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CCarr

Canada
1200 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2003 :  11:23:08  Show Profile
Newt, here is a new thread for you or whoever else may be interested. Again, I emphasize that each topic like this should have its own identifiable thread, so as in the event that it develops into anything, and as a result has some future value, it can be found.

Here is the scenario - stick within its framework - consider it 'real' and start to develop your own 'flow' as opposed to relying on others, and offer it up for critique and refinement if necessary. Maybe by the time it has gone through the grinder, if there is sufficient participation, it will evolve into a useful general template.

A fairly significant hail storm ('hail' used because it is the least cumbersome peril regarding the effect the damage has etc) passed through ClaimCity on Thursday May 1/03.

Saturday May 3rd at 9.00AM a vendor called you and after a 'know before you go' chat (which is not part of this thread) you agreed and were deployed by the vendor.

You agreed during the above call on Saturday May 3rd at 9.20AM that you be in ClaimCity - which is 1,200 miles from your home where you took the call - in time to attend the storm orientation meeting at the vendor storm office in ClaimCity, on Sunday May 4th at 8.00PM.

At that storm orientation meeting Sunday May 4th you were presented after the meeting with 58 new claim files at about 10.00PM, and told they were all in one county.

This was your first deployment, and although 40 other adjusters were at the meeting, you only recognize a few other names, and as everyone else leaves the meeting; you are at that point alone and like everyone else have an armful of new files.

You accepted these 58 new files, agreeing with the vendor supervisor, that you would DO the following;

(a) 'contact' all insureds within 24 hours, i.e. by Monday night

(b) 'attend & inspect' all claims within 7 days, i.e. by evening of May 11th

(c) 'close' all claims within 14 days, i.e. by evening of May 18th

(d) 'provide a regular flow' of closed files to the storm office, starting Tuesday May 6th

(e) 'attend' the storm office at least twice weekly

(f) 'call' the storm office at least twice daily

Now, within the parameters of this 'scenario', develop your 'flow' in point form. Starting with the first thing you would do after hanging up the phone from the deployment call, through to being signed off by the vendor on the evening of May 18th or thereabouts.

There is no room in reality for 'maybe & if', stick to the scenario - what is your 'flow'? This thread is NOT about how to adjust a hail claim, it is about leaving home prepared, getting to where you have to be in time, accepting your assignments, and the organization required to complete the tasks.

Edited by - CCarr on 01/25/2003 11:26:10

KileAnderson

USA
875 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2003 :  16:21:57  Show Profile
Well, The first thing I would do is go back to my hotel room and start organizing the files by severity and by zip code. Then I would use my Delorme software to map them all out to see how they were clustered. Since it is so late I wouldn't make any phone calls that night but I would have all my severity 1 claims ready for phone calls first thing the next morning.

Bright and early I would get my coffee and donut and start making phone calls and setting appointments. Usually there is no problem getting people to agree to meet with you when you are "in the neighborhood" looking at other claims that day. Occasionally the insured can't be there on the day you are going to be in the area and they insist on being there for the inspection so you have to work them in. Hopefully after contacting everyone I'd be able to do a couple of inspections in the afternoon.

I work mostly for State Farm and they prefer that you settle the claim on the first visit if at all possible so I wouldn't schedule more than 6, maybe 7 in a day. At this rate I wouldn't have them all inspected as you said, in 7 days, but they would definitely all be closed in 10 days.

I would usually start with my first appointment either at 8 or 9 in the morning and schedule 6 with a 7th in reserve, in case they go faster than I expected. The first couple of days on the storm I'm getting a feel for the damage and the geography and the traffic patterns so things pick up after the first week.

I try to get back to the office by 4 or 5, turn in whatever logs or reports they require, dot all my I's and cross all my T's on the claims and get them turned in. I head to the room around 6 and I make phone calls on any new claims or claims that are still uncontacted until about 7 then I go to dinner. I get back to the room about 8 and if I have any work to do I usually do it in front of the TV until around 10, at which time I pack it all up and get ready for the next day. I'm usually in bed by 11 and up by 6. I'll sleep until 7 when I am caught up and things aren't so frantic.

