Go to previous topic
Go to next topic
Last Post 07/18/2010 3:24 PM by  Ray Hall
MSB, a new beginning
 99 Replies
Author Messages
Tom Toll
Moderator & Life Member
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts:1865


--
11/06/2007 9:44 AM

    I spoke with an MSB rep that is a friend of mine and what I am hearing is that MSB, sometimes in late 08, will be coming out with a completely new program to blow the rest of the programs out of the water. I believe this friend and am looking forward to seeing the program come out.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    11/06/2007 8:32 PM

    My take is:I know 2 programs now that look as good as MSB and both are easy to learn.  This does not seem to be the key to blowing all other programs out of the water. Its the contractors who spread the word  to the insurance carriers and the Utah sales teams that convince these same carriers that "their" data base is the King Orem version and is the  infallable word. Beside's it cannot be modified. Seems that the key to sales.

    0
    Wes
    Member
    Member
    Posts:72


    --
    11/06/2007 11:07 PM
    Tom do you have any information on the pricing database? I don't mind a revamp of MSB but it is their database that is sadly lacking; especially the inability to permanently alter it with pricing that I know is correct for my area.
    0
    Medulus
    Moderator
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:786


    --
    11/07/2007 1:16 AM

    Tom,

    They used to have a program like that.  They called it Boeckhs.  It was easier to use than Integraclaim, took far less time to write up a claim, and was relatively accurate.

    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    11/07/2007 8:41 AM

    Last year at an industry trade show I talked to a VP over at MSB and he told me they had 50 PEOPLE dedicated to their pricing database.  I just had to laugh. Every tiime I see a new estimating system try to enter the adjusting space the owners think the market is just going to drop what they have been using and trusting for the last decade.  DDS tried it.  Powerclaim tried it.  Symbility is currently trying it.  And now MSB wants to re-invent the wheel - I hope they can do it before they lose all their major carriers. 

    I am not knocking these companies, you should be proud of the work you and your team put into them to get them to market but, come on, it's really a jungle out there and insurance carriers move very slowly.  I just returned from an insurance technology show where the next generation of Claims Management Systems were being presented.  Many carriers are still in the AS400 and COBOL language world.  Before any next generation of estimating software is adoped by insurance carriers on any widespread basis, the carriers will first have to adopt the new generation of CMS so their computers can "talk" to the new generation of estimating software.  And, in my opinion, it will be years before this shift happens.

    It is sad to see the industry blindly accepting Utah's pricing just because so many contractors use it.  However, I do see a need to somehow try to standardize restoration pricing for the common items (roofing, drywall, paint, etc.) or at least an acceptable range of 5-10% in any given area.  I just ran a report from our data warehouse that contains almost a million estimates and our users stay with our database pricing approximately 91% of the time.  6% of the prices have been raised and the remaining 3% were lowered by our users.  I think that is a great reflection on the Craftsman database, its 3-digit zip location factoring system and the work of our cost consultants (considerably less than 50 I assure you!).

    Time will only tell if there is a better "mousetrap" out there for property estimating and I look forward to seeing MSB's new version.  However, from what I am seeing out there in the software trenches every day, if I were upper management at MSB, I would sell all my estimating clients to SIMSOL and stick to what MSB knows best - underwriting valuations (and they better bar the door there because Xact just released a product called "360Value" which is a valuation tool combining XactValue and ISO statistics.  Very impressive demo but they wouldn't release the PRICE).

    As for our shop, we have some very cool applications and new features coming out at the end of '07 and first part of '08.  The business and competition is still fun and we will keep plodding along, keep an eye on "Utah" and play golf every chance we get.

    Just my 2 cents....

     

    0
    KLS
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:43


    --
    11/09/2007 7:23 PM
    I agree John, we don't need more bells and whistles, we need solid pricing. The carriers aren't interested in investing the money to bring up their internal software to today's standard to integrate today's claims software. There isn't any need, the old programs work just fine for what they need them to do internally. Integration of the claims process software with these old systems has been tricky at the least and it doesn't seem to really matter to the carriers to have that integration.

    Back to pricing: Every time I have to use MSB (carrier requirement) I have a problem with pricing. I am not interested in having files reopen because my estimate was too low and using the MSB pricing (unchanged) has been significantly off on a lot of major items in various zip codes around the US. I really saw this in FL in 05/06. MSB has not been able to keep up with daily unit pricing, much less storm driven pricing. This was a real hot topic with NFIP back in 2003 with the hurricane that hit the East Coast but nothing changed. Now, I've heard MSB say that the low pricing is because they unbundle items and you have to put more items into the estimate -- well, I've been at this too long to miss scopes in estimates and side by side with the same scope "Utah" and MSB are too far apart in a lot of zip codes. I don't have that issue with SIMSOL and "Utah".

    MSB has been the standard for carriers and agents for as long as I can remember for I2Vs but now that ISO owns X8, they are going to have a run for their money because ALL of the carriers have contracts with ISO to use their policy forms and other research. It wouldn't take much for ISO to "suggest" the carriers move to the new "360Value".

    KLS
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    11/10/2007 11:33 AM

    I agree with all of you. MSB is sorely lacking in the California fires and not enough items in the database. I am with John on standardized pricing, particularily on everyday items, ie, drywall, paint, etc. I commend John and Simsol for their fantastic achievements. Simsol is a good program. As far as MSB creating a new wheel, they have a long way to go to achieve that and they must do it hurridely, as Utah is gaining momemtum everyday.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    11/13/2007 7:26 PM

    Tom that is my understanding from talking with a MSB rep in like 2006 yet timing can be hard for Sales to nail down. Do not ask me how I know. As to blowing way everyone I have to say John’s experience is in line with ours at HRI.

     

    The adjusting industry does not get overly excited about a new mouse trap even if it is better. Boeckh got out in front because they started with a package a couple adjusters had developed initially on a Tandy computer and then ported it to DOS. Xactimate came on the market and then Simsol I think. Boeckh was a strong player with great databases I understand but they moved to Windows 3.0 (16-bit) and the version had issues and they never bother to move to Windows 95 (32-bit). To save some large accounts they licensed DDS as IntegriClaim and then when Boston Ventures rolled Marshall&Swift and Boeckh together they picked up DDS who owned the code to IntegriClaim. They called the new company Marshall Swift/Boeckh or MSB and flipped it to MDA out of Canada.

     

    From my point of view Xactimate continued to gain ground over time and Boeckh lost ground. Simsol went on to become best know in the flood claims market. Xactimate is impressive in a marketing sense as to how after gaining the upper hand over Boeckh they have never had a player that offered serious competition. Xactimate continued to grow by finding new accounts and often at the expensive of the other earlier market players. Well there are Best (west coast) and Vedders (north east coast) that are old line companies. In fact Steve Vedders software was the bases of the Marshall and Swift package called AccuPro he related to me but I never saw AccuPro because it was not active when we got into developing estimating software in 1995/1996.

     

    DDS (engine in IntegriClaim today), PowerClaim and Symbility (I can not remember the name of the founder of Symbility first estimating software package that he sold to Prism that was owned by Crawford) came out of the 1990’s and most on CADO know their history. I know there are other developers working to get to the market place with a better mouse trap. Who knows the future? Will ISO drop the Xactimate ball like in 100% of historical cases in our industry? No estimating software package has thrived in the market place when its founder was removed from the company. ISO will be the first owner to break this pattern if they can keep Xactimate a viable estimating solution for the next 20 years.

     

    We all know estimating today has become dependent on supplied materials and labor cost databases and the engine that drives the software matters little if it works at some level. I do not expect this will change in the life time of any reading this. The sad part is the adjusting skill sets of yesterday year are being lost at a fast pace each year. All of the estimating software packages on the market to day are backed up with web solutions that can track and report pricing deviations from any ‘Norm’ given. Yet where the pricing info comes from Xactnet, ComCentral, Simsol’s ClaimWire, PowerClaim Net Services or the Symbility solution it still can not take people off of the street and make adjusters out of them.

     

    What is the answer today? Technology can NEVER replace the human element but if the human element is not there then the carriers have little choice as to try to manage claims using technology. How many of the top tier of carriers trust the ability of their adjusters to price out the damage repair cost of a risk they have insured? Most carriers today only use adjusters to manage a claim file and leave the pricing up to the contractor it seems. We estimate there are at least 10,000 staff adjusters with NO access to property estimating software and are basically totally dependent on the local contractors for pricing information. It is a system that actually works for all parties from the best I can tell. This practice is not only used by the second and third tier carriers I personally know.  

