The key to success and sustainability: Adjustments in Life Podcast (E 21)

In this episode (recorded in early August 2021) Alan and co-host Jason join guest Marcie Fisher to discuss her first year in the industry. Marcie shares her first deployment experience, as well as how she has been able to capitalize on all the things she has learn during this first year. For the brand new adjusters, and even some that have been around and are struggling, this episode is packed with good information relating to things many adjusters will encounter during their first few years in the field. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to hear what Marcie had to say.


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Alan Olson: Well, folks, welcome back. It’s another day, another podcast.

How are we doing today? Jason?

Jason Dyson: Doing fantastic. Alan, thanks again.

Alan: Hey, well, the activity seems to keep popping up here and there. A few storms of loan through and really haven’t produced anything for this fall hurricane season.

But hey, man, I’m still hopeful. I don’t know. I haven’t seen any of the long-term podcasts. But what’s your thoughts on the season so far?

Jason: You know, we’re at least while we’re recording today, we’re pretty early into the season and I think we’re going to I think we’ll still going to see some more activity.

Hopefully, we get the landfalls, I think about what everybody’s hoping for is that cat three that hits somewhere and we buy everybody a roof. So, we’re still got our fingers crossed.

We’re still asking the listeners to do their hurricane dances out there. But we’ll see what happens as we progress through the rest of August and into September, early October.

Alan: Yeah, I’d like to, I’d like to see a little bit activity through the year to keep us, run until, October, November and just to throw some more your words out there. You know, do I want to install any catastrophe or any bad things upon anybody?

No, but I agree with you. I just want to buy everybody a roof. Absolutely. So, hey, we got a guest today. Why don’t you tell us about our guests?

Jason: So, we’ve got are lucky enough to have Miss MarcIe Fisher met Marcie earlier this year. Great lady. Just kind of made it through her first year in the industry. Doing great still getting work right now. So, without any Marcie Fisher. Tell us about yourself and how you got into the industry.

Marcie: Well, thanks for having me, guys. So, about a year and a half ago, my husband and I decided that this would be a great opportunity for us to eventually retire and do some work together.

So, I am from Amarillo, Texas, and I’ve been in the ag industry. For the last 15 years. I work for a tank manufacturer actually and so we manufacture tanks, and a lot of that’s in the ag industry in the old field industry.

I became licensed in September of last year of 2020 and from there, I did all the legwork to get on rosters and go from there and to do the due diligence to hopefully get the phone call when the storm came, and I had that opportunity in February of this year.

Jason: What was that? When the phone rang in February and said Miss Fisher, we’d like to deploy you. What was that feeling? What were in through your head when that happened?

Marcie: Well, honestly, I thought I would throw up for a few moments. I waited for it for so long and then it was just like, panic is like am I ready? am I prepared? and I just said yes. I didn’t ask. I didn’t know them to ask questions that I know now.

But I said yes and they told me you know to be in Dallas Fort Worth within the next 48 hours and I made sure I had all my stuff together which I had actually worked on for the forum five minutes prior getting making sure I had a ladder and all the supplies I needed to get out there and do whatever kind of, it would be or whatever kind of claims it would be.

Jason: While so February Dallas Fort Worth your first deployment was Elsah get in, wasn’t it? It was so and you live to talk about it.

Marcie: I did and there were a few nights I was in a fetal position crying.

Alan: Yeah. Hey, it happens. I can vouch for it some of those storms that, especially that one, we had a guest on a while back that his first storm was Hurricane Laura and that was an experience that was incredible to walk into for a first-time adjuster.

But I got to say that that storm coming in a to that ice magicdom? Boy, what an experience that was right?

Jason: Wow, hey, tell us you’re wrapping up your first year. You know, I’m sure you went through all the licensing and some trainings, all that kind of stuff. But none of that prepares you for actually hitting the ground on a deployment.

Tell us some of the milestone things that you’ve learned throughout the course of your first year that maybe you wish you knew when you were starting off.

Marcie: I wish I would have known more about onboarding packages whenever I started. Because they download when you show up, they download an incredible amount of information to your computer to your laptop.

Alan: An overwhelming amount.

Marcie: If they do and at the same time, you have claims being dropped to you as well. So, your phones blowing up your laptop is taking on new information and you really don’t know a lot about any of it.

