Before coming to Jansen/AI, Brian Lara was a project coordinator providing field dispatch services in the industrial sector. Brian joined Jansen/AI in 2017 as a Contents Inventory Specialist.
A contents inventory specialist in the public adjusting field is an expert who works on behalf of the insured to identify the cost and quality of all of the damaged or destroyed items following a catastrophic event, in order to submit a well-documented insurance claim. When hiring the Jansen/AI public adjusting team, their contents inventory specialist will provide a hands-on approach to assessing the extent of damage to all content/items, in a dwelling or commercial building and researching their value.
Contents claims preparation and adjusting is a tedious and detail-oriented job that requires the support of a specialist. The Merlin Law Group’s Property Insurance Coverage Law blog describes it as “the most overlooked arena for unfair claims practice conduct by insurance companies on typical claims.”
Since contents adjusting is such a specialized and niche portion of the claims adjusting process, we interviewed Brian our in-house expert, who is a member of our field support team.
Brian, what does a contents inventory specialist do?
Brian: "Property insurance for homeowners or commercial property owners — includes coverage for the contents of a building. When a covered peril strikes, like a fire, most of your business or personal belongings are covered (up to a policy's limits).
Think of it this way, when it comes to contents, if your home or business was a dollhouse, and we flipped it upside down and gave it a shake, everything that falls out of it is contents.
However, insurance policies have specific limits on certain types of personal or business property, including jewelry and fine arts. They may not cover that $90,000 Picasso painting on the wall in your lobby, unless it was appraised, scheduled and insured separately.
Our team takes pride in assembling and supporting the best possible contents claim and it always feels good to help the client recover money that they otherwise may not have been able to collect if they were managing their contents claim on their own.”
What is your craziest claim story?
Brian: "Of all the claims I have worked during my time in contents, I would say the craziest was my very first job, which happened to be a very large tornado damage claim in Tulsa, OK.
I flew out with Lance, our long-time contents inventory specialist. I had no idea what to expect. Tornadoes had utterly ravaged the area. Keep in mind this was my first experience working in the public adjusting field. The loss involved a granite slab yard that spanned around 20,000 square feet. There were over a million dollars in business contents, to inventory and evaluate and it took us over a week to complete.
There were huge broken slabs of granite as tall as the ceiling, spread across multiple locations. The challenge,” said Brian, “was learning to separate the slabs by size and material to accurately distinguish the pricing difference before counting them.
Then there was the machinery to consider: including very expensive CNC machines and polishing machines, used to process granite. It was a tremendous amount of inventory to handle for my first assignment. I learned a lot!"
What are some examples of technology you use in the field?
Brian: "We use several tools unique to the insurance industry, like the Matterport 3D Camera platform. The technology makes it easy to provide the necessary documentation to support the insured’s claim.
It's taken a lot of practice to perfect, and even though I've performed more than 100 scans, I'm still trying to develop my skills and better my methods for using the camera."
What does your method look like now?
Brian: "First, I take a walk around to see all of the property and the contents. The policyholder usually needs to open doors for me and show me around a bit. Then I can get the equipment set up, turn on my iPad and load the app.
In certain disasters, contents may be completely lost, so our team will have to work with the client to recreate what their possessions were via memory, photographs, videos, receipts, or information stored in the Cloud.
From there, I choose a starting point and get to work. If the client is present, they are usually interested in the equipment. I like to show them what I am doing.
I have learned to maneuver the equipment to work around people. Otherwise, the images can get spread out."
Who is usually on-site when you are working a loss?
Brian: "Property owners, business owners and homeowners. Sometimes the insurance company’s representatives are there working on the loss. They usually do hardcore inventory studies for big operations."
What Others Think of Brian
"Brian worked with the structure department for a long time and has extensive knowledge in writing scopes and drawing sketches. He has an eye for great videography and photography. He can fly drones and is becoming more confident with that skill on a professional level. Last but definitely not least, he has ideas. That is important in our field. We have spent a lot of time bunking together when out of town, sometimes for months at a time."
— Luis R., Lead Generation Director & Certified Drone Technician