Claims Adjusters: Get the Most Out Conferences

Conferences can be a fun and productive way for claims adjusters to advance their career between storms. However,  it can be difficult to discern which events will be worth your while. With the rapid change and uncertainty of the insurance industry as a whole, it is pertinent to network wisely and build the right relationships while getting the most ‘bang for your buck.’  If you’re an extrovert and naturally charismatic, you probably revel at the opportunity acquaint yourself with insurance carrier reps and independent adjusting firm management. If you’re an introvert, however, the thought of networking and small talk can be more daunting than climbing Mount Everest. Thank goodness for the cocktail hour!

Why are conferences important?

Generally, conferences are beneficial to your career because you are able to meet people “who likely have the same interests as you and are highly relevant to your work,” notes Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School. In the insurance industry, conferences are valuable to claims adjusters because “they are an educational opportunity, networking opportunity and relationship builder,” explains Eberl’s Claim Service Operations Director (and former adjuster), Rob Petrovics. Adjusters are able to accomplish a great deal in a short period of time and since “technology has made it easier to interact with people across great distances and time zones,” says Dorie Clark, author of Stand Out Networking, it “actually makes face-to-face interaction even more valuable.” Whether you are introducing yourself to someone or nurturing an existing relationship, it is essential to formulate goals so that a) you have a clear direction and b) your time is well spent with everyone in the room. It is helpful to ask yourself, “What, specifically, do I want to accomplish while I am here?”

What are independent adjusting firms and insurance carriers looking for from claims adjusters?

First, it is important to understand all pieces of the puzzle. Claims adjusters are under pressure from independent adjusting (IA) firms to have the right mix of experience and qualifications and varies greatly. IA firms are under pressure from the insurance carriers to have a “large pool of overflow adjusters available when there is a claims spike,” claims Adam Gardiner, owner and team member at AdjusterPro. Conferences are a pivotal and useful tool for IA firms and claims adjusters to interact with their carrier clients and show they are well-equipped to handle, literally, any catastrophe that comes their way.

Remember the Top Five:

Do your research and prioritize your goals.

Prior to the conferences you are planning to attend, “think about the people you would really like to get to know and the carve out time to accomplish that goal,” outlines Gino. Prioritize your top three goals. Strategize. Remember to enjoy yourself, but periodically ‘check-in’ with your goals. Also, allow yourself time to reflect on the events of the day.

Be authentic, be yourself.

Some awkward situations can’t be avoided, but preparation is half the battle. Up your confidence by brushing up on your knowledge of the companies in attendance. If you are lacking direction or motivation, “try a SWOT analysis,” suggest the editors at  MindTools. By identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you may shed light on what you can highlight, avoid, address and pursue at the conference.

Take initiative.

By taking the initiative to attend the conference, network and educate yourself, it inherently builds rapport with the IA firm which can often translate into more work.  Chief Operating Officer of IAS Claim Services, Tony Scow, offers his insight that, “Attending a claims conference tends to develop meaningful relationships for the contractor and IA firm. Nothing can replace relationships that are built in person.”

Speak thoughtfully, listen carefully.

claims adjusters: Networking help for conferences

Either you run the day, or the day runs you. – Jim Rohn











If you are confident and adequately prepared, your conversations should flow easily and more naturally (not to mention leave a good impression). Cathy Crone, an experienced adjuster adds, “Don’t be a bragger, take notes, remember names and keep an open mind as you will learn something new.” Struggling for the right words to say? Keep in mind that quiet confidence speaks louder than incessant conversation.


The old adage, “the fortune is in the follow-up” is an adage because, well, it’s true. By following up, it shows your attention to detail, initiative and positively reinforces the interactions you exchanged during the conference. It is the next step in solidifying a positive working relationship and ensures you stay on the company’s radar.

Author: Brittney Petrovics

Drones Now Open for Business: What Insurance Adjusters Can Expect

Drones: Exciting or Terrifying?

The phrase “rise of the drones” incites mixed feelings among business executives, government officials and the general public worldwide. A world where humans and robots co-exist is moving full steam ahead and I presume the topic garners so much attention because it is equal parts exciting and terrifying.


