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JimF

USA
1014 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2003 :  11:12:49  Show Profile
Why did you choose adjusting as your career?

Was it the money? Travel? Independence? Adventure?

And how did you enter this profession? Via carrier, circumstances, a friend, or relative?

Please share your stories.

olderthendirt

USA
370 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2003 :  12:28:26  Show Profile
I fell asleep at my underwriting desk one morning, at that point I knew I had to do something different, and 30 years later I am still trying to figure out what I did
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CCarr

Canada
1200 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2003 :  12:34:10  Show Profile
I got into claims in 1969, because - while living 'at home' at the time - my father told me in very clear language, to get off my ass and find a real job.

My good friend at the time, that I had gone to high school with, had been an automobile underwriter for almost two years, by that time.

He took the 4 year HS commerce stream, and for whatever reason I was persuaded to take the 5 year academic A&S stream - 3 languages etc, the typical parent thing, you will be a lawyer or doctor; and I couldn't see myself in the commerce stream - they took 'typing', and I wasn't a 'tech guy', I wanted to ride my motorcycle not constantly work on it.

So on one of our fishing weekends that summer with my buddy - I was only 19 at that time, explaining to him my 'home front' mandate, which had been preceeded with my short and quite eventful enrollment at university the year before, he is extolling to me the virtues of underwriting - boring! But, he did convince me to meet him for lunch 'downtown' one day the following week. Draft (in real glasses and big) was two for a quarter (that's .25 cents) and a hot chuckwagon sandwich was .50 cents; all in a real downtown tavern.

In that building was Drake Personnel, a placement agency. On a lark, and to have some effort to show for my day back home, I went in and said I should be working and needed a job. I filled out all the forms and had all the chats; and got what I thought was the typical - 'we will call you' story.

Well sure enough, but to my surprise, the next week the placement agency called me and wanted me to go to an interview in that same building - an Insurance Company they said, called Shaw & Begg, and it was a trainee adjuster job. I had to scurry around and find out something about 'insurance', and what was this thing they called an adjuster?

When I got to the Shaw & Begg door, there were 5 insurance company names under their corporate name. The first of the five was Firemans Fund Insurance Company with that trademark firemans hat. I thought, wow, these guys insure firemen. At the interview, a great gentleman with white hair - who had come from the 'ivory tower' in Toronto to interview me - talked to me seemingly for hours about insurance, claims, and adjusting. I had always been fascinated with 'people', and he had me - hook, line and sinker; that was what I wanted to do!

Was it the money, no. He told me I would start at $80./week, and if I kept my nose clean and learned anything, I would get a $5./week raise every 6 months; and maybe get a company car and be a road adjuster after 2 years. Fortunately, history on that did prove to be quite an improvement over that forecast, for which I am grateful; and it was a truly momentous occassion when I went with my boss 6 months later to the great ivory tower to meet my peers and get my new company car.

Was it the travel, no. But, within a year and for the many years that followed, travel was a great part of the job. I can now look back with fond memories that claims work has taken me coast to coast in Canada, and into 12 states.

Was it independence, no. But as the years unfolded, plenty of independence - measured by responsibility and accountability - was at hand.

Was it adventure, yes for sure! It has been an adventure every step of the way, and in so many ways.

Jim, you have raised some interesting and self-reflecting questions in this forum. I would personally enjoy hearing of your endeavors down these trails. How about it?

Edited by - CCarr on 02/06/2003 12:37:40
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Davey

USA
38 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2003 :  19:12:06  Show Profile
1969 was a good year for me as well. I was living in San Diego and working a dead end job. Grad school didn't appeal to me so I too paid a visit to a local head hunter. Took the usual banking, and sales rep type interviews with no real interest on my part. Then along came Safeco. Their HR guy was really good and got my interest level up. I took some apptitude tests for them and was then given a choice of jobs. Marketing, underwriting and adjusting. Once each was explained to me, the part about giving away money interested me the most. So adjusting it was. Suits, whiteshirts, a 67 Plymouth Fury with a stick on the column, no carpet and no radio for a company car. Also no pagers and cell phones. Starting pay was $600 per month, but I had to reluctantly move to Los Angeles to work. Never looked back.
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CCarr

Canada
1200 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2003 :  19:52:07  Show Profile
Davey, you got pretty good pay for a rookie in 69, but your beer and T-bones likely cost more in LA, than in little old Ottawa; at the time.

Yes, for sure - suits, ties and white shirts, even at loss sites.

