A guide for claims adjusters on best practices during CAT deployments.
Hurricane Laura arrived as a category 4 hurricane to the Louisiana coast and caused massive damage to property. According to reports, the death toll has risen to 16 and people in the state of Louisiana are witnessing massive destruction of property and public spaces.
Naturally, insurance carriers will deploy thousands of CAT adjusters to help people assess the damage they’ve incurred and help rebuild their lives. As new CAT adjusters, you must proceed with caution because you will be speaking to people who have undergone a huge amount of trauma and your first priority should be to create an atmosphere that makes them feel safe and heard.
That being said, as CAT adjusters, there are certain steps you can take to handle assignments as effectively as possible. Below is a detailed list of things you need to consider and prepare yourself with before your deployment.
1. Get Xactimate certified
One of the primary things you need to do as CAT adjusters is to master Xactimate. You might think this is an obvious part of being a claims adjuster but hear me out. The claims industry is notoriously famous for high failure rates and reinspection assignments that can lead to a large number of adjusters working on the same claim.
In such cases, what can help you make a mark in the industry is your Xactimate Level 1 and Level 2 certification. Not only will Xactimate certification help you manage your claims better it will also help you gain credibility in the industry and showcase IA firms that you carry less risk than other adjusters.
2. Get your tools in order:
Another crucial step before you are deployed for CAT claims is to familiarize yourself with all the tools you are going to use. You don’t want to wait for that deployment call and then get all your tools in order. It is best to be already prepared and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Tools like ladders, shingle gauges, tool belts, tape measures are all important during inspections.
In order to carry these tools, especially a ladder, you’d need a vehicle that has the capacity to accommodate all of this. Don’t go for a compact car and choose a vehicle with relatively larger boot space so that you can store all your tools safely. Make sure to learn how to operate all these tools. If you are thinking of getting a laser tape measure or a GPS system, be familiar with all the functions.
3. Planning your itinerary
CAT deployments take place after a major hurricane has made landfall and devastated particular areas it has come in contact with. While you cannot decide which areas you will be deployed to by the IA firms, assessing your itinerary and familiarizing yourself with the CAT zone is an important step to take.
It’s obvious that you won’t have access to hotels in the CAT zone so you’ll have to camp out yourself. Make sure you’re well aware of the living situation and areas that are safe to stay in while being in the CAT zone. Planning your itinerary ahead will help you save tons of time and make the whole process more efficient.
4. Planning expenses and supplies
As an independent CAT adjuster, you need to take care of all your expenses as well. This includes your food and shelter requirements as well as the internet which is crucial during CAT inspections. It is highly likely that you won’t find WiFi or even stable internet connectivity in a CAT zone so you’ll have to arrange your own network requirements.
Another important aspect is to get your supplies in order. This includes gas for all the traveling you’re about to undertake, as well as your food ration. Being in a CAT zone will often make you work non-stop with a heavy volume of claims. Make sure you’re organized in your approach so that you don’t waste time fumbling around with supplies last minute.
5. Be empathetic and dress appropriately
ne of the worst things you can do as a CAT adjuster on deployment is to arrive wearing flip-flops and a GAP T-shirt. IA firms, as well as policyholders, notice how you carry yourself and that is going to leave a lasting impression on them. Working in a CAT zone means being ready to undertake different kinds of challenges and a combo of sandals and a t-shirt won’t cut it for you. Make sure you choose a business-casual outfit combined with a good pair of roofing shoes.
Because you would be interacting with people who have suffered a great deal, it is highly important that you understand what they are going through and be empathetic. While closing claims as fast as you can is a priority, you don’t have to lose out on being human in order to achieve that goal. Always make sure that you listen to policyholders carefully and help them through the process of rebuilding their lives.
Not only will these steps help you make your mark as an independent CAT adjuster but will also prepare you for any future assignments that you will receive from IA firms. Make sure that you use the best resources for your inspections and are always prepared.