Brian Emberton works as a National General Adjuster with Global Technical Services for Crawford & Company in Atlanta. He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions about what it’s like to be an adjuster.
Brian is a graduate of Indiana University and has been with Crawford for 13 years. After living in Indiana for more than 20 years, Brian needed a change of scenery. His father, who was in the insurance industry, heard about an opening with Crawford in Atlanta and suggested that he apply for it. After Brian researched the position, he applied for it as the opportunity sounded interesting and exciting. “Through the years, I have attended all of the Crawford Educational Services training courses, multiple outside training courses and have progressed from a branch adjuster to a supervisor, to Global Technical Services,” Brian says. Global Technical Services (GTS®) is part of Crawford and handles large and complex claims worldwide.
“The best part of being an adjuster is the variation of what you are doing each and every day. There is no standard routine” he says.
Because claims adjusters face all kinds of working conditions, from routine property claims to catastrophic events, we asked Brian to walk us through them. He says,
“On routine claims, the initial step is to establish contact and obtain details of what the claim entails, what is involved, the magnitude of the damage, etc. Once this information is obtained, you can determine next steps and whether experts are needed. After the initial conversation, you schedule an appointment in which you obtain additional details as to the cause of the loss, further details on the damages, how the insured has been impacted, what additional experts or consultants are needed, and other important aspects of handling the claim.”
He continued, “After you complete the initial investigation, then you contact the client. You advise them of reserves, subrogation potential, issues, and whether experts or consultants are needed. After the initial inspection and update to the client, we continue to work through the loss obtaining cost of repairs, documents to establish loss of sales, income, etc which is all dependent on the type of loss. Throughout the entire life of the claim file, we are reporting according to the client and advising of status and issues which may come up.”
Brian says that the most interesting claims for him are the ones when he gets to learn about a new industry or business. He enjoys the experience of finding out about the processes used in the business, how product is manufactured, and the logistics of the company’s operations.
Brian says that the process of handling a catastrophic event versus a more routine property claim is the same, but at a different pace.
“During a catastrophe, there is widespread damage, with multiple people and businesses affected. During these situations, there are multiple losses which you are handling in a general area. It is important to work quickly and efficiently obtaining as much detail on the damages and how the insured has been impacted while obtaining all the information needed on more routine claims. Due to the severity of damage during a catastrophe, there are longs hours where inspections and reports are completed.”
Brian’s best tip for claims adjusters who have just entered the field is to identify colleagues who possess experience, knowledge and a willingness to teach—and then learn from them. “Looking back over the years with the company, I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by several individuals who have helped me along the way,” he says.