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Entries about business travel

Working in Toronto

Toronto was quite an adventure. There had been a huge rain storm flooding basements that were, for the most part finished and used as living areas. I like these sorts of claims as they do not require a ladder to carry around. An adjuster can just walk down to the basement an do the inspection, not burn up on a hot roof.

The people were, for the most part, really nice. Many would insist that I have coffee or would have a plate of cookies on the table and coffee made and we would need to sit down briefly before starting to inspect. Since I can’t eat wheat I couldn’t eat the cookies but that was probably better for keeping some extra weight off.

Then, there was the town idiot who thought that even though I have a husband and family that I’d maybe like to really be with him. He called and asked what was going on with his claim. I told him that it would be submitted soon and gave him the cost I’d calculated. He then told me that his son, a musician, was playing and he really wanted for me to see his son play. I thanked him and was sure it would be a good concert since it was his son but I was busy and actually would likely be gone by then. I didn’t bother to tell him that I really wasn’t into him.

As I was driving to the airport to leave for home he called and asked again what was going on with his claim. I told him that he’d need to call the office as I was leaving for home at that moment. He said “but my son is going to play in a concert and I wanted you to see him”. I was the bearer of bad news when I told him that I’d really rather see my own sons and my husband! Alas, the breaker of hearts!

Posted by Miss Chris 17:33 Archived in Canada Tagged travel canada business_travel claims adjusting catastrophe_claims Comments (0)

And It's Off to Work We Go

Fun and games in getting to work in Toronto, Canada

sunny 85 °F

Nothing like lots of misadventures to help jump start a trip.

On Saturday I got a call asking for me to go to Toronto to work the floods. Great! We really do need some cash; I mean who doesn’t have a ton of things needing cash? So I arranged to fly out today with a flight that would leave just later than my granddaughters as today she is flying to Belgium.
Well our flights both departed late and with just over an hour to get from one flight to the next I was very concerned. I was especially concerned for my granddaughter as she has not flown overseas alone before. I waited for her flight as long as I could and we discussed how to handle various situations in the event she would miss her connection. Then I advised again that we’d also be in touch between flights as they are similar in length for the 1st legs.

This is all well and good. We said goodbye and then I went to my gate, leaving her on her own. We sent text messages until the time we each had to turn our phone off.

When I landed in Phoenix I attempted to turn on my phone on the taxiway to see if she made her connection. No phone, it was dead as a doornail. I worked with it until I had to get off but there was nothing.

Of course by the time I got off the plane and got my carryon my next flight was already boarding. We were at the last gate in A and I had to go to the opposite end of the terminal. Running I’m frustrated that I have no time to get to my gate and that my phone is dead.

I boarded the next flight, last in the back of the plane and because I was late just put my camera bag with laptop up in the bin. Well some guy did that for me, it is stuffed full of equipment plus laptop. As we were still sitting on the tarmac I then picked up the phone and tried it again but nothing. After we were well on under way I thought that I should have put it under my seat so I could try to charge the phone, if it in fact discharged. Too late, UGH.

Again we were late arriving at the final connection; we’d gone around some thunderstorm. I started to run as my flight was starting to board according to my boarding pass. But this time I was in terminal A and had to go to F. As I was walking fast, still in A I saw a small sign to go to the shuttle for F. An employee said take the shuttle, it only takes 5 min and we would not need to go thru security again. I ran down the stairs and hopped on the shuttle just as the doors were shutting. Finally some good luck. I got to my gate just as boarding was starting.

Once in Toronto the fun was not over yet, there was a rental car to take care of. Because I was on a very limited budget to get here I put on my Visa what I thought it would take to get my car. Well in Canada it is different and they have a deposit, unlike the U.S. Anyway my Visa was short $34; I mean really? Fortunately Avis gave me their phone to call the Visa and Visa called my bank, verified funds, made a quick payment and I was about on my way. Now only if I could get the car to drive.

So Avis gave me an electric/gas car. I found the start button but the car only coasted down a slight incline stopping in the driveway. A guy getting the car next to me pushed my car back up to its spot and back to the office I went. Poor people were probably tired of me by then but came out and showed me how to start the car in gas mode. Push down on the brake and push the start button. Same order to turn it off.

I got to the hotel and was told my room had been upgraded, YES!!! A glass of wine, warm bath and I was a happy camper again.

Posted by Miss Chris 09:04 Archived in Canada Tagged travel airport driving airplane business_travel claims_adjusting toranto Comments (0)

Earthquake Claims in Virginia?

Traveling to Virginia for Earthquake and Hurricane claims

The call came asking for if I could work earthquake claims in Virginia; Virginia? The earthquake was only a 5.8 and who has earthquake insurance in Virginia? I’d heard about the earthquake but hadn’t paid any attention as we “Californians” sleep thru those little things.

I reluctantly said yes. Dale is going on terminal vacation in 2 weeks and I really wanted to be home when he came in the door that last time. Plus we’d planned to go to the eastern sierras for a little retirement getaway with some good champagne to celebrate.

