The End of Insurance as We Know It?? [ROUNDTABLE]

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This video is a juicy one..

Chris Stanley with invited me to be a part of a graduation open house (online) for his students.

So sit back with some popcorn and enjoy as you learn what industry pros see coming for us in the insurance industry.

There was an all-star panel of guests including:

Rob Galbraith - best-selling author of “The End of Insurance as We Know It”

Jason Heenan - Royal Adjusting Services owner and host of the popular “AdjusterTalk” podcast.

Adam Painter: Host of the new independent adjusting podcast “The Adjuster Show” and owner of, a site dedicated to curating the best resources for independent claims adjusters.

John Bachmann - A true insurance Renaissance Man who contributes to the fast-growing YouTube channel, The Insurance Nerdery.

So sit back with some popcorn and enjoy as you learn what industry pros see coming for us in the insurance industry.

The video hits the highlights of the open house/roundtable.

Watch the 50+ minutes of industry pros talking about our industry:


Want to join an IA Path Open House?

For future all-star open houses, check out Chris Stanley’s IA Path website!

How to inspect a hail damaged vehicle

By Chris Stanley, IA Path Founder and Host of The Independent Adjuster Podcast


This adjusting superpower will give you x-ray like vision to see hail dents that average adjusters and owners cannot see. There are many misconceptions on how to properly look at a vehicle, but this is the technique of true professionals. 

I want you to do an exercise the next time you are outside with your vehicle. Look at your hood and find reflections in your hood. Do you see the clouds? How about the light pole? Telephone or power wires? The old barn? Whatever you see in your reflection off the hood, focus on one object. Now move your head and keep track of your object. Walk to the left, now the right. Were you able to keep the reflection the whole time? Good.

Now I want you to find a hard-line in the reflection. This is a light pole, edge of a roof, anything that is solid and a different color than its surroundings.  Your goal each and every time you look at a hail damaged panel is to find a hard-line reflection. Find one that is straight and stands out in the reflection.

When you move your head and the hard-line comes across a hail dent, you will see your light bending superpower in action. The hard-line reflection will bend to the shape of the hail dent. It will become distorted and reveal how far the metal has been stretched. This is because the metal is not flat at this spot. 

That is how you find dents and properly size the dents. When looking at a dent on a hood what you can see with your naked eye is only part of the stretched metal. When you use your light bending powers, you will see the true size of the dent.

This same technique is extremely useful in counting the dents across a panel. Each time you see the reflection flicker or go distorted you know a hail dent is present. 

You are armed with the knowledge to see the damage that is present on a vehicle, have a basic understanding of the repair operations, and how to determine what is best for each panel. We now need to pull all of it together to make notes to be able to create a digital estimate. 

We document the damage of the vehicle in the same manner that we take photos of the vehicle, the same way each time. We start at the same place, left front, and go the exact same route around the vehicle as we did with the photos. 

Below is my guide to the order in which you should inspect hail damage panel by panel.


Do you see how doing the photos and the scoping in the exact same order would ensure you are consistent and give you a rhythm to follow? You may have your own order already established and I’m not challenging anyone’s methods, but it needs to be the same every time. As your guide I encourage you to do it the way I’ve laid out, to take my advice, and to apply my methods.


Become an Auto Adjuster..

IA Path is dedicated to helping you become a working auto adjuster with comprehensive training...

Check out the video on this topic below…


Four Things That Must Happen During and Auto Inspection

By Chris Stanley, IA Path Founder and Host of The Independent Adjuster Podcast


There are 4 things you MUST do to complete an auto inspection. Let’s look at that now and the sub-steps in them:

When inspecting a vehicle there are 4 steps to completing an auto damage inspection.

Have a Conversation - Having a good conversation with the owner is crucial tounderstanding the damage and leaving the owner feeling good about the work that you are going to do. Let them share your story so you know what happened to the vehicle.

Take Photos - Taking the required photos properly and capturing the damage is essential to what you were contracted to do. Capture the damage on the vehicle so the damage can tell its own story.

Scope the damage - Proper note taking of the damage and of the conversation with the owner will make the job of writing an estimate and an appraisal report easier for you.

The damage notes are called “scoping” the damage.