    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    11/14/2007 8:30 AM

    For the most part Gale has the history of estimating systems correct.  And thank you for your kind comment about us being the best flood program.  We have always been the most popular among flood adjusters because that was my entry into the storm business many moons ago.  In my opinion we became and continue to be popular among adjusters who have a say in what estimating system to use is because of ease of use.  If it wasn’t easy back in 1984 adjusters simply would not have used it.  Actually the first 100 or so copies of our first version were given out to numerous flood and wind adjusters during Hurricane Hugo

    People, who don't know us or have not used us in the past, sometimes take pot shots at us for basically using the same scoping method my brother and I came up with in 1984 and have not made it “flashier”.  Windows made it look more modern but it is still basically the same design.  Back in '84 we had only 46 materials and 414 operations in the basic residential database.  Now we have 10 times that number.  The reason we have not changed what we call the "Virtual Scope Sheet" is that it is the fastest way to scope a loss that I know of.  Over the years in other programs I have seen number and letter codes, bar coding, optical scanning of paper sheets, scoping from graphical images on the screen, drawing diagrams and dragging items into rooms - you name it.  Those of you who know me if there was a better, easier, faster way to scope a loss it would be in our application. 

    It doesn't matter whether the damages were caused by wind, flood, fire, hail, VMM or whatever - estimating is still estimating.  It doesn't matter if the drywall was damaged by any one of these perils, it still has to be removed, replaced and painted.  There are peril-specific scopes, indeed, and they are also in the databases of the most popular systems.

    Pricing databases, like software applications are never truly fully done.  New methods of restoration, new materials and new terminologies come along and eventually find their way into all the major systems.  Pricing is and will always be a bear.  We update our pricing every quarter using Craftsman's reference data and our own research.  It's not perfect (no database is) but it gets our adjusters close enough to get the loss "adjusted" and the claim settled.  If it didn't we would not have been around for going on 21 years now and I wouldn't feel comfortable appearing or speaking  at conferences, trade shows and property adjusting events.

    On these boards I have heard adjusters speak highly of their systems of choice such as MSB's DDS and Powerclaim.  They talk highly of their tech support and customer service.  That's good for all of us who work in the claims business.  We get enough grief from the carriers, insureds, public adjusters and contractors every day and don't need more from our software suppliers.  I honestly feel sorry for adjusters having to use X.  I hear their complaints every week.

    Will the lawsuit pending in LA change anything?  Probably not but it would be nice if some of those first tier carriers wise up and see the X/ISO mix is probably not very good for our industry on so many levels.  The carriers do have credible options in the software they give to their adjusters.  But, based on the recent article from LA, the big carriers seem to be traveling in packs for the moment.  Sure would be nice to “turn one out of the herd” and show them how easy estimating software can be.

    That's my blog for the day.....back to work now.  Thanks for reading.

     

     

     

    0
    Tim_Johnson
    Member
    Member
    Posts:243


    --
    11/14/2007 9:14 AM
    While reviewing files for MWUA after Katrina, some of the best and easiest files to review were written up by a gentleman named Larry Pope. I suspect he has at least twice the expierence that I do in this business. His sheets were handwritten on NCR paper, adding machine tape stapled to the top right and 35mm photos scotch taped to photo sheets. He rounded up his unit cost to the next 1/2 dollar. He knew what he was doing. I never received a complaint, re-inspection request or a supplement request on any of his files.

    I have a claim on a condo complex right now, less than 8 years old, 12 buildings, 56 total units. The EFIS was improperly installed. Water got behind it and rotted the framing. Each building is 3 stories high, each unit has a concrete balcony. The carpenter's bid is $13,454 per unit to replace all the rotten wood and the other contractor's bid to remove and replace the EFIS is $16,432 per building.

    I dare say that any of us could take any of the estimating programs out to this sight and come up with the numbers that it is actually costing to repair this damage.

    With all that said, an estimating program is just a guide, just because it says that is what it should cost to repair the damage does not make it so.
    Tim Johnson
    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    11/14/2007 9:41 AM

    Tim,

    Totally agree with you.  Even a lay person knows that any time you want something done construction wise around the house contractors will differ.  I don't care if it is a roof repair or a paint job.  Why is it then adjusters seem to be held to a higher standard?  It is not the adjusters job to write initial estimates and then try to bully contractors to work for that amount.  It is the adjuster's duty to write a good sheet, compare it to the contractor the insured wants to use and work out the details (with all parties being reasonable). The adjuster's initial estimate is for comparison purposes to show the company is paying the right amount for the work - not a penny more or a penny less.  If the adjuster's estimate is no where near the contractor's (and assuming the contractor is on the level), it is usually a  difference in scope, not price (if the adjuster is using one of the mainline estimating systems).

     

    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    01/17/2008 3:28 PM

    Having viewed my AE statement, I see now we are paying $1,600.00 for this piece of junk. I griped years ago about having to pay $800.00 per year. Am I getting screwed or is everyone having to pay this much. This is supposed to have a discount due to Cunningham Lindsey affiltiation. This is becoming the joke of the year. I am not aware of how much other programs are but I am seriously about to abondon MSB. After having lost a lot of money in the Katrina event because claim central would not work properly, you would think those in charge of MSB would be concerned about their product. Apparently not. This estimating arena is becoming a joke.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    01/17/2008 5:23 PM

    What does it cost for other estimating software?  Simsol runs between $65 and $100 a month depending upon several criteria.  Without a signed license agreement (1year minimum) the 3-month-at-a-time storm lease is $125 a month.  Many adjusters have a gun pointed at their heads and told what software to use and they get no discount even when they mention who they are using it for.  What a crock!  I feel for the adjusters that have to pay premium prices for software they don't like to use.

    Simsol has several carriers that mandate the use of Simsol if adjusters want to work their claims.  When this occurs we offer the adjusters the same price as the carrier pays because in 100% of the cases the carrier has alot of adjusters and signs a multi-year agreement which means they pay alot less than a single adjuster would pay.  It upsets me that the two largest estimating software vendors do not do the same.

    I don't understand why carriers don't see this and tell #1 and #2 to reduce the fees for the IA's and cat adjusters who work for them.  I don't understand why they would want to upset the very people they depend upon for the handling of their claims.  They may not even know this is going on.  I hope some of them visit Roy's great site and begin to see the writing on the wall.

     

     

    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    01/19/2008 11:23 PM
    Who buys estimating software based on price today? I know MSB has held the position in the past the more they charged the more their software would be valued.
    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    01/21/2008 9:58 AM
    Gale,
    I have yet to meet an insurance carrier claims manager or independent adjuster who was not concerned about the total cost of software. While it might be true estimating software has become somewhat of a commodity and that there are really not that muich difference between the major systems (feature-wise that is, not the user interface), carriers are very concerned about issues such as levels of service and customer support. While Xact can charge jsut about anything they want for their software and services, the rest of us do not have that luxury. The price of a software package is hardly a basis for judging its quality and more a function of its producer's overhead and/or profit motives.
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    02/13/2008 11:40 PM

    John while I agree with your last sentence I do not think all carriers are as concerned about service and customer support as they are getting the management reports they want and when they want them. Yes the small to middle size carriers are often sensitive to providing their staff adjusters with an estimating software solution that is backed up by good training and customer support because in many cases the VP of claims has adjusted claims at some point on their way to the top. National carriers seem to be run more from top down and if they get the digested claims reports they want then the other factors can be sucked up by those down line.

     

    The selling price of estimating software I have been told face to face is a NON issue to the VP of claims departments and that was not coming from the top tier of carriers either. The functional 10 year head start Xactware has with its web based Xactnet makes it hard for solutions like Simsol ClaimWire or PowerClaim Net Services to gain market share in the national carriers but as we all can show scalability then the larger carriers can revisit their options.

     

    The nice part today there are so many smaller to mid size carriers with nothing in place that the market is wide open if we all just get with these carriers and tell our story. They can show sticker shock because moving to current technology has not even been a budget item in the past. Most carriers in the US do not use Xactimate and we estimate there are at least 9,000 staff adjusters with no computerized estimating solution for property claims.

