AdjusterPro Co-Founder Adam Gardiner recently caught up with Gamy Lozano, an AdjusterPro Alum, who has been working as an Inside Adjuster for the last 18 months. Gamy is originally from Panama but has lived most of his life in Miami. He got into adjusting at the age of 58.
Recently, we’ve published some blog articles discussing the changes taking place in the claims adjusting industry. We’ve touched on the previous ‘Wild West Era’ of claims adjusting and how former outside adjusters are being moved indoors to Independent Adjusting Firms where most of the work takes place over the phone with the help of technology. Hopefully, we’ve been able to give you a big picture view of the industry as a whole: what changes are happening and why.
But ultimately, it is the individual people we serve who matter most. This interview puts a face on this inside adjusting job we’ve talked so much about.
This interview puts a face on this inside adjusting job we’ve talked so much about.
We are sharing the transcript with you in hopes that it might shed more light on what being an adjuster is like, what they do day to day and if it might be the right opportunity for you.
What are the first thoughts that come to mind when I say “inside adjusting?”
I cannot say anything negative about it. In fact, it has been so positive that if I were in physical shape to go out into the field today, I would feel a lot more ahead of the game than a lot of other people because of what I know. Only in inside adjusting can you actually learn. Outside is a lot more difficult and you don’t have the time. Here, they give you time to learn.
Can you tell us how you got into adjusting, specifically inside adjusting?
OK. Well, in 2013 [AdjusterPro Career Consultant] Pablo brought to my attention this adjusting world. I had no idea that it existed really! Then we went through a series of classes that AdjusterPro provided, and it was a great learning experience. It was the process of becoming an adjuster in the state of Florida. When you are an adjuster in the state of Florida, you can actually get almost all of the adjusting licenses in other states. We graduated from this and I was maybe eight months without being called in. But then in June of 2014, I had the call to go and do inside adjusting. And it has been great so far. Very exciting to me personally. It has been beneficial monetarily and everything else.
Tell us a bit about whether it was hard when you first started, was there a lot to learn, was it hard to get up to speed?
Yeah, it is. It is important to understand that everything in adjusting is new to a lot of people.
When you come in for the first time, no matter how many classes you’ve taken, whoever hired you, whomever you’re working for, they’re going to have their own set of rules, set of programs, way of handling their claims.
And every claim is its own world. You can’t have one claim and say “well because I did it in this claim, I’m going to do it exactly in this other claim” — it just doesn’t work that way. It is a process. A slow process but everybody that I have been surrounded with, the people I work with, have been outstanding. These people take the time, they guide you, they take your hand, they take the time to teach you. Then hopefully you’ll ramp up as quickly as possible so they don’t have to be on top of you all the time.
[My employer has] been outstanding. These people take the time, they guide you, they take your hand. Then hopefully you’ll ramp up as quickly as possible so they don’t have to be on top of you all the time.
And I think that’s where I’m at right now. I don’t have too many conversations with my trainers about things that I am doing. I am pretty much by myself. I do my claims and I move on. It does take some time but they give you the time to learn it. It is a bit scary at the beginning, I must say. But if you focus on what they want you to do, and do what they want you to do, you’ll be great. And you’ll sit down sometimes and think “all these things that I’ve done in the past and this thing has existed the whole time!”
Tell us a little bit about that. Inside adjusting really changed your life. What was your work life like before? And what is it like now?
Well, I didn’t have a job when I got into the adjusting business. So to be picking up any kind of work I could find, creating a business, selling whatever I could find to sell or create something to bring money to my house…that is a struggle by itself. When I became an inside adjuster, things changed. The money is there all the time, every two weeks! They don’t ever fail you.
The money is there all the time, every two weeks! They don’t ever fail you.
Some in the beginning they even ask you if you want an advance! I don’t know if all the firms are the same way, but in this firm I work at they give you an advance. So that helps you to relax a little bit because sometimes people feel that you need a lot of money to get in. But in reality it’s a very reasonable amount of money if you’re careful and you have a plan. I think that you know this is a good business, no question about it.
