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Last Post 02/27/2013 12:04 PM by  dpadjuster
Setting up our storm team ops
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kevinbti
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02/11/2013 8:05 PM
      I work with an insurance company and have been asked to revamp our storm team ops  What suggestions do you have to make the  teams most efficent?  I think a requirement of 60 claim inspection for every 12 days worked is a fair requirement  What do you think?  What requirements would you have in place?   What would you like to have in place for first team responders ettc; Thanks for any suggestions.
    pondman
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    02/12/2013 10:12 AM
    Kevin,

    Congratulations on trying to make things run smoothe. Before "we" all bombard you with suggestions, may I ask what is your format now? Tell us how you are set up? Tell us what you do so "we" may expand on that and compare to the ways we are doing it.

    Mark
    Give them what they want, when they want it, and how they want it !
    ChuckDeaton
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    02/12/2013 4:27 PM
    Depends on the claim, but seems to me that something on the order of 2 scopes per day average is more in line with most field reps abilities.

    A complete scope it time consuming, but results in closed claims that stay closed.
    "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
    Leland
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    02/12/2013 8:56 PM
    There you go being negative again, Chuck. Certainly 5 a day (with no days off) is doable. You just need to hire young athletic types, give them small one story flat roof claims all bunched together, and have simple paperwork requirements. Notice he doesn't say anything about typing estimates, just scoping. I have done five in a day and I am 50 years old. To be honest I can get five done by scheduling 3 and calling 2 on the fly, but if you read carefully he doesn't say anything about calling on the phone to schedule, or planning the routes, studying maps etc. That means he obviously has other staff to do that for the adjusters. Now I have to admit I couldn't do five a day every day AND type the estimates AND all the other paperwork, but he's just talking about scoping. You need to read more carefully Chuck. All this guy has to do is limit the recruiting to athletic individuals, which would unfortunately exclude me (AND YOU!). The other problem with guys like you and I is we probably want to talk to the insured too much, explaining things. If this guy trains his adjusters to say "I'm sorry, I'm just here to inspect, you'll have to call the office if you have any questions." they will save tons of time on the losses. Som please Chuck, stop being so negative and get with the program.

    Look at the bright side- just find out who the cleanup vendor is for these claims.......
    HuskerCat
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    02/12/2013 9:47 PM
    There you go again, Leland...Chuck gave a quite polite response (ok, I get it)! Kevin is a "guest" here...let us treat him as we would like to be treated.

    Kevin - I will assume from your post, that you are a staff person. With that given, what have been the issues that call for revamping? What's worked, or not worked? Are the bulk of your losses HO, small commercial, large commercial, or a mix? Urban or rural? I don't think you can pin down a number until you know what your individual field adjuster's abilities are, and hopefully assign the losses appropriately to those individuals. Some of them may be able to crank out the 5 per day you mention, while others maybe 1-2, unless you have commercial losses...then forget about that. They all take the necessary time as needed and it ain't easy to pre-determine. Facts aren't driven by conclusions, conclusions are driven by the facts.
    Medulus
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    02/12/2013 10:28 PM
    And to the list compiled by the Husker Guy, I will add that the intensity of the storm and resultant damage is a major factor. Some storms allow for two inspections and scopes per day and some allow for five or six. Also the season of the year dictates how long the inspection day can be. It is contra-indicated to inspect roofs in the dark. And the number of closings possible are dependent on the carrier file requirements. If you fail to take into account the intricacies of storm work and the storms themselves, you do your company and your insured a dis-service.
    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
    ChuckDeaton
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    02/13/2013 12:03 AM
    I've heard of field reps, but not adjusters, that inspected 5 to 10 losses in one day, but not a daily average over a 45 day storm. My experience is that most, not all, field reps, Ave about 2 pd claims per day over the long haul.
    "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
    AcceleratedAdjuster
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    02/13/2013 9:33 AM
    Posted By kevinbti on 11 Feb 2013 08:05 PM
      I work with an insurance company and have been asked to revamp our storm team ops  What suggestions do you have to make the  teams most efficent?  I think a requirement of 60 claim inspection for every 12 days worked is a fair requirement  What do you think?  What requirements would you have in place?   What would you like to have in place for first team responders ettc; Thanks for any suggestions.


    If they are IA's, I hold my team to a standard of 4 inspections & reports per day, with the goal of 6 & 6. Several of my guys can manage the 6 & 6, but they burn out within a month or so if they keep that pace up without breaks. 4 & 4 tends to allow them to knock off around 7 or 8pm, leaving them reasonably well rested for the following day. If you are just talking inspections/scopes and no reporting, 60 per 12 is a good number. If you expect them to do a consistent 5 inspections & 5 reports per day, you will probably encounter more than a few who cannot keep up the pace, unless you have very limited reporting requirements.