    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    02/16/2008 11:59 AM

    I heard from a reliable source that the new Integra program will not be out until December of 2008. I hope it is a vast improvement over the existing mess they have created. The database is not what it should be and termonolgy continues to change. They seem to think we like change, but they are wrong. DDS was a good system and they have mutiltated it. They want more money for less product. I doubt that will change.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    02/18/2008 11:07 AM
    Based on my knowledge as to the amount of time it takes to program systems like ours, I for one will be very interested to see of a version is released in 12/08 just how "new" it will be and just how stable it will be. If the new system forces users to upgrade operating systems it may not go over very well with carriers. VISTA is a very poor application and seems to be very unstable on many levels. We bugeted 3 years of time to re-code Simsol and it is taking all of that.....sometimes you have to wonder, "if it isn't broke, don't fix it".
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    02/23/2008 1:31 AM

    John the years may be just moving faster than we are.

     

    The end of this year will be at least three years MSB has been working on this new software package. I was 45 when we got into this industry and tomorrow I will be 57 so I know time is moving faster than I am. The kids had not been born then and Clinton was in the White House.

    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    02/25/2008 10:14 AM
    Happy Birthday, Gale.
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    03/15/2008 1:57 AM
    Thanks John. While I am pleased to have lived to 57 it is a stark reminder of earning years left and the nest egg required to retire without having to downsize expenses to meet what a lower income will support. :)
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/25/2008 8:59 PM
    If I may ask a simple question in regards to MSB and Xactware pricing. I am a contractor that uses software estimating and have for years. I started working storm damaged properties back in 95 and have been in 6 hurricanes,12 hailstorms and 3 windstorms.I've developed a mutual respect and even have a few close friends that are in the adjusting community that know I write very accurate and honest estimates. I have NEVER had a serious problem coming to agreement with an adjuster until this week. It was a 23 yr old pilot adjuster using MSB while I am using Xactware25...The boy and I had the roof measured within 20 sq ft of each other and the valley metal is within inches of each other. The roof is 22 sq. He had 4400.00 and I had 6500.00 I have been using Xactware for several years and all line items in each of our estimates are identical twins. I've rad here, claimsjournal,insurancejournal,30 to 35 web articles on Pilot, Allstate and MSB trying to uncover pricing strategy,etc and read negative and positive slants of opinion. Allstate and Pilot have always presented somewhat of a challenge tht seemed to get progressively more of a challenge to get into agreement (particularly Charlie,Fran,jeanne,Wilma) but always ended in a close to reasonable result. How can they be that far apart.

    John B
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/25/2008 9:07 PM

    Correction: 24.42 sq with 9 sq  2 story. Job is in Seattle WA

    THX...John B

    Ps. I pulled 17 xactware claims from 8 different claims from 6 different adjusters / carriers and they are all with 250.00 of mine

    0
    okclarryd
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:954


    --
    03/25/2008 10:00 PM
    I would bet it's an Allstate claim.

    Any takers?
    Larry D Hardin
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/26/2008 12:25 AM
    Larry, it is an Allstate claim. The issue is I've always worked it out to within reason. The homeowner gave me the MSB/Pilot/Allstate scope/estimate and it's 44.00 for mat'l and 45 for labor. + 11% O&P. Where do they get their numbers. The cost of shingles themselves is 43.25 w/o tax and labor is 50.00 without burdens or labor tax ( Wash State loves taxes- they tax labor in addition to sales tax on the contract. Any solutions shy of suggesting me becoming a nasty jerk would be appreciated. I like to keep things civil /professional with all parties involved.


    THX..John E Blakesmith
    0
    BobH
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:759


    --
    03/26/2008 1:16 AM
    Posted By John Blakesmith on 03/26/2008 12:25 AM
    The cost of shingles themselves is 43.25  ...Any solutions shy of suggesting me becoming a nasty jerk would be appreciated. 
    Explain that you need him to share with you some of the other "descriptions" for roofing material, as your software and his software may not be describing the same thing. Get him to tell you what MSB would allow for 25 year laminated, 30 year, etc, because you folks have the same measurements but something is off. So far you haven't told us what the roof is made of - but obviously you and the adjuster just looked at it. He must be calling it the wrong thing if the materials are that far off. Some software includes the drip edge, etc and some you have to call it out, ditto for pipe jacks, et. He can drill down to the "info" thing on MSB and see what is included. Do you have the same description of removal, is he allowing 10% waste for Gable on the put-back, 15% if it's a hip roof or cut-up roof, etc.?
    Bob H
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/26/2008 2:47 AM
    Hello Bob Harvey, I appreciate the reply. Its a 20/25 yr 3 tab walkable,all metal measurements match.Access are the same but the pricing is way off. When the kid couldn't answer my questions he referred it to his manager at pilot and the manager appears to have a poor opinion of all contractors (can't blame him to an extent) and refuses to answer my questions also. I just got the actual Pilot estimate papers this afternoon.However the kid gave me the verbal amount 2 hours after we met. The only difference is price allowance. His dump and clean up totalled 490 and mine was 279 because I supply my own dump trailers and don't have the cost associated with dumpsters hanging over my head.I don't charge what I don't incur.I am befuddled because MSB/Allstate can't be that far off or the entire contracting community would be up in arms. Waste is proper,jacks are proper,valley metal is proper,box vents are low but not an issue,no drip edge. I showed the homeowner 17 different estimates from other claims to show him mine are to the penny in line with all the other carriers, the kid asked me for me to fax him comparables and I did with the private info blacked out(claim#.name,street address,etc).Does Allstate have proprietary pricing because other MSB generated estimates have been low but the adjuster and I met somewhere in the middle. I had an Allstate claim 2 weeks ago and I was 27.00 lower than the adjuster and we both had a laugh at the price difference (lack of).



    Again,THX for your time to reply

    John B

    PS.I'm an Arcadia CA native
    John B
    0
    BobH
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:759


    --
    03/26/2008 3:33 AM
    Gotcha. Something is whacked out, like he is using "repair by homeowner" instead of contractor - something is way off on the pricing.

    I had to switch to MSB for one account after using Xactimate for 15 years and it was really strange... but if you roll up your sleeves it is possible to find the repair items and do a fair estimate. I am kinda buried in work right now or I would offer to write the 2 roofs up on different software and see what happens. Maybe someone else can volunteer. Or see if an Allstate Agent can share with you some claim settlement examples from other people in this storm because I cannot believe they are all coming out that way. The guy has to be doing something (unintentionally) that is pulling the price down and it likely remains a mystery because we don't see it on the printed page. Like it's the wrong zip code, or something is way off and we aren't at his computer screen to get into the guts of his estimate.

    It's to his benefit to figure this out too, so he can close some files and get paid.
    Bob H
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/26/2008 3:53 AM
    Bob ,Thank You for your reply. I was beginning to assume as much about his estimate. I ordered an MSB demo disk a few months ago but found it overwhelming as compared to xactware. I met a Crawford adjuster in Indianapolis that taught Sketch and gave me several shortcuts and some intellectual nuggets after I helped him on a commercial claim. I also appreciate you mentioning running t on 2 systems to see what happens. I can understand overoaded with work. Washington state had several wind events in the past year or so.Have a good evening and again THX..

    John E Blakesmith
    0
    BobH
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:759


    --
    03/26/2008 4:02 AM
    Coolness. In my short experience with MSB, I just have to say that the software DOES NOT SAVE YOUR WORK until you exit the estimate. I learned that the hard way and tech support confirmed it for me. There is no "save" or "save as". It just saves when you close the estimate.

    With Xactimate you can insert a repair item anywhere in the estimate by selecting a place in the estimate and pressing the "insert" key. I did that with MSB and got a "divide by zero" error and the system froze. Had to pull the plug and lost a large estimate. I use battery back ups and take precautions, so that one surprised me.

    I liked DDS when it came out, but MSB needs a major modernization if it is going to approach the other choices out there.
    Bob H
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    03/26/2008 2:24 PM

    This is kinda on topic. Ah this history of adjusters and contractors agreeing on a set of unit prices that would be a real benifit to policyholders who could get their dwelling repaired for the estimate by the adjuster who moved on days, weeks or months ago. The estimates are not useless as they do outline the scope of damage, and this is a very big point to get to the bottom line figure.

    This is a general statement, but I would say 90% of all contractors who do restoration work will agree with the adjusters estimate. In the auto crash estimating field 99% of the repair shops will agree with the insurance auto appraiser; however, supplements are very common, but do not require a reinspect as a help desk is available in the call center for these justified supplements.