How much money are you making, and are you making the same amount now as when you started?
No. There has been some movement downward in terms of the money. We are not getting paid on a daily basis…now it’s per hour and after the forty hours they pay you overtime. According to my calculations, though, the money hasn’t really changed a lot. It has gone down a bit, but compared to what I was making before I started adjusting, it is an increase. I mean, you’re always going to be making more money in this than in any other place that I know of. Unless you’re some kind of a CEO or something like that! I don’t know if I can say the amount of dollars we are paid but for instance, the company that I work for is paying like $37 per hour. After forty hours, they start paying $56 per hour.
… the company that I work for is paying $37 per hour. After forty hours, they start paying $56 per hour.
So if you work seven days per week like sometimes you are available to do…I mean, just do the multiplication and you’ll see what I mean by that! You know how you asked me “how has it changed my life?” I can tell you that I can buy things that I didn’t used to be able to buy. I can take my wife out when I couldn’t before, I can see my children wherever they may be. I just travel. It’s not a hindrance anymore like it used to be. I’m a lot more relaxed than I used to be.
Was it hard to get used to those long hours?
Well in my case, I’m a workaholic so to work for me is really…it’s just work. And the way I look at it, every claim is a different world. And every claim is new to me. Sometimes it’s repetitive, like you’re just doing the first contact and maybe that’s a little boring. But those claims will come back to you and they’ll be different or be something else. You’re going to have to handle the customer. You’re going to have to handle the contractor…so it’s very active. It’s always moving, you know? That’s what I like; every claim is totally different.
That’s what I like; every claim is totally different.
Sometimes it’s super easy to just pay, and some other times you’ll have to fight with the contractor. Well, “fight” meaning make them understand that you only can pay what the policy pays and what’s damaged by storm. And that is very difficult sometimes, to get them to understand that. It’s really, really good.
You really like what you’re doing. What’s your job like? What does a day in the life of inside adjusting look like?
Note: Gamy works as an inside adjuster, but the call center where he works is not near his home, therefore, he is “deployed as an inside adjuster”.
Well, I do like it. As you know, I’m a family man. That’s the only hard part of my life here. I get up here in the hotel and you know, either cook breakfast or go for breakfast outside. I like to be at work like half an hour early to catch up with things that couldn’t be done the day before. And then I just start working. They usually give you 15 minute breaks every three hours or so and then you have your hour lunch. So that kind of gives you some time for relaxation and stuff like that. And if you are on my schedule from 8 to 7, I usually get out at 7 o’clock. Sometimes I come here, other times I get to shop or do things like that. But most of the time I come back to the hotel and stay and watch television and that’s the life. You just have to get used to it. The hardest part is the family. I’m 60 years old and I feel now that if I can do this for 5 years…I’ll be better off than what I did all of the 30 something years since I started working.
What do you do to maintain your job, to make sure you’re continuously deployed?
Well, just follow instructions. For instance today, I’ve been doing a quality first contact since February of this year in Atlanta. For the first time I was approached by one of my trainers who said that my contact wasn’t all correct. He said “I want more things written down on that quality first contact.” So I said OK, if that’s what you want, I’ll put a lot of stuff in there. No problem. So like I explained earlier, if they tell you to do something, just do it. It’s as simple as that.
…if they tell you to do something, just do it. It’s as simple as that.
Whoever you work for, they have managers, and those managers they decide one thing and another day they decide another thing. But that shouldn’t be your concern. Your concern is “tell me what you want me to do, and I’ll do it.” Simple as that. And make sure that your customer is super happy. Treat the customer the best way possible. Be respectful, and they will not have any problems with you. They will appreciate it.
What advice do you have for someone considering working in adjusting?
