New Adjuster Strategies – Part 3

Get Certified!

There are a million certifications out there.  Which of those should you choose?  This is a very popular debate.  While I will certainly not end the debate with this one blog, I will try to provide some guidance to the newer folks out there that would like to simplify the process.

I've said it before, but it's worth saying again - get licensed in your home state right away.  I'm sure some readers would disagree with this, but don't wait for your license to show up in the mail before you start working on other certs.  While the license is pending, go ahead and apply at several adjusting firms.  Ask them who they work with, and what certifications would be wise to obtain.  It's pretty hard to go to work for a firm that works with USAA if you aren't USAA certified.  Sounds obvious, but it seems like so many new adjusters want to "figure it out" on their own.   Why do that when the adjusting firms have experts in this very area answering the phone?  Email and midnight internet searches won't get you very far.  Get to know them, be transparent, and let them see your process.  It's hard to stand out as a new adjuster.  I'll discuss a great way to stand out at the end of this blog.

Xactimate - Level 1 & 2 are a great way to get noticed.  These are inexpensive and respected.  Level 3 is a good goal after you've had some time to practice.  Go for it!  I hear, almost daily, that level 3 is for trainers.  It isn't!!!  and never was.  Level 3 is a User Cert, and you should go for it.  It has nothing to do with training.

I am rolling out webinars on this very subject.  If you are looking to become an Xactware Certified User, email me at to get enrolled.

State Farm - Get this one.  The odds of getting work early in your career are greatly increased if you are State Farm certified.  The training available is second to none.  The support is tremendous.  Their market share is huge, which means they have more work to offer.  The habits you build here will benefit you anywhere.  Good work, with good people, consistent pay from very large and reputable adjusting firms.

Rope & Harness - This one is dear to my heart.  I have done so many Rope and Harness inspections.  Several thousand, actually.   While obviously not for everyone, this one has great advantages.  The peace and quiet while up on a steep roof is priceless.  The view is generally very good, too.  It's like a tiny vacation built into every day, several times.  Never mind that, you're more interested in how it helps your wallet.  And it does.  I want to mention one thing - find someone that has done this for a living.  Rock climbing and roof climbing are barely similar.  Belay is not as easy when you're on the traffic side of a house.  Communication can be a challenge.  Just sayin'.

Learn to learn.  At this moment, there are a couple places worth learning from.  That said, the "certification" is not universally accepted.  Get safe, and stay safe.  Get solid equipment and learn how to use it from a professional.  Then market your skills to employers.

The Rope & Harness folks are deployed first and sent home last, not to mention great pay with a lower work load (of course, it depends on how you look at work load - they ARE working on more dangerous surfaces).  This is an awesome niche, and a great career builder.

Citizens - Why not?  They're just the biggest carrier in Florida.  But what could possibly go wrong in Florida?  Hmmm.  It's been a few years, but hurricanes do happen here in our great state.


C.E.A. - I happen to believe this is a good one.  The perspective you get from this class will be great, CE comes with attendance, and you will be ready to deploy when an earthquake hits.  Don't panic if you don't get this one- they have historically certified adjusters right at the orientation.  When they need a ton of adjusters, they make exceptions.


NFIP - great rumors around this one.  They have a very strict process.  Time and experience requirements are strictly upheld.  I have heard a thousand times that new adjusters cannot get NFIP certified.  This is not entirely true.  If you sit through the presentation and fill out the application (this is a Federal application, do not stretch the truth on your application) with your experience, you may or may not become certified.  Your construction, engineering, military, or whatever, experience may convince the person reviewing your app that you are certifiable.  Yes, I chose that word intentionally.  A bigger point than whether you can get certified - should you?  If you are new - probably not.  Flood files are great to work, but they are not easy.  There is so much more money (with less stress) for newer adjusters handling less complicated claims.  Go there.  Make a ton of money while learning and growing.  Build your resume' one file at a time.  This is not a race.  No one is impressed that you got huge flood claims on your first deployment, and the help available at that level is lower (the assumption is that you don't need much help by the time you get there).  So, skip this one.  Assuming you have the time, sit in on the class to get information and perspective, but there is no need to go for this certification when you are just entering the field.  Getting NFIP certified may well "qualify" you for work you don't quite want yet.


AIC - Get this one.  The designation may or may not help you get work tomorrow.  But the education and perspective are well worth it.  Sure, you get letters after name.  Who doesn't like that?  But it's the information that makes it worth pursuing.  The AIC designation has helped me more than I can say.  Open doors, a camaraderie of sorts, and a greater sense of respect.  Is it for everyone?  YES.  As an added bonus, you'll have something new to hang on the wall.



Most important -DON'T waste your time getting "more qualified" in areas that don't suit your skillset.  DO get certified in areas that you would naturally fit into.

If you're a retired CPA- market yourself as someone that is uniquely qualified to handle Business Interruption and Loss of Rent claims (assuming you aren't desperately trying to escape your old life of spreadsheets).  I happen to love those claims.  They are driven by logic and numbers.  Rare is the claim that involves logic.


Market yourself the right way.  Have a reason to call the firms you are signed up with.  DO NOT call them complaining that you have no work.  They owe you as much work as they owe me - NONE.

  • Follow up every 2 weeks or so.  No more than once per week.  Put half of your firms on rotation every other Monday.  That way, you call every Monday, and talk to each one every other week.
  • When your license is approved, fax it in (or email, or whatever communication that vendor prefers).  Within an hour of that fax, call to confirm they have received it and ask if there is anything else they may need from you.  Express that you are ready to go to work if they get some.
  • When you get another cert, fax it in and call again.  You are showing how seriously you take preparation and readiness.  You're not a needy caller trying to drive your dispatcher crazy.
  • Do you see a theme here?  Those last 2 examples can go WAY into the future.  Get a cert, fax, then call.  How would you like to be a dispatcher that gets a call every week or 2- but this guy is calling with something positive to say?  "Every time he calls, he's telling me he has obtained some additional certification or designation- he's awesome."  Believe me, this is the message you send and it is the message the dispatcher receives.
  • So, develop a system that suits you and your goals, get into the rhythm of learning, faxing, and calling.

Of course, there many more certifications out there.  These are a few that I see as a great help in getting the new adjusters deployed.




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