The car, how could I not mention it, it was March 15/70, I drove it home from Toronto - a 1969 Dodge Coronet, dark burnt orange metallic, 2 door coupe, black vinyl interior, 6 cyl, with a radio and automatic only. I was in heaven.
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John McMennamy

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2003 :  08:49:27  Show Profile
My brother Jimbo had been hounding me to become an adjuster for 3 years. I worked for Grinnell Fire protection as a foreman installing fire spinkler systems in mostly commercial buildings. As most people, I did not charish the idea of changing professions and learning something new. I was making good money and staying fit.
In 1997 myself and another fitter was moving a length of 8 inch steel pipe from one lift to another and tore the rotator cup in my right shoulder. The doctor told me I could no longer work over my head or lift objects over 50 pounds. Everything in the sprinkler trade is overhead and over 50 pounds. I decided to try the adjusting field. With experience from college, carpenry, working with computers as a hobby and construction I found that I had basic knowledge. I got my license and have been learning from all the great people I have met in this industry. I will continue to learn as our trade is demanding and always changing. I wish I had found the adjusting trade earlier and met more people.
I like the chalenge, travel, meeting the insureds, working with some of the finest people in our trade and being independant. I still make good money, but the fitness part went down the drain.
Johnny Mac
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Dadx9

USA
143 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2003 :  11:02:51  Show Profile
After spending years in the beverage industry (Sales Manager for Anhueser Busch distributor in San Francisco and Regional Sales Manager for various bottled water companies, Koala Springs, Evian and Clearly Canadian) I got fed up with the traveling (ironic?). I was asked by a friend to train roof salesman (there had been a $300 million hail storm in Kansas City). I trained them how to sell. I became familiar with the roofing business. Took HAAG classes learning to evaluate hail. Sometime later I found out about a 3 hour hailstorm in western Kansas. Asked the owner of the company if he wanted me to take a couple of crews and check it out. He declined. I received permission to go it alone and took two crews. I discovered the storm had damaged all 800 buildings and there were no roofers or adjusters. We went door to door house to house. All the carriers would fax assignments directly to us. Needless to say, I became a preferred contractor. Upon my return, I became a preferred contractor in KC. Because of my insurance expertise and HAAG training I was asked by AM FAM to handle a few claims, if interested. I asked how much I would be paid and was handed 95 hail losses! After about a year and a half of adjusting locally, Gary Johnson (who was traveling) and I created the Kansas City Boys on a whim. We began to market ourselves as a team and the rest is history.

Sometime (perhaps in another thread) I will relate the story of how I became a CAT Adjuster.

Don
"To be held in the heart of a friend is to be a king."
Bruce Cockburn
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JimF

USA
1014 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2003 :  11:09:05  Show Profile
Don, please share more with us a little more about your Kansas City Boys (team) if you will. I'm setting up a new thread for a discussion of working cats as a 'team' which many do, and some quite successfully.
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Dadx9

USA
143 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2003 :  11:26:42  Show Profile
Jim,

Gary an I teamed up starting in 1997, mainly because he could bankroll me until I got on my feet. Gary and I subscribe to the "purple ink" philosophy. As the customer, whatever you want you get. You want it it in purple ink? You got it. Because of that, and Gary's infectious nature, we became very popular as a team. Whenever I or Gary got a call we always included the other as a part of the 'Kansas City Boys'. We began to meet others on the road who subsribed to our 'purple ink' thoughts and / or shared our men of integrity position. We also met some younguns here on the board and helped them get started. In time we had a stable of 7 or 8 adjusters (male and female) who were part of our team. This really culminated during Hurricane Georges (Pensacola, FL) in '98? We were receiving calls and taking up to 400 claims at a time. Man, was the purple ink flowing. So what started out as two best friends needing each other and became the Kansas City Boys. Today we still have relationship with all who were part of the team. We laugh, cry and pray together often. I see most are still working and investing themselves in others. That has become very satisfying.

Now, Gary and I (and others) have aligned ourselves with others here on CADO. We have yet really all worked together, but are in contact weekly. This site is very important to me and my family. We are constantly building relationships. (Right Kahuna?) That's what it's all about.

I highly recommend teaming. It supports you, eductaes you and holds you accountable.

I wish I could bankroll a new team. A team of the finest that would always provide the best. But, the best swim in many different streams and that's a good thing.

Hope this helps.

