As an independent adjuster, you’re just that; independent. An independent contractor operating your own business as an insurance adjuster, and you’re competing with every other independent adjuster out there for claims. Just like any other business, you have to put your best foot forward to be successful. The best way to botch the beginning of your career is to show up to an IA firm looking anything less than professional.
This month, State Farm will hold their quarterly certification broadcast and exams. Hundreds of ladies and gentlemen will descend upon the various firms that offer the course, and hopefully pass their exams. And for some unknown reason, tons of these people will be completely unprepared, and in more ways than one. Here’s how not to get relegated to the standby roster for the rest of your life.
Dress the part
You’re going to a job interview, yet you may not realize it. You’re competing with hundreds if not thousands of other adjusters. If you show up looking like you just hopped off the tour bus at Waikiki or like you just got out of the gym, do you think that you’re making the best first impression? Of course not. Your professional appearance needs to be at minimum on par with the people working in the office, and preferably a notch above. In the adjuster industry, this usually means that you should be dressed “business casual”. According to businessinsider.com, business casual “… typically includes slacks or khakis, dress shirt or blouse, open-collar or polo shirt, optional tie or seasonal sport coat, a dress or skirt at knee-length or below, a tailored blazer, knit shirt or sweater, and loafers or dress shoes that cover all or most of the foot.” So do not show up with a baseball cap, or in sweats. Show up like you’re interviewing for a job.
A person can accept you or reject you in the first 30 seconds, based on appearance alone. Some studies show inappropriate dressing or grooming causes 40 percent of job rejections. In this industry you may not get rejected, but you also won’t get called. Gain an edge by dressing appropriately for the situation and making sure you are neatly groomed.
“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” — Edith Head.[/dt_quote]
Act as if
Act as if you’re in a professional environment and behave accordingly. You are there to be assessed via exam whether or not you are educated on the policies and practices of the carrier. If you show up completely unprepared, how does that look to the IA firm? If you haven’t studied at all, and get a 40% on your exam, don’t think for one moment that IA firms don’t notice that. The more times an IA firm sees you in their office re-testing, the lower you may go on their roster.
You need to show up prepared, as a professional would. Imagine your house was damaged during a hurricane and your contractor showed up the first day with no tools. You might fire the guy. So, what does coming prepared mean?
- Study in advance. If you study in advance your likely to pass the exams on the first attempt, saving you time and money and impressing the IA firm.
- Bring what you’re supposed to bring. Bring your study materials, pens, pencils, calculator, whatever.
- Don’t be late! If your broadcast starts at 9 AM, you should be at the front door of that IA firm by 8:30 at the latest.
If you’re dressed professionally, interacting with people from the IA firm is a great way to set yourself apart from other adjusters, whom you’re competing with.
- Ask relevant questions during the Q&A sessions that follow the carrier presentation.
- The person at reception has more power than you think. If you have questions that are general questions about the firm or additional steps, ask this person.
- Network with people in your class, and your instructors.
The bottom line is that each independent adjuster needs to be aware that you are probably being evaluated, constantly. If you want to succeed in this industry, you need to behave as if you want to succeed, and take the necessary steps to do so.