I know some people who get up at 4:30 or 5 but I'm not a morning person. I can't do any work before I get my coffee and donut and I usually don't get the sleep out of my eyes until around 8.

It may take some experimentation Newt, but eventually you'll find your own work flow and once you get into the swing of it the claims will practically close themselves....well, maybe not that easy, but it will get easier.
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CCarr

Canada
1200 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2003 :  17:38:06  Show Profile
Thanks Kile, that's a great start, and I know you have your own notions for this 'template' for the little (sometimes larger) things that may have been left out in the eye of the junior.

What I want Newt or others to capture is the moment from hanging up after a deployment call, as I said, "starting from the first thing you would do ....".

You picked the template up Kile, after you were back in your room with the new files, late Sunday night.

It can be quite a dilemma occurring between 9.20 AM Saturday morning and getting the files Sunday night - with regards to what to bring and why, why did I pick the route I did for this 1,200 mile jaunt, when to rest, where to stay and why, what is the ideal 'hotel room' for a temporary office, and how and when to determine where to stay.

Maybe for the juniors there are 3 to 5 steps worth bringing into the picture to help set the template, before you are in the comfort of your room, and before you wave goodbye as you leave your driveway at home.

Your noted experience and the mention of the nature of the work for SF, indicates you have mobile office facilities 'on board' your vehicle. It may be beneficial to share details of that - both from an equipment and operational standpoint - so others can share how you can operate in the field during the day and head then directly for the storm office to hand in the requisite paper work.

Again, thanks for your participation.
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CatDaddy

USA
310 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2003 :  20:32:02  Show Profile
Kile- you sound like you go about your business is a very organized and efficient fashion. I am a firm believer in Delorme and zoning your claims BEFORE your start calling people. I am amazed at every cat at the number of staffers and IA who grab'm and start calling. As a rep, I did exactly what you do..enter them all into Delorme and divide them by their geography. It pays big dividends in the days to follow. Some folks think "well, they said they were all in the same county. How far apart could they be? I'm gonna start on my appointments!" That'll burn you on your scheduling everytime. I had a territory 15 minutes south of Houston, all in the same county. Some of the claims turned out to be on the gulf coast! Zone'm first.

Kile outlined a great routine to follow once you get to a site. What do you do when you hang up the phone after getting the call? You get ready to go, and quickly.

If you havent been out, and you've watching the weather, talking to your co-workers, you should have already gather most of what you want to bring with you on cat and had it most of it already to go. I have pants and I have "cat pants". Cat pants are the ones I dont mind a dog biting, tearing on a ladder, snagging on a fence, or sliding down a 10/12 roof on my butt in. Those pants have been to the cheapest dry cleaner I can find and are hanging in the closest ready to go. If you are headed to a State Farm cat or some other carrier's cat that provides "storm shirts" for you, they are folded or on hangers and ready to go along with the pants so all you have to do with them is toss them in the vehicle when the time comes. Then I throw my personal effects, every pair of socks and underwear I own, a few of my favorite hats, a few non-work shirts, and whatever else I may think I need clothes-wise, into a couple bags and toss them in. Clothes done.

Now..tools of the trade. Laptop, printer, printer paper, ink cartridges, ac/dc cords, power strip, car power inverter, calculator, stapler, staples, ink pens, rubberbands, post-it notes, graph paper, clipboard, sharpies, a 35 foot tape measure, a backup tape measure, a 100 foot tape, roofing chalk, 35mm camera, a polaroid camera, film for both, flashlight, your ladder of choice(probably a Little Giant 22 ft), an AT&T One Rate cell phone, and a nationwide pager. If I missed something, I'm sure it will come to me.

Some carriers will issue you or provide you with alot of the above but its always good to have a little "startup stash" to get you started when you first get there. Sometimes supply trucks get there long after you do and being prepared for that is always smart.

