Don't Ruin Your Career with Social Media

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(No newbies were harmed in the making of this post)

We've all seen it: 

The newbie posts up a basic question on Facebook and they get skewered by a pack of trolls who shred them for even THINKING a newbie thought.  

So what's so wrong with that?  We've still got freedom of speech in America and if a person wants to say how much they hate this or that thing or group, who cares, right?  I may not agree with their views, but the First Amendment is one of our most cherished privileges in this country.  Plus, I can unfriend them or hide them from my feed.

Well, insurance companies might care.  Or IA firms.  Or even a PA or attorney...!  

It recently came to my attention from several different people that some IA firms were watching social media.  I was told that if they saw somebody being a jerk to a newbie in a facebook group that they would immediately check and see if the rude person was on their roster and then "take measures" from there.  In some cases going as far as kicking that person off of their roster.

Now, it could be argued that I'm not doing our industry any good by saying this.  After all, if a person is going to be an jerk to a new adjuster or somebody interested in this business, how are they going to treat an insured?  We should let those rude know-it-alls hang themselves with their own words, right?  

Well, I thought long and hard about doing this video for that reason.  In the end, I feel that it's more of a benefit if I get this message out than if I don't say anything.  Besides, most of the people who troll in social media probably don't watch my videos - and even if they do, maybe they'll see that they can't just sucker punch people through a computer from the safety of their mom's basement and get away with it for long.  

That what they do online can have real consequences - not the least of which is getting blackballed from a roster (or rosters).

The biggest part of our job as claims adjusters is customer service.  That requires us to have empathy..  and to treat people with dignity and respect...  not just customers.

And this doesn't just go for being a jerk in the comments..

If a public adjuster or attorney sees your activity online, they may be able to use it against you in court.  I was told a story about an adjuster who posted a photo of a beer next to his laptop while working on claims - probably years prior.  One of his claims went to court and the PA searched the adjuster's social media feed and found that pic and then had a big Perry Mason moment of showing how the adjuster was drinking when he wrote the estimate - which the adjuster denied up until the photo was revealed from his social media feed. 

Listen, here's the deal:  

The biggest part of our job as claims adjusters is customer service.  That requires us to have empathy..  and to treat people with dignity and respect...  not just customers.

I've seen adjusters standing in an insured's front yard on a reinspection, giving them their opinion about everything that pops into their mind, telling them that their previous adjuster was an idiot for not seeing x or y..  I've seen them arguing with the roofer, and correcting everything everybody says because hey, they're the EXPERT on adjustering and everybody needs to know how great THEY think THEY are.

That person is a troll.  And IA firms don't want that guy representing them in the field.  Neither do carriers.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: nobody cares about what you think or what you think you know.

When I’m running claims, they don’t care about what I think either.

They only care about how we can help them. If we concentrate on the outcome of the claim then things will go much smoother for everybody.

How do you know you’re a troll?

Number One: You've nominated yourself chief of the grammar police.

If a newbie posts something and you understood what they said, then that post was a success - even if everything was misspelled and they used there instead of they're.  In case you didn't know, humans MADE UP language so we could communicate with each other - NOT so we could show each other how much we know arbitrary rules better than somebody else.  And grammar and spelling are sets of arbitrary rules.

Number Two: You think honesty is the best policy.

You feel compelled to share your "opinion" with people, even if it's going to hurt their feelings or cause controversy - because, "hey, I'm just being honest and honesty is the best policy, right?"  Wrong.  By this standard, if I walk into a person's house and I don't like their home decor, I have every right to say, "your home decor is garbage, have you thought about remodeling?  Hey, I'm just being honest!"  Does that have anything to do with closing that claim?  Does it?  No.  Therefore honesty is NOT the best policy.  Closing that claim is the best policy!  And anything that doesn't CONTRIBUTE to that is going to make that harder for you.

Or...  "actually, yes.  Those pants DO make your butt look pretty big honey.  But I love your big butt!  Hey, I'm just being honest!"  

Think about it:  what's the best outcome here?  That your wife should appreciate that you're an honest guy?  Is that really what we're hoping to achieve here??  (I'll let you work that one out)

In short:  don't LIE.  But also, don't think you have to always speak your mind in an inappropriate spirit of total honesty.

Number Three: Finally, you think it's okay to build yourself up by tearing somebody else down. 

For example:  "anybody who doesn't know what TPO is shouldn't be an adjuster."  "Anybody who doesn't have their [insert special certification here] shouldn't be allowed to touch a claim."  When you say that, we can only assume that YOU know what a TPO roofing system is or that YOU have that super special certification.  Which means that you're trying to make yourself look better by disqualifying those who don't have that knowledge.  

What you're telling me is that YOU are insecure and never learned that fundamental thing about yourself - nor are you capable of seeing things from outside of your own perspective - which is a critical customer service skill in our industry.

So long story short, what you say and do on social media has consequences, in some cases pretty serious.  Clean up your feed and delete photos and other posts that you wouldn't want your grandma to see (you know, if she's a normal grandma and not an outlaw biker).

Mathew Allen

I teach new catastrophe adjusters how to get started in the business.  I also build my own websites and sites for friends (who sometimes pay me).  In addition, I film and produce personal adventure videos for hunting and fishing clients.