Many of our adjusters have an unparalleled amount of experience: Landy Bownds, service center manager in New Orleans, La. recently celebrated his 35th anniversary with the company while Bill Stewart, national general adjuster in Jacksonville, Fla., is currently enjoying a 32-year career with Crawford. As such, they’ve learned a thing or two about the business. In this installment of “Our Adjusters Share,” we ask what advice Crawford adjusters have for other adjusters or those considering a career in claims adjusting.
Integrity, Honesty and Follow-Through
As with any endeavor, says Bill Stewart, national general adjuster in Jacksonville, Fla., be a person of integrity and honesty and be yourself because people can detect insincerity. “Don’t promise what you know you can’t deliver and follow through on what you do promise,” he says. “Many people like to tell you what they know so take advantage of it when the opportunity arises, even from claimants and insureds. No one knows their business like the person who started the business. Ten minutes listening to an insured tell you how he started his business and some ‘war stories’ can pay off in understanding not only how to resolve the claim but in gaining knowledge you will need on future losses.”
Accept Challenges as they Come
Harry Rinehart, casualty general adjuster II in Allentown, Pa., says that like all careers there are positives and negatives with claims adjusting. “From the beginning I found this career to be both challenging and rewarding. However, you cannot be too thin-skinned. There are people out there who will ask much more of us than the ever-present question ‘Where’s my check?’ There are those who would take advantage of us if we give them half a chance.”
Three Helpful Tips
- “Find a mentor and learn all you can. No one was born an adjuster, and you cannot learn it all overnight.
- Study all the materials you can, but remember you can never learn it all from a book.
- Dress like a professional.”
– Linda Asberry, claims adjuster and supervisor, Catastrophe Services in Houston, Texas
It’s a Learning Experience
Identify colleagues who possess experience, knowledge and a willingness to teach—and then learn from them, says Brian Emberton, national general adjuster, Global Technical Services in Atlanta, Ga. “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.”
“Learn all you can from people that are available to you, such as other adjusters, contractors, supervisors or managers,” says Stewart. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No question is stupid if you don’t know the answer. Realize that this is a career-long learning process and no one knows it all.”
Landy Bownds, service center manager in New Orleans, La., has a few overall tips for adjusters that are just starting out, and those who have been in the field for a while.
- “Keep those statement guidelines handy. Even though you will take many statements over the years, it is still good to have those question guidelines in front of you, so that you don’t skip over important issues. There has never been a time that I didn’t think of a question I should have asked after leaving.
- Advancements in technology and tools to handle claims are great, but for a young person coming in our industry there is a challenge to develop new ways to be more efficienton a daily basis.
- In the past we typically did more cross training, and while it is still good to do that, I think it is good to find your niche– the area that best fits you and that you enjoy. I did automobile appraisals, casualty assignments, workers compensation and property, and I would say I enjoyed property the most.”
What advice would you give to someone considering or just starting out in your field?