Set Expectations – Let the owner or shop know EXACTLY what to expect. If needed re-adjust those expectations so they aren’t having incorrect expectations. Easiest way for people to be happy is to tell them what to expect next in the claims process.

Complete these steps in this order for maximum effectiveness.


Become an Auto Adjuster..

IA Path is dedicated to helping you become a working auto adjuster with comprehensive training...

Check out the video on this topic below…

How to get started as an Independent Auto Adjuster

By Chris Stanley, IA Path Founder and Host of The Independent Adjuster Podcast

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You may have a grasp of how you could put the odds of getting work as an IA in your favor, but you may still be wondering exactly what steps or tactics you should employ to accomplish your goals. You have lots of actions you COULD take, but what are the best actions to take to achieve your desired results without walking in circles or wasting steps?

Just because you know how to play chess doesn’t mean you know how to win.

This is exactly why I created the Roadmap that uses the the principles found in my book, Independent Adjuster’s Playbook, to its fullest. I call it the IA Advantage Roadmap. The Roadmap is the journey that I have traveled over the last 10 years (and in some cases, what I’d do different if I had to start over today). The Roadmap combines my experiences and knowledge of the industry along with the experiences of other IA’s and knowledge from those I’ve interviewed on the Independent Adjuster Podcast to provide us with a proven map.

Now before we dive into all the individual steps, you may be wondering, “What do I need to do BEFORE I can get started in auto?” Well, there are 3 big steps all the following steps fall into.

1. Get Trained – Know how to write estimates

2. Create Your Business – Be set up as a legit business

3. Get Customers – Build trust and relationships with IA Firms

Now that is a simplification of what you NEED to do before you get started in auto, but it isn’t hard so dig in and start. If you want more detailed instructions on how to get started, below is an excerpt from the Independent Adjuster’s Playbook that breaks down how to get started in auto step by step into a roadmap. I call it the IA Advantage Roadmap.

3 Phases of the IA Advantage Roadmap:

The Roadmap is comprised of three phases. These phases each have a milestone for you and your career. As an independent business owner, having a solid understanding of the entire process and the steps that you need to take will bring you confidence. As you get going and start to find traction, your goals may change and deviate from what I’ve outlined. Never forget, the Roadmap is to be your guide not your prison.

During your journey, you may decide to take a different path than what I’ve laid out, and that is completely fine. This map is designed to help you get started without having a lot of unanswered questions. Many new adjusters may get through Phase 2 of the Roadmap and decide to keep going on Phase 2 while never moving on to Phase 3, and that can be a great career decision! This is your life, claim it!

This Roadmap is to be your guide not your prison.
— Chris Stanley

In this section, I will go over the three phases in a big picture fashion, and in the next section of the book, I’ll cover each step inside of each phase in greater detail. If you are wanting a more detailed breakdown of how to do each step that I am about to outline, continue on to the next section of the book (Part 3).

Phase 1: Create Your Business

Phase 1 of the IA Advantage Roadmap is all about creating your business. Let’s say you were going to start a different type of business, a bakery, for example. You would not only need to know how to bake cakes to have a business, but you would need to create a legal business entity to sell those cakes. Additionally, you would need to have a way to process payments from your customers and have the proper insurance in place. That is what Phase 1 is all about. It includes the following steps:

● Start Auto Training

● Get an Adjuster License

● Obtain Your EIN

● Apply for an LLC

● Open a Bank Account

● Get Proper Insurance

● Complete Your Auto Training


(The MILESTONE at the end of the list of steps lets you know when you have completed the phase i.e. you know you’ve finished Phase 1 when you are officially and legally open for business.)


Become an Auto Adjuster..

IA Path is dedicated to helping you become a working auto adjuster with comprehensive training...

Why Auto?

Now, you may be wondering, “Auto training? Hold on! Chris, I was thinking of getting into property. I want to become an independent property adjuster. I want to climb houses!”

Yes, I understand that you may be thinking about scaling roofs and that there’s more money in property. And, you’d be right in thinking that there is more money in property, but the methodology I am presenting is all about putting the odds in your favor.

Remember, the IA Advantage Roadmap is a map to give you the advantage and the edge as you get started, making it easier to find work and success early on. By directing you toward auto adjusting as an initial step, I am giving you the less competitive route.