    The biggest factor that I have observed with regards to handling heavy volume is internal support. If the carrier or the IA firm has the infrastructure and the ability to modify reports during the review process (just the little things.. verbiage, spelling, single line items, etc.) rather than kicking the reports back to the FA for minor corrections, heavy volume can be handled by the FA's with ease. If, however,  a FA returns from the field ready to prepare that day's reports and has to make a half dozen minor changes to the prior day's reports, the time consumed doing so is lost, as is the productivity that could have occurred during that time. Some FA's learn quickly from these occurrences and quickly adopt and apply the hard learned lesson to all subsequent reports; many, however, do not.

    With daily claims, rejecting a file for minor changes is a standard practice, and such rejections can be used to hone the FA's skills and understanding of reporting requirements. This works out well, because a daily adjuster will tend to work with you for more than the duration of a catastrophe, and you have an adequate amount of time to train them to meet whatever standards apply. Unfortunately, when a catastrophe occurs, it generally becomes an "all hands on deck" or "warm body" situation, in which there is little time to properly shape the FA's reporting techniques.

    The best advice I can offer is to reach out to IA firms in advance, and detail to them the specific needs of the carrier. Ensure that they have an internal staff of examiners appropriate to the number of adjusters that they offer to deploy. Ensure that the reporting format and requirements are absolutely clear. Ensure that you have at least a couple of backup IA firms in place in case the primary drops the ball.

    Disclaimer: The number of inspections and reports that I have mentioned really would only apply to a typical event in an urban area, non-commercial. Commercial claims can take a lot longer.

    www.acceleratedadjusting.com www.acceleratedadjustingisrael.com
    itryharder
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    02/13/2013 10:40 AM
    I think the best way to approach it is to setup a spreadsheet and list your categories and there variables and then assign a time amount to each variable. This way you have a complete plan no matter what the event major hurricane/ hail/ flood/ minor storm. The more detail in which you break it down the more precise you can be. A major storm with major damage where power is out and roads are unaccessible will take longer than an area that is easy to drive to and do a simple hail scope. Treat this just like using Xactimate every line item has a variable and price associated with. Then you can take skill level of the adjuster and apply a time variable to that. The reporting guidelines can be given a time variable as well are you requiring them to write checks, meet with contractors or just an inspection and file a report. Do you require every room be photographed and measured or just the areas of damage. One thing to make sure of is require that a desk adjuster be available between the hours of 6pm and 9pm local time of the storm so when the adjuster is filing the report if he has any questions he can have them answered and complete the report.
    ChuckDeaton
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    02/13/2013 1:58 PM
    Dear Administrator Fugate:



    I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the efficacy of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in ensuring that policyholders impacted by Superstorm Sandy receive timely payments, and to request that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) take all necessary actions to ensure that Sandy victims begin to receive their insurance settlements in a timely manner.



    Superstorm Sandy was a tragedy of historic proportions for the New York area. The damage was widespread, and many areas were almost completely devastated. I understand that the sheer magnitude of this disaster has made FEMA’s response – in managing the NFIP as well its other critical response efforts – an enormously complex challenge, and that many of the insurance company employees and claims adjusters who implement NFIP on the ground were personally impacted by the storm as well. But it is now more than three months after Sandy hit New York, and the frustration of my constituents, who are waiting on their insurance payments and relying on those payments to repair and rebuild their homes, and whose access to additional federal aid must wait for their insurance claims to be processed, is fast reaching the boiling point.



    I understand that much of this work is not done by FEMA directly – you hire independent adjusters and/or implement the NFIP through a network of “write-your-own” insurance carriers. But FEMA is ultimately responsible for the performance of the NFIP. And on that score, the NFIP is decidedly underperforming: FEMA has closed barely half of all claims filed in New York (52.2% according to the most recent available data), more than 100 days after the storm. Homeowners have encountered plenty of problems receiving the full amount they are owed under non-flood claims, but even those claims have been processed more quickly – over 80% of all non-flood claims to date have been closed.



    Resources should not be a meaningful constraint in this instance – WYO insurers are reimbursed for the costs they incur to hire adjusters, so if more adjusters are needed FEMA should require that they hire more. Moreover, past studies have shown that “the amounts WYOs receive for their services represent from one-third to two-thirds of the total NFIP premiums collected annually”. The WYOs are more than adequately compensated for their servicing of NFIP policies, and it is incumbent on FEMA to ensure that they are held accountable for processing claims in a timely manner.



    I respectfully request that you provide a description of all policies and procedures FEMA has in place to ensure that adjusters and WYO insurers investigate and resolve outstanding claims in a timely manner. What are the applicable deadlines for adjusters to investigate a claim, and submit a report? What is the deadline for making final determinations on claims? And what policies are in place to ensure compliance with any relevant deadlines? WYOs are well-compensated for servicing NFIP policies, and if they are not performing in accordance with reasonable standards, they should be prohibited from participating in the WYO program or have their compensation reduced as a penalty.