On one hand, the exponential growth of technology is chock-full of glittering potential. Whether we are in the ‘Golden Age’ of technology or right on the cusp, there is no denying that it is a truly momentous time in history and will continue to be for years to come.

On the other hand, who can deny life is becoming more complicated by the day? If I’m suffering from alcoholism, a twelve step process is necessary. If I’m trying to accomplish a simple task online, a twelve step process is not necessary. Increasingly invasive cyber threats, rampant identity theft, and an overall lack of privacy due to our reliance on technology and the internet pose serious challenges for us in the future. Should we take the good with the bad on this one? I’m not sure.

Although I’d love to elaborate on the future of human evolution, for the purpose of this article I’d like to explore the impact drones will have on the insurance industry and what to expect from Property/Casualty carriers in the future.

But first…

The History and Evolution of Drones

Drones have been evolving presumably since 1898. Nikola Tesla, a Serbian scientist and electrical engineer, first initiated the relationship between human and machine when he unveiled an unmanned boat that responded to verbal commands at Madison Square Garden. Fun Fact: America’s most well known premium electric car company, Tesla, acquired it’s moniker from the innnovative inventor and futurist.  An archived article published by the automaker explains that he, “created the induction motor and alternating-current (AC) power transmission [and] without Tesla‘s vision and brilliance, our car wouldn’t be possible.” Pretty cool, but moving on.

From World War II in the 1940’s to present day, drones have continually evolved to meet mostly militaristic agendas. However, the times they are a changin’. In 2012, Congress mandated that the Federal Aviation Administration “integrate small drones into the national airspace by 2015.” In February 2015, the FAA issued a press release on new regulations for drones.  Unmanned aircrafts are now classified under three categories: public operations (governmental), civil operations (non-governmental or business) and model aircraft operations (recreational).

Open for Business

In order to harness the power and profit of drones, you are required to obtain a Section 333 Exemption. There is no cost for the permit, but you must employ a pilot in command (among other stipulations) in order to comply with FAA regulations. Property/Casualty carriers such as Liberty Mutual, USAA, AIG and State Farm have all received approval from the FAA and will slowly begin to integrate drones in their claims investigation process. Companies like Donan are also capitalizing on several drone applications such as thermal imaging, contour mapping, orthomosaics, 3-D point clouds and 3-D simulations.

So what are the ramifications?

Well, a lot. I’d be here until next Christmas if I listed it all and by that time you all be operating drones. :) Just kidding.

It depends on your role in the insurance industry, but as far as adjusters are concerned, there a few theories. One hunch comes from Jason Wolf, a property defense attorney at Koch Parafinczuk & Wolf in Florida. Wolf surmises, “technology is going to be so simple that anyone will be able to do it, maybe once you do your Xactimate class and Xactimate certification for a day, and then you spend a half‑day doing your drone adjusting certification.”

Grant Goldsmith, the president of a high risk insurance division for Avalon Risk Management for international contractors also elucidates, “The companies that I’ve talked to that are thinking about introducing a drone into their claims process, that idea is coming forward many times from an ex‑military person who has firsthand experience operating a drone or using a drone overseas.” It is likely for military towns such as San Antonio and others, that there will be adjusting opportunities in the near future if you have military experience operating a drone and have (or could obtain) a license to fly.

Through researching this topic, it has become clear exactly how unclear the impact of drones will be on the insurance industry and it seems to be all speculation at this point. The only certainty is that the integration of drones in the claims process will impact the insurance industry- and in big way. It would likely benefit adjusters and independent adjusting firms to not only prepare, but formulate a strategy on how to capitalize on, the changes at our doorstep. Now, all we have left to do is fly!

“It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.” -Wilbur Wright




Unique Hurricane Patricia experience told by German-Texan couple

Andre Babiak and Yvonne Schultheiss are happy, laid-back residents of Bahía de Banderas, a municipality just north of Puerto Vallarta. Their home is situated about 2/10 of a mile from Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Andre and Yvonne, originally from Germany, previously lived on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country (near Garner State Park) since 2001 with their two children. In 2013, they traded secluded ranch life for beach life and moved to sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after their youngest son graduated high school.