So, from there, I learned I did learn to ask questions and to take notes. So, I could refer to them and not have to ask that question again. Also, I then did learn to customize my folders from what they had in the onboarding package.

So, I could reference that information more easily and that was a big lifesaver for me. The Help room is I can’t speak highly enough of them utilize them all the time, whether you’re experienced or not.

I think new guys or new folks and seasoned veterans can bring a lot to a help room as well as the field managers.

Jason: I know I stopped into one of the help rooms and saw you there and I think that’s kind of where we met was in a help room there and it was worth area. But it was packed and a lot of buzz of activity for sure.

Marcy: There’s you can you can learn to feed off of each other and in the new people and you know, what they’ve heard and seen and maybe just maybe a shortcut in exactly Mater sibility whichever program you’re using in which can ultimately save you maybe five seconds, but down the road, it’s the greatest thing ever.

The Help rooms are a wealth of knowledge, you can learn so much from the new adjusters in there, as well as the seasoned veterans. It’s also a good stress relief, because you’ve been out in the field, and you’re still new, and you’re still not fully confident of yourself.

So, it’s just nice to laugh, and while you’re working and still learning and just be able to cut up and just let some stress off.

Jason: I think you also realize that you’re not in the boat by yourself, there are other paths, experiencing the same thing that you’re experiencing.

Alan: I repeatedly tell people coming into this, don’t eat especially on your first deployment. Don’t go back and sit at the hotel room and try to figure this out on your own.

There are people there that are there to help you walk through this take advantage of that just because another adjuster or MIT says it’s not worth going to the room, there’s no help there for you. I get it in a mass call out storm.

There aren’t always enough managers to help all the adjusters that are in there. But you’re still going to get more help than you are sitting at your hotel room just trying to figure it out on your own for sure.

Marcie: Banging your head against the wall, trying to Google it or look on the Help website for the platform you’re on. You’re definitely going to get more help.

Alan: So, when you being in that help from you mentioned discussing with other adjusters, something I encourage adjusters to do and tell me if you were able to accomplish this, were you able to build any bonds or relationships with the managers that are helping you now today?

Marcie: Absolutely.

There’s three that I know I can call on anytime whether they’re still my field manager or not and ask questions. Some in particular I might get a razzing for calling and asking a question.

But that’s okay. Because if I’m to the point of asking the question, in my mind, I’ve exhausted all the possibilities on my end, or I’m just so frustrated. I just need a little direction to see it again.

Alan: Let me ask one quick question before we move on again. You mentioned Organizing folders and setting yourself up during the onboarding process to know where you kept your notes where you kept your information.

Were there times when you were able to refer back to that? and it saved you a phone call to a manager or having to stop and go to the Help room and get answers when you realize, hey, I took five minutes and was able to find that information rather than spending 30 minutes to go sit at the hope.

Marcie: Yes, absolutely.

Especially once I knew that there was a search key, a key you could search for what you were looking for that became a measurable as well.

But yes, I’ve learned and there’s different ways to do it and it will address that in the onboarding, as well.

So, I’ve set up and I still use those folders now, and I’ve tweaked them to fit whichever kind of claim I’m working. So, it’s definitely been helpful.

Jason: Yeah, Ctrl F is your friend for sure.

So, hey, when you got the call, and they said head to the DFW area there I’m sure you’re I just envisioned you pack in the car and getting everything ready and being anxious for what you’re going to run into. When you arrived and you got rolling, do you think that you had what you needed to work? Or did you get there and realize, oh, man, I got to go get X, Y, or Z? Or how did that work out

Marcie: I had all my equipment that I needed? I did, there’s a few things. Actually, no, I had all my equipment because I had done the research on it.

So, I had totes packed I had everything packed and ready and surprisingly, even though I’ve been in the industry where I talk with people all day long, I felt very overwhelmed about going to someone’s home that had been destroyed, in essence, and speaking to them.

So, that the first few claims I went to that was my hardest part, which really surprised that kind of surprised myself. Because it’s a different situation than dealing with Joe Blow and Farmer John about their tanks and their cattle.

Alan: And you’re dealing with somebody that may be in a bit of distress, that they’re they they’ve been through a loss that maybe we haven’t been through, and we’re having to respect that in our conversation to them and sometimes knowing what to say, is tough.

I’ve been in several situations where one of the insurance gets so emotional, they start crying and that that can be a very awkward moment to deal with as a claims adjuster.

