New Adjuster Strategies – Part 2

How to survive your first deployment

Several things occur when a new adjuster gets deployed for the first time.  We'll discuss things that are so common, it's pretty much safe to say that ALL new adjusters go through the same patterned experience.  If you thought you were alone, you're not.  Read on.

Having information about what is about to happen (prior to it actually happening) can really be beneficial to the newly deployed.  Here are the normal stages:

Day 1 - Yay, I'm deployed!!!!  I'm going to be rich!!!
(Later that same day) - Oh no, I'm deployed.  What do I need to do?  Do I need supplies?  Can I bring my instructor(s) with me?  Where will I be staying?  A hotel?  An RV?  My car?  Near the office, or near my files?

Day 2/3 - I'm here.  I have some files, and I have a place to stay.  What now?

Days 4-6 - I have looked at several houses- how do I get these files closed?  How many should I see every day?

Days 7-11 - I have submitted several files for approval, and every single one has been sent back for revision.  They don't like me here.  This job is not for me.  I don't know what I was thinking- I need to go home.  Sound familiar?

Days 12-20 - Files are starting to close, I feel a "rhythm now".  I may actually be able to do this after all.  If I could just get these files off my desk and into the Closed basket.

Days 21 or so - I got my first paycheck!  This is so exciting.  After expenses, I'm only $3000 in the hole!  Yippee (this really is a time to celebrate.  You're on your way out of the hole).

Days 30 and beyond - I love this job.  For a moment there, I didn't think I would make it.  I will never dig a hole like that again.  From now on, I will inspect one loss and close it, THEN move on to the next one.  I wish someone had told me to do that in the beginning.


Let's take a look at how this experience could have gone a lot better.  A little bit of mental preparation, and a ton of self discipline, and this storm could have been way better for this new guy or gal.

You get the call and confirm deployment.  Find out what city your main office (if there is one) will be in.  There is a great debate about whether to stay near your files, or stay near the office.  I say stay near the office- especially if you are new.  Here's why:

  • The office is the constant.  Your files could be in one town this week, another town next week.  Meetings, frequently called at the last minute, will also be there.
  • When you fish, go where the fish are.  And when you are new, go where the trainers are.  Where are they, you ask?  At the office.  Get where you will have access to help.

Be deliberate about how many files you schedule.  The pressure to "See everyone right now" will be tremendous.  Tune that out.  You can only do what you can do.

  • Schedule one file per day.  And work that one file until it is closed.  The pressure will be there to do more, but don't.  Do what you can do.  If you're ahead of schedule, knock out two in one day.  But commit to only one.  At least until you get the rhythm down.  As a field manager and trainer, I have a front row seat to watch success/ failure of the new folks.  The new adjusters that start off with a deliberate calculated pace are the ones that survive, and eventually thrive.  Seeing 20 and closing none gets you sent home, and it should.  What does taking pictures of 20 houses and paying no one really accomplish?  Nothing.  Seeing one and closing one, on the other hand, is the recipe for success.  Obviously, 3 weeks into the job should be a whole different scene.  You'll be moving by then.  Be patient with yourself.

Bug your trainers.  There I go again, driving everyone crazy.  We grow up not wanting to "bother" people.  Keep our manners, don't ask for help.  That is exactly why the new people drown in this job.  They want to APPEAR to have it together, all the while they are completely buried with work they don't know how to do!  Appearing to be competent doesn't even work the first day.  The management knows that you are new.  Admitting that isn't admitting anything.  When you hide from the office staff, they get worried.  And they should.  The folks that try to maintain the charade of having it all together have a 100% failure rate.  The folks that ask for help are somewhere under that figure.  You may feel like you are bothering the training staff, maybe because you are.  But that is their problem- not yours.  Trainers know what training means.  They know you will need help, and they know they are there to provide it.  If you are worried about whether or not you are bothering someone, instead of worrying about closing files- your priorities are out of whack.


I hope this helps.  Stay tuned for next month's New Adjuster blog.

Feel free to comment.  I would love the feedback.


Written and hosted by Chris Hatcher, AIC- Xactimate Certified Trainer

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