Now begins a new chapter in my life and certainly an exciting challenge.
What I’m referring to is the start of Extreme Weather Media LLC. This is a company I started with one of my chase partners from the passion we share for storm chasing and my need for a good business challenge that as of late has been lacking.
For those of you that do not know me personally I will fill you in a little more of my professional background, and yes it even includes some storm chasing. My corporate experience was working for a large, what I’ll call “insurance support services” company that was basically an insurance company without the risk. We handled all facets of claims. I rose up the ladder rather quickly in this environment and in just 3 short years I was the National IA Manager that was responsible for Independent Appraisers nationwide, with training, claims procedures, and their workflow back to our clients. We’re talking 600+ and that’s how I came to Sioux Falls, SD from the East Coast, when the company moved a division to South Dakota.
Anyway in 2001 I started a third party claims administration company called Claims Administration and Technical Services Inc. or C.A.T.S. for short, an S corporation that specialized in weather related catastrophe, mainly hail and hurricane claims for both commercial and personal policy holders. My personal specialty was HAIL. I use to get the nastiest gorilla hail claims because I was good at them and in a lot of cases I was already there. When I started getting involved with storms and chasing, I also had this company that had my entire savings tied up and I needed to compete. And my angle was being there first. I would chase down storms in hopes my clients would have policy holders in the areas affected.
The problem with this type of chasing was it wasn’t for the storm it was for the paycheck. And I didn’t get to keep chasing I had to stay behind and do hail claims. (you think IA sucks for chasing, try being there with the insurance company checkbook for a month) But over time I got better at picking the storms that would produce the biggest check for me. I could make BANK on one commercial loss. As an example my first paycheck under this new company was 6k for 3 days work (and the check hangs on my wall today) But you could end up 6-8 months a year away from home chasing storm damage claims. But one of the things that speaks to my professionalism and trust in my business was the fact I could write checks on behalf of a client company up to 500k without approval which was unheard of. This business continued until about 6months after Katrina where to be honest myself and the entire staff were beat. We didn’t even see N.O., most were stuck in Atlanta pushing paperwork for 18-20 hours a day. But we all made a ton of money so I sold the book of business and continued training and consulting until present where I find a new business opportunity that again involves weather.
This new opportunity presents many challenges to overcome and this is something we have discussed for a long time. Extreme Weather Media LLC was not just an overnight deal. We planned this carefully to understand the market, to learn we needed to do to be different and consulted the very clients that we aim to serve with ideas and share their thoughts on how to make the process easier. And we did it!
This company is ready to go and serve the needs of chasers and media partners. There are some other secrets within this opportunity but if I told you now I would have to kill you!