Marcie: Yes, I have had some of those as well and then that just decided, well, I’ve got to put myself in their place and pretend like I don’t know anything.

I mean, because this a lot of these people have never dealt with cold weather much less a freeze. Sure, especially in this area, I come from a part of the Texas panhandle, where we used to ice and snow and freeze and things like that.

So, this was truly a whole new world to him. So, I drew from some of that knowledge having lived here my whole life. I lived in Emeryville and my whole life and proceeded from there.

So, after about the third or fourth one I became much more comfortable doing that and then I was blessed to finally get someone to do a ride along with me.

At first, I was down in Waco temple so I was away from I was just far enough away from Dallas and just far enough away from Austin. That no one would could come out and help me.

So, for the first few weeks I thought that I actually didn’t and then on about week three I was able to get some ride along and that helped a lot.

Jason: So, what I guess if there’s kind of sum it up what if there was the one thing that was the biggest learning lesson, I guess that you learned this past year? What would you say that would be in regards to the industry?

Marcie: It’s really to be kind to yourself, and to listen, we all work differently. If you know you can only work one or two claims and do them well and get them done in 24 hours then do work one or two claims and then add to them.

Don’t try to look like the one who is going to over don’t over achieve and under promise. Agree you need to go out there and over promise and deliver what you’re telling them listen to the policyholder and jot down their story and their notes because you can refer back to that when you talk to him at a later date because you will be talking to them again at some point.

It’s inevitable. Something else I learned is if you need to take a break then take a break. If you need to go walk around the hotel to just get some fresh air then do that to be kind to yourself. But be true in loyal to the policyholder.

Alan: Gotcha. Absolutely. I agree. 100%.

And I think that sometimes, as adjusters we get a little bit wrapped up in for one, the money that we’re making, right? When you start rolling through claims, you start counting dollar signs and so we extend ourselves in and to a degree, we’re supposed to do that.

But we extend ourselves past the point sometimes that we should, and it that’s a hard thing to realize, in this industry is hey, I know that I’m typically five, six, maybe seven a day adjuster, but it’s wearing me out, and I’m not going to sustain long enough in the storm.

So, I need to take a break, I need to slow down for a few days, I need to get some good food in me, I may even need to go to bed a few a little bit earlier on a few nights to maintain what I’m doing.

Because ultimately, if it’s the dollars, you’re after being on site, the longest is where you’re going to get that dollar amount up is it’s not just day by day.

Jason: Correct.

When you started off, and you hit the ground, and this changes as you’ve moved through this first year, and I’ve seen different types of losses, going from ice to hail, etc.

How long did it and you’re probably still formulating this to this day, how long did it take you to get your process of your flow of inspection of or your claim flow? Not just the inspection, but the whole flow of the claim? How long did that take you to get that down?

Marcy: For the flood, it really took me probably the first month to really get Mike flow and some of that came after I was able to do the ride along because I could see how other people worked and a lot of things clicked finally, because I was doing things based off what they told me and what I read and what was in my onboarding package into when I finally got to see someone else do it.

It made it made a lot more sense and I was I went with three different people. So, I saw three different types of of work and then I formulated my own from there. It was probably the first month.

Jason: I think that’s part of it as well, you kind of hit it there’s it’s not necessarily that what the person that you did the right along with that their way of doing it is exactly correct.

It’s coming up with your procedure and sticking to that procedure and being consistent no matter what the type of loss is if you work a house from left to right, working counterclockwise, do it like that every time with the other way. Do it that way.

You know, I’ve been on ride along with adjusters where, man, we’ve made so many laps around the house, I thought we’re going to wear a retina in the grass out there. But it’s just not productive that way.

But yeah, definitely get whatever your procedure is and stick to it.

Marcy: Well, exactly how I was that first few weeks is I’ve just felt scattered and then I’d go back and look at my notes and I’d have to almost recreate them. So, once I got my groove down, it’s become so much more enjoyable and I can write my claims quicker and more efficiently.

Alan: But we talk about that a lot. Jason and I do and when we’re advising some of these newer adjusters such as yourself, I try to start everybody off, knowing at day one, that consistency in the procedures and the patterns that you that you created on day one to do this job is the key to success and it is going to make you so much more efficient.

Just you know having a having a set routine that you’re going to start out with and do on every claim and like Jason said, it doesn’t matter if you’re looking at a wind claim a hail claim or designing this routine that you do every time is going to take the air out of out of what you’re doing.

