Claim Recon – Be prepared before you hit the road.

Independent adjusters spend a lot of time on properties working claims. But did you know that there are some simple, tiny little things you can do to spend less time on a property, and more time closing more claims? Let’s go over our list of things you must do before you even step foot on an insured’s property.

Set up your claim file

You have contacted the insured and gotten as much information about the claim as possible. This information allows you to start your scope before you even arrive. Take the info you have from the insured and the general damage report, and use it to start preparing your file in Xactimate. Load a grouping tree and, checking your price lists and headers. Since you’re aware of the general damage, you can load your macros too. Now you haven’t even left your hotel room or RV, and you’re already a significant way through your scope.

Check out the house, online

Fire up Google Maps and get a good look at the property. How’s that roof look? If it looks like it’s going to be a massive time sucker just to sketch it, you have some options. Download the Eagle View (Hover, whatever your prefer) report into Xactimate and have the sketch ready before you arrive. You may also grab a screen shot of the roof and use the import from image tool in Xactimate to get it sketched ahead of time. When you arrive on site, make adjustments to your measurements so they’re spot on.

If the firm you’re working for doesn’t pay for roof reports, consider how much time paying for a roof report yourself will save you. And in turn, what you can do, or what you can earn with that extra time. If paying for that roof report saves you an hour, and allows you to close another claim for $350, would you pay for it? Of course you would. It’s an investment which allows you to close significantly more claims. If someone told you that you that if you spent an additional $350 per week on roof reports to earn an additional $2,450 in gross income, you would jump at it.

If a claim has exterior damage to an elevation order a wall report. Honestly, with these 2 reports and info from speaking with the insured, you could probably start writing the estimate.

Follow up with the insured about your appointment

You’ve read our post about leveraging tech to be more efficient with communicating with insured, clients, and management. Because of this, you have pre-scheduled your text messages to remind the insured that you’re on the way. Or, you’ve created templates in MightyText, and you just load the template and schedule it to be sent 1 hour before the appointment. It sucks to show up to a property and the insured has spaced on your appointment. Don’t forget to update your file notes in the Scheduleit app for each contact.

Load your iPad

Before you leave your hotel, RV park, wherever, use the wifi to load your claims to your iPad. Because your laptop is more efficient for setting up your claim, you probably don’t have that info on your iPad. So, save it to the cloud and then load it from the cloud to your laptop. Also take time to load your scoping checklist. There are also a handful of wonderful, free apps for the iPad. We like the Checklist app from Checklist.com, available in the app store. Finally, load all the other apps that we’ve mentioned in other posts like your mileage app, pitch gauge, etc.

Scope sheets

If your firm or carrier required scope sheets with your file, take advantage of doing it properly.

  1. Do a screen capture of the roof report with the measurements and paste it onto the scope sheet before you print it.
  2. Fill out the insured’s info on the scope sheet in adobe reader, before you print it.
  3. Screen grab the roof measurements, and paste them below the sketch, before you print it. This will let you look at just one piece of paper when writing the estimate. All the info, in one place.

Print the prepared scope sheets the night before your inspection.


You’ve been out in the field scoping and writing all day. You return home and, hopefully knock out any claims that have been kicked back to you. You proceed to go through your emails and are a replying machine (hint: schedule your emails to be sent the following morning if possible, so you’re not getting bogged down with back and forth while you’re doing claim recon). Now you’re ready to go through your scheduled claim files for the following day. Start with the last claim you have scheduled for the next day. Why? Because this is your countdown to wrapping up your day. You’re not done with your day until you’ve done the recon for all of the claims the next day.

  1. Last claim of the next day:
    1. Load your claim.
    2. Print your loss report and file it.
    3. Check coverages, deductible, type of loss, everything.
    4. Google map the property. Need a roof report? Order it now.
    5. Load your opening statements, closing statement templates etc.
    6. Upload it to the cloud.
  2. Follow these steps until you’re down to your first claim the next morning.
    1. Follow all the steps in step one.
    2. Load the files in your iPad on Xactimate. Leave the app running.
    3. Load your Checklist. Leave the app running.
    4. Load your pitch gauge app. Leave the app running.
    5. Load your mileage app. Leave the app running.
    6. Plug your iPad in to charge overnight.
    7. Pack your mobile printer and laptop, so they’re ready to go in the morning without stopping.

That’s it. Following these steps (and our posts about time management when you get arrive back from the field) will allow you to simply wake up, do your breakfast or non-breakfast thing, and then walk out the door with your gear. You should be able to pull right up to the insured’s property and be able to get to work without missing a beat. Nothing will sidetrack you more and create an environment for sloppiness than waking up early and trying to rush through claim recon.

Having a regimented system to follow on your inspection days will help you get to the top of the IA firm rosters. On your office/admin day if you have time and are on top of all your communication and claim fixes, you can take the extra time to get ahead on your claim recon. If you’re new, and you close three claims in your first three days by following Matt Allen’s pro method, the fourth day should allow you to fix any claims that have been kicked back, and allow you to do more claim recon. If you can recon out claims for a few days in advance, you will lower your stress level, increase accuracy and increase claims closed.