Staying Productive in the Off-Season

Generally speaking, winter is the off-season for the independent adjuster, and even more so for adjuster that works catastrophe claims. If you’re a seasoned adjuster, you can work all year around, as there is always demand, but for most new adjusters and relatively new adjusters, you’ll be taking the winter off.  During that down time, there are a handful of things you can do to stay sharp and make yourself more marketable to IA firms.  Many of these simple things will not only increase your knowledge relative to being an independent adjuster, they’ll make you stand out to IA firms as someone that’s taking the initiative to better their knowledge base.

Continuing Education

As an adjuster, you’re required to complete continuing education (CE) for your home state, or designated home state, during your license cycle. For example, the State of Florida requires that you complete 24 hours of CE every two years, which is the amount of time you have to re-appoint your license in the State of Florida.  It’s best to get these taken care of in the off season. No one wants to be on a deployment and trying to do your job and complete CE credits before your license expires.

Courses can cover a wide variety of topics from Light Wind and Hail, Importance of Ethics in Claims Handling, to Flood Adjusting Practices, and many, many more. Most courses can be taken online, and will only require 1-3 hours at a time to complete.

We highly recommend attending a boot camp with one of the bigger IA firms. Before signing up, inquire about CE credits related to the courses.  Depending on the year, these courses can be free of charge, with you only paying for lodging and travel. Longer adjuster in person training courses can get your CE credits completed while you’re there, and you won’t have to worry about it for another 2 years.

Where can I take these online CE courses? Well, there are a lot of online providers of CE, here are a few well known ones, although there are tons:

The Institutes

However, if you’ve been deployed with one of the larger IA firms already, or even if you’re just on their roster and have a license from FL, GA, LA or MT, we’ve got a surprise for you. There’s a relatively easy way to complete 95% of your CE for free.

The National Insurance Crime Training Academy, or NICTA, has an online portal with dozens of courses that offer CE credits. Here’s how to access the portal for free continuing education credits:

  1. Contact the IA firm and ask them for their NICTA corporate code that allows them to provide this training at no cost to you.
  2. Register on the NICTA site, using the corporate code to gain access.
  3. Complete courses as needed, and when you’re done with each one, request the CE credit for that course. This request is done through the NICTA system, and they will send the info to your state for credit. The firm that you received the corporate code from should also be notified.

Even if your home state or DHS license isn’t listed as one of the states that processes CE for free, the fees for other states that recognize NICTA CE course are very small.

Processing fee schedule per course/per credit hour:

Arkansas $1.00
Delaware $1.00
Indiana $4.00
New Hampshire $1.00
Oklahoma $1.00
Texas $0.88
Utah $1.00
Wyoming $1.00

So get those CE credits taken care of now. And honestly, if you’re paying a lot or even a modest amount for CE credits, you’re doing something wrong.

Gear Check

This is kind of a simple one, but it seems like sometimes we get on deployments and there are can be a handful of adjusters that just seem to be missing one thing or another, and it’s because they don’t take the time to organize their gear. Take some time in the off-season to inventory and organize your gear, while also checking for any damages. Have enough rechargeable batteries? Have you checked your ladder for any damage? Any rope and harness gear or ridge assist type device need to be checked? Your printer up to snuff? Need new gear? Have an estimating desk mat?

Take an afternoon to do this, then properly stow it in a wheeled bin, and boom, it’s ready for you when you get the call.

Invest in yourself and your business

There are so many ways to invest in yourself in the off-season to make you and your business more profitable and marketable. Don’t sit around thinking you just need to wait for that call.

  • Update your resume.
  • Update your LinkedIn Profile.
  • Obtain a new state license, increasing your opportunities for deployment.
  • Obtain a new certification.
  • Read a book that will help you improve not just personally, but also in your career.
  • Learn about new scope techniques and resources to help you stay on top of your game.
  • Get a side hustle writing estimates for restoration companies or mitigation companies.

The most important takeaway here is to look at your down time as an opportunity to increase your profit potential.