    The repair people require a profit to do very good work and are entitled to make more than the handy man. The dwelling repair business has to police themselves or this will spiral out of control like health care cost in a hospital. Both sides need each other to survive. "Can,t we all just get along"

    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    03/26/2008 3:03 PM
    I suppose back in the days before computers auto estimates varied between auto adjusters and body shop estimators. The insurance industry was able to set standardized pricing in the auto arena. Another example of "you will do it for this price or you won't get our business". IMHO I don't think this would have been possible without computers. Today it is happening with property claims and unless the larger restoration contracting networks wake up and see what is happening now that ISO is in the mix, they too will be working from a single cost database determined by the carriers. Sure, contractors need to be able to work to pay their livings but in the end, if my home burns down and there is a 10-20% difference between the adjuster's estimate and the contractor's (with the adjuster's being lower), human nature tells me to go with the contractor's numbers. They are the ones living and dying by the numbers - not the adjuster. Carriers need contractors but if restoration contractors don't begin to draw the line with regards to fair and equitable pricing, they will become the body shops of construction industry
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/27/2008 2:48 PM
    Ray and John, I can understand completely what you are saying. I am normally very satisfied with the end result of the pricing databases used in the claims/contractor relationship. I can see however the pitfalls of where it could lead as is explained..Software pricing though may be the lesser of 2 evils as it protects against price gouging by hit and run storm contractors and salespeople. I met a farmers adjuster in Charles City Iowa in 04 that used Simsol as he said he normally did flood claims. A IA that became a close friend of mine suggested Powerclaim as a secondary system to use as a comparables system as they were offering a 30 free trial. I went to do this on this particul;ar Pilot cliam but the most recent promo is over I guess.

    Anyway on my original post, Allstate is taking the claim out of Pilots cat teams hands I guess and going to work it out with me.

    Thank You also Bob for helping me the best you knew how with limited information.

    John E Blakesmith
    0
    okclarryd
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:954


    --
    03/27/2008 7:48 PM
    Bob, John, John et al,

    I worked Good Hands claims through Pilot for many years and had many issues with pricing and estimate totals. MSB pricing reads like the Sunday comics. There are "multipliers" that must be applied for the estimate to be reasonably accurate for the region's pricing. These "multipliers" vary from region to region.

    I would suggest, contractor John, that you contact the adjusters' supervisor and ask if his estimate might be reviewed for accuracy and ask if you could provide yours and then offer to reconcile the estimates to the prevailing material and labor costs.

    From way over here, it seems that there may be a communication issue.

    Allstate and Pilot really do want to pay the claim in accordance with their guidelines and the area's pricing.

    Having addressed that..............I currently am an estimator for a large dealership here in Okc and the carriers do NOT dictate pricing to us. We do provide estimates that are written to comply with their guidelines but we get paid for what we do. It all falls back to communication between the repairman and the adjuster. If we charge for something that we did, we get paid. It's that simple. We have audits and reinspections and all that and those folks are just as welcome as the poor guy that comes in off the street with no collision coverage.

    So much for the carriers controlling the industry. We control our own destiny and look forward to going to work every day.

    Happy trails

    Larry D Hardin
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    03/27/2008 8:24 PM

    We just got the 1st quarter data base from Integraclaim.  We have worked a number of claims and the problem is, it keeps saying, no zip code recognized for that area. Damn, Little Rock, AR and they cannot recoginize a zip code. Something bad wrong somewhere. I have no idea what database they are using for a specific area. I just hope they are right.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    BobH
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:759


    --
    03/27/2008 8:43 PM
    Posted By Tom Toll on 03/27/2008 8:24 PM

    ...they cannot recognize a zip code. ...I have no idea what database they are using for a specific area. I just hope they are right.

    I called tech support about that twice when I started using that software a few months ago (I am fairly new to MSB) and they just said "don't worry about it - disregard the message". But if the pricing is off, it doesn't give you a warm and fuzzy feeling that the message doesn't mean anything just cuz someone on the phone told you so.

    I have been on the phone with them frequently and some of the tech support people would also say their database doesn't have labor by various trades (extra time to "tie in" to existing) but then you get off the phone and find it hiding in another part of the database. So if their own people don't know that... can you trust them on the zip code thing... People get religious about their estimating software, and I know some adjusters throw rocks at Xactimate. But I know right now I have 3 price lists downloaded for my specific area, and if I go south a bit to Santa Barbara, CA it is just a matter of using that database when I set up the estimate, and it is done.

    When I get an estimate from another contractor in my area, the first page of an Xactimate estimate has a code that tells you the state, what county or city, what year, and what quarter. On the other hand, with MSB, I will face East and have divine faith that it is recognizing the address I input, and the sausage coming out the other end better taste good to the people receiving it. Maybe they haven't eaten in a while and are hungry...

    Bob H
    0
    HuskerCat
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:762


    --
    03/27/2008 10:04 PM

    Larry, is that dealership one of those combo/franchise things?  Last we heard you were bouncing at the massage parlor.  Around here we have the combo TacoBell/KFC's...so are you at an Earl Shibe/Mindy's Massage type of place?  Would seem to be a natural, and something worth looking into.

    0
    okclarryd
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:954


    --
    03/27/2008 10:58 PM
    We have a special on a "Wax & Polish" that must be experienced to believe!!
    Larry D Hardin
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/28/2008 12:33 AM
    Larry,I believe the problem is getting solved. I'm giving Allstate the benefit of the doubt they'll do the right thing in advance. Pilots manager to the young adjuster refuses to communicate as he has a behaviour problem towards contractors. I called the N Oregon office of Allstate itself and talked to a desk adjuster that was professional,polite and had a willing ear. They are taking it out of Pilots hands and going to work it themselves. He told me the office managers name and gave me her extension. I PDF'd my xactware claim to her and am going to follow up tomorrow morning. I appreciate your reply and all the help from everyone here. I'm a firm believer in what goes around comes around so I always try to treat folks as I would want to be treated.

    I also agree with the last few posts Ive read thats unrelated to mine about MSB. The Fl canes and Rita created a lot of new adjusters out of sheer necessity. Everyone has to start somewhere sometime but from what Ive seen and read is MSB sometimes are in the hands of people that don't understand how to work it ( not trained properly...no fault of their own) and it's GIGO (garbage in garbage out) with someone like me on the receiving end to deal with it..

    Once again THANK YOU and YOU'ALL

    John E Blakesmith
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/28/2008 1:20 AM
    PS. I think xactware is user friendly,have heard powerclaim and Simsol also are a lot easier to use than MSB


    JB
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/28/2008 11:26 PM
    Update....Things went well for me today with solving my problem so far. I was asked by the desk adjusterto run the adjusters MSB measurements through Xactware to see where it ended up as compared to mine. I was 312.00 less becuase I only bill for costs I incur. I also learned a rather large firm may leave MSB and go to other software.MSB works in the right hands but I foiund it overwhelming. I visited powerclaims page today and seriously considering running it also in order to give apples to apples estimates with whatever the adjuster is using.

    have a good one,whatever it may be.

    John E Blakesmith
    0
    BobH
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:759


    --
    03/28/2008 11:44 PM

    Glad they are working with you - sounds promising.

    Posted By John Blakesmith on 03/28/2008 11:26 PM
    MSB works in the right hands but I found it overwhelming.

    My grief when I tried to use MSB was finding the repair item I was looking for.  Getting used to the concept "here is a door, do you want to replace it, paint it, detach it, or clean it"

    With Xactimate,  the door items are strictly what a door subcontractor would do - remove, replace, etc. 

    With Xactimate, the paint items are all together.  You go there to paint doors, walls, whatever.   It is grouped by trade, not by the object being worked on.

    With Xactimate, the cleaning items are all together.  You can clean doors, floors, cabinets, etc.

    I suppose it is just what you are used to.  If I had been using MSB for all these years, I could do it in my sleep.  After the 5th estimate with MSB, I found out how to get the repair items I needed, but still preferred the Xactimate database and how it is arranged.  One of the bummer's with Xactimate is the database is SO HUGE it is like a needle in a haystack, but the search feature works very, very well.  And within a category, like framing or whatever, you can hit F2 and search just within Framing, and find what you need very quickly.

    MSB has that "advanced search" feature, but so far it has tended to make me wade through 10x more wrong items to find the one I want than Xactimate does.  But I've been using Xactimate for 15 years so I suppose you get comfortable with it's flaws as well.

