PrevPrev Go to previous topic
NextNext Go to next topic
Last Post 07/18/2010 3:24 PM by  Ray Hall
MSB, a new beginning
 99 Replies
Sort:
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Page 1 of 41234 > >>
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
    You are not authorized to post a reply.
    Page 1 of 41234 > >>


    These Forums are dedicated to discussion of Claims Adjusting.

    For the benefit of the community and to protect the integrity of the ecosystem, please observe the following posting guidelines: 
    • No Advertising. 
    • No vendor trolling / poaching. If someone posts about a vendor issue, allow the vendor or others to respond. Any post that looks like trolling / poaching will be removed.
    • No Flaming or Trolling.
    • No Profanity, Racism, or Prejudice.
    • Terms of Use Apply

      Site Moderators have the final word on approving / removing a thread or post or comment.