As I discussed earlier in this book, every adjuster has heard the same things that you probably read online, that typical way of thinking and strategy. This involves getting your adjuster license, taking Xactimate training, learn a little bit about property claims, then... get to the back of the line! I do not want you to get in the back of that property line.

“I do not want you to get in the back of that property line. I want you to work while others wait.”

Frankly, instead of focusing on property, I’d much rather you compete for local daily auto claims because the odds are better.

Let me use a real example. I have a good adjuster friend who lives in Abilene, Texas.

Instead of competing with the 17,000+ licensed adjusters in Texas for catastrophic claims, he decided to pursue local daily claims in his area. In his area he knows of only 1 other adjuster servicing the same types of companies he is working with. ONLY ONE!

(Pretty good odds, eh?)

I want you to work while others wait.
— Chris Stanley

Now, maybe you live in a bigger city where there are perhaps dozens of other IA’s servicing daily claims. Still, I don’t know about you, but I like the odds of competing against dozens better than competing against 17,000+. That is why I’m walking you through learning to do auto claims. Your goal should be to have a successful daily auto claims business as a revenue stream then using that revenue to catapult yourself into the catastrophic arena with experience, confidence, and income.

Phase 2: Promote Your Business

Now, if you successfully completed Phase 1, you are officially a business owner. The purpose of Phase 2, going back to the bakery example, is about telling people about the cakes you are selling. So, instead of telling people about cakes, you tell people that you are an independent adjuster and talk about the claims that you can handle.

You must promote your business. The steps in Phase 2 are:

● Take Auto Software Training

● Set Up LinkedIn Profile

● Prepare Your Resume

● Get On Photo Rosters

● Find & Join 13 Rosters

● Purchase Estimating Software


The big milestone in Phase 2 is to earn your first dollar as a claims business. Which is to say, you will know you are done with Phase 2 when you have earned your first dollar in revenue.

Many people may choose to stay here and build their local daily auto claims business.

Many people may stay in daily claims forever, but I have a feeling that a majority of

people are reading this because they want to pursue catastrophic claims. So, if you

want to move on to catastrophic work then onto Phase 3 ONCE YOU HAVE



Check out the video on this topic below…

How much can you earn as an auto independent adjuster?

By Chris Stanley, IA Path Founder and Host of The Independent Adjuster Podcast

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Ahh the age old question… “How much can you earn as an independent auto adjuster?” Or a similar question, “Can you make a living doing auto claims? YES, but it depends on what a good living is for you. Can you become “rich” off of daily auto claims… NO. How much can you earn? Well I’ll try my best to answer that. You can either scroll to the bottom of the page to watch the video or ready my lovely text.. or both…. the choice is yours. (having a choice feels nice right?)

My first year in the business I earned $42,000 as a ROOKIE auto IA. That was only working for one company. I wish I had gotten on with more companies earlier, but over the next few years my income jumped up to $80,000+ a year. I had a few banner years over six figures (Typically when catastrophe played a big role), but for the most part I’d say $80k is what a veteran auto IA can make.

The “stats” on multiple websites state that the average auto damage appraiser/adjuster salary is around $60k. Now this includes staff adjusters at insurance companies, estimators at body shops, in addition to independent auto damage appraisers. It is likely that a successful auto IA would earn MORE than a staff adjuster.

Can I Make Six Figures as an Independent Auto Adjuster?

I’ve talked with other auto IA’s who make well over six figures each year so it IS possible, one gentleman made $150,000 last year doing PHOTOS ONLY claims. He ran around taking photos while someone else wrote the estimates. This isn’t normal, but it goes to show what is possible.

If you haven’t watched any of my videos previously or read any of my books, then you may be unaware that while I love auto claims I do not think it is best to JUST do auto claims. I suggest STARTING in auto and expanding your business to other revenue streams.

The important thing to remember about being an IA is, THAT YOU ARE THE BUSINESS OWNER! You are also the salesman, the technician, the janitor etc. You are an all in one package for your business. You have the control so if you want to earn more… you have no one to rely on or blame, but yourself. You need to go get on additional rosters, expand your territory, and add additional lines of revenue to your business.

