It was in 1959 that I first worked for an insurance company, as a title insurance abstractor. A few other careers intervened (journalism, the Army, social work) before adjusting became my profession in 1967, but with other family members in the insurance industry I had learned a bit about this wonderful vocation. It has seen changes over my half century in it, but not all of them have been for the better.

The public’s view of our business of adjusting claims ranges from our being a bunch of scoundrels (just tune in the latest lawyer television ads and you’ll get that message) to super heroes on the spot of any and all disasters. Historically that has been the case. One hears tales of adjusters in the 1920s who met with the claimants and insureds and gave some low-ball offer on a claim on a “take it or leave it” no-questions-asked basis. Picture a short, stubby guy in a black suit and derby hat with a cane and a cigar in his jaw, threatening to beat the poor insured if the offer wasn’t accepted.

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