Beer, water and duct tape among ‘essentials’ for Hurricane Patricia preparation

Much to the chagrin of their friends and family, they opted to weather the storm rather than evacuate after learning of Hurricane Patricia’s imminent landfall. It’s no secret riding out the storm put them in a precarious position to say the least. Hurricane Patricia was not only a category 5 hurricane, but it was (is) regarded as the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. To know Andre and Yvonne is to know that they march to the beat of their own drum. Their fearless, albeit very risky, decision worked out to their advantage thankfully.

Puerto Vallarta residents, Andre Babiak and Yvonne Schultheiss, prepare for Hurricane Patricia by putting patio furniture in pool.

Puerto Vallarta residents, Andre Babiak and Yvonne Schultheiss, prepare for Hurricane Patricia by putting patio furniture in pool.

Andre, a professional photographer, describes their preparation process:

“The first thing we did was the shopping- beer, liquor, batteries, candles, food, etc. We had drinking water (15 gallons) anyway. We threw the patio furniture into the swimming pool, took the boat out of the water and pulled it to the front yard and secured and stored basically all other items. We duck-taped the BBQ grill, the outdoor showers and all trash cans with a lid. We filled up as much water as we had empty buckets. We charged a backup battery for USB devices that would keep our iPhone’s and iPad’s alive for weeks and purchased a bigger data plan from our cell phone provider to set up a WiFi hot spot if needed. That’s it. Then we waited, ate and drank beer.”

I can’t say my preparation would be much different. You might as well make the best of it.

The coastal towns of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo were panic-stricken (and rightly so) by the sudden and menacing threat of Hurricane Patricia. The couple took the threat in stride and prepared for the storm their way. Amazingly, Andre and Yvonne and the coastal population of Mexico dodged the strongest hurricane in recorded history even though they were, according to Andre, “only 70 miles away from where Patricia made landfall.” They were very, very lucky.

Though many would consider their initial response and preparations cavalier, Andre and Yvonne chose to make the best of their situation. There is merit to that type of attitude and outlook in life no matter what challenge you face. Que será, será.

'Before' Photo: Andre and Yvonne's Puerto Vallarta home was 2/10 of a mile from the Pacific Coast of Mexico and remained unscathed by Hurricane Patricia.

‘Before’ Photo: Andre and Yvonne’s Puerto Vallarta home was 2/10 of a mile from the Pacific Coast of Mexico and remained unscathed by Hurricane Patricia.

However, it is remarkable that this record-breaking storm did not yield more damage. Whether they were brave or naive, Yvonne and Andre’s light-hearted attitude toward very real danger is also quite remarkable.

By highlighting Andre and Yvonne’s experience, we are not discounting or minimizing the damage, injuries and/or fatalities that occurred as a result of the storm. Any threat of a natural disaster should be taken seriously and we do not advocate this approach for hurricane safety. We highly suggest following all safety precautions recommended by trusted weather authorities.

However, as German-Texans, their survival approach is appreciated and deserves a “Prost!”

Above all, we are grateful for your safety, Andre and Yvonne, as well as everyone who was spared by Hurricane Patricia. Stay safe out there!

Author: Brittney Petrovics


Industry News: Negative Outlook & Higher Net Income for Property/Casualty Insurers Spark Questions

Negative Ratings and Outlook for Property/Casualty Industry-

Based on a recent report released by A.M. Best Company, there are some interesting connections emerging in 2015 in the Property/Casualty industry. Following a two-year positive rating trend, the report states that Property/Casualty insurer ratings for “the first half of 2015 have turned negative as downgrades and negative outlooks outpaced upgrades and positive outlooks.” The study also indicates several causes  for the shift. These include “negative operating performance over several years; reductions in risk-adjusted capitalization to levels that were not supportive of current ratings due, in some cases, to aggressive premium growth outpacing policyholders’ surplus or changes in organizational structure as a result of increased or decreased parental support.” Based on these findings, it looks as though Property/Casualty insurers are facing some lofty and complex issues ahead.

Consumer psychologist and author of “Decoding the New Consumer Mind,” Dr. Kit Yarrow offers a solution. She explains that the companies who are “most transparent, honest, innovative and technologically advanced” will “jump ahead of the path.” We agree. Property/Casualty insurers need to rise to the occasion if they are going to mitigate the challenges that are knocking at their front door. By the looks of it, though, they may be blinded by the light. And by light we mean money.