There are nearly endless ways to add additional services to your business and as I previously stated doing ONLY auto is not recommended long term. You’ll need to add some of the additional services below to diversify your income and protect yourself against changes and the slow seasons in the industry. Below are a few examples of things you can consider.

Additional Services You May Consider Adding AFTER Auto


·       Heavy Equipment (semi-trucks, trailers etc.)

·       RV

·       Motorcycle

·       Property

·       Mechanical Breakdown

·       Classic Car Appraisals

·       Diminished Value

·       Catastrophe

·       Desk Review

·       Desk Deployments (total loss, liability, etc.)

I hope that helps answer your question, if you have more about being an independent auto adjuster feel free to ask in the comments below and don’t forget to WATCH THE VIDEO below and hit the subscribe button for AdjusterTV.

Your Guide,
Chris Stanley


Become an Auto Adjuster..

IA Path is dedicated to helping you become a working auto adjuster with comprehensive training...

Check out the video on this topic below…

Never miss a photo when scoping a vehicle [AUTO CLAIMS]

By Chris Stanley, IA Path Founder and Host of The Independent Adjuster Podcast

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Once upon a time a young appraiser (me) had a large coverage area, 3hrs x 3hrs x 3hrs x 3hrs. 

After spending a long twelve-hour day of inspections, I sat down to input the damage from the many cars I had looked at. Upon review of the first file I realized that the very first one could not be completed.

The reason why?

I had forgotten to take a VIN photo.

The owner and I had some great conversation about what had happened and I simply had gotten distracted and forgotten to take the photo. In the end this one photo cost me 6 hours of my life (re-driving out to the border of my coverage area to re-take that photo and driving back).

My hope is that I can help you never experience that pain in your career.

As an auto damage appraiser or adjuster, there are few tasks we are given that are as easy to judge or be judged on as the photos you take. When you receive an assignment from the appraisal company. You are contracted to complete (at minimum):

  1. To document the damage with photos

  2. To write an estimate

  3. To fill out an appraisal report

Both the estimate and appraisal report’s validity are judged and based on the photos we upload to the appraisal and insurance company. Within that assignment that is sent over is a set of guidelines and expectations for you. This is what must be completed for you to be paid for completing the assignment. Review these guidelines before completing an inspection.

Let’s look at the most commonly requested photos first. 

Standard Required Photos

99% of all files that I have ever completed have requested the following photos;

  • Four Corners (Left Front, Right Front, Right Rear, Left Rear)

  • License

  • VIN

  • Odometer

  • Damage Photos (minimum of three)

I will present them in the order I take them in every time. Doing photos in an order and rhythm will ensure THAT YOU NEVER MISS A PHOTO!

Four Corners – The four corners allows anyone who looks at the photos to see the overall condition of the car. Many times you will be able to see a majority of the damage, license plate, and prior damage all from just the four corners.

The key to getting a corner photo correct is to ensure that you can see one end of the car and one whole side of the car. For example, when taking Front corner photo you should stand to the left and front of the vehicle. You should be able to see the entire front and left of the vehicle. a eft Front corner photo you should stand to the left and front of the vehicle. You should be able to see the entire front and left of the vehicle.

I take the photos of the four corners in this order:

  • Lt Front

  • Rt Front

  • Rt Rear

  • Lt Rear

License Plate Photo – The license plate photo is good for identification purposes. The insurance company will be able to verify if this is the correct and if stolen in the future have record of what license plate was on the vehicle they are insuring. It will also provide information regarding when the registration will expire. In the event of a total loss insurance companies will reimburse owners for the months of taxes they pre-paid.

VIN Photo – The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is the unique identifier for the vehicle. The VIN is located in multiple places on the vehicle.

  • Windshield/Dash

  • Drivers Side Door

  • Engine

  • Frame of the Vehicle

The best VIN photo to take is the one of the VIN plate on the driver’s door. (or on inside frame or pillar of the door). This will also include the manufacture date which is important when determining if a vehicle qualifies for A/M or LKQ parts. (Like Kind Quality)

Odometer (or Mileage) Photo – Similar to a timestamp on a photo, this photo is a timestamp of when in the cars life span the insurance company inspected the vehicle. It can be useful in future investigations and claim, but once again it also can be a determiner or qualifier for A/M or LKQ parts depending on the insurance company guidelines. The odometer is located on the dashboard behind the steering wheel. In newer vehicles they are all digital, but older models will be analog.

