Category: Work

I posted previously about my job as a property-casualty adjuster and the different aspects of my job and what I like the most.  Well I have a very interesting mediation coming up in the future and I am looking forward to it. Obviously, I have to be very general with it due to privacy issues but it has to do with dispute on repairs and how much it will actually cost.  This is different for me as all the mediations I have attended were for injury cases.  In the injury mediations you have a set amount of medicals, but the unknown is the pain and suffering amount that needs to be determined as this is a subjective value with no pre-determined figures to work with like specific medical bills.

Mediating a property loss will give me the insight on how it works if it costs .39 cents a square foot to paint a wall, then why does someone else say it is .49 cents!! In a property mediation I would expect to have specific figures to work from and not having experienced this in the past I would gain a new knowledge that I did not have before.  It is very important to keep learning, especially in this economy. That is the great thing about my job, there is something new and unexpected everyday!!

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about his work situation.  He is younger than me and was asking about working in a corporation and sometimes he sees other people getting to do things or opportunities that he does not get and is getting frustrated. I have talked with him before about the three things I try to apply in my work life that hopefully help in trying to get noticed that will help your career and they are 1)Have a good attitude, 2)Work Hard, 3)Listen to the Coach.  He thinks he has done these things and says he is getting frustrated about it.

I told my friend this has happened to me over the years and sometimes it is nothing you have done, but for some reason unknown to you things are not playing out like you want.  I told my friend if I get to the point where he is then I try to do several things to deal with it.  I will try to take additional education courses and training as this helps me to get my mind off of the immediate issue and makes me feel like I am making some type of progress or doing something about my situation.  In my personal life  I have my wife who I can share with and as I have stated in a previous post we enjoy dancing and taking our dance lessons.  This may sound strange but because of the amount of brain power it takes to learn and complete a dance, all my brain energy goes into this and I have completely forgotten about what has been frustrating me for the week.

I told my friend to try something that fits him that will help him focus on something else besides his situation because he doesn’t need to sit around and get all frustrated and bitter.  I would recommend this to any one who might read this post.  As you go through life there are going to be a lot of frustrations and we all need to vent, but to sit around and stew about it  doesn’t do you any good.  Like I told my friend, what he does for a living or a promotion he did not get does not define him as the person he is.  What defines him is his character, integrity, honesty, his word and how he treats other people.   This can be hard for all of us to do, even myself, but we all need to find a way to make this work.  Life too short to sit around being hacked off all the time for things we cannot do anything about or that is out of our control.

I have posted previously on my work as a property-casualty claims adjuster and wanted to incorporate a post into what I talked about yesterday in my observation of people.  One of the things I like about my job is the negotiation aspect of it especially when it comes to mediation.  This is where the court will order a mediation between the insurance company and the plaintiff.  In one room is our defense council and myself and the other party and their attorney.  There is also a mediator that attempts to get both parties to agree to a settlement.

My approach to this process has changed over the years.  When I was new the mediator would come into our room to get our position and would focus the questioning on me and I would always look at our attorney to answer.  Over the years I have realized this is a negotiation tactic to focus on me probably because I did not look like I knew what I was doing which was true.  Now I have the confidence to speak my mind and give it right back.  This is not a criticism as we all have are responsibility in this process but I acknowledge that this is how the negotiation process works.

What I have learned in my observation of people is that you have to get a feel right away from where everyone stands.  I have learned over the years in all aspects of my life to be a “practiced observer” and it has served me well.  I have heard it said “you need to know if the bear is on your back porch our out in your yard”. Translation, once I know what is going on I can respond appropriately to what I am facing in my work and personal life.

What I have to know at work part 3

Another aspect of my job is to know a great deal about the law and how it applies to the decisions I have to make.  I have to know the four elements tort law which are: Duty, Breach of Duty, Proximate cause and Damages.  While I am not an attorney a basic understanding of the law is needed when I an investigating liability issues on all sorts of claims that I may handle.  I have to become familiar with recent court cases that affect the decisions I have to make and try to have a basic understanding of these court decisions.  If I need more detailed help I will seek the counsel of our local attorneys to help me in what I have to do.

Some of our claims are assigned to mediation by a judge which I attend and take part.  I am part of the negotiating process with the mediator asking me questions and negotiating with me to get the case settled.  I work with our assigned attorney to evaluate the case, negotiate through the mediator and make a fair settlement that is agreeable to all.

This is the most interesting part of my job in claims and I would like to take part in this type of work more often, but if I attended all the mediations then my regular work would not get done.  Maybe something in the future will turn up and lead me in this direction, or who knows maybe my life will lead me into something else which I am ok with as well.

What I have to know at work part 2

This is a follow-up to my post from yesterday about the job I do.  Today I will discuss the other aspect of my job which is to inspect automobiles for damage, prepare estimates and handle liability decisions.  I inspect vehicles on a daily basis and in some cases prepare estimates with the software provided or have the body shop prepare an estimate. Again, I am not an expert in auto repair but I must have a working knowledge about the structure of an automobile and estimating to talk intelligently with the body shop about the estimate and final repair amount. When the we agree on the scope and amount of the estimate then the repairs can begin.

I also have to make liability decisions on auto accident that are questionable. Sometimes there are conflicting statements and no witnesses so I need to undertake and investigation to decide liability and then make a decision on who is responsible.  Sometimes these are not easy and someone will be upset or disappointed. I have to be able to deal with conflict resolution on a regular basis, especially when it comes to liability decisions.

As I stated yesterday about handling property claims I must constantly switch my thought process through out the day from one aspect of the job to the other based on what I am assigned for the day. This is not a complaint, but it keeps your mind from focusing on the same old thing everyday. I will have several appointment for the day and could be a mix of property and auto so that is why I must try a do a balancing act each and feel this keeps my mind sharp.

What I have to know at work

I shared in one post that I am a multi line claims adjuster so I thought I would spend some time adding posts on exactly what I have to know to get the job done.  Contrary to what you see on the TV and the movies portraying an adjuster as some moron that doesn’t know anything, or is out to cheat the customer is incorrect.   I have to know a little bit about a lot of things in order to get the job done and in the next few posts I will share some of this.

One of the areas I have to be able to understand is construction due to claims for property insurance I handle. I must have some understanding on how a house is put together to review or prepare an estimate.  This knowledge comes in handy when I have to discuss the estimate with the contractor. I need to have some type of skill or knowledge to discuss this intelligently.  I may not be an expert in construction etc… but in my position I need to have some knowledge to be competent a professional. I also have to be familiar with the software in order to prepare estimates.

I will continue to add other posts on the different hats I wear in this field of work.