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Old 11-11-2010, 12:15 AM   #32
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: VA
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Originally Posted by rocketpants View Post
I've been a PropCas accountant at a large insurance company for a year and a half, and have been looking to make a switch into either Claims or U/W for quite some time now...with that said, I got a couple questions for you guys:

NOVABimmer - How do you like being in claims? What would a "day in the life" of an adjuster be like? What background would you need to work in claims?
It's like many other jobs, there are good days and bad days. There are easy places to work, and hard ones. I come from Northern Virginia, which is one of our highest volume areas in the country. My first two months as an adjuster, I wrote over 500 claims.

There are three areas for our adjusters to work in: drive-in, Direct Repair, and field.

The drive-in is by far the most structured, and all our adjusters start out there. All claims are drivable cars, and the customers take the car to whatever shop they want to get it fixed. The only thing you're responsible for there is writing an estimate and keeping the customer's rental car payments up-to-date. No supplements, no cradle-to-grave work, no driving around. Very easy, for the most part.

The Direct Repair (every company calls it something different. Progressive has their "Concierge Service", GEICO has "Auto Repair Express", etc) is the next step up. Our company sets up an adjuster in the shop, and you work all the claims coming in from start to finish. The claim is filed with an internal adjuster, but after that it's all you. Customer drives their car in, you write a preliminary estimate, car gets torn down, finish the estimate, and give the customer a total as well as an expected repair timeframe. Lots more customer interaction here, which can be good or bad, and lots of work with the shop itself, which can also be good or bad. It takes a lot of charisma to do well here, and your abilities really only make up for half. If you're in a bad shop (been there, done that), it'll make life even harder. Here you'll start seeing a lot of harder hits, and you'll also get tasked with writing some of the tow-in cars for the field guys. You'll write all of your own supplements when things need to be changed on an estimate. Bottom line, you become the liaison between your company and that shop. There have been a couple shops that I've absolutely loved working in, and that typically comes from a good relationship.

The field reps are typically the most experienced adjusters. They tour around to several body shops in their area, writing cars that get towed directly to the shop, and also writing supplements when shops have adjustments to estimates written by other adjusters. They have the most autonomy, but also typically the most responsibility.

If you can't tell, I've spent most of my time in direct repair shops. I've done a little of everything, though.

Adjusters, for our company at least, are usually the only person that a customer will meet face-to-face. The skills required are a lot of patience, and a strong customer service focus. We can teach you the parts of the car and how to run the estimating software. Without those two, though, you can't succeed. All the customers you see have just had their cars damaged, most are already a bit frustrated, and some think they already know what's going on and don't want to hear it from you. Patience is a must.
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