In the recent Claims Journal article, “Adjusters Must Avoid Becoming Part of Catastrophe They Investigate,“ Steve Figlin, a seasoned public insurance adjuster, was able to weigh in on Sandy specific suggestions regarding safety during field investigations. The magnitude of damage and the destruction Sandy has caused should remind anyone who does property damage evaluations to take a few extra steps to stay safe, no matter what kind of loss they are scoping.

Here are a few highlights from Mr. Figlin and the other contributors to the article.

  • Adjust and investigate in the day light hours only.
  • Leave your casual clothes at home- Cat adjusters should consider wearing durable work boots. Steve wears boots with steel shanks and has a pair of rubber slush boots on hand for wading through floodwaters that might contain shorted out electrical wires, E. coli, raw sewage, or dead animals.
  • Make sure the electricity is off in a flooded building, an adjuster might have to work with the utility company to arrange to power down a house or building.
  • If it doesn’t look like a safe place to inspect, it probably isn’t.
  • Carry a hardhat, safety goggles, rubber gloves and working flashlights. Figlin carries a toolbox in his car with a pry bar, hammer and pliers.
  • Stay hydrated. If working from a hotel- stock up on ice. Figlin says, “he will fill the ice bucket with ice and place it in his car cooler to keep bottled water cool. Once the ice is melted and his bottled water reserve is gone, he can use it for additional drinking water or to wash his hands.”
  • On one cat loss assignment Figlin brought bottled water and a week’s worth of MRE’s.
  • Pack an emergency aid kit and extra batteries.
  • Carry extra gas, GPS, and satellite phone.

Steve Figlin is the Senior Vice President for Young Adjustment and has adjusted catastrophic claims since 1966. He holds both SPPA and FPPA certifications from NAPIA. If you have attended a First Party Claims Conference, you have met Steve and Nicole Figlin during a continuing education presentation.

Prior posts have also focused on safety in field investigations, including Safety Instructions for Public Adjusters, Mark Everest Addresses Public Adjuster Safety and Risk Management, and New Safety Publication for Public Adjusters.

If you are helping policyholders with Sandy claims, take a little extra time this week to make sure you are safe.