This time of year many wet and wintery mix weather conditions exist, not the least of which, the infamous ice storm. Such weather events make for catastrophic property damages due to downed trees and power poles on buildings, hillsides giving-way and pushing structures off their foundations and, of course, flood waters flowing through or bowling over anything in their path.
So, how does one stay well adjusted in the field when the working environment constantly changes, proving itself utterly unpredictable? The weather can’t be managed (See ) but your approach to dealing with it can.
Deployments at this time of year, in any part of the country, show us just how much we can depend on the weather NOT to do what we would like it to do. As adjusters we can chalk it up to one more thing to add to the list of frustrating things we experience. However, the first thing you need to keep in mind…there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. As much as you want to get those last two inspections of the day taken care of, with the onset of 32 degree temps., and a slight snow rain mix, it’s not worth the risk of life or limb; most insureds completely understand when you call them with the news you’ll need to reschedule. Though not ideal, as you will likely need to schedule them further out in your week–unless you have built in some space each day for the possibility of rescheduling–you must resign yourself to the fact that the smart thing to do is to stay off a roof with wet, snowy, and freezing conditions.
So, let’s talk about that, in terms of options for yourself.
- Building in a slot for rescheduling might be a good idea, at least during the spring of the year in areas where winter weather conditions persist on-again/off-again for a couple months. It’s true, you’ll scope one or two less each day you build-in a hole in your schedule but there’s a cure for that empty spot too, if you’re so inclined; it’s as follows.
- If you schedule a blank spot in your day for rescheduling appointments, like I do, you can always try and fill it in with someone on your list from the next day’s schedule. I typically keep some time open between 11-1, when I would be eating–I don’t always stop as I am packing food for the go like cashews and dates (they have great sustaining power as superfoods and even in small quantities they satiate the apatite quite well, holding me over till dinner)–or you can have a blank at the end of your day. All that being said, monitoring the weather throughout the day will help you manage your time and schedule, so if snow is forecast to start at 3:00PM, you can try to move everyone up a spot on the schedule or fill it with someone from the next day or both. Keep in mind, working in an area where weather is less of a concern, keep your schedule as tight as you like, but we all know that this time of year is storm season and when one of those blows over you’re not gonna wanna be out in it.
- Sometimes the down-time is necessary to crawl out from under a pile of other paperwork or large loss files. So, if you look at it that way, it’s an unavoidable “paper day.” I know the “hail only” folks out there can hump nearly a hundred claims a day–which, by the way, reminds me of a fish story I should tell you some day–or something like that anyway, and they can’t seem to figure out why anyone would need a paper day since you should settle everything on site. I know, I know and I love to settle on site; It’s NIRVANA! Well, a 200k commercial loss or a even a couple 50k plus residential claims with trees through the framing members of a structure can set a person back a day or two or more, though I guess with 45k authority one could actually settle on site but probably not to the tune of 6-8 (+/-) a day. So, a paper day isn’t always a bad thing and it can double as an organizing day as well.
- Speaking of organizing, out in the field I’m always trying to refine the process for myself on any number of levels: claim handling, logistics, personal care, and etc. I keep a little note pad just for ideas on streamlining my time in the field. Ideas like making a cheat sheet for sketching or estimate line items, or reviewing and revising my macros or annotation templates. Sometimes, when I come across those things while working on an estimate, I don’t have time to stop and do it then, but I do have time to scribble it down and get to it when I have some down time–like a winter weather day. There are a couple of things I know you can do on such a day; wash those pit stained shirts and stinky socks, etc., and maybe do a little grocery shopping. In any case, you get the idea…and taking a little snooze is not out of line either!
Well there you have it. A few thoughts on weathering inclement weather, in order to live well adjusted, ready and willing to meet the next day, whether or not the weather decides to cooperate. My hopes and prayers for you all…be safe and live well adjusted.