You got the call, you've packed your vehicle with all this and who knows what, now what? If you live by yourself, you might want to take out the trash, get the wet clothes out of the dryer, move your thermostat to some neutral position, lock your deadbolts, make whatever arrangements for your mail, and bust open a 50lb bag of dogfood food for the pooch cause you dont know when you'll be back. If you are married or live with someone, let them take care of the above and tell them you dont know when you'll be back! Grab some cash and make sure you have a credit card and get ready to put the pedal to the metal in whatever dependable transporation you'll be working out of.

You're packed and the homestead is secure. That should have taken 20-30 minutes. When they called, they told you where to go. You probably looked the city up on Delorme and plotted your attack on the interstate system. Stick to interstates and four lanes as much as possible. Higher speed limits, better time. When you are choosing a city to spend the night in, you'll probably pick a fairly large place. More hotels, good food. Comfort Inn, Red Roofs, Holiday Inn Express. All good TRAVEL day hotels. Think cheap and clean. You're gonna be there 6 or 7 hours. You dont need a jacuzzi and a robe with a crest. Another thing on travel. You live in Orlando and you make it to Dallas the first night, on your way to Denver. Dont stay in Mesquite! Drive to the other side of the city, in the direction you'll be going the next moring, and find a place to stay. That way when you rise in the AM and head for Denver, you aren't looking at big city, rush hour traffic to drive through first. You talk about road rage. You'll have it.

Ok...you made it to ClaimCity. Time to start THINKING about a WORK hotel. Work hotels are Extended Stays, Townplace Suites, Amerisuites, Hometown Suites, etc. They all have kitchens, and usually a good work area(big counter or table). Some folks get apartments. Some folks bunk together. All that depends on personal preferences and finances. Sometimes you get to a cat office and you'll find out your territory is 2 hours away. You'll probably want to stay somewhere in between the office you'll report to and your territory, depending on their daily requirements for you coming into the office. You dont want to make any long term sleeping arrangements until you find out these type of details.

After all that, I leave you to Kile's template.

Veterans - fill in whatever I left out. I dont drink coffee at night so I may not be hitting on all four cylinders at this point.

CD

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CCarr

Canada
1200 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2003 :  21:30:07  Show Profile
Well CatDaddy, you went right around the bases, and to others it should be clearly obvious that you have done this many times.

I'll just add some 'window dressing'.

With regards to clothes - I'm big on that. I don't do the laundry at home, and I dont want to do it when I'm away and have to take and hour or two a week to flit back and forth - just don't want anything to do with it. Time is so precious. I'd be embarrassed to tell you how many skivvys and socks I have - but they fill several Rubbermaid Roughnecks; and it is those Roughnecks I use for assignment travel. You don't really know if you are 'going' for 2, 4 or 6 weeks, or in fact if it is from that site to another (yeah); I pack for 75 days whether I need it or not.

Tools - learned the hard way regarding not having enough ink cartridges at hand. Peter Principal applies, not a good situation. Spend the money and time to load up on these things, ahead of the deployment and load them in your box. Cell phone is another kicker, more so from where I'm from versus where I'm going, maybe it applies to others regionally in the USA. The AT&T one rate is a good solution.

Personals - make sure your personal affairs are in good order, before that deployment call; whether you live alone or with a tribe of 6. Time is too short after 'that call' to start organizing 'this and that'. Cash is King, as is the need for clean plastic.

Enroute travel - good points, the best being on the far side of the city where you overnight, for all the reasons stated.

ClaimCity 'home' - great point about not locking into an arrangement until, as you laid out, you know where your new claims are versus the storm office location. Could save a bundle of time and avoid a lot of frustration. The one 'tool' I'll add here that I have found I always needed at my assignment 'home' - regardless of the quality of the accomodations - is 60W and 100W light bulbs. For whatever reason most establishments only have 40W light bulbs, which will escalate the fatigue level prematurely. Also, depending on the assignment type, I'll usually take a folding table - you can never have too much work space, and equipment seems to take more and more of it. Finally, speaking of coffee, regardless of where I'm going or planning to stay, I always take my trusty stainless perculator and lots of my favorite java.