Substantial increase in net income and net premiums written for Property/Casualty insurers in first half 2015.                    Click photo to view full article. Photo:

Yet Property/Casualty Insurers Yield Higher Net Income 

Interestingly, the same report also highlights that the Property/Casualty industry “appears to be on track to post a third consecutive year of underwriting profits.” The table above outlines the financials of the Property/Casualty industry. Notice that net income has increased almost 18% or 31 billion and net premiums written have increased nearly 4% since the first half of 2014. A myriad of factors have no doubt contributed to the stark increase in net income and a negative rating shift. However, the negative rating shift and income spike may signal that something doesn’t necessarily add up. It appears as though the Property/Casualty industry is achieving growth and success in 2015 due to (clearly very lucrative) underwriting improvements, but there could be more to the story here. We think the subject is worth mentioning and will be interesting to track in the future. Our hope is that the 31 billion dollar income spike came from increased spending on social media and content marketing! :P

Thoughts, comments and/or concerns? Let us know! Comment or email

Author: Brittney Petrovics


IAS Attaboys!

Our team continues to go above and beyond each day! Some very special team members received some  awesome “attaboys” this past quarter that we’d like to share with you! Great job everyone!


Re: Judy Small and Bert Decker

I have never had a homeowners claim, but you guys have been the BEST. Judy Small, Bert Decker, all have been friendly, helpful, accommodating. You have answered most of my stupid questions with patience and caring. I already have recommended you to family and friends and neighbors, who have had problems.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, please don’t cancel me…..”

  • ASI Policyholder


Re. Pat Couch

I wanted to thank you for re-inspecting “Dr Charlie’s” claim and taking the time to go over your findings with him. As you know, our insured had a very different opinion about his loss. I just got off the phone with our insured and it was a pleasant conversation. Our insured told me he appreciated the time you took to thoroughly inspect his property and the time to explain the evidence and/or lack of evidence in relation to clarifying the cause of loss for our insured. You made my job a lot easier and again I really appreciate all your help with this file.

  • American Strategic Insurance, Catastrophe Claims Adjuster


Re. Eddie Guerra

With much respect and for all that it’s worth, I want to thank you from my family, my mother and myself for all you have done for us, the great way we were treated and your dedication to making sure we were all doing well. Many thanks and God bless you and Irene. You, Eddie, are the most honest, dedicated human being that I’ve ever met. You were there during our pain and suffering. A thousand thanks to you. May God bless you and continue to help us.

  • Gloria, Jorge, Joshua, and Patty

IAS Adjusters Across the Country

IAS Claim Services is deploying hundreds of personal and commercial lines adjusters to catastrophic events across the U.S. each month. During the second quarter of 2015, we were out on the road throughout our nation!

Here is a map showcasing all the locations we managed claims!

Interested in being an IAS adjuster? Be sure to sign up for Claimatic by clicking here.

q2 claims map

May Adjuster of the Month

We are so excited to announce our next Adjuster of the Month for May…Kendall Theriot!


Kendall has been an adjuster for almost 21 years and began with IAS in February 2013.  When asked what he likes most about his job he replied it was, “simply meeting new people and helping them on their claim. ”  He has been married for 19 years and has an 8-year-old son.

“I must admit working with Kendall reminds me of myself when I was an adjuster. He is detailed, accurate, energetic, intense and all around probably the best adjuster IAS has in the state of Louisiana.  He constantly turns in perfect files, large or small, and never leaves a stone unturned. His attention to his work and the insured he works with is bar none.  It’s a pleasure to work with Kendall.” – Liz Quye, Quality Controls, IAS Claim Services.

Congratulations, Kendall!

San Antonio Flooding

We have had an interesting couple of weeks at our headquarters in San Antonio, TX. It just won’t stop raining! This has been a complaint that hasn’t been heard in decades (normally this time of year we are complaining about the over 100 degree heat)! Here are some pictures of our home city and surrounding areas during the recent flooding. Please stay safe everyone and a reminder to NOT try to cross flooded roadways.


