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Mike McCreary was doing what he had been told. For years, he had been riding the fence, but now seemed like the right time to finally get an adjuster’s license. Super Storm Sandy had just struck the Northeast seaboard and his uncle and cousin, 7-year veterans of the independent adjusting industry, urged him to get his Texas license to come up and join them. That is what McCreary intended to accomplish before a few things got in the way.

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) began enforcing a new interpretation of its statutes, which meant that non-residents of Texas who hailed from a state that licensed adjusters could not obtain a Texas license without holding their home state’s license first. McCreary, a resident of Kentucky, was out of luck, not to mention several hundred dollars and more than 40 hours spent on online coursework. Because it took TDI a few weeks to process his application and issue a notification of rejection, McCreary was six weeks into the process and no closer to a license than when he began. Meanwhile, the window for joining a firm for claims work in the Northeast had effectively closed.

McCreary’s story illustrates the unfortunate consequences of two common missteps aspiring claims adjusters make when getting started: The first is a simple mistake in timing. He had waited until after a major event occurred to begin the process of becoming a catastrophe adjuster. Consequently, his margin for error within the process was razor thin, at least for that deployment. His decisions were made hurriedly, without proper due diligence, and the result was that he missed out altogether. That mistake was McCreary’s alone.

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