Unfortunately the company I do lots of storm work for has asked for me to work on several occasions but due to vacations I’d turned them down. I thought about going for a minute and realized that if I turned them down this time I’d maybe take myself out of their good graces. So I said yes.

When a Cat adjuster agrees to go work a storm they have about 48 hours to get on site. I usually take longer as I drive and pull my RV. I can get away with taking 3 days to get on-site as the company knows that I’ll start working while on the road and stay as long as possible at the end of the storm.

As mentioned this is a major change of plans as we had planned a little retirement getaway in about 10 days. Unfortunately, the RV is not ready to go; we had some small items break that are now in the middle of repairs plus it needs 2 new tires.

We decided that this time I’d fly, get on location sooner, hence work sooner and Dale will drive across country by himself after he stops working on Sept 5th. Kids will all be in town the weekend after he stops so he can get the repairs completed, visit with kids and then head on to wherever I am.
Dale driving across the country by himself, pulling the RV is a complete reversal for us and very strange for me. I’ve driven back and forth so many times from home to Florida or Virginia or N.C. but he has never done that. Now I’m already worried about him!

After buying airplane tickets, reserving a hotel and a car I finally turned on the TV to see that the hurricane will head right to my location. GREAT! So not only am I going to fly into the hurricane area but will be staying in the middle of it.

I made sure to pack candles, bars to eat in the event of no power but didn’t think to buy a new inverter to charge my laptop.

So we will see if this hurricane and the earthquake will produce some work. If it does We will work as long as possible and then plan to head north, maybe visit some family, go into Canada then head home.

I’d gotten a really early start on packing and thought we’d be able to get a good night sleep but alas, there are too many things to check and take care of before leaving for an indefinite time. It’s already 1:30a.m. and 5 a.m. will come too soon.

Posted by Miss Chris 21:49 Archived in USA Tagged hurricane earthquake business_travel claims_adjusting catastrophe Comments (0)

Catastrophe "CAT" Adjusting

Adjusting property claims after a storm

Some time ago I wrote about working claims as a “cat” adjuster. When I wrote this I was completely out of sorts needing to get back to work ASAP and having mixed feelings about all of this. That time, I doubt that I even made myself clear; My Bad!

First, a Cat adjuster is a Catastrophe Claims Adjuster. We work property claims from storm damage. We are a group of property claims adjusters who are independent, meaning that we do not work for any particular insurance company. We generally work for independent vendors who have contracts with several insurance companies.

Having said all of the above, the work is not entirely easy, we get paid by the claim so it is in our interest to work as many as possible. And while I’ve been accused of trying to save the insurance company money, it is actually the opposite; the higher the amount of damage the more I make. But rest assured it isn’t a straight % of the amount of damage. Here is the catch; if I just made the estimate high then I wouldn’t be working now. We must justify and verify every decision so we try to get everything that is really and truly damaged repaired for the insured.

Now we can make a bunch of money, for those of us who are not afraid of really working our butt off but it is also an amazing chance to experience different areas of the U.S. by living there. On the down side the work takes us away from family and friends for stretches of time, plus we should work 12-20 hour days to really make it worth the while. It is easy to get burned out. But again on the plus side I get to find those little “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants and visit historic sites when time permits.

When a storm is actually on the way the adrenalin starts to flow, it is an excitement that is difficult to explain. So now we have Irene and now we will see what she blows in.

Posted by Miss Chris 18:02 Archived in USA Tagged storms business_travel claims_adjusting property_claims catastrophe Comments (0)

Losers along the way

The loser guy next to me

After making friends in other campgrounds on other storms, this site has been unusual in that I’ve made no friends. The campground has other campers who are working in the area and they get together around one of the barbeques for dinner but only one person has ever said hello to me.
So yesterday an older man was walking around when I opened up my door to let some cooler air in. He asked me if he could camp next to me and I told him that it was not my campground, nor did I care where he camped. He went on to tell me that he was staying in his truck but was going back to his house then would return with his RV. I personally didn’t really care what his plans were as I was trying to finish up and get out.
He then saw that my plates are California plates and told me that I was smart to leave CA and come to live in “God’s Country” to which I replied that I preferred CA and would be returning there soon.
I went back into the RV and didn’t give it any more thought.
This morning I was working on estimates when I heard the guy tell the campground manager that the pretty woman “in that RV told me I could stay here”. He went on to tell the manager that he would be back and that we would have a party. I’m thinking Good Luck Buster!
The manager left and the guy came over telling me thru the screen door what he had told the manager. He then asked if I would stay. I said no, that I was leaving tomorrow. He asked me why would I want to go back to CA and I told him “because I prefer it, everything is better there”. He then asked if I was married and I said yes to which he replied that was disappointing. He then told me how his wife had left him (what a shock) and how he had an RV but the fuel was too expensive so he camped in his truck.
I chased him off by saying I had too much work to do so I could get out of Oklahoma. I would not be back anytime soon. Now I will be back soon but not to see him!

Posted by Miss Chris 12:15 Archived in USA Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

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