This is our Story: Adjustments in Life Podcast (E 1)

In this episode, we will be introduced to our host and founder, Alan Olson.  Alan is a top adjuster and has been in the field for several years. During his time as an adjuster, he has learned the ins and outs of adjusting and wants to share that knowledge with his listeners. He went from being a common adjuster no one noticed to becoming one of the top adjusters in the nation. In this show, we will hear his story--how he was introduced to the field, how he started, and how The Adjuster Guy went from being a thought in the back of his head to what it is now. In addition to this, we will also hear why creating this podcast and The Adjuster Guy School is so important to Alan and his team.


Alan: Welcome to the official launch podcast of Adjustments in Life. My name is Alan Olson and I’m so glad to be here today. 

This has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time. It crossed my mind several years ago that it would be nice to have a biweekly—maybe weekly—platform for adjusters that wanted to have their own radio show, if you will, for a place to discuss anything and everything we do on a daily basis as insurance adjusters. So you may be new to the industry, you may be that insurance adjusters that has been involved for a few years and really not sure how to keep going maybe you’re not sure what you’re doing wrong because you’ve been around and haven’t been noticed the whole lot, or maybe that’s seasoned adjuster that’s out there that you can get a lot of good advice or advise of a lot of good things to the adjuster who is trying to get in.

What this is about is a place for many types of conversations to take place, from seasoned adjusters sharing their experience to new adjusters getting in trying to grasp the knowledge or or what these adjusters did to be successful. There’s a lot of ways to get into this business and this is just a platform for somebody to come to the help share and for me to share with you the things that made me successful and the things that I can give to you and point you in the direction that will help you gain those steps to get where you want to go. 

Let me tell you a little bit about me and my story. Okay for those of you that don’t know me, some of you will. I’m in my early to mid-forties. I’m married and I have five children and those five children have been with me in this from day one. I got into this a little pre-2008 or during the 2008 housing market crash. I was working construction. I owned two different types of construction companies. I had a concrete foundation company as well as I built houses from the slab up. And, you know, we were all in kind of that area where if the house weren’t selling we weren’t building houses. Unfortunately, that’s what happened in 2008 when the market crashed. We were all sitting at home trying to figure out how we’re going to continue to feed our families. I have another friend that was in the business that was building houses that said, “Hey, I’m doing this insurance adjusting and I think it might be something you’d be interested in. If anything, just during the seasons we aren’t that busy. It may be a beneficial thing for you to be able to do this to supplement your income.” 

So I talked it over with my wife. We kind of did some research on it and we thought that would be a perfect fit for us. I’m already educated in the construction end of it. It’s just a matter of learning the insurance policy and what I need to do with that. 

So off we went and went to Fort Worth area of Texas, took the all-lines certification course and I got my license. Just like most upcoming people, I thought that was it. Here I am. I’m licensed, why aren’t they calling? I had to learn real quick that I had to reach out to all these companies and let them know that I exist. You know, that might be you. You might be going “Hey I’m licensed and not getting any phone calls.”

Well, do the firms know you’re there? That’s the number one thing. 

Anyways, getting back to it, I was struggling like most do to get the opportunity to get out and work and got a phone call one day. I thought it was a deployment to St Louis so I loaded up my RV, left my family at home and headed to St Louis.

Well, what it turned out was it was a roofing company that needed somebody to write an Xactimate estimate for them. And of course being new to all of it, I didn’t really know how to write Xactimate estimates. I have a little bit of experience with cab but not enough to say I could write a full long estimate. You know, I kind of fake my way through and it made it through it. But I wasn’t a roofing salesman and I didn’t want to be a roofing salesman and that’s what it ended up being. I ended up losing my butt on that one.

I spent about six weeks in St Louis Missouri and literally took home no money but I tell you what I did take home. I took home a little bit of experience and I met somebody when I was in St Louis that was willing to recognize my ambition and my will to want to get somewhere and he was willing to give me a contact number for a manager and an IA firm. This manager of the IA firm didn’t know me from Adam.He had a list of adjusters that he knew well and he had plenty of people that could handle anything he needed. I kept calling him because that’s the only number I had and I expressed to him that I want to work. 

Well, he never had anything for me, because he had plenty of adjusters to do what needed to be done. So low and behold, the friend that had introduced this to me in the first place and called and said “Hey I’m in Dallas what are you doing?” and I said “Well I’m on my way home from St Louis because that deal didn’t work out for me.” He said, “Hey, there’s a company I am working for right now that if you give them a call, they might let you come ride with me and we can do some training.” So turns out, the company he was working for was the company I already had the number for.

So I called them to tell them, “Look my friend that you have working claims for you in Dallas offered to let me ride with him if you’re willing to let me go ride. Doug was this claims manager’s name. He says, “Hey if you’ll go ride with your friend for 2 weeks we’ll consider giving you claims. So that’s exactly what I did.

I kept on moving back towards Texas, I went home to get my family, we moved our RV up to Fort Worth, I then spent the next two weeks giving my time and my funds so I could learn how to be an adjuster on site. This was a rare opportunity that not everybody gets and I recognized that this was something I need to do if I want to work as a claims adjuster for any company.

So two weeks later, as any of you would, in that two week time period, if you’re given that two week period, that should be ample time to learn how to do everything. This is not a difficult job as long as you’re given the opportunity or you make yourself available to take the opportunity to learn to do it. Here I was, I had given up two weeks of my time, two weeks of my own money and the expenses to be there. So they offered to give me some claims.

