Filed Under:Agent Broker, Agency Management

Holiday survival 101: A guide for the insurance industry

It's always nice to give a little extra during the high-stress holiday season. (Photo: ThinkStock)
It's always nice to give a little extra during the high-stress holiday season. (Photo: ThinkStock)

The holidays are upon us —  bringing not only yuletide joy, but also icy weather and congested highways.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “during the six-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (to and from a destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54%; and during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period the number rises by 23%, compared to the average number for the remainder of the year.”

This translates into more accidents — and more estimates.

While other industries slow down, for many appraisers and adjusters, the fourth quarter is the busiest season of the year because of time off and the holidays.

To make it through the increased volume of work successfully, here is a holiday survival guide with some tips to share with coworkers, customers, friends and family: 

Keep the holiday spirit  

It’s no surprise that accidents are typically high-stress events for drivers. Not to mention, families that are strapped for cash don’t need the extra expense of a car repair. No one likes a Grinch. Your clients probably aren't happy they're in this situation, but you can be a pleasant part of it. Use the season as an opportunity to show your level head and calm demeanor in the stress of an accident. It’s the perfect time to be a pillar of sound reasoning in a taxing situation.

Ask for help when you need it

There’s no reason to suffer through the busy season alone. After all, you never see just one caroler —  it’s a group effort! Although it can often feel like there’s too much work and too little time to complete it, there are companies that can supplement your staff with independent appraisers. When you feel the pressure, take advantage of help that is readily available.

Anticipate hazardous weather

When you’re traveling to complete an estimate or visit clients, chances are road conditions will be less than favorable this time of year. Always check weather reports before traveling. Depending on your climate, make sure your vehicle has snow tires or chains. Ensure your windshield wiper fluid tank is full and replace old wipers. Pack a kit with blankets, water, a little food, jumper cables and an ice scraper in case of emergencies. It’s always better to be prepared. If all else fails, have a sleigh and reindeer on call.

Remember to have fun

Although your work volume may spike, the holidays are a time to have fun. Arrange to give clients gifts such as cookies, ice scrapers or even travel mugs and deliver them in person. Bring a box of candy canes along when completing estimates and hand them out to mechanics at auto repair shops. It’s always nice to give a little extra during this season.

The holidays don’t have to be a dreaded season for those in the insurance industry. Remain strong through the stress, and if it gets to be too much, remember that you have options. Stay safe on the roads and Happy Holidays!

Ken Loose is the chief operations officer at Fort Worth, Texas-based Property Damage Appraisers. He can be reached at ken.loose@pdaorg.net.

Related: Help wanted: 5 things to look for in an independent appraiser

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