Because like you said, you’re not having to reconstruct your notes, what, you know what you did based off and where you were even just by looking at your photographs.

Jason: But I also think that having that routine also builds your confidence as an adjuster. Sure. Your confidence with yourself and I’m quite sure that reflects to the homeowners.

Well, if you’re confident in yourself, they pick up on that.

Alan: Absolutely.

Marcie: I couldn’t agree more.

Jason: Okay, so Marcy, you’ve you went from running the free stuff to and then we quickly thereafter transitioned into hail in North Texas which as anybody in any industry knows we had some serious roofs in Texas.

What was that what was going through your mind the first time you pulled up to one of them houses and had to pop that ladder up? Take that first step off?

Marcie: Well, I actually got a roof in crazily in one of the freeze claims and it took me three times, I went back to the house three times before I got on it, because I was so intimidated by the roof.

But my fields manager at the time told me he was not going to allow me to have a recess because it wasn’t tall enough and I’m so grateful now that he didn’t, because I got up there and I did it and I figured out what hail was.

I mean, I knew what hail was. But this was a wind claim. So, if this those roofs are intimidating, you have to be respectful of them and don’t be anxious, but just be respectful of them and just make sure you stay on point and on guard.

Because every roof is different. It may look like it’s dry and it’s not or it’s wet, or one of them I had total granular loss. So, it was extremely slick thing just ever you have to gauge them indefinitely engaging from the eve before you on them.

Jason: Marcie, for our female listeners out there is there’s something piece of advice, what are some challenges maybe that you had to overcome being a woman in a pretty fairly male dominated industry?

Marcie: It definitely is. It has been an adjustment in a different way. Because I work I currently in the in the ag industry is very male dominated as well.

This one tends to be to have a different outlook on women, I’ve come to notice, because a lot of the people we deal with contractor’s PDAs are male as well.

So, my biggest thing would be don’t let them bully you know, be confident in what you’re doing. Know your claim and understand the claim you’re going to, if it’s a reinspect be aware of that as well.

Because what people don’t think re inspects are the greatest, they’re often more vital than the initial inspection, whether it’s a roof or inside the home, because my biggest thing is, is to be confident yourself and to know your claim and to know who you’re meeting out there.

I’ve also run into some policyholders and homeowners that weren’t thrilled that there was a woman gaining access to the roof and I’ve given them the option that if they wanted someone else, we could that we could take care of that.

Another thing I would mention is to make sure just a network, network and make with other women in other gestures in general. But I feel it’s important that women have each other’s backs out here as well.

Jason: Do you touch on re-inspects there? You know, for me, I’ve always said that. I’ve learned more by going behind other adjusters and doing re inspections behind them than I ever had on doing my own claims to have you been doing mini re-inspections.

I mean, what’s your thoughts on that?

Marcie: I did several on the freeze and as crazy as it sounds, I really enjoyed them for that reason. It’s not that they missed it initially.

In the first it’s because the freeze wiped out so much you can only really see it so I could go back in and see what they saw and then see what’s happened since then, and put the puzzle back together. So, I’ve actually really enjoyed doing the re-inspects for that reason.

It even on the roofs, there’s different things that are missed or think comes back up. But I learned a lot from doing the re-inspects on the freeze claims.

Alan: Well, I would agree with you there Marcie, because I encourage every adjuster that comes through training with me that I get it, the re-inspects can be a hassle and they don’t always pay.

But the knowledge you can gain and like Jason said, he’s learned so much through his career by seeing what everybody else is doing it for me.

Not only was I able to gain the knowledge, I got to see what every other adjuster had the reports they were producing, and it gave me an opportunity to go I can do one little thing here and one little thing here and one little thing here in my report is going to stand out above there’s and it took me no time to do that.

Jason: You see the good, the bad and the ugly.

Alan: The other thing that it did was not just gained the knowledge. It taught me how to handle contractors how to handle PAs and even in the in the industry today.

It’s so much easier to deal with those folks now because of, we don’t have the authority to speak out on the files as much as what we used to. But I can go in yourself and Jason we could all go to those re-inspects and take the opportunity to see if we can make the situation better for the policyholder.

At the end of the day, I don’t really care whether the PA is happy with what my results are whether contractors happy but it gives us an opportunity to better the relationship with the policyholder if we know what we’re doing when we and we know what we’re there to do when we go to those re inspections.

