Get to know one of Eberl’s world-class adjusters, Larisa Paris. I had the pleasure of chatting with Larisa about her adjuster career and what she does outside of work! Larisa’s home base is in Texas, but she and her chocolate lab travel all over the country in her camper. She is a member of the Eberl Commercial and Residential teams and has been working with Eberl since 2017.
Let’s start things off by learning a little bit about you! Can you tell us about yourself?
I have always been an insurance nerd. My parents work in insurance, so I have always known that I wanted to do the same, however, I did not want to work in sales. Growing up, my mom worked for a large firm as a commercial wholesaler. She is a true rag to riches story. She had no college education, but knew how to work hard, and was dedicated to helping people. Many people have a negative view of insurance, but I have had a positive view since day one. Insurance is just a big savings account for emergencies. I initially started working in sales and was pretty good at it, but I did not like being stuck in an office. Instead, I enjoy being on the front lines helping people. I have always enjoyed being the person who shows up to say, “everything is going to be okay.”
My whole family still works in insurance. Both of my parents own agencies in Texas and have managed to stay happily married while owning agencies in different towns, with different carriers. This makes for fun family dinner topics! As for my siblings, my older brother owns an insurance agency in the same town as my dad. My younger brother is an adjuster, who works as a team lead with another firm.
What about outside of work?
I am a die-hard baseball fan. I LOVE the Dodgers and the Cubs; have always been a dedicated fan to both teams, however, my husband is a Cubs fan so I became “Cubsessed.”
We got married at Wrigley Field in 2018! We love going to opening day, catching every game, and we were planning to go to London to see the Cubs play the Cardinals this June before it was canceled.
I’m also a huge animal lover. We have a chocolate lab who travels with me on deployments. We also have two Chihuahuas and four cats. I am always trying to bring animals home from deployments. One of my cats, Levi, is a rescue from Hurricane Michael. I was in Thomasville, GA, and saw a truck full of animals. I drove to the shelter the next day and asked about it. They had brought a truckload of about 100 cats and 80 dogs from a shelter that closed in Mexico Beach. These animals sadly had nowhere to go. When I’m on deployment I always try to donate cat and dog food to the shelters. I am obviously there to help people, but I don’t want to forget about the animals too!
How did you get started as an independent adjuster?
My brother received a call to work in a carriers HQ as an examiner, he worked on a storm temporarily and was later offered a full-time job with that carrier. On his next storm, I got a call to work with him as an IA. Growing up around insurance, I knew policy language, how things work, and really just enough to not be dangerous. I learned a ton from that first deployment and discovered that being an independent adjuster in the field was a perfect fit for me.
The most rewarding aspect of this career is being the face of compassion during a disaster and assuring those affected that I know it’s not just a house, it’s their home and I’m here to help.
You had about five years’ experience before joining Eberl. What prompted you to want to work with us?
I joined Eberl because I wanted to do both daily and CAT work. I didn’t love the firm I was with. Nothing personal, but their method of organization was a little off. Being organized is critical to the job, and when management is not as organized, it can really throw a wrench in how things should work. I joined Eberl, and one day I got a call from Nick Goin, who is one of their managers. Nick said, “Hey there was a big hail storm, we want you to come out.”
So I showed up in Omaha, NE, and met Nick. Right away, I had a great feeling and I knew everything was going to work out. My first impression was I could not believe they have managers on-site. They had a command post set up, so you could always ask questions, or get help if you needed it. There were a few brand-new adjusters and I couldn’t believe how patient they were and dedicated to helping them succeed.
I made it through that storm and drove back home. After being home for less than twelve hours my phone rang. It was Nick. He said he gave my name to the commercial manager, Bart Scott, and he wanted to deploy me back to Omaha. I had to laugh and said, “This would have been nice to know twelve hours ago!” And packed my things and went back to Omaha.
Commercial work has always seemed like a rite of passage. You work and work and work, and maybe someday you will get to work commercial claims.
I worked in Omaha for a bit and then Harvey hit, and I continued to work more commercial claims. In the first six months, I never felt alone. I could always call and get someone to help. I was never made to feel stupid by not knowing an answer. A lot of firms believe in trial by fire and make you figure it out solo, but Eberl was always there to help. This is one of the major reasons I am still with Eberl today.
What advice would you give someone who is new to the industry?
Go with your tummy gut. I’m a mom so I use the phrase tummy gut! Sign up with everyone and see what feels good. If you get to a firm and something doesn’t feel right, go somewhere else. Find a place that will teach and help you, not just work you into the ground. The adjusters who want to learn and grow are who you want to be around. Everything is always changing so you need to always be ready to learn new skills. Go get out in the field, climb the roof, sketch things 100 times over, learn Xactimate, ask for help, and take all the free training you can get!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Daily claim work is a blessing. I normally wake up, cook breakfast, make calls, and start scheduling. I try to schedule and inspect the same day. People appreciate quick inspections.
When I come home from inspecting, I do narrative and photo reports right away while it is still fresh in my mind. Then I cook dinner and have quality family time. Family time is the most important part of my day. Bart has always been adamant about the importance of family time, taking care of ourselves, and not getting burned out. So my advice is to take time for yourself, and take time for your family.
At the Eberl office, we oftentimes talk about the “why” behind why we do what we do. My last question to you is what is your “why?”
When I was 15, I was working with my mom at her agency. Our phones turned on right at 7 am, and one morning right at 7 am the phone rings. An elderly woman was frantically calling and said the water has almost come up to the outlets in her house. My mom asked her if the fire department was there yet. She said she was about to call them but first wanted to review her coverage again. My mom told her she is here to help but to make sure the fire department is on their way!
Insurance gets a bad rap for denying coverages or finding ways to not cover things. My mom was never that person. She prided herself on explaining why and how things work and made sure her clients understood the policy coverages, endorsements, and especially the exclusions. I too like being the one who comes in and says, “no matter what is going on, I’m here to help and it’s going to be okay.” I pride myself on always showing up to do the job regardless of coverage or denial, and when I leave, you aren’t left wondering with unanswered questions.