Never a dull moment

When I was young I was forever fascinated by exciting novels such as Harriet the Spy, and of course, Nancy Drew murder mysteries. At age nine, I was already, innocently, window peeking and journaling about it. If I witnessed a lady doing the dishes, I concluded she must be washing away evidence.
It was most likely my inquisitive mind that gave me the essential skills necessary to become a good “claim investigator.” (I always enjoyed the sound of investigator more than “adjuster.”)

At age 20, as fate would have it, I landed a job as a claim secretary not really knowing what a claim was, let alone an adjuster. It didn’t take long before I knew I wanted to be in the field working claims and dictating into that “detective”-looking voice recorder. I immediately took some insurance courses, was promoted, and here I still am, 30 years later.

Perhaps it was the Sherlock Holmes skills I honed as a child that taught me to ask the right questions: How were you positioned in the vehicle? Did you know that your child would have access to the alcohol cabinet? Was the gun already loaded? Where were the keys when you last saw them? What year did you plant the vineyard? I think you get the picture.

I have also had to become an expert of sorts on many subjects such as anatomy, chemicals, engineering, crops and contracts. But, most importantly, I learned a good adjuster must be empathetic, compassionate, professional and a concerned listener. You have to be well-prepared to meet with the parents of a child who died tragically in an accident or a wife who lost her husband.

While we help others deal with their misfortune, every adjuster has fun stories to share, too. I recall getting on the back of a four-wheeler with a farmer to inspect his crop. It was a little embarrassing when I flew off as he whipped through a drainage ditch. But, I had a job to do, so I jumped back on, wrapped my arms around him and held on for dear life.

Then there was my memorable first encounter with a not-so-friendly pit bull. I learned to ask the important question before my appointments: “Do you have any pets?”

I have met with thousands of people over the years from all walks of life and found they all have one thing in common: they suffered a loss. For this reason they were always eager to meet with me and to share their story, and I was eager to hear it.

I have been very blessed with this career, and am pleased to say that there is never a boring day.

If you want to learn more about life as a claim adjuster, check out our hiring video or read through a couple other adjusters’ stories, Not your typical call center or What is a claims adjuster, anyway? If you’re interested in current career options at American Family, visit our job search site.

*** Cheryl’s first day in American Family’s Claims Department was in 1989. It took many years for her to feel like she wasn’t a “newbie” since the average tenure in the Fargo office is 20 years. Cheryl loves to sing and is very excited to be singing at the Lincoln Memorial Center in New York City on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 this year. She recently was also in her first local play and now has the “bug.” However, she is especially excited about being accepted into the American Family Leadership Program after three attempts and is living proof that perseverance pays off! She looks forward to visiting other offices and meeting many new people.

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