Thanks to all of you who’ve written in with kudos re: our training. We’re glad you’re buried in work, and we’re glad our classes have done a good job of preparing you for the field, but as always, there’s something bittersweet about it, isn’t there?
I want to touch on a sensitive topic; lots of CAT claims means that people have suffered tragic loss. I’ve never felt right rooting for tragedy, and I’m sure you’ve wrestled with the same dilemma, namely wanting a CAT because it brings lots of claims, but not wanting to want people to suffer loss. “Hundreds dead from tornados in ________.” “Thousands homeless due to hurricane _______________.” It’s just a fact; the catastrophe side of the claims business is one that thrives when things are bad, and the worse it gets the better it gets. What’s a CAT adjuster with a conscience to do? I’m sure everyone’s got their own way of reconciling these two seemingly opposing desires, but I thought I’d share my own reflections on the issue.
I’ll start by being transparent. I’ve been through stages. When I first got into the business, I heard fellow adjusters joking about wanting more hurricanes. I didn’t like folks joking about this. It just felt wrong. But a few years passed and the CAT business hit a dry spell. Without really noticing it, I’d lost some of my sensitivity. It seems that all it took was some scarcity of work combined with time being desensitized to catastrophe and I found myself rooting for weather-related catastrophes. I was a bit callous. Now, several years into my career in this industry, I think I’m approaching something more like balance, understanding, and a healthy perspective. Here are two thoughts that I find helpful:
– Being a CAT adjuster is kind of like being a fireman, doctor, or undertaker. No fires, sickness or death equals no business. If there are no catastrophes, there’s no CAT business. However, like these other professions, we’re in the business of helping people. We have an opportunity to be of tremendous service in times of great need, and we play a special roll in the restoration of peoples’ lives. What we do gives real value to others; the claimant, their family, the carrier, the claims company we’re working for, the town/city/state hit, and the country in general. In this way, we can – with a clean conscience – look forward to the opportunities that are presented to us to be of service to others. So rather than rooting for tragedy, I can look for ways to help. To top it off, when I do it right (i.e. I do a great job), I’m well compensated.
– I’m responsible for my success. Catastrophes are inevitable, always have been, and are part of a larger cycle. A few years in the business gave me a better perspective here. If you’re serious about adjusting and you’re in the business to stay, there’ll be busier times and slower times. It’s all part of the cycle. Rather than rooting for more catastrophes, I’ve turned my attention to growing in my value to the industry. This way – busy or slow – I’m always in demand. I no longer feel desperation and the need to root for tragedy just fades away. It’s part of a life philosophy I’ve been consciously trying to adapt; being in control of and responsible for my life and the results of it, rather than feeling like a victim of circumstance (e.g. busy or slow seasons).
One last thing. We’ve all heard the expression “be careful what you wish for.” I’ve noted throughout the years that there’ve been numerous times that I thought and/or prayed ‘please God, that’s enough!’ There’s plenty tragic stuff happening on its own without my having to root for it.
Have a prosperous season, everyone, and look for ways to grow in your value as an adjuster and look for opportunities to be of service!
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