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Last Post 07/18/2010 3:24 PM by  Ray Hall
MSB, a new beginning
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BobH
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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.?
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JohnB
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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
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BobH
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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
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JohnB
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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
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BobH
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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
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Ray Hall
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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"

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johnpostava
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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
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JohnB
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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
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okclarryd
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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
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Tom Toll
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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.
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BobH
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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
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HuskerCat
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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.

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

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Tom Toll
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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.
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Gale Hawkins
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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.
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Tom Toll
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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.
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