Image by Becky McLoud
Narratives from the North
True Story From a Claims Professional
Sometimes a story is all you need to portray the challenges and feats that claims professionals deal with on a daily basis. And, if you ask any of them about their biggest adventure while on the job, you are guaranteed to be on the edge of your seat. We asked our very own JD Daniels if he could share his story about an encounter that involved a long ride on a 4-wheeler and a lot of courage.
The claims adjusting industry has both challenges and excitement. We know you have a unique story that combines both these elements. Can you tell us what the job at hand was?
JD Daniels: Of course. I once had to retrieve a wrecked 4-wheeler (ATV) off Crown Pointe Peak, which is near Moose Pass Alaska. It was an all day adventure for two of us that consisted of transporting our own ATVs 100 miles, unloading them, and then riding them up to about 4,000 feet elevation of Crown Pointe.
Wow, 4,000 feet high! What was the biggest challenge you faced along the way up?
JD Daniels: On the way up we had to pass through a miner’s site at the base of the mountain, and let’s just say that the miners didn’t exactly feel that we belonged there. These ‘hardy’ Alaskans purposely made their sidearms visible to us and in a very gruff manner let us know they didn’t want us to take the ATV off “their” mountain. They knew where it was and had put together their own plan to retrieve it. This didn’t include us, and there was a very awkward and antagonistic conversation that took place. They made it very clear that they would challenge anyone for the ATV.
That is definitely a rather large and dangerous obstacle that stood in your way. So what did you do?
JD Daniels: Well, the insurance company needed to retrieve the ATV before they faced an environmental claim from the Government, as it was on Federal land. But, when I relayed this to the miners, it became very apparent that words such as “insurance” and “government” were not going to help us get up the mountain any faster. It seemed to have made the situation worse and given them more reason to not let us pass. Seeing that the conversation was going nowhere, I simply stated that we were going to get back on our ATV’s, pass through their site, and retrieve the wrecked ATV from the top of the Peak.
That was very courageous of you. How did they react?
JD Daniels: I’m actually not sure if they were prepared for such boldness from us and we went ahead and passed through the site, unharmed.
Were you scared at all?
JD Daniels: Later that day as we were retrieving the ATV, a group of the miners had made their way to the site and were watching our every move. But, honestly I think I was more scared of encountering a moose or a bear along the way so I was very relieved that neither of those crossed our path!
Is there anything you took away from this experience that will stick with you as you handle claims moving forward?
JD Daniels: I think the most important thing I took away from this experience was to be prepared for anyone you may encounter in any claim. You may have to deal with outside parties on the way to the claim or while trying to handle the claim.
Looking back, was there anything you would have done differently?
JD Daniels: Given the results, that we were able to accomplish the task, I think it went as well as could be expected!
We hope that this is not a scenario that many claims professionals will encounter, but what advice would you give someone in a similar position?
JD Daniels: My advice would be that it is best to communicate openly and firmly. If you find yourself at an impasse, take the action you have openly communicated.
What was the most memorable part of this particular claim for you?
JD Daniels: The scenery. Being at the top of an Alaskan Peak, about 4,000 feet up was amazing. We ate our brown bag lunches that day with the most spectacular view as we watched planes fly through the pass below us. Doing business in Alaska allows us to have access to the some of the most beautiful and scenic places in the world and the claims can literally take us to the tops of mountains.
We couldn’t agree more! Thank you so much for sharing your story.
We know that claim professionals face hard situations every day and while we want our employees to avoid dangerous scenarios completely, we hope that JD’s story and advice can help others if any unexpected obstacles arise while protecting your client.