Flood Claims & New Adjusters
by – Jesse Gibson
Let’s take a look at how the recent evolution of the industry’s approach to flood claims will benefit newly licensed claims adjusters and allow them the ease of entry and early success the industry has long been known for.
The nation has taken some major steps over the past couple of years to alleviate the flood claim pain points that were exposed after hurricanes Harvey and Florence. The inability to assign flood claims during the 2017 storm season caused much delayed claims processing times. And for those of us in the adjusting industry it caused an inability to adequately set expectations for new and veteran adjusters regarding the number of claims that can come their way in a storm situation.
This improper expectation caused some to abandon this great employment opportunity virtually before they even got started.
Harvey & Florence:
In 2017, when hurricanes Harvey and Florence hit, the industry welcomed thousands of new adjusters who provided a much needed influx of talent after a lull in storm claims throughout the prior 3 years. Many of these new adjusters went right to work and kept working throughout the storm season. In some areas, however, like Houston after Harvey and North Carolina after Florence, some adjusters were called out to handle claims and then ended up without the work that they felt they were promised.
There were 2 things at work. In Houston, most of the Harvey claims were assigned as flood claims and there just weren’t enough adjusters at that time with flood certifications to handle the claims but there wasn’t a solid process in place to allow for ease of training non-certified adjusters to help. So this resulted in many adjusters being sent home. In North Carolina, Florence came from Georgia into the Southwestern corner of the state into areas that were not NFIP mandatory flood insurance plains so many North Carolina home-owners did not carry flood insurance. And no insurance – means no claims. So in both situations, what was expected to create a HUGE number of claims employing thousands of adjusters, ended up leaving many disappointed.
So what has changed?
The 2017 situation was a big wake-up call for the industry. Since that time:
FEMA has updated their flood plains with new areas, including a greater portion of North Carolina, as well as many additional areas nationwide, to assure that more homeowners carry adequate flood insurance.
Additionally, FEMA as part of the NFIP had a process called the Flood Mentorship program in place prior to 2017 which allowed for companies that are certified to handle flood claims to train adjusters to handle these claims under the company umbrella. But, at that time the program hadn’t been rolled out to many firms so its reach was limited. Since then, FEMA has allowed for the Flood Mentorship program to be implemented by several additional companies creating a much bigger workforce for flood claims handling. Now adjusters who don’t “have their flood certification” can handle flood claims under the umbrella of the IA firm that they represent, provided the IA firm is on the list of those approved by FEMA.
So now, new and veteran adjusters alike, can handle flood claims, provided they work for a certified IA firm and have received the proper training from that firm.
This flood training is now just a normal part of the onboarding process for many of these firms so new adjusters can be up to speed and ready to deploy after just a couple weeks of training.
Pilot Catastrophe was one of the first to really utilize the flood mentorship program and have now created an entire flood claims department. Others have followed Pilot’s lead. Here is a partial list of firms that offer approved Flood Mentorship programs: Pilot, Eberl, Ryze, Crawford, Worley, Colonial, and FKS Insurance services. We recommend you get on the roster of one of these firms to get moving in the industry.
The industry is again in need of an influx of new adjusters to handle storm claims and is once again equipped to train adjusters to handle all storm claims – putting boots on the ground where they are most needed.
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