    Bob H
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/29/2008 3:15 AM
    Yes things are looking up Bob. I like Xactware because Im accustomed to it. I dont have the needs an adjuster has such as you. I'ts claim info,perimeters, sometimes sketch, estimate, view to proof it and then print or email for me. You're right on the money describing the database and the needle in the haystack when its an item that isnt regularly looked up. I learned shortcuts and timesavers in v25 early on. I sometimes will click search price list,type in the beginning of what Im looking for and its there.


    Its late,I started at 530 this morn and will say good evening and hope for a fruitful cane season..


    John B
    0
    BobH
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:759


    --
    03/29/2008 3:28 AM
    Posted By John Blakesmith on 03/29/2008 3:15 AM
    I sometimes will click search price list,type in the beginning of what Im looking for and its there.

    That works most of the time for me - but occasionally Xactimate doesn't call it the same thing you do. You know it's there but cannot find it in the database.

    When that happens to me, I click on the column for item description, so that it sorts the items by their description (not the cryptic code for the repair items).  It's amazing to see what happens when you do that, all of the "seal and paint" items are grouped together instead of scattered, etc. 

    The more I stumbled around with MSB the more I missed the ability to "hone in" on what I was looking for.  Of course the reverse is true for someone migrating to Xactimate.  It's hard for an adult to learn a new language...

    Bob H
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/30/2008 6:58 PM
    I talked to the NW property claims office on Friday. I run the Pilot adjusters MSB measurements/line itens through Xactware prior to the call to see where the two ended up. I backed out(used do not apply) base service charges on the heat stack on my xactware but not the one I run MSB's line items with. When I told the desk Adjuster this he asked me to fax the MSB estimate through Xactware estimate as he was curious how they compared against MSB. he noticed I didn't have BSC on the heatstack in mine and asked why. I told him if it's not getting replaced it doesn't apply and Im just sealing/ recollaring it. I told him to deduct it from the MSB/Xactware one. Where MSB missed the mark was in the operator of the software in addition to the shingle on and off M&L. MSB is allowing 85.00 per sq. 3 tab shingles on the shelf before tax here in Seattle is 42.00 and labor runs between 50 to 60 per sq. Even if you add 11% for O&P to MSB it falls 17.00 per sq short of raw cost. He agreed with me. He asked me why I didnt charge 2nd story (MSB/PILOT had it in theirs) I said because the valleys from the first story enabled a walkable 2nd story access and therefore if I dont incurr the charge I dont bill for it. I believe it amazed him Im not one of those that that line items the scope to death to get the price up. It goes back to reputation will put you in the money a hell of a lot faster than greed.

    Its Sunday, the sun peaked out for once and Im going to enjoy it...So enjoy your day whereever it may be

    John E Blakesmith
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    03/30/2008 7:49 PM
    PS. MSB and Xactware were only a a few dollars apart when I run the MSB line items through Xactware.

    JB
    0
    JohnB
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:18


    --
    04/09/2008 6:58 AM

    Bob,Thank You for your support. Allstate settled their differences with me by giving me everything I asked for. They liked the fact I run MSB through Xactware.

     

     

    THX.

     

    John Blakesmith

    Seattle

    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    04/25/2008 12:17 PM

    After having lost thousands of dollars in the Katirina fiasco because of Integriclaim, I felt inclined to take legal action for their comcentral issues, but decided against it. A number of you wanted to take a class action against them because of this. Now, after working for hours on files and having problems again, they resolved the problem of file export/import, but, the files were lost, even after a backup was made, per their techs advice. Their answer, "I guess your just gonna have to do them over again". 10 hours of work down the tubes because of their inferior product.

    These software companies that go up in price every year are failing us. I intend to take some type of action against MSB and possibly the entire spectrum of adjusting software for their inferior products that cost us thousands of dollars a year. They are not supplying us a program that works and with prices in the database that are not current. If any of you wish to join this, please advise.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    04/25/2008 12:36 PM
    Tom look at the big picture before you leap because even the winners can come out lossers in a courtroom. Not having options makes these issues hard to take I am sure. Scott told us at PLRB last week they will have the new version out to some in Aug and all in Dec. I did not ask him if they are ditching to old ComCentral but I think newer technology will insure they do. I also heard this 2008 date from an account of theirs so it may be firm.
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    04/26/2008 12:17 PM

    Gayle, your rationale is correct, sometimes we lose at the courthouse, sometimes we win. So you think we should pay $1.600.00 per year for an estimating system that may cost us hours in time and money we could have earned because of their inferior product? I don't, and I am sure most don't. IC was a good system when presented as DDS years ago. Thats the product I would like to see come back. It was dependable, good data base, allowed us to change to the today prices, and reporting was flawless. So you think we should never challenge inferior products!

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    okclarryd
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:954


    --
    04/26/2008 8:46 PM
    I think all Gale is saying is to make sure there's a soft spot at the bottom of the cliff before you jump off.

    I have made some horrible business decisions but felt really good when the dust settled.

    Did it pay? No.

    Did I still feel good? You betcha!

    And, I think there's an upside to being ready to go after what is yours. Those that might be willing to not pay or not take care of their end of an agreement might be a little more willing to compromise or go the extra mile when the word is out that you just don't put up with their crap.

    Happy Trails
    Larry D Hardin
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    04/27/2008 1:02 AM
    Tom as Larry correctly assumed my post was meant in a general sense. It is hard to prove to a jury the extent of one's monetary damage without bringing in a high power accounting firm to take the stand. As a guess it would take $250K in damages to even get the interest of a law firm as well.

    I do think anyone who knows you will accept you strongly feel you have been wronged or you would never think of taking a legal step as such. There may be other options that would apply like small claims court but I really do not know about what are the requirements to take a case forward. In a general sense it is hard to get much attention as a solo complainant where the claimed damages are small.

    Going up against MDA I expect would be like going up against ISO in court. MDA is a large publicly held Canadian corporation with international business so they are sure to have access to high quality legal and accounting services.

    With that being said in a general sense when there is only one tool option to work for certain companies it seems to compound the stress when it appears the one tool vendor does not show much interest in the eyes of the one purchasing the tool as to how effective the tool earns its keep. You are in a real sense a captive user and they know if you are going to play ball that you will be paying to play with their ball where it will bounce or not.

    Tom plain and simple you are not the customer but just are a third party paying the bill with no power to get their ear. In your case I expect some carrier or IA vendor is the customer of MSB and that carrier or IA vendor is just an agent working on the behalf of MSB in a functional sense if in fact you would not use MSB if that carrier or IA vendor did not make it a requirement for employment.

    Best wishes but keep in mind it is only the carriers and IA firms and NOT MSB that enables what you are experiencing. MSB as sold the carriers or IA firm in question that it is in their financial best interest to act a selling agent on the behalf of MSB or other wise they would not willing serve as an agent of MSB and simply let you select your own tools as long as you present a fair and legal claims estimate that would stand up in court. In light of this point of view you may want to approach the party that is the customer of MSB that is asking you to foot the bill for the tools they select and purchase while currently passing the financial burden for the required tools of employment to you.
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    04/29/2008 10:17 AM

    Gale, I agree with your analogy, completely. However,  I will not roll over and play dead like they would want me to. Monetary loss is monetary loss, anyway you look at it. I understand that estmating systems are complex and problems do arise, however, yoou do not sell that program do an audience if it does not work correctly. They are still having problems with comcentral, ever after four years of knowing there is a problem. I don't accent food being forced down my throat. I can assure you, there is a listening audience out there somewhere, and I will find it.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    okclarryd
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:954


    --
    04/29/2008 12:45 PM
    Oh, we're listening, Tom.

    And, agreeing.

    There's just not much any of us can do about it.
    Larry D Hardin
    0
    R_Smith
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:26


    --
    04/29/2008 5:48 PM
    Tom,
    Just remember the IA is not the customer, the company requiring MS/B is the customer and they are the ones that received compensation for the problems caused by ComCentral. I know for a fact that occurred.

    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    04/29/2008 7:35 PM

    Thanks Roger, I had heard that, but was reluctant to believe it. I will address that issue also. If we are forced to use a certain product, by a vendor and the vendor is the culprit, then they should be dealt with also.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    okclarryd
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:954


    --
    04/30/2008 11:09 PM
    Sic 'em, boys.