    I also respectfully request that you provide an assessment of FEMA’s performance to date in ensuring timely resolution of claims, and any steps you think FEMA should take to reduce delays experienced by policyholders. Finally, I request that you provide detailed claims processing data for all affected areas, to enable an assessment of performance on both a county-by-county and company-by-company basis.



    I thank you and your staff for your hard work on so many of the important issues we’ve faced in the wake of this storm. We have worked together amicably and productively on several issues following this disaster and others, and I look forward to working with you further to ensure that the NFIP is there for homeowners when they most need it.





    Sincerely,



    Sen. Charles E. Schumer
    "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
    pondman
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    02/13/2013 7:07 PM
    You read it there folks "we are all well compensated"

    His lips move, so he must be lying !
    Give them what they want, when they want it, and how they want it !
    Catmandale
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    02/13/2013 9:13 PM
    Where has Senator Schuman been all this time? He has had the answer all along. I can just see it. Direct sales of flood policies through your Department of Motor Vehicles office. That should speed things up.

    Past studies have shown that politicians are long on criticism and short on answers.

    Mr. Deaton, you stirred the pot once more...
    AcceleratedAdjuster
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    02/14/2013 7:00 AM
    Posted By ChuckDeaton on 13 Feb 2013 01:58 PM
    Dear Administrator Fugate:

    .....
    Sincerely,



    Sen. Charles E. Schumer

    While that was certainly an interesting letter, what does it have to do with this thread? I think it deserves it's own :)

    www.acceleratedadjusting.com www.acceleratedadjustingisrael.com
    Catmandale
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    02/14/2013 10:33 AM

    I believe the story speaks to response time by IA vendors and their employees

    CatAdjusterX
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    02/14/2013 9:41 PM
    Posted By kevinbti on 11 Feb 2013 08:05 PM
      I work with an insurance company and have been asked to revamp our storm team ops  What suggestions do you have to make the  teams most efficent?  I think a requirement of 60 claim inspection for every 12 days worked is a fair requirement  What do you think?  What requirements would you have in place?   What would you like to have in place for first team responders ettc; Thanks for any suggestions.

    .....................................................

    Kevin,

    if you were in fact tasked with revamping a carrier's response, it would seem that you would have some idea as where to start and what process to impliment (sans an arbitrary post on a public site) You have the wherewithall to come up with an idea that 5 a day seems viable. How did you come up with that number?

    What's the best way to make your CAT work more efficient? Simply enough is to put forth a comprehensive estimate the very first time to bring your insured to a pre-event condition on all covered losses.

    Jut my opinion and others will certainly vary, when you are putting a target number per day or every 12 days, you are starting from the wrong outlook immediately. Not withstanding experienced hands who know what they can do, yet even those experienced hands are doing themselves and the insured a disservice by either promises or asking from their subordinates a specific number of claims per day. OK, this is easier when we have certain losses (IE..hail) but during a large scale event, nobody can say with any certainty what they will encounter.

    My personal experience in this industry is almost exclusively in the CAT area. Knocking out 4/5/6 a day means absolutely NOTHING if half of them are reopened later. The lion's share of my experience within the CAT realm is on PA rep'd and litigated claims. It is easy to see on these claims where the initial adjuster's mindset was focused upon.....and in far too many instances you can plainly see said adjuster was focused upon quantity of claims as opposed to quality of claims.

    So to enhance a carrier's efficiency, don't start by giving adjusters a quota, when you do that, you are taking an adjuster's strengths and throwing them out the window, that from the onset negates an experienced adjuster into just another body.

    Put the right people on the job and let them do their job, numbers be damned. In the end, it would probably surprise you how the numbers would even out between those who did 5 or 6 a day every day as opposed to those who did maybe 2 or 3 a day yet they got it right the first time.  


    "A good leader leads..... ..... but a great leader is followed !!" CatAdjusterX@gmail.com
    ChuckDeaton
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    02/15/2013 4:57 AM
    I spoke with an adjuster, today, a field rep who worked in New York city, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan, this field rep said that other field reps he worked with were averaging .6, that is 6 tenths of a closed file per day. These were wind claims generated by Super Storm Sandy.

    The problem seems to have been housing, or rather the lack of local housing. Many of the field reps were driving 2 hours each way from housing to losses.
    "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
    Medulus
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    02/17/2013 9:53 AM
    I just figured out my own stats on Hurricane Sandy. I closed a total of 120 claims over the first 90 days. That's an average of 1.33 per day. But that's only part of the story. First, I have my wife (who has degrees in accounting and business administration with an MBA) along, who makes all the initial appointments, sets up physical files, and prepares spreadsheets that keep track of when my appointments are, what files have been submitted for closing, what files have been approved for closing, what the billings are and whether I have been paid for the billings. This frees me up to do inspections, write up the claims, and respond to phone calls about coverage and status of my files.

