What can you make on your first hurricane?

A question as old as time itself…..


As with most things in life, we can avoid disappointment if we temper our expectations.  It can even help us to make better decisions if we don't put all of our eggs in one basket.

What am I talking about?

Hurricanes and the money you've no doubt heard can be made.  

Many new adjusters get into this business because they heard about the money.  In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that EVERYBODY who's ever been interested in becoming an IA became interested when their eyes went wide the moment they were told how much a guy made over the summer on cat hail.   Or on a hurricane like Irma or Katrina or Andrew.  

Why do people get into this crazy career?

A lot of people are looking for ways to get caught up on their retirement after a lifetime of "now instead of later" spending habits.

All things being equal, in this way a hurricane deployment is just like any other wind/hail deployment.  If you want to make really good money on a hurricane you'll have to close a LOT of high quality, accurate claims in a short period of time.

Many people are just sick of the grind and imagine that this IA career will be their ticket to a new life where they can work hard for a few months and then chill the rest of the year and play with their kids and mow the yard at 10am on a Tuesday while all their neighbors are at the office.

And then there's the people who just want to get out there and build a career where they can - by their own efforts and strategic thinking - make what they want to make in a day, week, and year.  

A lot of folks believe that there's a hurricane every year and that's all we do.  In fact, that's what I thought when I got started.  I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the national weather news until I got into claims and then suddenly I was a meteorology expert and nailed to the tv whenever there was a "tropical wave moving off the coast of west Africa."

But the truth is, hurricanes aren't that common, in spite of a few recent years in a row of activity.  What’s more.. the claims we DO get on hurricanes aren't ALL the total losses we see on tv or even categorized as severe damage.

An adjuster will handle some of those, to be sure.  But they'll likely handle many more regular old wind claims.  As hurricanes move inland, they lose their devastating power.   They'll still do a lot of damage, but it's generally not as catastrophic as it is where the storm makes landfall.

So you'll get some big claims.  And you'll get a lot of little claims - tree on fence, water spot on ceiling kinda claims.  

All things being equal, in this way a hurricane deployment is just like any other wind/hail deployment.  If you want to make really good money on a hurricane you'll have to close a LOT of high quality, accurate claims in a short period of time.

The fact of the matter is that you can't just show up on a hurricane deployment and expect to make $60,000 in 6 weeks - especially if you've never handled a claim before. 

It takes a deeply focused effort on time management and training to get to a place where you can make money like that.

Yeah yeah, before you comment to tell me how much your friend - who was green as grass - made on Irma in 4 weeks, let’s all remember that there are absolutely exceptions.  

But your chances of being one of those exceptions are pretty small.  Don't count on getting the once-in-a-lifetime assignments in the best areas.  Hurricanes cover HUGE regions and you can't pick the claims you get.  Even if you beg, they're still going to give you what they've got, no matter where it is.

So if you get the call to go work a hurricane this year should you just say no because it seems like Matt is saying that hurricanes aren't worth the effort?

Not at all.

But temper your expectations.

As a newbie, one of your BEST opportunities to start a career as an IA is a big hurricane deployment.  You bring your A game and you hit the ground running by closing solid claims and your IA firm WILL notice you and they WILL give you special attention so that you don't wash out.  

And success on this first event will set up the rest of your career as an adjuster.  You may not make crazy money on it, but then again you just might.

If you go into it with the expectation that this is your opportunity to get your career started off right, and not just as a way to make a buck, then you'll find yourself making better decisions about how to get ready for your first big hurricane deployment.

Question of the Day 

What are you doing to prepare for the peak of hurricane season?  Let us know in the comments below where you're watching this video.

Everything you need to know about getting started as an Independent Adjuster, in one 40 minute video. Check it out!


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.