Top Ten Things You Can Expect on Your First Hurricane


As independent property catastrophe adjusters, we talk about hurricanes all the time.  So many adjusters get their start on a huge event like a hurricane.  And because of special circumstances that happen from time to time, IA's can make pretty large amounts of money in a relatively short period of time.

So what can you expect to happen on a hurricane deployment?

Top 10 things you can expect on a typical hurricane deployment..

Number 10 - complete and utter chaos.  By the time you've completed a hurricane deployment, you will have had at least 3 managers, 5 meetings where they tell you to forget what they told you in the last meeting because we're doing it a different way now, and been told to move over a state at least once.

Number 9 - ain't nobody got time for you.  If you want help - even in a Help Room - you're going to have to get assertive and insist that you get help closing your claims.  Help room people are extremely overworked and very busy, but they're there for YOU.  If you can't close claims, then that looks bad on them as well because they're supposed to help get claims closed.

Because who wouldn't spend four figures if it meant a much better chance to earn six figures?

Number 8 - you won't get paid until you turn in claims that STAY closed.  You can't just show up and expect to start getting paid.  If you run out of money two weeks into a storm, that's gonna be on you.  If you can start closing claims the first week, you'll start earning the money you'll need to keep you afloat through the catastrophe deployment...  and beyond.

Number 7 - you'll enter a time warp where even though every single day seems to last an eternity, especially when you're staying up until 1am and getting up at 5am every single day..  two weeks will feel like it took 2 days.  You've got to be extremely intentional about your schedule and GUARD IT WITH YOUR LIFE.  Because you'll fail without a smart plan for managing your time on a hurricane deployment.

Number 6 - Good luck finding gas anywhere.  I don't recommend carrying along jerry cans for fuel because they'll likely get stolen (lots of looters and bad guys head to hurricane disaster zones) - you'll just have to drive farther from the area of devastation to find it.  Water on the other hand? Yes.  Make sure you've got lots of water in your vehicle.  Hurricanes usually happen in the hottest part of the summer in the hottest parts of the country.

Number 5 - Cell towers that went down during the storm are back up surprisingly fast.  I sat in on a presentation by Verizon some years ago at a conference and they said that they have temporary, self-powered towers ready to deploy anywhere in the country so that during major catastrophes communications can be restored quickly.

Number 4 - If you listen to or watch the local news, you can make a drinking game out of the words "price gouging."  Politicians will come out of the woodwork to appeal to their voter bases with all kinds of stuff about insurance and economics that you KNOW just aren't true.  Let it go, man..  just..  let it go.

Number 3 - You'll eat more fast food in the driver's seat of your truck in 4 weeks than in your previous 12 months combined.  Get a cooler and carry along your favorite lunch food and snacks and save yourself a ton of money AND avoid ruining your health.

Number 2 - Bring along a box of tissues.  Insureds will cry on your shoulder.  

And the Number 1 thing to expect on a hurricane.. 

If you close solid claims that stay closed, if you're always closing more claims per week than the previous week, if you're insureds are satisfied that you gave them a fair shake, AND if your manager's phone isn't ringing with people screaming about YOUR claims..  you'll get noticed AND you'll find that you either get asked to stay on the hurricane to help with cleanup (which can last for months and even YEARS) or you're getting calls from the IA firm you're working for for other deployments and training and certification opportunities.  

IA firms and carriers love it when they find a diamond in the rough newbie IA.  If this stuff clicks with you and you really crush it on your first hurricane, they'll bend over backwards to help you get better and keep you working for them.  

How do you survive your first hurricane deployment?  By getting as much training in preparation as possible.  If you're serious about changing your life by getting into independent adjusting, you owe it to yourself to make sure you've got the best chance for success on these critical first cat deployments.  It's not a joke that if you blow it on your first cat, you might not get another chance with that IA firm or carrier.  And if you deployed with one of the big boys and you failed, that can be fatal to your career.

So get as many licenses as you can, starting with the midwest tornado alley states and expanding from there, get solid hands-on training at a reputable adjusting school, learn Xactimate inside and out, network like your life depends on it, and keep your eye on AdjusterTV for enrollment opportunities for my exclusive cat deployment survival training.

Because who wouldn't spend four figures if it meant a much better chance to earn six figures?

Question of the Day 

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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.