What’s in my storm truck??

 
 
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Learn more about working with Pilot

In this video, I run through my vehicle as well as all the gear I carry around with me on most of my cat deployments

Vehicle:

  • 2007 Toyota 4Runner Limited (bought new and paid off years ago)

  • 449167 miles

  • 24 foot extension ladder

  • 32 foot extension ladder (not shown in video)

Field Gear:

  • When I’m performing inspections, I generally carry the following items on my person:

  • ID badge + spare pen

  • Soapstone (with extra bright colored chalk in case of a light colored roof)

  • Camera (I don’t use my smartphone for photos)

  • Shingle Gauge

  • Pitch Gauge

  • 40’ Tape

  • Laser

  • Magnet

  • Small flashlight

  • Putty knife

  • Multitool

  • Clipboard with 10x10 graph paper

Carried in Vehicle

Spares Bin:

  • Clipboards

  • Tapes

  • Cougar Paws/Pads

  • Tin Snips

  • Utility Knife

  • ITEL mailer packs

  • Extra tool belts (use depends on storm type)

  • Light jacket

Backseat:

  • Extra printer paper

  • Extra print cartridges

  • Customer handouts

  • Printed job aids/references

  • Laptop

  • Laptop Stand

  • Printer

Cooler:

  • Lunch items

  • Cold drinks

Front Seat:

  • File folder

  • Coffee

  • Hand Sanitizer


Get a tour of my storm vehicle + what gear I carry with me on most cat deployments in this adjusterTv video:

Outsourcing for Independent Adjusters...?

 
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The dictionary definition of outsourcing:

obtain (goods or a service) from an outside or foreign supplier, especially in place of an internal source.

As independent claims adjusters, it may not seem like we can use outsourcing. We’re making calls, scoping properties, writing estimates and file docs.. then making more calls.

So what part of that could we outsource to make our jobs a little bit easier and our workflow a bit faster?

Consider that diagramming and measuring a large, cut-up roof can take upwards of two hours alone.

There are actually several places, but in this video, I interview Jason Timmerman from Ridgetop Aerial Technologies (aka Ridgetop Sketch) about how ordering a roof diagram CAD can significantly speed up not only your inspections, but your estimate writing as well.

But how is this outsourcing?

 
Partial sample report from Ridgetop Sketch

Partial sample report from Ridgetop Sketch

 

Well, consider that diagramming and measuring a large, cut-up roof can take upwards of two hours alone. Therefore having a roof diagram that you can drop into your estimate in 60 seconds represents a significant time and effort savings. Not to mention a definite safety benefit.

The service Ridgetop Sketch provides also includes a robust backend that will allow you to track how much you spent in a year or quarter on sketches for your taxes, as well as historical imagery that allows adjusters to see what the roof looked like at different points in time - this will help adjusters see if the damage they’re looking at is from the date of loss for this claim, or if it’s old damage and shouldn’t be included. You can also add fence and deck reports to your roof CAD so you’re not pacing off hundreds of feet of fence.

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Want to know more?

Watch the exclusive interview with Jason Timmerman, ridgetop sketch founder and president:

Getting on the First Call List [INTERVIEW with Schedule It Founder]

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Any independent adjuster who’s ever been on a cat deployment will tell you that yes:

  • you need to know Xactimate

  • you need to know construction

  • you need to know some policy

But the most important thing they’ll all agree on is that if you can’t nail down time management, you won’t last long.

[full video at the bottom]

When people talk about cat claims being a “trial by fire” or like “trying to drink from a fire hydrant..” they’re not saying that because labeling photos is a pain in the butt.

They say those things because SO MUCH STUFF comes flying at you the moment you step foot on a cat site.

She also talks a little bit about how to network and the benefits of attending the NACA convention (National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters).

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Learn more..

Schedule It works on PC and Mac as well as Apple and Android smartphones. It also integrates with all major estimating platforms so your activity diary always stays up to date - automatically.

So you have to have a strategy for handling all the things that will come at on storm.

One of the best ways is to outsource pieces of your workflow to an assistant or a service.

In this video, I sit down with Rebah from Schedule It to talk about how she went from busy cat adjuster to the founder of a software company that specializes in outsourcing your SCHEDULE.

Schedule It is a very powerful platform that will help you save time and be more efficient so that you can close more claims, help more people, and earn more money - all with less stress.

Have you ever done a ridealong with an experienced adjuster? Do you think that it has helped your career? Let us know in the comments!

Claims Process Checklist + Download

One of the most important things you can do to improve your time management skills as an adjuster is to plan.

Having a written checklist that's taped to your wall or is a doc on your computer is an excellent way of keeping track of the critical required tasks you have to complete in order to have a complete claim to send up.

Also, using a checklist along with a timer, you can see how much time you spend on each item on your list and then work to figure out how to reduce that time so you can close claims faster.

It's one thing to say we're streamlining our workflow.  That can and should mean we cut things out that aren't contributing to our outcome of a closed claim.

However, not everything can be cut out and in some cases, the process can't be trimmed any further.  

So how can a claims checklist make you faster?  

Reason #1

Building speed in claims requires repetition.  And when we know exactly what's required, we can concentrate on building up smoothness and speed.  If we're winging it and counting on trying to remember each step as we go, we'll lose momentum because we're spending energy trying to remember.  Also, imagine if you were trying to remember how to drive a stick, but you didn't know how many gears there were or when to shift?  You'd spend all your time trying to figure out how to do it and not really getting anywhere.

So in order to build that muscle memory, we want to be able to move from step to step without flailing around trying to figure out what's next.

Reason #2

So much time is wasted doing corrections.  Many times those corrections are a direct result of forgetting to do something in the claim.

