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Last Post 02/06/2008 10:03 AM by  dorothys
CAt Adjusters Under Scrutiny Again
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cowboy26995
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01/30/2008 3:09 PM

    The GAO urged Congress to empower the agency to examine both wind and water claims data related to hurricane damages. It also said state regulators need to strengthen licensing and training requirements for insurance adjusters

     

    These comments taken from an article published today in the Washington Post bring to the forefront the issue of throwing warm bodies at claims. When will the carriers realize that paying experienced qualified personnel well will enable them to regain some credibility with both congress and the public at large. The tactics they've utilized of late are going to severely backfire. Although i'm all for free enterprise as a veteran of the claims business I'd like to see more stringent requirements for the folks carrier's field as claims handlers.

    Marc Dubois
    Executive General Adjuster
    M.G.D. Claim Services Inc.
    "Your Commercial Claims Solution"
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    katadj
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    01/31/2008 10:53 AM
    That's hitting the proverbial nail squarely on the head......................................
    "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new... Albert Einstein"
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    Buford Gonzales
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    02/01/2008 9:18 AM
    Marc, Brain Surgery this ain't.
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    stormcrow
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    02/01/2008 9:59 AM

    I have never understood how a WYO can use an adjuster not certified by NFIP.  Mind you I never understood how you can train someone for 3 days and send him/her out to adjust cat losses.  And if we get a major cat this year!!! 

    I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
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    cowboy26995
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    02/01/2008 12:37 PM

    Over the course of the last year the media has been doing a fine job of portraying the ineptness of the adjusters that were in the field post Katrina not only from a training viewpoint but from an ethical perspective. Being told what to write in a report by an employer be it a carrier or independent is totally unacceptable. A three day wonder would surely do less quibbling about the honesty of such a scenario. As a thirty four year veteran of this business I have never submitted a recommendation I didn't agree with. You can't buy me because you've employed me. Unfortunately because of our lack of standards and the availability of folks willing to submit anything and everything for a buck this industry is being highly scrutinized and rightfully so. As previous folks have noted a strong ,unified, and qualified adjusting entity would go a long way to restoring the public's faith. What the heck are we waiting for. I know it's been tried before. WHY DON'TWE FINALLY DO IT?

    Marc Dubois
    Executive General Adjuster
    M.G.D. Claim Services Inc.
    "Your Commercial Claims Solution"
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    sbeau4014
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    02/01/2008 3:41 PM
    Marc,
    Unfortunantely, in the eyes of the media and almost all of those who deal with insurance companies by way of a claim, there is no difference between that 3 day wonder and you or I. I don't think public perception of us as a whole will change even if there were national licensing standards, high ethical standards, etc. in place. There are a few carriers that it might make a difference to, but as 04 and 05 revealed, overall the carriers will take what they can get when a big storm hits. The same may hold true for the smaller storms too.
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    Tom Toll
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    02/01/2008 5:34 PM

    Many thousands of claims occurred during 04 and 05. The same thing happened with Katrina. The dilemma we face is the carriers want feet on the ground to adjust their losses. They want their insured's contacted within a certain period of time, they want inspections within a  certain period of time, and to be honest, there are not enough qualified adjusters to handle thousands of claims. This is a normal dilemma the cat adjusting community faces on a large event. If there were 100,000 claims to look at, you would have to have 20,000 adjusters to  inspect 5 losses each to satisfy the criteria the companies impose on us. There are not 20,000 qualified cat adjusters available and certainly, no one would travel to a large event on the pretext they would only have 5 losses to handle. This is a problem that only the vendors can provide by having longer training sessions prior to deplyoying new adjusters and with sufficient ground personel to oversee what the adjusters  are doing.

    Having an organization of adjusters would help some, but would not eliminate that problem. Insureds get mad at adjusters most time, because they did not have the coverage they thought they had. This, of course, is not our fault, but yes, we do get the blame. The general public in most cases, have no clue as to what their coverage consists of. There are agents who do not  understand what the consumer needs or wants. So the blame lies with many. Newbies have hurt us, but I have personally seen some newbies do outstanding work. Of course, they are the ones who do not fear asking a question.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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    okclarryd
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    02/01/2008 6:18 PM


    I recently lost a job because I refused to depreciate EVERY ITEM that was depreciable on an estimate to the tune of 50%. Paint, roofing, wallpaper, deck repair, heater cap, etc. 50% across the board.

    I carefully explained to my supervisor/employer that everything does not depreciate at the same rate and he told me to apply 50% to everything.

    These things don't matter unless you need to explain to the insurance department or to some attorney why everything depreciates at the same rate.

    My point is that if I did not have some degree of intelligence and experience, I would just go along with the plan. I tried my best to communicate with my boss but was unsuccessful. I try not to consciously make errors when I know they may come back to bite me.

    Anybody need a hard-headed adjuster?

    Larry D Hardin
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    cowboy26995
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    02/01/2008 6:42 PM

    Larry You can work with or for me anytime. As not all CAt losses are insignificant I thought that if the most experienced folk adhering to this site banded together we could at least seek to corner the large loss market. We could also be a loud voice for change in the industry. I guess some of us have achieved a certain comfort level and are no longer as feisty as Larry and myself.