Well, I was hoping Newt would have worked on the development of this himself, so he could have thought through these processes; however this has pretty well rounded out a general template from which anyone can adjust to their own unique style. Joe, I hope you as well, will find this useful in the future.

Anyone have any other 'touches' to add?
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KileAnderson

USA
875 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2003 :  22:01:45  Show Profile
Those are some great points CatDaddy. When I'm at home I keep all my adjusting equipment in a couple of large rubbermaid tubs. Those tubs have everything that I will ever need, at least I hope. I have lots of stuff in there that I thought I would never need and either I or another adjuster always end up finding something else we need.

In my big blue plastic tub I have lots of office supplies. Paper, pens, paper clips, staples, staplers, highlighters, post-its, rubber bands for keeping the files grouped, a couple of alarm clocks with great big digital readouts, a couple of desk lamps, enough forms and paperwork to do about 30 files, copies of all the policies that I have collected, a cup to go on the desk to hold my pens, extra cell phone charger, batteries, film, 35mm and polaroid cameras, 100ft tape, 35ft tapes, tool belt, and lots of other stuff that I can't remember right now.

I wear the cheapest chino pants I can find at wal-mart, usually you can get them for anywhere from $15-18 a pair and I buy about 8 pairs a year and retire them as they become worn. I like to bring at least 2 weeks worth of clean clothes with me because you never know if you will be able to find a full service fluff and fold. Big red supplies the shirts and over the past few years I've been able to build up quite a collection and they stay folded on the shelf in the closet until they are needed. I usually wear hiking boots for the ankle support and because they are water proof. I also always have rubber boots in case I'm working a flood or have to trek through the mud to the back forty to look at the barn, you know what happens around barns. I just got a pair of Cougar Paws and I'm looking forward to testing them out on a roof this spring. I have at least 30 pairs of socks and keep a couple of dry pairs in the truck, just in case. I was a boy scout and infantry man so I know how important dry feet are.

I used to drive a 4-runner and I had a complete office set up in the back seat with computer, printer and all necessary forms and office equipment within arms reach. I would just hop in the back seat and crank out my estimate and in 15 minutes I'm paying the insured and handing them an itemized estimate.

I just bought a new Dodge 1500 crew cab so I will have to do some experimenting on working in it. Hopefully soon. It has a very large center console and I may move my office to the front seat and use the rear seat for storing my office supplies.

On about 90% of hail claims and maybe 70% of wind claims I'm able to write the entire estimate and settle the claim on the first visit. Before I leave the insured's house, I have 2 copies of the estimate in the file, one for the file and one for the agent, a copy of the estimate on a floppy to go in the file. a carbon copy of the draft and the polaroids wrapped with a rubber band along with the floppy and all my drawings and scope notes. That way when I get back to the office I can sit down, if they have a desk, or just work in the truck if they don't, and all I have to do with each file staple the photos, make my log notes and it's pretty much ready to turn in, oh and don't forget the invoice, you do want to get paid.

As far as the hotel goes, I try to find one close to the office because that's usually where I start and end my day. I always try to find inexpensive lodging but I try to keep cleanliness and safety in mind. I look for a fairly new no frills place, preferably an extended stay or studio kind of thing. It's really nice to have a small kitchen to make coffee and keep the diet Cokes on which I live cold. I always try to get a double queen room because it is bigger and I can use the other bed to spread my work out on. That way I can find forms and paper work that I need for a file very quickly and at night I don't have to spend time clearing off the bed so I can sleep, I can just sleep on the other one. I also carry a 6 foot plastic table that I purchased at sams to function as a desk. Tables and desks in hotel rooms are usually way to small to be comfortable because I like to spread my files out when I'm working so I don't have to dig through stacks. I also carry a vertical file holder and a horizontal file holder. I use the vertical one to hold my files that I haven't closed yet and the horizontal one has 4 shelves that I keep printer paper and other forms in. I also travel with an extra Canon BJC 85 printer so I can keep one set up on the desk and one in the truck so I'm not transporting a printer in and out every morning.