Don’t be afraid. Just do the program that AdjusterPro has and don’t be afraid. I mean, people think that sometimes because we say “catastrophe”, that it has to be a huge thing going on. But that’s not the way it works. The way it works is that a catastrophe can be a simple matter of an increase in claims and that becomes a catastrophe. Or it can be a single little area. Like right now Washington just got 70 mile per hour winds for maybe half a day and a lot of trees came down, a lot of homes got damaged. So those are “catastrophes” for us because it just brings a lot of claims at the same time. At the beginning it may be hard to find something, but if you are with AdjusterPro and maybe coordinate it with Pilot or other companies like that…that definitely will put you on your feet. And I’m considering only property. If you go into auto, my goodness! You’ll be busy. Because that’s a different ballgame.
There’s a lot of auto work right now, isn’t there?
Sure there is, yeah. When there are floods, there’s always auto issues and right now it’s snowing, so probably there’s going to be a lot of crashes out there. So there’s all kinds of stuff that happens. And if you are flexible, you can work auto sometimes. Sometimes you work property. The only thing I tell them is get in and just learn every single thing! And take your time for learning because they don’t care about fast. They care about how they said that it has to be done. So do it that way, and you’ll be alright.
How do you put a customer at ease?
Good question. Well, I worked 27 years in the restaurant business as a manager. Then I worked 6 in Florida Power and Light company so I have a tremendous amount of experience in how to ease into a conversation with a policy holder. And so my technique is to have a template that comes from your heart rather than reading it, and in a way of “I’m here to help you. I’m not here to deny you anything.
And so my technique is to have a template that comes from your heart rather than reading it…
I’m not here to take from you in any way, I’m here to help you.” And if you get that across to them at the beginning, it’s all done for you. You will convince them of most things because you have been able to make them understand that you are not against them, but you are like a partner. Like “this guy really wants to help me out.” Now you’re going to find multiple individuals that are very difficult to deal with. Remember in this business you deal with public adjusters, you deal with lawyers, you deal with customers, you deal with contractors, you deal with tons of different individuals. But if you find a natural way to introduce yourself, to say why you’re there, how you can help, I think you get a lot of respect from those people, very easily.
Is there anything else you think would be important for folks who are considering getting into adjusting to know?
Well, maybe the only thing I can think of is don’t get too crazy when you start making that kind of money! Have a plan with it. Money goes like that! So fast, it’s unbelievable! You have to be very careful in this industry because, I mean the money is there. We can talk about outside adjusting. On the outside you have to be a tiger since you have the experience. Outside is also a tremendous opportunity, but it is hard. You can get burned there if you’re not careful. But inside adjusting is definitely a good way to start.
Gamy, you’re not a young man. Is this a job that is well suited for someone who’s not fresh out of college?
I’m 60 years old but age for me is not when I was born and what is today’s date. Age for me is in your spirit…in your mind. I see people here, coworkers who are 70 years old and they do this business. They take 3 week vacations, they take cruises for 15 days, 20 days, then come back.
Age for me is in your spirit…in your mind. I see people here, coworkers who are 70 years old … they take cruises for 15 days, 20 days, then come back.
You know, that’s the type of life they like. They’ve been doing it for a while, you know? They’re 70 years old, but they’ve been doing it. If you have customers and they are past their 60’s and having trouble finding how to feed their family, I tell you, this is the right way! You know, at that age you think you’re not going to learn, you’re not going to do this, you’re not going to do that. But if you’re older and you think that you can, that you can learn from other people…you don’t have a problem. Because that is the difficult part, to be not afraid.
One last thing: do you like your work environment?
Definitely! You know where I work and they’re great. Really, really great. I don’t have any complaints. If I work, they appreciate it and tell you that they like the work you do. That’s why it’s important to just take your time. Take it easy…it’s not a rush thing. This has been a change of life for me so if you have anyone there who wants to speak to me personally, I’m open to it. I always appreciate what AdjusterPro has done for us, and it’s important that people know this, but it takes time.
Gamy, I appreciate you taking the time to do this. I think it is really going to help people. Thank you once again for your contribution.
You let me know, and if you need more, I’m happy to help. That’s what I’m here for.