Some of the best lessons that adjusters learn are learned while handling claims. On-the-job experience is often the most efficient way to gain vast knowledge in a short amount of time. This is particularly important during times of catastrophic losses. During catastrophes, claims volume is intense, and negotiation pressure is high.
One of the conundrums about learning on the job is that you actually need to have had a job in order to learn on the job. In some cases, it might be worthwhile to sign on as a trainee and wait for that catastrophic opportunity to arise. If you are unable to secure a job as in adjuster trainee, real work experience can still be obtained. You can gain valuable experience working at an entry-level position in an insurance company or within an agency. This can provide you with on-the-job experiences that will help you develop skills as a property adjuster.
If you are working for an agency, pay attention to the homeowners’ and business owners’ policies that come through. Try to find out for yourself what those risks look like and how they compare to properties with which you are familiar. When losses come in, try to learn as much information as you can. The process will help to develop your familiarity with the language of insurance claims.
One of the more interesting areas for learning on the job is the area of fraud investigation. It is important for all insurance professionals to be vigilant when it comes to fraudulent insurance claims. Remember that it is okay to ask questions about how, when, and where the loss occurred. It is important to understand that the insured policyholder has a duty to cooperate. By asking questions, you will learn much about how things happen and how they can go wrong for a property owner. Over time, you will find it easier to detect when someone is trying to commit insurance fraud. Dishonest people often falter when challenged. Simple questioning can usually provide insight into any fraudulent activity. If you come across these situations, it is important to notify your supervisor and the adjuster handling the claim.
All of these experiences can be utilized at your first job as a property claims adjuster. Even adjusters who have been employed for only a short period will have numerous stories about the claims they encounter. This will include stories about tragic incidents, or people who have tried to take advantage of the system. In addition, most adjuster will have some success stories about opportunities they had to help people out of a bad situation. When the proper insurance coverage in place, insurance can help significantly. These stories will stick with you throughout your career and help to guide you.
When seeking out mentors, be sure to consult seasoned claims professionals. In particular, talk to those who may be near retirement age or who may have already retired. As said earlier, all claims professionals will have stories that relate to claims that they have handled. As a new adjuster or entry-level insurance professional, you can learn a lot from more experienced individuals. They will have stories of coverage disputes, high-value claims, fraudulent events, and unusual circumstances that never make it into textbooks. Talking with experienced professionals in the claims industry is highly valuable. The knowledge you gain can be as good as on the job experience.
Those who are new to the insurance industry have an advantage. Today, over 36% of all insurance employees are within five years of retirement age. In one sense, this is bad for the industry because in five years, there is going to be a massive outflow of the workforce, which will have to be replaced. For new people coming in and for existing companies, it means that there is a vast knowledge base working in the field right now today. You can take advantage of this knowledge by simply talking with some experienced claims adjusters. Most are happy to talk at length and glad to spend time talking about their own careers with people who are new to the profession.
So where do you find these experienced individuals? How can you connect with retired insurance professionals? The insurance industry contains a very social network of people. Many retirees stay in contact with the people with whom they worked for so many years. In fact, many retirees stay busy by working as consultants. Networking events abound in the insurance business. Sometimes, these events are associated with a learning seminar or a continuing education event. There are social and networking events that help B2B enterprises connect with industry professionals. If you aspire to become a property claims professional, it is very important that you identify the organizations in your city that hold these types of events. Examples include claims associations, agency associations, and CPCU Society Chapters. The social events are often golf outings or charity events. They can be a great way to identify who the decision makers are in the property claims industry in your locale. Make yourself visible, and be sure to start a conversation with someone who may change your career. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple question. Ask a claims veteran for career advice some time. It is doubtful that any seasoned professional would ignore a question like that.
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