone and make advance 'non-guaranteed' hotel reservations for several days out (to coincide with a day after The Weather Channel says the hurricane is going to hit) for several locations along the projected storm path. As an example, I will make a reservation with Red Roof, Extended StayAmerica or Microtel in Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington and so on. Hotel rooms can be difficult if not impossible to find after the big one hits, so this method is my personal risk management technique for avoiding the hassles and despair of not being able to find a room later. (And if you end up being shipped to another town away from the room you reserved where damage did occur, you can always make a great friend by passing along your hold on this room to another cat adjuster. I do call the hotel reservation center back and guarantee the room by credit card once I know where the hurricane has hit and verified damage is there.(But don't forget to call back and cancel the room reservations for any towns you won't need!)


Edited by - JimF on 01/28/2003 10:18:31
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Newt

USA
657 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2003 :  12:21:30  Show Profile
Shirts and Slacks:
I dont know if any of you have tried the VF outlet, but every trip I make to Texas I stop by and shop. They are all over but I like the one at Mineral Wells. They have name brands and you save at least half. Try them on because many of the items that you think will fit, may not. Besides there is the comfort factor. If something don't hang right don't buy it, if you are like me I have favorites, and I tend to wear them out first.

Edited by - Newt on 01/28/2003 12:24:32
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CatDaddy

USA
310 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2003 :  12:36:06  Show Profile
Newt - I have bought alot of pants from the VF outlets. Those Lee chinos are pretty tough.

My lastest score was at the Eddie Bauer Distribution Center store in Columbus, Ohio. ALL pants in the Warehouse section of the store..$9.99! Brand new! I bought 9 pair.
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Newt

USA
657 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2003 :  14:32:57  Show Profile
And they hang good CatDaddy, Lee's seem to fit me better than most. Of course I'm over 6'4" so I am sort of hard to fit. I am down to about 210 from 220. My old frame dont carry the weight as well as it use to. So I'll just hang around where I am at.
I think I spent around $300 the last time I stocked up last June and I still haven't taken the tags off.
I have a big chest that fits in the truck bed that holds a world of stuff. I can drop the tail gate and unlock it and every thing is handy. I have a cross over tool box that has every thing in the way of tools you would ever need to do most anything. I have always had one and kept it full of good stuff. Like the others I have more plastic containers that will take care of supplies. The water here has spoiled me so I did use a fourty gallon container to carry my own I got to dig it out. I am in the market for another travel trailer. I just sold mine it was too heavy. Then I got my generator for those emergencies, without power.
I very seldom sleep more than four or five hours so Motels are almost painful for me. I got to be outside a lot, thats why I like the campers. This will save me from having to pack every time I go.
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mgkmrp

USA
27 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2003 :  13:39:23  Show Profile
What a great thread!!
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ChuckDeaton

USA
373 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2003 :  21:23:53  Show Profile
I have an Antec rotary USB scanner that can be carried in a briefcase and program that prints graph paper and a small Sotec laptop that is dedicated to DeLorme.

I also have a copy of Office 2000 which is standing me in good stead on a Farmers mold job.

A straw hat and bottled water are permanent residents in my truck. I love a little pin on compass I bought at Wal Mart and my camera is a Minolta that fits in my shirt pocket.

Like Newt I run two batteries
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christian

1 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2003 :  04:57:02  Show Profile
As an added thought to excellect information, It may be worthwhile to stop at a State Welcome Center to pick up hotel/motel discount rates to apply to areas not serviced by the larger chains. Talk with the owner about extended stay but have them prorate to daily for actual stay period.
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bryan newell

USA
45 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2003 :  18:28:28  Show Profile
For the past several storms I have utilized an office assistant. I pay a friend of my wifes $5 for each file she sets up. She takes my claims off of efax, maps them out, contacts them for appointments & then inputs the admin info into xacticrap & sends it via xactnet. When she makes contact with the Insured, she provides them with my contact numbers & refers all questions to me, advising the Insured that she is only an admin person. I wish my wife could/would do it, but she has a job & the kids. It took all of one day to train the young lady & she does a wonderful job. I have been deployed in the DFW area & have not driven farther than 5 mins between claims. Well worth the investment of time & money.