Damage following flooding in Wimberly, TX after the Blanco River went over Highway 12 (Photo Courtesy of KENS5)


People look at one of several destroyed cabins on the banks of the Blanco River in Wimberley, TX (Photo courtesy of Photo By Jay Janner/AP)
The Interstate 35 access road at exit 205 has been closed, restricting accessibility to parts of San Marcos east of the highway. (Photo courtesy of Houston M. York/for the San Antonio Express-News)

Lightning strikes downtown San Antonio during a severe thunderstorm on May 23, 2015. The strikes were captured atop a parking garage along South Flores Street. (Photo Courtesy of Shenandoah Sanchez for the San Antonio Express-News)


From San Marcos to Luling, the San Marcos River has caused massive flooding. (Photo Courtesy of Houston M. York, for the San Antonio Express-News)

April’s Weather Across the Country

Another month in the books! April’s weather across the country was definitely an active one! From torrential downpours to tornadoes and even wintery weather, April kept forecasters and meteorologists on their toes. To close out the month we wanted to share some weather highlights. Here’s a recap of April’s weather across the country.

People in the Dallas metro felt not one, but two small earthquakes in early April. Although no damage was reported from either quake, lots of people across the region said they felt it. The Dallas Morning News said the evening quake was the biggest to hit the area since a pair of tremors in Irving on January 6. The Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex recorded its first tremor in 2008. Since then, there have been more than 120 in the area. Last month, researchers at Dallas’ Southern Methodist University warned people living in the area to brace for larger earthquakes in the future.

weather across the country


A cluster of severe storms produced large hail from central Missouri to near the St. Louis metro area. Hail up to the size of golfballs was reported in or near several cities including Columbia, Warrenton and Williamsburg. Elsewhere in the Midwest, heavy rain triggered some flash flooding in southern Indiana. Flash flooding was also reported in the southeast Kentucky town of Corbin. Wind damage was reported in Evansville, Indiana after a thunderstorm went through the area. Power outages were across the northern half of the county. Baseball-sized hail was also seen in Kentucky.

weather across the country


Vicious winds ahead of a front swept into the West, picking up desert dust and creating dangerous situations on highways and interstates in both Utah and California. In western Utah, outside Salt Lake City, the combination of tropical storm force winds and dust sent visibility plummeting to a quarter-mile at times, and drivers struggled to see.

weather across the country


Days of heavy rain have overworked communities across the South and flooded homes in Houston, Texas. At least 65 homes in Houston flooded by the weekend, according to the National Weather Service, and a power outage caused nearly five hundred thousand gallons of sewage to spill onto the city streets. In Huntsville, several streets through campus of Sam Houston State University flooded due to heavy rainfall. The University urged students to avoid intersections with high water and exercise caution. Torrential rainfall led to serious problems in eastern Louisiana. In areas near Slidell, 3.4 inches of rain fell in one hour, according to local storm reports.

weather across the country


A band of late April snow moved into the Great Lakes and Appalachians, dropping up to 8.5 inches in some areas. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, West Virginia and Wisconsin all saw snowfall.

weather across the country


Severe storms ramped up in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, spawning a large tornado that caused damage and power outages. Ten twisters were confirmed by the National Weather Service. Eight were rated EF0, while one near Lake Brownwood was an EF1, as was one near Kenner, Louisiana, the lowest levels on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. In total, there were at least 20 tornado reports in Texas, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. Flooding was also a major concern as these storms rolled through the Lone Star State. And because several of the supercells carrying those reported tornadoes were moving at a slow rate of speed, torrential downpours associated with the storms led to serious flooding in many of the same areas threatened by twisters and large hail.

weather across the country


Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency in a handful of parishes after strong storms brought on flooding, and also left thousands of people without power. The rain started early in the day, knocking out power to as many as 200,000 homes and businesses at the height of the storm. A tornado was reported by spotters in the Belle Chasse area, local storm reports said. The National Weather Service said New Orleans saw 1.74 inches of rain, setting a new record for April 27.

weather across the country


And that’s a wrap for April’s weather across the country and as you can see, it was a rather wet one. But as they say, “April showers bring May flowers.” We shall see as we enter the month of May. As always IAS Claim Services is always tuned in to the latest weather updates and prepared to deploy adjusters at a moments notice when severe weather strikes!