Marcie: Yes, I had a unique situation.

About a month ago, I went out thinking it was a reinspect, based on the paperwork and the documents in the file. Well, this was actually the first time anyone had physically been to our home, I guess a contractor had submitted his findings, and then the desk adjuster adjusted it, but no one had actually been out to gain access to a roof or the interior of the home to see the damage.

So, that became a very unique situation to defuse, because by this point, she was very frustrated after six weeks of still not having any answers.

Alan: As adjusters, we’re dealing with that more and more with the different types of programs that they’re doing now, absolutely claims industry.

They’re trying to assess these claims through photographs, or through claims experience, or they’re the homeowners using their phone, and it may go through several steps and I can totally understand the homeowner side of that, where they’re frustrated at this point.

But then again, that kind of relates back to that opportunity that if we know what we’re there to do, and you touched on this earlier in the program of knowing what your claims about know, reading your file, knowing what your job is, when you get there, if you can review that information, pre-inspection, you’re going to be able to capitalize on that, because you’re going to be able to explain to that policyholder, hey, I get that nobody’s looked at it.

So, I’m going to, I’m going to do my best for you today to document the damages that you’re concerned about, so that we can properly get this taken care of.

Jason: Absolutely.

One thing that I always advise adjusters and, I’ve been in a situation where a particular client we’re working for didn’t always send good information over regarding all it was a reinspection didn’t know why sometimes I don’t even know what’s a reinspection you just realize that claim numbers not in sync or whatever it is and the adjusters are kind of freaking out a little bit.

I need to know what’s going on with this and the answer is we’ll just call the homeowner they’ll tell you; I don’t want to sound stupid talking to the homeowner, don’t all you got to do is say, Alan, I just received your claim here.

I understand there’s some issues going on with it. I am the field adjuster that’s going to be handling that claim. I’d like to set up a chance to come out there, meet with yourself and your contractor, see if we can get this all ironed out.

But I tell you what, why don’t you tell me what’s going on? They will tell you, their story. Tell you, and you’re going to know. You’re going to know more from that one question that any amount of documentation to that flop through that file is going to tell you.

Alan: Yeah, absolutely. I agree.

Well, hey, Marcie, we’re going to start narrowing this thing down towards the finish line here. I got one question for you before we kind of close out of all of your experiences that you’ve had in the last year, and the in what you’ve dealt with the things you’ve learned, not only just with the claims process itself being a woman in the claims industry, if there was one, for sure, solid piece of advice that you think you could give another new adjuster that’s coming in, that would make the biggest impact of their future career.

What would that one thing be?

Marcie: It would be followed through with your word, whether it’s to your field manager, to the policyholder, and to yourself, and stay true to yourself.

Alan: I agree. That’s a great advice. Man, I sure thank you for coming on.

Jason: Yeah, absolutely. I’m having so much more.

Alan: Before we go really quick, we’re going to tell the listeners just a little bit about the private community.

Even if you’re an experienced adjuster, or your brand new, or you’ve been involved in it for a year, just like Marcie has and you’re looking for a solid community of experienced adjusters that are there to have your back and answer questions for you at any point in time.

You need to check us out it’s a private Facebook community there to support you and everything you’re doing when you’re in the field or even when you’re at home and just needing a simple question answered on a claim that you’re reviewing.

Jump on the website, it’s, Click on the community and you can read all about us and it’ll tell you right there how to get involved.

Jason: Absolutely. It’s a great program. Good place to ask questions, bounce ideas off each other. Ask for people’s recommendations suggestions and that is we’re not going to beat you up over questions.

We keep talking about other social media platforms. But some of the newer people just kind of get afraid to even ask a legitimate question. That’s not going to happen.

Alan: Well, check us out.

Again, it’s Click on the private community and check it out. It’ll give you all the instructions on how to get signed up. One more thing, keep sending us those emails. If you want to know anything about what you’re dealing with what your things that you’re interested in.

We want to know, send us an email at Well, again, Marcie, thank you so much for joining us again today on the program.

Jason, it’s been a great pleasure once again, to sit here and have another good conversation with some good content and good guests.

Jason: Alan, as always, thanks again and Marcie, we’ll see you on the next deployment side.

Marcie: All right. Sounds great. Thank you, guys.

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