John O’Brien | AdjusterPro | April 16, 2019
In my earlier article for AdjusterPro, I discussed some of the biggest mistakes I see new adjusters make when they enter the claims industry. The formula for a successful career as an insurance claims adjuster is quite simple: more claims closed = more money. So it should come as no surprise that to close the maximum number of claims, you have to work quickly, efficiently, and accurately. Time spent figuring out Xactimate, or having to go back and fix mistakes or take photos you missed is time you aren’t closing claims and making money. And that’s where your adjusting tools come in.
Compared to other property-related careers, being an insurance claims adjuster doesn’t really require that many tools. But the tools you do need, including your technology and clothing, need to be good quality, accessible, and well maintained.
I’ve found that if you follow these three rules, you’ll avoid a lot of wasted time and needless stress. They may sound simple or seem obvious but I see adjusters struggling in the field all the time because they didn’t make a little extra effort to treat their equipment like a vital part of their job success.
Rule #1: The Single Point of Failure
If the loss of any single tool would make it impossible to do your job, perform an inspection, or complete a claim, have a backup or alternative method at the ready.
If you use a digital camera, you should have a spare SD card. But you also need a backup device to take photos, like a smartphone, in case your camera picks a mid-inspection time to die its final death. You should also have a vehicle charger as well as a juice pack or mobile way of charging the camera or phone. You never want to ask a policyholder if you can charge your phone or camera while on inspection. Have 2 tape measures, 2 laser measures, and 2 shingle gauges. Carry spare pads for you cougar paws.
To put it simply, never put yourself in a position to have to stop doing your job in order to replace any tool or device.
Rule #2: Have Dedicated Tools
Your adjusting tools will make you hundreds of thousands of dollars. So get good tools and take care of them. Most importantly, only use your claims adjusting tools FOR claims adjusting.
As soon as you start using your tools for other things, like personal projects around the house, you exponentially increase the likelihood that you’ll forget to put the thing back. You’ll find yourself on inspection, rifling through your truck and cursing the new picture you used the tape measure to hang because said tape measure is still on your kitchen table. This extends to family and friends as well. Don’t let others borrow your tools because the Law of Neighbors says you only get things back 50% of the time and when you do, there’s a 50% chance it’s broken. (Warning: that may not be an actual law but it’s been my experience.)
Of course, if you are following the single point of failure rule you will have a spare tool, but what if that one breaks or gets lost? Having dedicated tools that are always where they are supposed to be will make your life much less complicated, plain and simple.
If you’re interested in learning more about what specific tools an adjuster can’t live without, I’d love to see you at my Adjuster Success Method webinar. We cover tools, how to find employment, perform inspections, close claims, and so much more. It’s a great course for adjusters looking for a systematic way to set their careers up for immediate and long-term success.
Rule #3: Keep your Vehicle Clean & Organized
This may seem like the most obvious of my ‘rules’ but I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen an adjuster open his door and have Gatorade bottles fall out and napkins fly away. I’ve seen guys knee deep in stuff in their truck beds hunting for a shingle gauge. I’ve been asked to borrow batteries because the adjuster bought extras but couldn’t find them.
And it makes sense. We live our lives on the road, sometimes driving over a hundred miles a day. We eat, and sometimes even sleep in the car, rarely stopping except for necessary breaks. But it’s all the more reason to take proper care of your environment – in this case, your car.
Keep your tools organized and in a dedicated location within your vehicle. Everything needs a consistent place. This will reduce the possibility of losing a tool or wasting time trying to find something. Remember: time is money! Make the effort to organize your tools in your vehicle in a way that makes sense to you. And then always return things back to “their place.” Throwing your equipment in your truck bed because you’re in a hurry not only beats it up, you’ll just have to spend more time hunting for it later.
Take a hint from the best – keep your tools organized and secure in your vehicle
Clean your car or throw away trash every time you have the chance: getting gas, using the facilities, grabbing a snack. Don’t let your vehicle become a trash can. In addition to making your job harder, claimants notice and it creates a poor impression about your abilities and professionalism.
Following these simple “rules for your tools” not only makes it easier to get the job done, it also subconsciously reduces your stress levels. Every day and every claim is different. Adjusters never really know what situation you are walking into so it’s important to control what you can. Time is money and as an adjuster, yours is precious.