Make sure when you take a mileage photo that the displayed mileage you are taking a photo of is the “odometer” or “odo” and not a “trip” mileage. I’ve had this happen more than a few times and can be frustrating and embarrassing to call an owner asking them their current mileage.

If a vehicles digital dash is displaying the trip it can be a game of hide and seek to find the correct button to change that to display the odometer. Many owners are not aware how to change the dash to display the odometer.

Dash Photo – Although not required on all inspections I highly recommend taking a dash/radio photo after you snap your odometer photo. You only have to move the camera a little and will literally add on two seconds to your inspection. This is important in the case of a total loss, but it also will display a lot of options on the car that could come into question later.

Headliner Photo – Right after I take the dash photo I point the camera (or phone) up and take a photo of the headliner. This shows the condition of the headliner and also shows if the vehicle has a sunroof. This is very important when a vehicle is a total loss or on hail inspections where performing R/I on a sunroof is a big item to miss. I recommend taking a photo of the headliner on every file.

Drivers Door Photo – Stepping back after the headliner photo I snap a picture of the driver’s interior door trim, front seat, and dash. Once again this shows the condition of the vehicle and a lot of the options that may come into question later if the vehicle is a total loss or a part is needing to be replaced. I recommend doing this on every vehicle not just total losses.


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Damage Photos – Now onto the main event. After having a conversation with the owner, taking all of the required photos, you can no move onto the damage of the vehicle. Taking good clear photos is essential to the insurance company. If they can’t see it in a photo they will not want you to write it on an estimate. Don’t be afraid to use your finger to point out what you are taking a photo of. I recommend even if the damage is a small scratch that you take at a minimum the following three photos:

  • Looking straight at the scratch

  • One looking from the left of a scratch

  • One looking from the right of a scratch

If the damage is more extensive than a scratch make sure you take a photo of:

  • Every part that is damaged

  • One of the overall damages from the left

  • One of the overall damages from the right

Anything that would justify why you are writing something on your estimate (example hood gap being different from side to side)

Take a measurement photo of the primary point of impact. (Take this photo with the damage photos)

Using a Dent Stick or a Keson Pocket Rod is an easy way to do this. If you use a measurement tape make sure you put the beginning of the tape (before 1 inch) on the ground and measure up to the point of impact. The insurance company wants to see the tape on the ground to the point of impact. Make sure you photo shows the tape or yardstick on the ground for this to count as a proper measurement photo.


Total Loss Photos

Here is the standard total loss photo’s for most insurance carriers. Don’t forget to also check your guidelines for anything else the insurance company may require.


Carpet/Front Seat Photo – Taking a photo of the carpet and drivers’ front seat will show the condition and allow for proof of whatever rating you condition the vehicle. The driver’s side carpet and seat are the most used part of the vehicle and will usually be the best reflection of the condition of the vehicle. If the driver’s seat has a tear in it then that will justify a lower rating on the conditioning chart. Between this photo and the driver’s door photo you will have a proper representation of the driver’s seat condition.

Engine Photo – Taking a photo of the engine compartment with the hood up shows how well the vehicles engine has been maintained. If an engine compartment is sparkling clean this will justify a higher rating for total loss conditioning or vice versa. After I take the carpet and front seat photo I’m conveniently located by the hood lever and it makes it a perfect time to pull it and then walk up front and to take my engine photo.

Four Tread Depth Photos – Standard equipment for an auto damage appraiser or adjuster should be a tread depth gauge. You can easily pick one up for a few bucks at any auto parts store.

This gauge shows how much tread is left on the tires. When a vehicle is a total loss the insurance company uses this measurement to rate the condition of the tires. You only have to provide a rating for front and back, but since you already have the gauge out go above and beyond and snap a photo of the depth of all 4 tires. The key is to put the gauge in the center of the tire to get an accurate reading.

You will NEVER miss photos if you…

  1. Read the guidelines prior to the inspection

  2. Take your photos in the same order every time

  3. Take all photos, including total loss photos on ALL VEHICLES.