It’s CAT Adjuster Conference season. There are several different events throughout the first few months of the year. Conference fees vary but they are usually quite reasonable for the amount of information and training they offer.

If you’re an experienced adjuster, you’ve probably attended a fair amount of conferences and will nod in agreement with the basic information here.

If you’re new to adjusting, the conferences are a great way to get your foot in the door, establish credibility, and create friendships that may be valuable in the field.

Focus and Observation

If this is a CAT company that you’ve never worked with, the conference will be a wealth of information to you.

Notice how they conduct themselves. Listen to what others say about them. Observe how they treat their adjusters. Remember, most conferences are the only real time that these companies have to spend time with their adjusters other than a big catastrophe that brings them all into one place. However, most of the time communication is done remotely through phone calls.

You can get a real sense of culture at the conferences.

Appearance and Attire

Did you know there are dress codes for conferences? It’s typically the same as in the field – dress casual. This means no jeans and tennis shoes. While jeans may be more comfortable, and it seems like a conference should be a casual event, it isn’t.

This is your time to get to know the CAT company who’s hosting the event. It’s your time to make a good impression that will positively affect future deployments – and your income.

If dress casual has been specified, and you show up in jeans or shorts, you probably won’t be asked to leave. But the host company will take note of you. In their eyes, you’ve sent a message that you don’t honor the rules, which they could interpret as potentially being resistant to their requests in the field. They’re looking for team players who respect the company that’s deploying them.

If there are special circumstances that force you to wear jeans (for example, your luggage was lost and there was no nearby place to pick up other dress casual clothes), then it would be a good idea to approach the host/hostess of the event and explain that you intended to be appropriately attired, and explain the circumstance. That will go a long way to make a positive impression.

The way you dress communicates your respect for the people providing the conference.

Getting to Know You

Conferences are a whole lot more than getting continuing education credits! Take advantage of all they offer.

Take time to get to know the individuals who are working for the catastrophe company. They may be your best way in.

Get to know the deployment team from the CAT company. Most of the time, they’re present and available during these conferences. Some set up interview times to get to know you, while others are casually available during the conference. Either way, it’s your responsibility to get to know them.

They have hundreds of people wanting their eye and attention, but as long as you are respectful and persistent, they’ll make time to get to know you. Many times they hang out as a team after hours in the venue’s bar. Take time to get to know them and be more than a resume in their office.

These companies want people they can count on. Be honest with them about who you are and what your abilities are. They prefer to work with someone they can count on and trust. They have so many things pulling at them during catastrophes, they don’t need more issues. Bring them your best at the conference and on deployment.

Getting to Know other Adjusters

Conference attendance usually fluctuates from 150 to 500 people. The CAT companies encourage getting to know other adjusters, especially between a new adjuster and an experienced adjuster. The connections you make could be a great source of future support in the field during deployments.

Be purposeful in all you do and work the conference. Take time to meet other adjusters. You’ll meet local adjusters as well as those from other parts of the country, or even other countries.

By creating relationships with their seasoned adjusters, you’re able to talk about people they know and refer to them as friends. This is a huge plus when you are looking for work. CAT companies want to know that you have relationships and support from other adjusters when you are new.

During breaks, don’t just grab a snack and stand by yourself. Instead network and really get to know people. Simply be interested in them. Ask how long they’ve worked for these companies. Find out what they like and don’t like about them.

At lunch time, never eat alone or only with those you already know. Be prepared with business cards to easily share with others you meet. Gather phone numbers and contacts. Then stay in touch. This business is very much about who you know.

Make a positive impression and they will want you on their team.