    I'll watch from over here in my recliner.
    Larry D Hardin
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    05/01/2008 6:50 AM
    Tom I too think most all are in agreement with you on this subject.
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    05/01/2008 10:07 AM

    We have our own claim service in Arkansas, so we are MSB Integraclaim users. You are right that when we work for a vendor who requires IC, then they are the users. In any case, MSB owes, to whomever uses their program, as does Exactimate, a program consistant with prices and ease of use without failure. We pay a ridiculous price for these programs and have every right to expect them to work as the provider has promised and indicated in their literature.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    R_Smith
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:26


    --
    05/02/2008 11:53 AM

    Tom,

     

    In my former position, I was working extensively with MS/B for years attempting to share data between IntegriClaim and a proprietary system.   While I had some say in the matter, the integration went slow because of my requirement of real-time testing.  I relished the opportunity to crash the system because I understand that once it is released to the masses, they will not follow precise directions.  That authority was removed before Katrina and a new crony was hired specifically for that purpose.  The rest is history.  

     

    Since leaving that job I have been using/training on the other system. 

    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    05/03/2008 4:32 PM

    Roger, I understand part of your comment, but not all. Could you elaborate a bit more.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    jsindallas
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:11


    --
    05/06/2008 10:43 AM

    Not sure this is the right forum or thread ( not a blogger) but I just spent 4 weeks trying to fix the commercial valuator in Integra.  Seems the old Borland files will not allow overwrite (error 1714). I ran a Microsoft installer clean up/ select borlans installation and delete. Then run MSB installation SUPPORT and select BVS. For those handling alot of commercial claims this is an easy fix to a most frustrating upgrade to the 8.2

    I used this download for the installer clean up utility. I cannot validate the website and I ran it at my own risk.

     

    http://support.microsoft.com/defaul...-us;290301

     

    James W. Simmons

    Adjuster

    Dallas, TX

     

    0
    R_Smith
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:26


    --
    05/08/2008 2:25 PM
    Further explanation.

    From 2003 to 2005, one of my responsibilities was to work with MS/B in integrating IC with the companies proprietary database, as well as techical help for the staff adjuster within the company. I authored numerous Technical Help Bulletins within the company during that time. When new management came in, they decided to bring in one person dedicated to this issue, someone from their prior place of business. After that I had no input on any of the matters. Management was not interested in the institutional knowledge. The only time I was contacted was when a staff adjuster had gone to the appropriate resource, who failed to help, then they called me for assistance. I never refused even though it was not my job.

    As we all know, everyone does a job a little different. We all see things in a different way. Adjusting claims is anything put precise. Authoring the technical help bulletins and then receiving feedback from adjusters located throughout the US with very diverse backgrounds proved to be difficult even within a structured company with set guidelines of operations. Independent adjusters introduce even more variables. The process and procedures must be designed to deal with the variables or else the system will fail. I believe anyone working for that vendor in Katrina will agree there were many failures in the process and procedures. The system was never tested with adjusters prior to deployment for Katrina.

    It would be nice to know information like this prior to accepting a assignment with a vendor, but I do not know of any vendor that would be candid in discussing their operations in an open manner.
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    05/09/2008 8:00 PM

    James, you were not the only one with this problem. I did, however, take a different approach. I wanted MS/B to fix the problem, so I gave them control of my laptop and watched them do it. At least they had one good tech, a very nice lady, that knew the problem and how to fix it. Paying them as much as we have to, I want some return on my investment by making them fix their own problems.

    Thanks Roger for the information.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    07/23/2008 5:24 PM

    Still waiting on that super dooper program from MS/B. With the money we are having to pay those people, they sure need too make improvements, big improvements. Anyone heard anything about the new and improved, as seen on TV, program?

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    07/23/2008 5:42 PM

    Tom back in March at  PLRB in Boston Scott said it would be out in August to some and a mass roll out at the end of the year. He said it will be nice. Maybe you will be getting some reports from the field in a few weeks if the beta version schedule has not changed.

    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    02/20/2009 12:04 PM
    Gale, I have heard nothing about the new version. I e-mailed Scott for information on it's release, but have not heard from him. It does not look like we will be getting it the first of this year. I wonder what posture it is in now. If anyone has heard anything about the new program, please share that information with us.
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    03/27/2009 12:51 AM
    Tom we just got back from Seattle where PLRB was held and what I was told was EyeQ should be ready for beta testing mid year. Scott was tied up when I when by their booth so I did not get to talk directly to Scott this time. Building the replacement for ComCentral I am sure is a huge task.
    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    03/27/2009 9:38 AM
    I met with the guys at MSB at this week's PLRB conference (the P&C insdustry's largest trade show event). Event turn out was very low and very few carriers were seriously looking for new estimating software. the new MSB is still not ready for roll-out. I was told it is currently in the hands of beta testers. No anticipated date of release was forthcoming. The Xact camp said traffic was slower than in previous years. Simsol had a good booth position at the show (right outside the front door) and traffic was good the first day but fell off the planet on day two. The technology "guru" who opened the conference on the first day spoke of "conntectivity and communication" issues with regards of the handling of claims. We will all be going more mobile and relying on services such as google earth photos for roofs, voice recognition when scoping damages and increased reliance on policyholders to provide the adjusters with measurements and photos of damages. I personally demoed some of the new roof measuring technology and it is very cool stuff. Now if we can only see through walls and upload damages data without ever stepping across the entry thresehold of a risk. Now that would be COOL!!!!!!!!!! But, as you all know, Insurance carriers are slow to adopt new technologh and none of them want to be the FIRST to try something new....
    0
    hangtime64
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:1


    --
    04/27/2009 7:37 PM
    I first used MSB about 5 years ago, which is also when I got into insurance adjusting. I mostly taught myself to use MSB and after grinding my way through a few cat claims I got through the work fast enough. However, I noted at that time that there were several things I didn’t like about the program. Drawing a detailed roof diagram for a 5,000sf house in MSB is akin to using a crayon on a single piece of cheap toilet paper. (This would be funny if the analogy weren’t so accurate.) Finding the right line item for an operation, even the common items, is not intuitive and often requires wading through the hundred or so superfluous results of Advanced Search to find the right item. Adding photos is clunky as you have to double click on each photo so that you can see what it is that you are adding the description to. And the list goes on and on.
    While I have had no formal MSB training I don’t think any amount of training would overcome the shortcomings of the application, which brings me to my point, or question. Am I the only one who feels this way? I have read posts of other members which appear to look favorably upon MSB, but I wonder if they might also feel as I do that MSB could be a whole lot better. As MSB users we all pay, either directly or indirectly to use this application, and in MHO, we are paying good money for a bad application. I ran into a technical problem this weekend and found, after a cursory search of MSBINFO.COM, that there was no knowledge base, no forum and no avenue to request a change or improvement. By contrast, I have submitted bug reports and suggestions to Simsol and in more than one case, wound up dealing directly with a developer. To me that seems like a company that cares what I think and, at the very least, has an open door to hear my problem or complaint. Not true with MSB. So why am I using this program that I don’t like, costs me time and money, and leaves me frustrated every time I open it?
    I do not fully understand what hold MSB has over some of the carriers out there, which would in turn make them require it’s use, which is the situation I find myself in, but I do think that if enough people complain loudly enough that good things could happen. If the Carriers like MSB because of the price database it uses, great, no reason to make me suffer though. I am considering adding a surcharge to all claims I receive which require an estimate in MSB. Maybe if there were a group of likeminded adjusters who all pressured either MSB or the Insurance Carriers with either lost business or having to spend extra money, respectively, then maybe one or the other would take note and improvements could be made.
    If you have similar frustrations with MSB please post a response. Likewise, if you think MSB is the best estimate software please let me know why, and how you deal with all the problems.
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    04/28/2009 8:37 AM
    As much as I hate to admit, I agree with you. The database sucks big time and they will not listen to you on improvement. The diagram feature could be improved, but they will not listen to you. I have several inside people that I send recommendations to, but those fall on deaf ears. Some carriers like it as it is, why is unknown.
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    ddreisbach
    Member
    Member
    Posts:172


    --
    04/28/2009 10:13 AM
    I agree with many of the criticisms listed, but not all.  I don't have problems finding line items.  I rarely use advanced search, and it's easy to page through the superfluous results to find what I want.  I use keyboard shortcuts alot rather than doing everything with the mouse.  You might want to try that when annotating photos.
     
    What bugs me more than anything is that they're totally unresponsive to adjuster suggestions.  There are numerous 'annoyances' that they refuse to fix.  One example: When viewing reports the scroll wheel doesn't scroll the report as it does in every other Windows program, it makes it larger or smaller.  Drives me nuts!  As you suggested, a user forum would be helpful.  A website with some information useful to the adjuster would be a nice touch.
    0
    okclarryd
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:954


    --
    04/28/2009 10:17 PM
    Guys, it's really simple.