Like Kile in Baton Rouge, I use 2 large plastic tubs on rollers & the "Stanley" rolling tool chest. One tub contains all of my CAT clothes, the other contains CPU's(laptop + backup), printer, camera, & cartridges. The tool chest contains all of my office supllies & has a great area for storing books. ie. "The Bluebook", "The Home Building Guide", etc. I have spent a lil bit of money to outfit it that way, but when I get the call I map the route, load up the tubs, kiss the wife & kids, then hit the road. While enroute, the admin girl is mapping & scheduling.
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JimF

USA
1014 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2003 :  20:42:49  Show Profile
Bryan, excellent post with some great ideas.

I have several questions based on the scenario you describe: since your administrative assistant is mapping and scheduling your claims and contacts while you are enroute to the storm site, I assume that you receive your claims prior to leaving home? Are they sent to you by eFax, fax or Xactnet? And I also assume you are working with the same vendor regularly in order to have such a wonderfully organized set-up?

Pretty cushy to know in advance how many claims you will be getting before you arrive at the storm. When additional claims come in to you (after the initial assignment), who sends and how are those claims transmitted to your administrative assistant for entry and contact?

Any further details you can share with us would be greatly appreciated and of great interest to our CADO audience.

Thanks.

Edited by - JimF on 05/15/2003 20:49:54
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bryan newell

USA
45 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2003 :  11:32:36  Show Profile
Yes, I work primarily for one vendor. Currently claims are sent via Efax, which the girl prints out, (I forward the efax to her email), she emails me my calendar with the appts. When I am on the storm, we work the same system. For Lili, I paid her a per diem & she stayed in the same hotel with me. Efax is a great tool for the IA. She still enters the admin stuff & uses xactnet for transfer.
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Catmandale

USA
67 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2003 :  23:00:48  Show Profile
Bryan,

Thanks for the great post. It sounds like you have a great system worked out. Being set up right puts you halfway home, doesn't it?

If I understood your posts correctly, the Admin lady at home is working with Xactimate an setting up the files. I'm going to assume that you get a good rate on the Xactware lease through your vendor, and that gets you two installs for your use.

Things are changing at Xactware next year, as set forth in a letter from them this February. The new set up is $115 (or whatever the break is that you get from your intermediary)PER COMPUTER, PER MONTH, with a 12 month minimum commitment. Even if you currently own the program (actually the license), those two or three or more tokens will have zero value on Jan 1 2004.

How would you get around this? Just live with the extra overhead, or find a new way to have her somehow setup and import into Xactware remotely?

Great topic and information.

Dale Strain




"When we thought that we had all the answers,
suddenly all the questions changed."
Mario Benedetti (1920); Uruguayan writer.
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bryan newell

USA
45 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2003 :  21:15:10  Show Profile
Dale,

As I understand it, the lease will be a minimum of 3 months. I have always looked at things in a practical, dollars & cents, manner. In my opinion, if I have to pay the extra overhead, it is just the cost of doing business, as an independent contractor. I really do not agree with xacticrap & their philosophy on pricing. It seems to me they have been talking to the guy from Photo Adjuster. I guess that is another topic. Anyways, in my mind I justify the extra expense by realizing how much time the admin help saves me. There are other options available..... using a temp service for one. My help has also just mapped out the claims & set appts for me, without entering the stuff in xacticrap. Even that lil bit of help eases the workload considerably. I try to maximize my time for scoping, so that I do not feel rushed on the imspection & can take the time to inspect the little things, like mail boxex, pool expansion joints, etc. The freedom the scheduling allows me to still see a fair number of insureds each day. This is something that has worked for me, it may not be for everyone.