    What is also not explained in the raw statistic is that lack of organization on the part of those for whom I worked on this storm led to problems too numerous to mention early on in the storm. Until well into the storm, the file requirements expected by the carriers were not clearly spelled out after many phone calls requesting this information. I had submitted many claims before any were reviewed for closing. I prefer a swift review of the first two or three claims so I know what exactly what the carrier's needs are. I also prefer to inspect one day and write the next. This cuts down on the windshield time considerably. The governor of New York's mandate that every claim in New York be inspected by a certain date screwed this up and left me with a pile of inspected but not written claims. The short daylight hours in November and December also played havoc with how many could be physically inspected in a given day.

    The complexities of dealing with multiple coverages with separate limits and, sometimes, separate deductibles for wind, flood, water backup, refrigerated products, power outage, power surge, etc. also meant that doing a thorough and accurate scope, estimate, diagrams, and report took considerable time. In an eighteen hour day it was not unusual to write up only three claims, and this is not including the contact and inspection. I've been an adjuster for more than 22 years and know what I'm doing. I'm sure there were many who closed more than I did, but few who handled the claims with the attention to detail necessary to do the job right.

    I agree with Chuck. If the job is done correctly, two a day may be a lofty goal. And even then account must be taken for the fact that the work flow is not such that two claims can be closed every day from the beginning of the storm.  This assumes that the work flow is even. This may be true on a Ford production line, but not when dealing with people. A production line model is not appropriate. Some days more are closed, and some days less. I think the most I closed in a day was eight, but most days the count was closer to three, and again this is after the inspection and scope had already been done on a previous day.


    Ultimately, the best way to ensure that as many files as possible are closed as quickly as possible is the motivation of working on commission. The more files closed, the more money someone makes. If you are dealing with carrier employees on salary this incentive is taken away. When I did cat as a carrier employee a 12 hour day was sufficient. As an independent I never quit until I have put in 15 to 18 hours, and I have never needed more than 4 to 6 hours of sleep a day which is certainly not the norm.
    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
    ChuckDeaton
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    02/17/2013 11:42 AM
    My thoughts...............

    The cat adjusting community needs more of what I call for, keep a diary, blog your experience and let us hear the details of your experience. Thanks, Steve!

    As my mama would have said, "It ain't hardly worth it."



    "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
    Medulus
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    02/18/2013 4:17 PM
    I've told this story before, but it is somewhat appropriate to tell it again here.

    In 1995 I was working on staff for a major carrier and was sent to Fort Worth to handle a large hail storm. The carrier was in the process of revamping their catastrophe operation is a big way. Among the changes being considered was whether more claims could be handled by phone using preferred vendors to effect repairs. There were about 100,000 open claims submitted to the carrier for whom I was working. They funneled most of these to the approximately 1000 adjusters they brought in.


    They also held 200 of these claims back and chose three of us to operate by phone as a test. The three of us spent two weeks calling these 200 insureds, trying to reach these 200 people and convince them to use one of three vendors to inspect and repair their roof (and any other hail damage). It was boring work stuck at a folding table twelve hours a day with nothing but three phones and a pile of files, and very frustrating as we called the same people over and over until we actually spoke to them in person. We did our best to talk them into having their claims in the manner we were suggesting. After two weeks we were called in to discuss how the trial had gone. We explained to the cat director that ultimately we had convinced FOUR (count 'em 4) of the 200 to forego inspection by an adjuster and use one of the preferred vendors. We explained that people didn't believe we were from the carrier because this was not the way their previous claims had been handled. Many more preferred to actually have an adjuster they could discuss their claim with. In our opinion the trial was a miserable failure. We then split the other 196 claims between the three of us and went out to inspect them in person. Within three weeks we had inspected, reported, and paid all the claims remaining.


    Imagine my surprise a month later when I read in the company newsletter how the trial had been an unqualified and glowing success. I further read that, based on the result of the trial, the carrier was going to move toward most claims being handled by phone in the future. My conclusion: The trial was a sham. The conclusion was decided before the trial took place. I welcome everyone else to draw their own conclusions.
    Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

    "With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
    okclarryd
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    02/18/2013 9:34 PM
    Steve,
    I had an experience in Texas, working Ohio and Indiana claims over the phone. We were to have the insured measure the rooms that were damaged and tell us about the damage and we would write an estimate while they were on the phone. We were supposed to ask the insured to go outside and look at the roof and then tell us if he/she saw any damage.

    I am not making this up.

    And, the claim requirements would change daily if not hourly. After 3 weeks or so, we started leaving. There was 15 or so to begin with and when we started leaving, it took about another 10 days for all of us to leave. Absoutely incredible.

    Larry D Hardin
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