How Smart Insurance Adjusters Are Prepping for Hurricane Season

By Geoffrey Conrad | June 12, 2024

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is fast approaching, and with preliminary forecasts predicting one of the most active seasons on record, there are plenty of how-to guides and checklists out there to help corporations and homeowners proactively prepare for what lies ahead in the coming months.

But risk managers and property owners aren’t the only ones in preparation mode: insurance adjusters who will spend the season responding to catastrophic events are hard at work with training and preparation right now as well.

Training is the lifeline of preparedness in the claims adjusting world. This is a unique industry; adjusters might sit idle for months or even years, but when a hurricane strikes, we’re expected to leap into action with precision and expertise.

Effective training ensures that, when the storm hits, we’re not just weathering the chaos, but steering through it with skill and resilience. Policyholders expect and deserve excellence in their time of greatest need – and that’s what independent adjusters are preparing to provide as the season draws near.

Geoffrey Conrad

Like most other kinds of expertise, adjusting involves skills that need to be practiced to be retained. There is a massive learning curve to this profession and studies show that adjusters who don’t apply what they learn in training to real-life scenarios retain less than 30% of the skills that they have been taught.

In an ideal world, adjusters are utilizing training videos year-round to reinforce class training and keep skills sharp during the downtime. But even if they have stepped away from their training during the off months, now is the time to re-engage.

Related: 32.7M Homes at Risk of Hurricane Damage, Report Shows

Here are the top things that smart adjusters are doing right now to prepare for the season ahead:

  1. Adjusting a friend. Adjusters may enlist a friend or family member to let them treat them as an insured. They go over their policy with them, explain their deductible and limits, and talk them through a hypothetical loss scenario. Not only is this a great way to sharpen skills, but adjusters who employ this tactic get honest feedback about their approach that can be leveraged throughout the upcoming season.
  2. Identifying skill gaps and investing in training and certifications as needed. With only a fraction of deployable events last year, even more seasoned adjusters may be a bit rusty. Refreshing that knowledge base is highly recommended – and investing in themselves is always a good idea.
  3. Double checking licensing to make sure licenses are current in states where they may hope to deploy. Sites like Sircon and NIPR can help independent adjusters identify the states that require licenses, track the licenses they have and handle applications and renewals as needed.
  4. Reading insurance policies. Granted, this does not sound like a particularly exciting way to pass time, but it’s important to the role of an adjuster. An insurance policy serves as a legal guideline to identify what is covered and what is not, and it’s something that must be read to interpret.
  5. Getting equipment ready to go by packing up supplies in a bin in a corner of their garage. Every adjuster has their own personal supply preferences, but some of the essential tools of the trade include ladders, tool belts, cameras, measuring devices, chalk, pens, paper, batteries and first aid supplies. A deployment is not the moment to run to the store and start shopping.
  6. Preparing for deployment. In addition to getting that vehicle serviced and oil changed to ensure there are no mechanical issues, adjusters must also get their bodies ready to go by catching up on doctors’ appointments so they are fit and ready for service. This is a physically demanding job and it’s important to be physically ready for the arduous work expectations of a deployment.
  7. Prepping mentally and emotionally. Not only do adjusters need to be prepared to work for extended periods without the comforts of home, they must also be mentally prepared for missing family milestones and special events while they are away.

Often described as superheroes minus the cape, great adjusters have a unique DNA. They are here to take care of folks in a real and genuine manner, but also to take care of business. The role is not just about closing claims, but also involves investing time in each customer, making sure they are ok and are in a position to get their property back to its pre-loss condition.

The more prepared that adjusters are for the season ahead, the more responsive they can be to insureds when they are needed most.

And so, as policyholders everywhere drag out the sandbags and shore up their window boards for the season ahead, adjusters everywhere are polishing up their skills and packing their field kits. Whatever lies ahead for the 2024 hurricane season, we will be ready.

Conrad is director of training at Crawford Catastrophe Services. He is responsible for developing and delivering training programs for claims adjusters. He also oversees the development of their training curriculum and the evaluation of training programs.

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