Wow, this reply has gotten rather long. I hope it isn't so detailed that it's boring. I'd be glad to share anything else I can with anyone who asks. I'm no expert, this is just the way that I do it and I haven't worked a storm yet that I didn't add to or subtract from my routine or basic load.
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KileAnderson

USA
875 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2003 :  22:10:01  Show Profile
Oh, I almost forgot the 3 most important pieces of equipment you will ever need and will not be able to work without. Power strips, extension cords and an inverter for the truck. Hotel rooms never have enough outlets. I carry at least 4 6-outlet power strips with built in surger protectors, some people think they all have surge protectors but many of the cheaper ones do not. I have 4 extension cords for the room and one for the truck. I have a 600 watt inverter that is hard wired to the truck and a three outlet extension cord in the truck to plug in my personal laptop for GPS navigation, my State Farm Computer, which they supply when you get there, most companies don't, and the third outlet is for the printer. When you look for an inverter get the highest wattage one that you can find. I think 600 watts is pretty good but there are some bigger ones, and if you can, hardwire it directly to the battery, that way you leave those precious 12watt outlets open for your cell phones, radar detectors and what ever else you have to plug in.
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Newt

USA
657 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2003 :  09:41:06  Show Profile
Kile , I used to have two batteries, a reverse current box between them. The battery for the vehicle was never used for equipment. That way I never jumped into the truck with a dead battery.
Those little isolation boxes save a lot of grief when you forget and leave something on. You may have one already, just thought I would mention it, in case some don't.
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gdplum

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2003 :  10:26:06  Show Profile
Dollar General stores have chino's for $9.99.

glen
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Newt

USA
657 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2003 :  08:07:56  Show Profile
After about 15 years on the road in construction and as a mobile home rep. (damage assessment).
I learned early on about the equipment and clothes, its about the same. Another item I found handy was a small air compressor, the 12 volt type. You cannot find air at just any station now. The one I have now was just under twenty dollars. I hate to pay fifty cents for air. And I hate those doughnut spares. My clothes use to consist of 24 of every thing. If I think I'll be in a place more than three weeks I may go shopping and replace some of the older stuff.

The routine of what to do involving claims was a good picture of what to expect. I will have to get the Delorme Map program, I have the streets and trips, which is pretty good but you guys have sold me on the better one. I have a GPS system that works with the Laptop and thats what I used on all my service orders. May client records use to have the coordinates as part of the file.
Routing is a key factor in efficiency. If you save 15-30 minutes for each stop you can save up to two or three hours a day. Being new to an area can be a nightmare if you don't have the tools of navigation.

Well gentlemen this has been informative, I appreciate your input. The claims process is sort of scary. Getting off on the right foot will determine how I am accepted into this world of adjusting. I can sort of get the drift of what to expect, but as we all know it is never exactly as we picture. I think it a must that I don't go out alone on my first few jobs, even if it cost me. I can still be productive in a few days working with someone who knows the ropes to keep me in check. I would only do that if I could be of help, I don't take free rides. I also would prefer to drive my own vehicle. That way the mentor is not bothered with my intrusion. If I couldn't help speed things up, no adjuster in his right mind should go out of his way to help and I understand and agree.
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Joe Aymond

USA
8 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2003 :  15:02:33  Show Profile
When I asked the question a couple of weeks ago about the flow of a claim I really didn't think I would get this much REAL and Important info. I wish to thank all you seasoned men that responded. This will be a great help to me as well as many others. I do, however have a couple questions. Where can the Delorme software be purchased an can it be loaded into a laptop? I was going to purchase a GPS System. Will the software system take its place or do I still need one? Where can one purchase the Cougar Paws shoes and the Little Giant ladder.

Also, the next helpful scenario woul be , Now we are at the claim site then where does the flow go from there. Maybe some of you experienced men can go ,there.