If we run through our checklist as we're doing our claim, we're far less likely to forget steps (for example: "complete hail damage evaluation;" "complete preferred contractor questionnaire").

Reason #3

Time lost doing reinspections and supplements because we missed damage.  Your checklist can and should include steps for different kinds of claims - something as simple as reminders to ask about interior damage on hail claims or to check for personal property damage in the yard, etc.  

It can also save time in your scheduling if you ask ahead of time how many outbuildings there are (strangely, nothing adds time to your field inspections quite like outbuilding inspections).  You'll know ahead of time what you're getting into if you add things like this to your workflow checklist.

I recommend putting a full one up on your wall in your hotel room and having another field one attached to your clipboard for quick reference (you can even laminate it and attach it to your clipboard so that you have a quick reference).

Download a free, editable Claims Checklist with Intake, Scoping, and Estimating checklists:

 
 

Cat Adjuster Gift Guide

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Cat Adjuster Gift Guide

Jotto Desk for vehicle https://amzn.to/2KoTW0Q

Laptop Stand https://amzn.to/2zl5ldI

Hamper https://amzn.to/2zn5Xjc

Mavic Pro 2 https://amzn.to/2S80Dah

Non-stick Pan https://amzn.to/2KoZrMY

Steep Gear https://steepgear.com

Cougar Paws https://amzn.to/2DDo9I0

Power inverter https://amzn.to/2S7i5vE

Camera https://amzn.to/2S4RC1B

Laptop https://amzn.to/2R3jCCO

Independent Adjuster’s Playbook (iapath.com) https://amzn.to/2SfFbjH

TEAM book https://www.adjustertv.com/book/

Many of these links are affiliate links and therefore I do earn a commission if you buy using them, however there is no additional cost to you.

Mac is better than PC (plus printer unboxing and review)

I picked up a new wireless/battery powered printer for running claims - and I had a heckuva time getting the thing installed on my Dell. But I was able to print within 30 seconds of attaching (or using the wireless feature) on my old 2013 Mac Book Pro.

As a field adjuster, I’m a slave to technology. We absolutely must have reliable and intuitive tools available to us to get our jobs done. And the tools get more and more complicated with every year that passes.

There’s always a new app or other piece of software that’s designed to “make our lives easier..” and all it really does is make our jobs more complicated.

That I was able to use a brand new printer out of the box within 30 seconds on my Mac.. vs the 35 minutes it took me to get something printed from my PC, just baffles me.

Say what you will about Apple products, but know this: the reason why Apple stuff is so popular with most REGULAR people is that it’s intuitive and only does what it needs to - no more, no less. On a PC (or Android phone), the hardware and software is extremely powerful and allows the use to dig deep and tweak and customize and really mold the tool into what they want.

I think that’s great.

However, as a plain old USER, who has little interest in having to learn how to use something as simple as my phone or a printer, I don’t WANT that extra customization.

So for ME.. Mac beats PC. I don’t want all the extra tweaking that’s available on a PC. (this is one of my chief complaints about Xactimate as well).

But I digress..

I also was talking about a printer in this video.

The Epson WF-100

It’s a wireless printer that has a battery in it. This concept is great for field cat adjusters. On this little guy I think the execution is adequate for what I need it to do.

But after using it for a couple of weeks, I’m finding that I miss my HP Officejet 200 mobile printer. Even though it’s bigger than this Epson, it prints faster and seems to be a little more reliable. So far.

Stay tuned in the coming months for a follow up review. We’ll see if this one is a keeper or if I’m going to go back to my beloved HP.

What's the Best Ladder for Catastrophe Claims Work?

For property catastrophe claims, your ladder is one of your most important pieces of gear.  

Choosing a ladder that's sturdy, safe, and easy for YOU to handle is very important.  

Find out more in this episode of AdjusterTV..

Connect the Dots

Knowing how to diagram and measure a roof is a fundamental skill that every field adjuster should know.  Even though we have access to pictometry like Eagleview and we can create CAD sketches in Xactimate, sometimes it still makes sense to diagram a roof by hand.

The freebie for this episode is a cheatsheet with common area formulas and an inches to decimals conversion table.  Check it out!

 
 

How to Make a Sticky Clipboard

Small things can lead to big earnings in this business.  It's why I'm creating these videos about the simplest tools in our adjuster kit bags.  Pitch gauges, cameras, file folders...  

The clipboard is no different.  

I've tried the plastic ones, but they shatter when dropped from a roof - whether accidentally or on purpose.

I've tried those metal ones that you can put documents in, but they're heavy and I don't need any documents but the loss report and graph paper when I'm doing an inspection (plus, my schedule lives in the 13 folder file thing, remember?)  Also, guaranteed you'll want to set it down on your vehicle and guaranteed it will scratch the finish of anything it touches.

The best thing I've found is the good old fashioned fiberboard clipboard that comes in a three pack at the store.  They won't scratch up your car and they make great frisbees.  

I also learned a really cool trick from a roofer back in the day.  Check it out in the video:


Supplies:

  • double sided tape

  • cheap clipboard

  • mousepad or drawer liner

  • a sense of adventure

The Best $10 You’ll Ever Spend on Cat Gear (+ Magic!)

Today I spend a few minutes talking about the most important piece of gear that I carry when on a storm:  my scheduler!

I've seen people use all kinds of methods for managing their claims.  File boxes, file CABINETS..  I've seen people (most people in fact) create a file folder for each new claim.  I close all my claims in the field so I rarely have a need to collect additional documents on most storm claims.  So I don't need folders.  Or boxes, or file cabinets, or mules with pots and pans hanging off the side.  Fast and light, people.

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