If you've spent any time on social media, you have likely seen some heated discussion about Virtual Assist. Or it may not have even been discussions. It may have been that somebody posted a question about it and then 150 comments appeared almost instantly that completely bash the idea and calling anybody who wants to do it a bunch of names that would make even a sailor blush.
What is a Virtual Assist (VA)?
In a nutshell: A VA is a person who performs only the inspection in the claims process.
They'll use an app on their smartphone and get on a live video call with a licensed desk adjuster (DA). The desk adjuster will direct the VA on how to scope the house and what photos to take.
There's nothing else to it.
A VA gets a notification on their phone that there's an inspection available and they can either accept or decline it. All the rest of the work - contacting the insured, writing the estimate, labeling photos, making a policy decision, etc. - is handled by the trained and licensed DA.
There are pros and cons, of course, but in this case the pros heavily outweigh the cons.
In my opinion, two big pros are that for the companies who also hire licensed field adjusters being a VA can count as experience and in some cases is a first step towards getting on the IA roster. The second one is that a VA will be able to learn how to scope a lot of houses under the direction of an experienced adjuster - there's no pressure to do anything else so the VA can focus on this one very critical piece of the claims handling process. When the opportunity comes up to handle a full claim file, the person who has experience as a VA will easily be able to hit the ground running.
- no license required
- no certifications required
- no phone calls
- no negotiation
- no estimate writing
- counts as experience with some companies
- allows a newbie to learn how to scope without too much pressure
- only wind/hail right now
- volume is relatively low, but quickly increasing
- pays less than what a licensed field adjuster would make for the same claim
What does it pay?
As of right now, I only know what Madsky and Pilot pay for their programs.
- Madsky is paying a flat fee of $150 per inspection
- Pilot is paying between $72.50 and $202.50 per inspection
I asked Pilot how they've structured their pay and they said this:
"Inspectors currently receive anywhere from $72.50-$202.50 per assignment, depending on what the assignment entails and their experience level. For example, the most common inspection type currently pays $110 at the low end and $132 on the high end. Your manager can explain how your pay is structured and how it is determined. You will know what your pay rate is for each type of inspection prior to you accepting or rejecting an assignment.”
Should you accept VA work? As somebody who's done VA work, I can tell you that it's an easy way to make $150 in about 35 minutes without all the hassle of a full blown claim. But as an experienced adjuster I will only accept VA work in the absence of regular cat work.
For new people, I think it's an excellent way to get started in property claims.