Thanks again,

Joe
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KileAnderson

USA
875 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2003 :  15:30:44  Show Profile
Joe,

Delorme GPS systems can be purchased either online at www.delorme.com or if you wish to purchase it retail you can get it at CompUSA in Baton Rouge when you head over here for you IDL broadcast. You probably want to get the one that includes Street Atlas USA 2003 and Earthmate GPS receiver with USB adapter. That way you can power the reciever from your laptop and not have to keep changing batteries or have to plug it into your cigarette lighter. I'd be lost without mine. It works just like those $600 free standing units except it works on your laptop so you have a big screen and it only costs about $150. If you already have a laptop or plan to purchase one a free standing GPS unit is a waste of money.

The same with Cougar Paws. www.cougarpaws.com. The basic set up there will cost you $125. As far as ladders, Home Depot sells them. I don't know if they are Little Giant brand but they have a very good one there and I think Sams had some last time I was there. Expect to spend $150-$250 on that.
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Newt

USA
657 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2003 :  18:48:03  Show Profile
Kile, If you bring your goodies to the conference be carefull , we may stare the paint off of it. You had a lot of good info on this thread, I will have to review it a few times so it will soak in.
Like fishing, fish like the locals that get the big ones.
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tomgriffin56

USA
88 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2003 :  01:01:17  Show Profile
Excellent info on this thread and the organization at the start is right on the money. Trying to set my appointments without laying them out geographically was my first real screw-up on my first storm.

One thing I do that may be a little too much for some people is to keep a "deployment kit" already packed. A complete shaving kit and at least 5-6 sets of clothes, along with many of the items already mentioned I keep packed in a tote in vacuum pack. (Too many years in the infantry with an "A" and "B" bag ready to go)

Also make up a packing list ahead of time and consult it as you are completing the departure preparations. There are so many things going through your head that you are almost certain to forget at least one major item unless you have done it hundreds of times.
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ShermaninCO

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2003 :  07:13:19  Show Profile
Tom, glad to know I'm not the only one that has bags packed and ready to roll. The nature of one of my vendors is that, I have had as little as one hour notice to get to the airport. So bags are always packed for that vendor. Luckily through, those assignments are only a few days at a time. But, I have run back to back assignments without returning home, so I need to adjust my socks and underwear allotment.
Just wondering though, do you have the basics packed and then seperate vacume bags for vendor specific deployments that are added as needed.

Bill

Bill Sherman
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whitstorm

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2003 :  08:43:41  Show Profile
Just finished reading all of the items that each of you bring with you on storm, and that pretty much covers it. Just wanted to add a few comments about a couple of things.

The Cougar Paws are excellent on wind/hail storms! I got my first pair about two years ago, and wear them all the time. I had been through five pair of $130+ Dr. Martens before that time (in two-three years), and still have/wear the same pair of Cougars. Trust me, once you get them broken in, you will not want to wear anything else on a roof (any roof). One tip - when you purchase them, buy at least 10-20 extra pair of pads. I purchased 20 pair of pads with my first order. They cost $5.00 each, but if you work in the boots a lot, you will go through some pads - they don't last very long, and you don't want them to get too low. If you do not have a pair of these boots, you will understand what I am saying when you get them - just buy at least 10 extra pair. I would call Tom at Cougar Paws to make the order, too. You might have to leave 3-4 messages for him, but he's very good at getting your order out right after you talk with him.

Also, on the Delorme - can't remember who said they didn't have it - but, get one! Make the purchase now, and play with the program for a while Before you go out on storm. The program is great, but there are many preferences you may want to set, and the program is very detailed. There is no better program out there, period!, but you need to be very familiar with the mapping, routing, and GPS BEFORE you use it during storm. It will slow you down, more than anything, if you don't know how to use it. When I got my first version (5.0), I bought the GPS shortly thereafter and added it to mine. I used to map out places I was "running errands" to and drive around town with the GPS on just to familiarize myself with it. One word of caution - if you have the mobile office set up, don't get too "intereseted" in watching the screen instead of the road - You don't want to be buying a new computer and having your ride in a body shop when you get called out on storm.

Hope this helps, and Good Luck this year - I know everyone needs a good one.


Jeff S. Whittington
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