What is a Cat Adjuster anyway? Before I started doing this back in 1999, I had never even heard of a catastrophe adjuster. I peripherally understood that insurance companies had people who handled claims, but it was the same awareness I had that oil companies hired geologists or cruise ships had pursers (I still don't know what a purser is).
In the context of this blog and my career, a catastrophe adjuster is an independent contractor who works on an event-by-event basis. That is, we get a call from a vendor - aka an IA Firm - to go to Wisconsin or Colorado to handle claims for an insurance company. Once we finish with the claims that have come in, we go home to wait for the next one. While we're home, we make sure our licenses and certifications are up to date. Other than that, we do whatever we want. Ideally, we will work enough during storm season to support ourselves throughout the year.
The type of claims we do are generally weather-related but can also include man-made accidents, geologic catastrophes like earthquakes and mudslides, and wildfires. What we don't do generally are thefts, regular house fires, vandalism, and other regular claims that insurance companies let staff adjusters or independent daily adjusters handle. In general, independent adjusters are there to handle the overflow, the extra claims that staff people can't handle because they've already got a full workload of regular claims.
Many insurance companies keep people on their payrolls to handle catastrophe only claims, but many don't. Both will generally need to hire extras when there's a large number of claims coming in. It's more cost-effective for them to pay independent contractors a fee per claim because there are always years where there are no catastrophes for an insurance company and why pay for company cars, laptops, cell phones, health insurance, etc., for somebody to sit at home waiting for the phone to ring?
It's a great career and I've done very well with it through busy years and even the not so busy years.
Have more questions about being an independent adjuster? Come and talk to us over at the AdjusterTV private Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/adjustertv