Loss Adjusting 101 from the Trainee Adjuster
by Technical Assessing | March 18, 2014
By Tulay Tuzun
In this article we’ve decided to move slightly away from the title ‘Technically Speaking’ to ‘Trainee Adjuster Speaking’!
The aim of this piece is to provide readers with an overview of my educational/professional background and how I ended up becoming a Loss Adjuster, along with my understanding to date of Loss Adjusting.
So you’ve completed your Bachelor of Civil Engineering and decided to move overseas for a year or two… You have all these big dreams about becoming a famous Project Manager but you’ve moved to Turkey where there aren’t as many women in the Engineering industry as there are now, then what? This is the exact question that I was pondering, when I stumbled across a position in Reinsurance Broking. It sounded quite interesting but what on earth is “reinsurance”?
I am sure all those working in the Insurance industry know that many people associate the term insurance with domestic and motor vehicle insurance ONLY, let alone have an understanding of reinsurance! Over a year and a half I gained a thorough understanding of insurance and reinsurance and it did prove to be very interesting role. I had the opportunity to get involved in the reinsurance placements for a fleet of ferries, large airport construction projects, a personal accident program for pilots and political risks’ to name a few.
It was then time for me to move back home and having enjoyed my time in the insurance industry, I decided to continue down this path and create a career for myself in insurance. I worked for several years in the corporate areas of two large broking firms and then became curious about what things were like on the client’s side of the fence. I was able to secure a position at one of the Universities, looking after their insurance program but still didn’t feel it was the right fit.
I found myself back at square one and asking myself, now what? I had approximately eight years experience in the insurance industry, a degree in Civil Engineering and wanted what everybody else wants, a job where I can utilise all of my skills, a job that I enjoy, a job that is constantly challenging and a work place that I actually and want to go to when I wake up in the morning. Most thought that I was dreaming too big and my “wants” were not overly realistic. Well they were after all because they appear to have been fulfilled. Following several discussions with mentors in the industry, various recruitment consultants and hours of research I found where I thought I may finally fit in – LOSS ADJUSTING!
So what on earth is Loss Adjusting?! By definition a Loss Adjuster is “an insurance agent who assesses the amount of compensation that should be paid after a person has claimed on their insurance policy”. It was also described to me as an investigative type role. I have learnt that it is all of this and so much more.
A Loss Adjuster is a CSI Agent, a shoulder to cry on, an insurer’s eyes and ears, the broker’s informant and an impartial party when dealing with all parties!
I thought I possessed all the skills I would require to become a Loss Adjuster but even continue to improve in this regard. A successful Loss Adjuster needs to have a wide skill set;
- Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal – I thought I possessed good written communication skills but have found out otherwise after having to work with a mentor of English descent (their English language skills are honestly much better than us Aussies!). On a more serious note, a Loss Adjuster is in constant communication with insurers, insureds, brokers, repairers, third parties etc and therefore need to possess excellent communication skills to ensure all parties clearly understand how the claim is progressing
- Ability to think critically – It is “critical” that a Loss Adjuster has this ability in order to achieve the outcome most appropriate for the claim in question. Each and every claim is different; therefore a Loss Adjuster needs to have the ability to improve their own process of thinking
- Problem solving skills – a claim is obviously a “problem” which requires “solving”. A claim may also appear simple on first glance but problems can arise throughout the course of the claim, and without problem solving skills is not likely to be settled efficiently and effectively
- Organisational skills - A Loss Adjuster will usually manage a large number of claims at the one time, which would have all been lodged at different times and therefore at different stages. It is therefore essential to have excellent organisational skills in order to effectively manage each of the claims and ensure that they are all attended to within a reasonable timeframe
- Excellent time management - This ties in very closely with organisational skills. Again, with numerous claim files open at the one time, a Loss Adjuster needs to be able to effectively manage their time at all times
- People skills – I believe this skill set is the most critical to not only Loss Adjusting but almost all professions. A Loss Adjuster is constantly dealing with ‘people’ and these ‘people’ can sometimes be very frustrated as a result of what has caused them to lodge a claim. It is therefore extremely important to possess these skills and be tactful, sympathetic and patient, especially when dealing with insured’s
Almost two years on and dissimilar to most other roles, I am still constantly learning. In fact it looks like I will continue learning until the day I retire. Every day is a different challenge, I have not come across any claims that are the “same” and don’t think I ever will. There is no set process, each and every claim unfolds differently, one can’t simply follow a Step 1 – 10 approach.
Calling out to all potential Loss Adjusters!!