Jim sounded surprised that I received claims prior to me leaving home. Is this unusual? I used to just start driving, but I was burned last year in LA for Lili & decided then that I will not deploy again, unless I have 50 claims in hand, prior to departure. Fortunately, I caught on with another carrier in LA. but I learned a valuable lesson.
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Catmandale

USA
67 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2003 :  00:03:45  Show Profile
Bryan,

The letter I got from Xactware said a one year minimum commitment, for those that contact Xactware directly. Perhaps there is a shorter term available through vendor connections.

I've been thinking of contacting my clients and telling them I can't guarantee my work product and the price is doubling next year. They should be fine with that.

As far as using your admin help, I was thinking perhaps there is a way for them to use a database or file format that can be imported in to Xactware much as the addresses are exported out for using with DeLorme mapping. Then you wouldn't need that second install.

I haven't personally used DeLorme or the export/import features, but I remember others discussing it on the site. Maybe someone else could comment on the possibilities.

Dale Strain

"When we thought that we had all the answers,
suddenly all the questions changed."
Mario Benedetti (1920); Uruguayan writer.
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bryan newell

USA
45 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2003 :  14:41:17  Show Profile
Dale,
That is a great idea. I have a friend who is currently working on integrating a decent photo program into xacticrap. I will check with him & see if there a practical application that would allow for such a thing. Imagine being able to just email the admin info. Training somebody on xacticrap would not be necessary as there would only be a fill in the blank applet.

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Newt

USA
657 Posts

Posted - 05/22/2003 :  08:23:07  Show Profile
Back to the original topic:

1. 1200 mile and under 23 hrs to get there. Then you have to be bright eyed and bushy tailed when you arrive at the meeting.
2. I am more fortunate than most, my grand son(24) is my partner and a licensed adjuster, he is a computer whiz and can type faster than I can talk. My daughter is also a licensed adjuster and and I have an office on this property, she will handle the 800# calls.
3. Since this is a hurry up and get there as most Cat Calls must be, and to avoid being bushed before starting, a lot of preplanning has to be in place for all occassions.
4.I have been working on the plans along with Cris and Linda( Grandson and Daughter).
5.This is our plan for deployment:
a. Load the P/U (Cris and I)
b. Make reservations at either Atlanta, Birmingham, or Montgomery Air terminal.(Linda)
c. I will only carry what I need for the meeting with me on the flight.
d. Linda will make motel reservations near the meeting place.
e. Cris will drop me off at the Air Port, and continue on the trip. I will have a portable SSB radio, which we will maintain contact. After loading the truck and a stop at the Air Port, 1200 miles is a bit much for one days driving, Cris will lay over enroute.
f. By the time the truck arrives, I will have had time to secure suitable quarters near the area we will be working, rent a wreck and start going through the files, getting the locations and mapping out a plan. I can also load the files.
g. I will give Cris the location and directions to the quarters by radio, and inform Linda as to my location and phone number.
i. I will call the agents office and tell them I am on location and where to forward calls pretaing to questions and claims.
j. When Cris arrives we will set up our office and turn in the rent a wreck or depending on the distance involved between claims, we may keep it for economy.
k. We start settig up appointments and mapping out routes.
l. Roof work will be done using using handy talkies and headphones, with one the ground doing the recording.
m. We hope to complete the claime on site, like the method Chuck uses.

All I need to make is expences and some "mad money" for the partners. 58 claims may be enough, to cover the cost and do that. I may be expecting too much but I won't know till I try.
My main concern is getting out a good product on time, we don't want cleanup doing our work over. I am cramped for time and would like to expand this. We are still working out details and I may have more later. I would like to hear more details and if some of this plan is wrong let me know. I am sure others would like to hear your plans.
If this works out we will invest in a MotorHome to work out of. If we do we will go to satelite communications, and highspeed internet access.
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