Welcome to your first deployment. You successfully got licensed in the states you needed to get deployed, rostered up with the right firms, attended in-person training sessions, and arrived to the deployment site on time to report and go through orientation.
Now don’t blow it!
You’re constantly being evaluated by your firm managers, trainers, carrier management and, by the customers themselves. The difference between being cut from a deployment with the first round of new people, and making it to the end of the deployment is a combination of factors, most of which are very much under your control.
- Dress professionally. Recently someone sent us a photo from a hurricane deployment training room. Guys had hats on in the conference room, and some people were even wearing tee-shirts. Do you think those people could work in a carrier office like that? Absolutely not. Business casual is the accepted attire of this industry. Hats indoors and tee-shirts are most definitely not part of the business casual regime. Google it if you need more guidance on what business casual entails. Why is attire important? Other than the carriers agent, you may be the only person from an insurance company that interacts with a customer, so the carrier expects you to be professional when representing their company. Now, things may relax a little bit as the deployment progresses, but come out of the gate looking like a winner.
- Speak professionally. Eventually you’ll create a rapport with your firm managers and trainers, and you’ll be able to loosen up when you’re talking to them in person or on the phone. With insureds, maintaining professionalism over the phone and when speaking in person is paramount. Sure, from time to time insureds are going to be unhappy or unaccommodating, but you work for them, so deal with it in a professional manner. Be flexible when scheduling. Be empathetic to their loss. Mr. and Mrs. is appropriate unless told otherwise. Remember, many carriers will ask insureds to evaluate their interaction with the adjuster, and good evaluations will help you stay longer and move higher on the call list.
- Don’t cut corners and get complacent. Managers and trainers from your IA firm know exactly what you’re doing. If they’re in the position they’re in, they have already seen all the plays adjusters will use to make it look like they’re working their tails off when they’re not. You’ll probably get praise and atta-boys, until all of a sudden you’re cut and going home. Why? Well, imagine how much damage a disgruntled employee can do while on the job; quite a bit. So managers may know they’re cutting you because you’re not professional and slacking, but keep you around for a few days to wrap up some claims and then boom, down comes the axe.
When cuts come, they come from the carrier side and the firm side. Carriers generate a list of IA’s they would like to let go, mostly the lowest producing IA’s. Also, adjusters with a high inspect-to-close ratio, meaning adjusters that have inspected a lot of properties but have no closed claims, will be on the cut list. Your firm manager will generate their own list; people that are slacking, people that have asked to be released, and people they want to keep because they may not be the highest producers, but they show promise. If you are making an effort and behaving professionally, 9 time out of 10 your IA manager is going to try to keep you around so you can learn more and improve.
2020 was a crazy year for adjusting, and many adjusters stayed longer in the field only because firms needed bodies, not because they were high performers. Decide if you want to get a call in March each year for hail season, or if you want to just sit around and hope for hurricanes, because if you want consistent, high paying work, you need to be a well rounded, quality producer.