Adjusters often find themselves in unexpected scenarios and sometimes the craziest experiences can help other adjusters to be more prepared while investigating claims. Preston Reynolds is a Hausch & Company adjuster that has definitely faced an unprecedented incident and has an exceptional story to tell. Welcome to the first featured adjuster story with Hausch & Company Tales from the Field.
Hausch & Company: We know you have had a very unique experience while investigating a specific insurance claim. Can you tell us a little big about what happened to you on the job?
Preston: I was investigating a water backup claim at a home in Cedar Rapids, IA, and while I was measuring and completing a scope of the basement repairs I started to smell smoke in the house. I asked the insured if they were cooking something that would explain the smell of smoke but they weren’t. We quickly found out that the clothes dryer had caught on fire due to an electrical malfunction on the other side of the house and was completely unrelated to the water claim. The home started to fill with smoke and we had to evacuate immediately.
Hausch & Company: Wow! That is so unfortunate that this homeowner experienced two awful things happen to their house in a short period of time. What did you do?
Preston: The biggest challenge was being able to see inside the house once it started to fill up with smoke. We needed to get out safely and quickly and the insured started to panic. I needed to do something to help the insured calm down as she ran out of the home. So, I grabbed a fire extinguisher in the laundry room and put the fire out before getting out of the house.
Hausch & Company: That is amazing that you acted quickly and were able to put the fire out before it got out of control. Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
Preston: Well, I would probably have exited the house and called the fire department immediately instead of putting it out myself. As an adjuster, we aren’t trained to put out fires, but in the heat of the moment, literally, that’s what I did. I’m just glad it worked out in this instance and nobody was hurt.
Hausch & Company: We are glad it worked out too! This is definitely an original experience and one we haven’t heard of before!
Preston: People still do not believe me when I tell this story. It’s ironic and outrageous that a fire started in a house that I was inspecting while I was inspecting it. Needless to say I did not handle the fire claim, but I did provide a first-hand statement of events for the adjuster that handled the fire.
Hausch & Company: How has this experience changed you as an adjuster?
Preston: I learned to always be on your toes. You never know what you will run into on the job as a claims adjuster. You may think that you have seen everything, but something can always happen that you haven’t encountered before.
Hausch & Company: That is great advice to always be on your toes, and something that all adjusters can benefit from. Do you have any other words of wisdom for other claims adjusters that might find themselves in a similar experience or challenge?
Preston: Dealing with a difficult situation like this one has reminded me to always treat people with respect and be compassionate towards the insured. I try to approach every scenario with empathy and compassion because the insured is personally dealing with unfortunate situations that have happened to their property and I remind myself that they are having a really bad day. In general as a claims adjuster, a little kindness goes a long way.
Hausch & Company: Thank you so much for taking the time to fill us in on this truly unique experience.