    If you had 4,000 or 5,000 adjusters using the program, you could make suggestions that would get a response.

    It's all about the MONEY!!

    I liked it when it was DDS and I could call the originator of the software and discuss things. Like so many things, that was then and this is now.
    Larry D Hardin
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    05/07/2009 2:13 AM
     
    The name of the new beginning was in print at PLRB 2009 in March in Seattle. It is called EyeQ. Since it was to be out in 2008 and from what I was told by one of their clients at PLRB 2008 we are working on the bases of a 2010 release date. The release date for the ComCentral replacement (the new back end to EyeQ) could be in 2010 as well but I did not talk to anyone that was aware of the progress on the ComCentral replacement that would enable the release of EyeQ for users currently on ComCentral.
     
    In fairness from the angle of a developer it is hard to expect any deep or functional changes to the adjusting piece of the MSB solution unless IC development team is not involved in the development of EyeQ.
     
    When it comes to software from any source seeing is believing. :)
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    08/01/2009 2:12 PM

    I think Eyeq is too little too late. Since DDS was purchased, this program has been on a steady trust worthiness decline ever since then. We can't get the database updates unless we call them, yet we are advised that they mail them out when they become available. Now they are going to charge us $25.00 to have it overnighted to us. If you can tell that I am quite upset with the MSB organization, you have assumed correctly. I am hoping that the company we work mostly with will change estimating platforms. We pay them a huge amount of money each and every year and now have to pay to get the data base cd's, are you kidding me, MS/B.

    I know of another way to get their attention and of other software estimating companies, The congress of the United States. I am contacting one of my friends who is a Senator from Arknasas and suggest that a hearing  be held on these systems and their databases. Maybe MS/B will wake up then and quit putting the screws to the people who pay for their system.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    08/03/2009 1:39 PM

    I still like Integriclaim, however, as with some software vendors, their evolution has eroded. I wish they took the attitude of Power Claim and Simsol, it would certainly make life easier. This is an e-mail I sent to the CEO of MS/B. I hope to get a response from it.

    I have been a user of Integriclaim for many years, promoting your product with veracity. Now I wonder if my veraciousness was being helpful to our adjusting community.  I have noticed a steady decline of service to individual adjusters through the past 4 to 5 years. It seems your organization is more interested in the carriers than that of the people who pay you for the program, that being the adjusters.
     
    Our database was out of date, and on July 30, 2009, Janice, my wife, was working a large hail loss in our area for a large carrier. She called your tech department and was advised that they would overnight a current database however, we must pay $25.00 before it could be sent. She asked why we were not sent the database when it is available, and she was told they ship it out to all adjusters when it is available. We have not received current databases from MS/B in over 5 years. We have had to call to get them, and they have been sent with no charge to us.
     
    I and my wife spent over an hour several months ago with a consulting firm answering questions, positive and negative about Integriclaim. This is the e-mail I received from your Company.
     
    Tom,
    Thank you for participating in the MSB study in May. I appreciate your willingness to participate with such a short notice. We received a lot of valuable feedback from Celent that will help us deliver a Claims solution that will meet the market needs. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to call me.
     
    Thanks,
    Ella Ozier, PMP
    Director of Claims Product Management
    Marshall & Swift/Boeckh
    262 798-3607
    262 389-2234 (cell)
     
    I still do believe in your product as a viable instrument to assist we adjusters, however, there are some problems that exist that will not allow Integriclaim to enter the arena as number 1.
     
    My question to you; Is this going to be a common practice? Are the adjusters now having to pay for database updates. If so, you will lose a great deal of users. I would appreciate a reply.
     
    Regards,
     
    Tom L. Toll
     
     
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    08/03/2009 2:07 PM

    <!--IncrdiXMLRemarkStart> FLAVOR00-NONE-0000-0000-000000000000 0.000000 ; In all fairness, I must post this from what appears to be a conscientous employee of MS/B. I applaude her for a response within minutes of my sending the e-mail. Thank you Ella.

     
     
    Tom,
    I will personally follow up today to get your database update taken care of free of charge. I will also give you a call to ensure that you and your wife are equipped for the CAT.

    Ella
    --------------------------
    Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Device

    Ella Ozier, PMP
    Director of Claims Product Management
    Marshall & Swift/Boeckh
     

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    okclarryd
    Veteran Member
    Veteran Member
    Posts:954


    --
    08/06/2009 11:27 PM
    The squeaky wheel got some grease, eh, Tom?
    Larry D Hardin
    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    08/07/2009 10:36 AM
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Mike B
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:2


    --
    08/07/2009 9:47 PM

    I personally do not believe that MSB will be around in 5 years. It seems that 90% are using X-actimate

     

    Mike B

    0
    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1865


    --
    08/08/2009 10:00 AM

    I disagree with you Mike. They will be around for a long time. Hopefully their EyeQ program will give Exactimate some serious competition. From what I hear, it will.  Time will tell.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    0
    Gale Hawkins
    PowerClaim.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:386


    --
    08/15/2009 12:55 PM
    Posted By Mike B on 07 Aug 2009 09:47 PM

    I personally do not believe that MSB will be around in 5 years. It seems that 90% are using X-actimate

     

    Mike B

     

    The first time I heard that it was only going to be Xactimate left standing was in 1996.  We will see when that prediction comes true. :)

    Allstate is not small account nor do I expect MSB has ever showed a net profit on the estimating software side and may never do so. That is not their core business and never will be based on what I can learn about the direction of MDA. I expect the estimating software is a loss leader to gain/maintain the I2V accounts.



     

    0
    clewisco
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:1


    --
    08/18/2009 7:14 PM
    Go over to the exactimate forum and read the complaints...unless they change exactimate is NOT the wave of the future.
    0
    Olegred
    Member
    Member
    Posts:363


    --
    06/23/2010 4:50 PM
    now that allstate dumped msb, it is dead, simsol is next
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    06/23/2010 8:01 PM
    Nope Simsol is still the program of choice for most of the flood adjusters who do not work for the WYO and married to xmate. Many many small IA,s in the USA use Simsol and will not change. I do not use either, but would use SIMSOL if Houston gets flooded.
    0
    ChuckDeaton
    Life Member
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:1110


    --
    06/23/2010 10:27 PM
    All Hail, John Postava. When Houston floods me and Simsol and Excel will be on the scene.

    Lets hear 3 for John Postava, all join in, hip hip HOORAY, hip hip HOORAY, hip hip HOORAY!
    "Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
    0
    WILLIS
    Member
    Member
    Posts:97


    --
    06/24/2010 12:32 AM
    I have used Simsol for about 16 years and love it. It can be easily adapted for any line of coverage   Fortunately, the vendor I work with only uses Simsol for flood. Xactimate has modified its programs making it harder and harder to use. There are alot of complaints by adjusters but the problem is Xm8 could care less they market carriers not adjusters  but things can change    When the floods come this year Simsol will deliver the best final product   
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    06/24/2010 10:49 AM
    Good adjusters do not need xmate, worms need xmate.
    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    06/25/2010 10:12 AM
    Thanks for the kind (and not so kind) words. Have not been on CADO for a couple of months - hope everyone is well. SIMSOL is doing great and we are continuing to provide professional estimating software to those adjusters who have a choice in the software they can use. With Allstate going to the "dark side", X now tells the industry what construction costs and can now limit the amount of money contractors can charge for repairs. This smells of anti-trust and somebody someday will take them to court over it. Just because X says drywall costs X-per-square-foot doesn't make it the right price. The free market used to set the cost of repairs - now a software company dictates costs. I've been adjusting for 30 years now and this is just plain BAD for the insurance industry. MSB took a big blow and even their new applicaiton "Q" couldn't save the good hands account. People will lose their jobs and that is not a good thing. We all work very hard on the software and support we provide adjusters and contractors and it is a shame we have an 800 pound ISO gorilla out there tellling everyone how to pay their claims.

    Whatever software you use or have to use, learn it well and get ready for this year's hurricane season - all forecasts say we will all be working in September!!!
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    06/26/2010 12:46 PM
    I have been telling the adjusting world for years, insurance adjusters(insurance carriers) can not set the price for restoration work. The reason this program is used by many companies is the large national water suckers have set the price for cleaning operations by the unit, by the truck, by the man and by the supervisor. these are all measurable units, but they are really ONE measurable unit split out four way. We alll know a competive bid would save 30-40 % off the bottom line.
     