Don
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the ghost

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2003 :  23:26:46  Show Profile
I was working a young man during his off season, installing a metal batten lock roof system. He had told me that if he got called out to work he would have to leave within 24 hours. Sure enough 3 months later the call came and he had to go. It was about 2 months later he calls me up and said hey have you ever thought about going into adjusting, and stated that they were really looking for adjusters.

Well I knew that I could not continue to do the line of work that I was in forever. So he gave me a # to call and I was on my way. Having been in construction all my life, the scoping came easy for me. The computer estimate was a nightmare.

Had it not been for one of the gentlemen on the remote site helping me. I would have put my stuff back in the truck and went home. Too this day I still call up my new friend and thank him for all his help.

That's why when I am on a storm site and see someone struglling with a scope are estimate I take the time to help.
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Janice Toll

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2003 :  15:35:46  Show Profile
My first encounter with Cat Adjusting came in 1991, with Hurricane ďBobĒ, when Tom went there on assignment. He asked if I wanted to go with him, and since I had grown weary of playing golf every day from daylight until or after dark, and had nothing better to do, I said yes.

When we first arrived in Massachusetts, we were in a motel, but later moved to a five-bedroom house at Buzzards Bay with 5 other adjusters. My first thought, when I learned of this new arrangement was that being the only female in a house with six males, I was going to be expected to do all the cooking and cleaning. Iím very happy to say I was totally wrong about that. In fact, Iím sure I did less cooking and cleaning than most of the males. One of the guys, who is a frequent poster here, (you know who you are Dave), was up at 5:00 every morning, gathering and washing towels, cleaning, etc. I grew up with five brothers, and four sisters, so I was not uncomfortable being the only female in the house.

Tom had suffered adjuster burnout before I met him, and had not been adjusting for a few years. After about two weeks on Cape Cod, being able to get five one-pound lobsters for $23.95, meeting wonderful people, going to the beach every day to work, assisting Tom in working claims on some historic homes or with notable persons, and living in a house with a great group of guys, I asked Tom why he got out of this profession. My statement to him was, ďItís like being paid to be on vacationĒ.

To summarize, my first experience in this wild and crazy world of Cat Adjusting was a very pleasant and memorable one, and yes, I fell in love with Old Cape Cod. (For all you younger adjusters out there, thatís an old song.) I will admit that as I learned and progressed in this business, there has been no other assignment that was as near to being paid to be on vacation as was Hurricane ďBobĒ, so I guess Iíll have to say it was my favorite as well. Although it no longer seems like being paid to be on vacation, I canít imagine myself ever wanting to do anything else I canít control the weather and wouldnít want to but, during storm season I, like the rest you, sit watching the Weather Channel like a vulture, waiting for the next one.



Janice R. Martin-Toll
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Newt

USA
657 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2003 :  07:42:29  Show Profile
I would never have gotten into this had it not been for my son. It was his idea that I should come out of retirement and get back to work. I took him up on it and here I am, learning all I am capable of and looking forward to it. I got my license,xactimate and farmers certification two days before he passed away. So this is for him. I still have a way to go and one day, maybe I can make the grade.
My son got into adjusting on my suggestion, After being blind and getting his sight back, he was looking into what he would like to do. I suggested insurance adjusting, so he ran with it.
He had a limbal stem cell transplant and got back 20/20 vision. He had no restrictions on his drivers license. That was a miracle we prayed for and got. The other didn't happen. He adjusted about 230 claims around Houston in a short period. That got him fired up.
I joined CADO as soon as I could or found the site and been here ever since. This site has kept me going and all the folks on here have become like family.

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j6407

USA
14 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2003 :  08:22:59  Show Profile
I was working for the boys in blue, feeling like I was in good hands. My office sent me to a cat in Rochester in '92. While there I met a retired adjuster from Florida. He said after he retired he sold his home and all his furniture. Him and his wife moved to Ft.Lauderdale and bought a sail boat. They spend most of the year sailing between Islands. Twice a year he would go on cat to pay for the expense of owning a sailboat. I thought , wow! what a great life that must be. After Andrew I decided to go Independent so that I too could buy a sail boat and spend my off time sailing the 7 Seas. Alas, the best laid plans....I forgot about my wife. Her first comment was,"where are we going to plant the veggie garden? Well, half a plan is better than none. I am a cat adjuster, she has her garden, I got no boat.
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Newt

USA
657 Posts

Posted - 02/10/2003 :  09:08:33  Show Profile
Juan, All is not lost, you're gonna eat good. I always wanted to sail, and explore the Islands. Sounded like a plan. Well, we can dream about it.
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