I work on some claims. They were going to send me home because there it was the end of the storm there really wasn’t much for claims to be worked, but they gave me the opportunity to work claims, I took him up on it and, guess what, I stayed with them working those day claims for several months following that. 

Well here we are, it’s the end of the season the only thing I got left now is an opportunity to work a hurricane which the hurricane season rolls around given the opportunity to stay at it ever since. 

Had this not happened, I don’t know where I would be. When I was given the opportunity regardless of what that opportunity was I took him up on it. This is something that I needed to do in order to succeed. If you’re a new adjuster and you’re trying to get into this, no is not an option for an answer. If you get asked by a firm to go somewhere and handle claims, you need to say yes. The only option when you’re asked to run claims is yes.

 So that’s what I did after that I spent year after year traveling the country going anywhere they needed me to go. That fall I worked hurricanes in Pennsylvania and New York those were all done. I was on my way home for Thanksgiving thinking that was the end of the year we were all done. We weren’t going on any further when I got a phone call asking me if I wanted to go to San Francisco and work wind. I could have said no I’m going to go home with my family.

I said yes. I’ll go to California. 

I went to California I sat in California until after the first of the year, then I came home. I did get a few months break, but the entire time I was home I was sitting there calling everybody I knew in the business at least once a week. Checking in asking if there was anything I could do, what I should be working on, any training I could take an opportunity on, whatever I needed to do to make sure everybody knew where I was and that I was available. 

So we roll on, I gain experience, I keep working. I keep making myself available. But what I noticed through all this was there was an extreme lack of availability or training opportunities or for just somebody giving me a simple process. I took other people’s processes and I molded them to fit me but I saw many times that there was not a lot of opportunity for anybody to get just a basic understanding of what we’re doing for the basic process to start from. 

So my mind’s turning in the back of my head I’m seeing everything taking place that I am having a difficult time learning because it was an opportunity for me to learn from without getting out in the field. 

Lack of instruction and lack of opportunity for people to train or what you’re going to actually experience in the field is a whole different thing from what I was able to learn or what I was able to obtain. 

So moving forward, I had gained enough years and enough knowledge of what we’re doing, that I was offered an opportunity in management. That came in the fall of 2016. I was given the opportunity to be an onsite manager at a firm that I had been working primarily for for the few years prior.

And so, here I am working with new adjusters as well seasoned adjusters and again, I’m noticing the gaps of training opportunities where people could just get some very simple basic instruction or basic knowledge that would give them a basis start with. As simple as here is a list of required photos and a process that you can start from and meet you out here and we’re in a walk through this one time and these are the things that you need to understand you’ve got to have in every file. I wasn’t seeing that. And there’s a number of reasons why people weren’t getting this information up front.

All along, again I’m seeing an opportunity for somebody to just create a space that people can go to to get just good general information and simple knowledge that’s very impactful.

So I move on. I ended up actually moving back out of the management space getting back into the field as an adjuster. It fit my family better. It fit me better. After the 2017 hurricane season that was proving to be very fruitful for most adjusters that were involved, I started looking back and saying “Okay, what have I learned up to this point? What have been my weak points? What have been my strong points? What are some things I can offer to people that are coming into the business or have been in the business and are struggling so that they can benefit too?”

So in conversation with my wife, we started brainstorming the idea of The Adjuster Guy and not just for the sake of getting you licensed but for the sake of helping you get beyond that licensing point where you have an early on in your career you have a good solid foundation to start. Without a place to start in a good solid proven Foundation you have to try to struggle your way through finding that on your own. That’s a difficult thing to do. And in this business, it is getting more and more difficult every day. This business is ever-changing so what works today may have to be modified tomorrow to be as successful tomorrow as you were today. 

You still have to have that solid basis to start from. Okay and at The Adjuster Guy what we want is to get you licensed, we want to get you pointed in a direction with a foundation to start on. You may change that and fit what you do a hundred times over the next 10 years but the foundation that I want to give you from my experience and my knowledge is something that I think will be beneficial to anybody even those there been working for several years and may not know for sure where their foundation is or why they’re doing what they’re doing.

That’s the main reason for what we’re doing here. It is the main reason for this beginning of this podcast—for me to share that information along with any other person that I have been around that I feel would be very beneficial to you and hearing their stories, their struggles, their successes, all the things that they did in order to get to where they are in their career and what they do. 

We all loved this job and we’re all here for the same reason—what got us involved in this from the get-go. Okay, obviously we all needed a good paying job. We needed an income. 

This is going to give you an opportunity to hear what all these successful adjusters did in the beginning—what they did right, what they did wrong, starting with me. Hopefully, you’re going to take what I shared with you this hurt me and the things that have benefited me along with all the guests that I have—all the strong points, all the things that they have proven to make themselves successful. 

The managers that I’m able to have on this show—take what they have for granted. Listen to what they have to say. They’re dealing with folks day in and day out that are struggling with issues in this industry maybe with a few simple changes could change your whole outcome of your year.

Again the podcast is designed for you—for those of you that are listening. We want you to gain knowledge, we want you to gain respect and we want you to gain success from taking the time to join us every time we have the show.

Understanding the difficulties that other adjusters have had to have against them and maybe getting some insight on another direction to go to stop that from happening to me, I think would have been very beneficial to me and helped me succeed faster in what I wanted to do.

Thanks for joining. I am so excited to keep going with this. I’m very very excited for the guests that are going to be involved as we grow. I hope to have some co-host come with me on a regular basis. 

Again I just really appreciate you joining in for this show and for the show’s to come and look forward to next time. Thanks folks

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