    I am working with the fire marshall,s in several TX. cities to expose this little know fact.  The buying public is not aware the fixed prices, increases the fire loss cost on a city by city basis , which raises the fire rate; the base of all Homeowner rates. Now throw in the accidental water losses (the mother load) and the lazy ins. commish and you have a money maker for EVERYONE but the consumer.
    0
    Olegred
    Member
    Member
    Posts:363


    --
    07/11/2010 4:10 PM
    it's only matter of time before xact takes over competely... And the reason for this is that it is simply better software... all your theories about great conspiracy are completely ridiculous... it is pity that instead of making simsol competitive you indulge in self deception...
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    07/11/2010 6:06 PM
    When xactimate and the water suckers dominate the estimating world of insurance ckaims, this is when the class action lawsuits on clean water, gray water, flood water, fire, smoke, odor losses will be class action suits after the fact. It is a fact today... I can write an estimate in 27 with all the bells and whistles and put it out for blind bids on scope only in Houston, Texas and get the work done as good as the best "insurance restoration contractor in Houston" and save 20% on ever loss.
     
    But the carrier has to kiss the loss adjustment forever..... this is not the plan.... get em closed is the carriers plan and I don,t know any independent adjuster who wants to cut his service bill 20% and live with the grief, and it will be lots of long tail involvement. I really don,t think Cat. adjusters care about the cost, the more it cost the more they make. Kinda sounds like the retired auto workers in Michigan, who killed the golden goose? And this goose is mow more like 2 snakes eating each others tails.
    0
    johnpostava
    SIMSOL.com
    Member
    Member
    Posts:140


    --
    07/14/2010 11:57 AM
    I dont know of one industry where one software controls 100% of the marketplace. SIMSOL is very much alive and we serve our clients very well. Our first program was released in 1989 and it still works today. I just finished a 500K plus estimate in less than an hour. Simsol simply works and if you were weaned on MSB or X of course you would think either system was the best. I know them all and they all produce an estimate. Each time X comes out with a new version I see more and more simsol in their "new" features. Simsol may not have the most "sizzle" when compared to X but it gets the job done in a fraction of the time and, as an IA cat adjuster, gets the service bills paid. As far as estimating the area of a "curve", most experienced contractors and adjusters (with more than 10 years experience) square it off and leave the rest to waste....estimating is an ART and not an Xact science (pardon the pun). Just my two cents....
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    07/14/2010 2:46 PM
    I have always thought computers were a great tool when it came to revising my estimate, for any reason.I will argue this point with any expert in the world estimate ever cube, square and rectangle and add a waste factor thats reasonable and close the file. Anything else is wasting SOMEONES $$$.
     
    I will bet most of the Local Independent Adjusters in the USA do not use x and will not be blackmailed into using x. Any takers
    0
    brighton
    Member
    Member
    Posts:139


    --
    07/17/2010 10:38 AM
    Ray,
     
    I always hate to differ with you because you almost alway beat me anyway. This time I have to differ with you about Independent firms staying away from XM8.
     
    Here you have an estimating system (XM8) that is owned by a company (ISO) that at one time was owned by the insurance industry that are now in many cases major stock holders in ISO  so still owned by the carriers. The ones in Finance will reccomend that the carrier use the system they have stock ownership in. The one biggie I know of that sold off their stock and made what looked like some nice money was The Hartford. I believe the rest retained their stock in ISO. Now the small carriers may allow IA firms to use what they want but the ones that still have stock in ISO are either changing to XM8 or have been using it for a good while. When a carrier you do work for wants you to use a particular system, you either bite the bullet and use it or find someone else to do work for. Look @ Allstate, done gone to XM8. I believe the top 10 or maybe 15 carriers use XM8. Could be wrong but it has to be close.
     
    IA firms have to look at bottom line and many would love to dump XM8 because of the cost, however untill someone can prove price fixing, domination of market like the old Standard Oil case or the like, many IA's are forced to use what they do not want to.
    Rocke Baker
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    07/17/2010 1:46 PM
    I dont think I have ever disagreed with you Rocke, but you hit it on the head, Iknow the market price makes it better for the buyer. I just think blind bids by contractors with line item estimates would result in 20 to 30% reduction in cost nationwide on insurance repair cost. I think the carriers can overlook this fact as the contractors are the ones who write the unit prices in x. This is called we need to keep a lid on these cost going in.
     
    I have not been called to testify in a class action lawsuit by all the policyholders in one zip code (the whole USA) who complain about large premium increases ever year of 5, 10, 15% that is BECAUSE the cost of repairs is passed on to the consumer as the "estimate" is not determined by market, but  x in about 80-90% of all insurance estimates.  The fee bill adjusters go along and get along by keeping the status que and  their mouth shut. I really think all insurance carriers still try to make an underwriting profit of x % and underwriting profit goes up with the cost of insurance as we all know. I have never seen it come down because of competive bids to repair damage.
     
    Why should the insurance carrier say what is owed, they have tried this for years on medical cost and what good has it done. If a policy holder selects a contractor and the three agree on the scope and cost, seems like the lawsuits will slow down. Whats unfair when three people agree like they can if they try .Then you could plug all this in x( or a less complicated-expensive program) and see if the adjuster and the contractor are between the ditchs beside the highway. I still think this is a honorable job it had made me a good living for almost 50 years.
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    07/17/2010 1:50 PM
    Posted By Ray Hall on 17 Jul 2010 01:46 PM
    I dont think I have ever disagreed with you Rocke, but you hit it on the head, Iknow the market price makes it better for the buyer. I just think blind bids by contractors with line item estimates would result in 20 to 30% reduction in cost nationwide on insurance repair cost. I think the carriers can overlook this fact as the contractors are the ones who write the unit prices in x. This is called we need to keep a lid on these cost going in.
     
    I have not been called to testify in a class action lawsuit by all the policyholders in one zip code (the whole USA) who complain about large premium increases ever year of 5, 10, 15% that is BECAUSE the cost of repairs is passed on to the consumer as the "estimate" is not determined by market, but  x in about 80-90% of all insurance estimates.  The fee bill adjusters go along and get along by keeping the status que and  their mouth shut. I really think all insurance carriers still try to make an underwriting profit of x % and underwriting profit goes up with the cost of insurance as we all know. I have never seen it come down because of competive bids to repair damage.
     
    Why should the insurance carrierhave the only say what is owed, they have tried this for years on medical cost and what good has it done. If a policy holder selects a contractor and the three agree on the scope and cost, seems like the lawsuits will slow down. Whats unfair when three people agree like they can if they try .Then you could plug all this in x( or a less complicated-expensive program) and see if the adjuster and the contractor are between the ditchs beside the highway. I still think this is a honorable job it had made me a good living for almost 50 years.But standard prices for insurance policys is a bad practice, and standard prices for repairs is equally bad for the same reasons

    0
    Ryan in Houston
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:16


    --
    07/17/2010 10:46 PM
    My worthless opinion....

    No carrier or vendor should have to force software on anyone. I can write anything in Xact, Simsol, or MSB...but I want to choose, not pay fees to 3 companies.

    With the ISO Xact relatioinship, it has the potential to look really bad for carriers using ISO forms and Xact. All it takes is one motivated plaintiff's lawyer and one judge to change all that.

    0
    brighton
    Member
    Member
    Posts:139


    --
    07/18/2010 10:29 AM
    Ray,

    I meant no disrespect when I said differing with you I would always lose. Your years and experience (over 15 years more than me) make mine pale compared to yours. You make me think long and hard before posting which is what I need. I want to have the ducks in a row and even then between you, Chuck, Tom and some others, I know that somewhere I could be very wrong in my position on some things. And you folks have no qualm about correcting if need be. Thank you for that.

    I hope that the new folks out there remember that a lot of us began our careers with some crusty adjusters and supervisors who were not afraid to tell us what we did wrong. That is how we learned and while we may not be politically correct in our opinions or answers we are willing to help and guide. Just not willing to do the work for the new ones. No one learns that way.

    Rocke Baker
    0
    Ray Hall
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:2443


    --
    07/18/2010 3:24 PM
    Thanks again Rocke.   Bad info on a public forum or training school blather must be discarded. If its not refuted or  a good argument  is not made to refute the "bad info", valuable knowledge has been blended with junk.
    0


    ---