    Marc Dubois
    Executive General Adjuster
    M.G.D. Claim Services Inc.
    "Your Commercial Claims Solution"
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    okclarryd
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    02/01/2008 6:48 PM

    Mark et al,

    Somewhere there is a market and a demand for good, reliable, seasoned adjusters that can work a leaky shower pan or a total fire loss to a $3 Million dollar structure.

    Somewhere.

    I have been giving this some thought and I am leaning toward working commercial claims and flood claims exclusively.  I, and others, have the experience, the self confidence, the intelligence, and, most important, the people skills to walk into a situation and work the claim.

    Now, since I"m so darned smart, who do I need to call?

    Larry D Hardin
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    cowboy26995
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    02/01/2008 7:18 PM
    I'd be more than willing to be the contact for any veteran adjusters willing to form an association in order to market their wares.
    Marc Dubois
    Executive General Adjuster
    M.G.D. Claim Services Inc.
    "Your Commercial Claims Solution"
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    HuskerCat
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    02/01/2008 9:56 PM
    Posted By Larry Hardin on 02/01/2008 6:48 PM

    Mark et al,

    Somewhere there is a market and a demand for good, reliable, seasoned adjusters that can work a leaky shower pan or a total fire loss to a $3 Million dollar structure.

    Somewhere.

    I have been giving this some thought and I am leaning toward working commercial claims and flood claims exclusively.  I, and others, have the experience, the self confidence, the intelligence, and, most important, the people skills to walk into a situation and work the claim.

    Now, since I"m so darned smart, who do I need to call?

    Therein, lies our problem, Larry...I'm currently supplementing my days working at a health carrier as a temp in the customer service area.  Now, understand, prior to my P&C days I had about 10 years in Health&Life claims so I'm not a complete stranger to it, just several years removed. This company is a carrier, as well as a Third Party Administrator for group plans.  A supervisor just yesterday approached me because one of my interoffice notes to an examiner included references to "TPA" and "s/b".  They did not understand (and I cannot understand why not) that TPA means Third Party Administrator, and s/b stands for "should be".  So, I re-wrote the memo in her words verbatum, which did not at all convey the necessary information that was intended.  But, it is also noted to be "per X's recommendation", so there's my CYA!!  And, I'll be more than happy to answer to it later when/if it gets escalated to upper management...at which time they will see my original memo and wonder what kind of staff they have in supervisory capacities. 

    I have "equals" at the work place that came in when I did who are recent high school grads, pizza delivery guys, etc.  So one shouldn't  believe that it is only in times of cats that the insurance workplace is filled with unqualified personnel.  Nor should we be surprised.  It is occurring in every job place, likely, other than the skilled tradesman.  And those jobs are seeing declining numbers in qualified workers too.  Time to get the kids off their duffs and away from the video games/Hanna Montana, and back to the erector sets. Maybe by the time they are ready to join the workforce, someone will have come to their senses and put things back to the way they should be (s/b).  

    Up here in Nebr, we aren't as good as you are in Oklahoma in football or basketball, as of late...but we like to think we're nearly as smart.  Anybody hiring an old adjuster around here too, as long as Larry was asking?  

     

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    katadj
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    02/02/2008 12:45 PM

      Seems like it is only the "tried and true" that can fully appreicate what is needed to properly, adequately and honestly adjust a claim.

    There are, in my best estimate , about 30-50 old timers who could make the above mentioned grade. Not all are CADO members, but they are still the best of the best.

    How to sucessfully indoctrinate the IA's and / or the carriers as to what is truly needed and to acquire the work is the issue. We can form a virtual ensemble of these talented and capable individuals, but as Larry said who do we call?

    To market this concept of the "A" team ourselves , at this time would probably not be an effective nor economic endeavor. Perhaps one of the existing IA firms would put themselves out in front of the others by touting the benefits and concept of an "A" team of seasoned, strong heavy hitters?

    There is an answer somewhere, and we must put our collective minds together and come to a resolve. 

    In for a penny or for a pound.        ( Comments Always Welcome)

    "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new... Albert Einstein"
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    Buford Gonzales
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    02/02/2008 2:12 PM
    Larry

    Was that employer the Spanish Explorer in CA. If so, I was just informed that the insurer wants our IA to do the same, our IA refused.
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    HuskerCat
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    02/02/2008 6:40 PM

    Ah, the Spanish Explorer...same one that chastised me for walking away from a foreclosed property in the 'hood when I found the door broken down, all windows boarded up, dark as night inside during the middle of the day.  Spent bullet casings, needles & syringes within flashlight distance when I peeked in.  Headed back to my truck & called the carrier.  They insisted I inspect, but would not authorize a paid security back-up, and threatened to pull all future assignments.  Only other recourse was to try and get a police escort, but the city cops have better things and higher priorites to do than assist an insurance adjuster.  Needless to say, that was the last one I handled for that carrier.  It did not hurt my feelings, nor my pocket, since most of their assignments were in the 'hood and their fee schedule was like working for free anyway since there was hardly ever a covered cause of loss.  Minimum charge fee bill, including 50 free miles & free photos, plus obtain neighborhood canvass & utility company records.   Now that I think about it...it wasn't working for free, more like at a deficit.  

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    Ray Hall
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    02/02/2008 6:55 PM

    Why does a severly damaged house from any covered peril need good craftsmen to put it back to as good are slightly better than the condition before the loss ? The customer demands this and they should. Would you recommend a first week apprentice to do the job? No. Catastrophe claims must be adjusted by people who can work regular claims.

    The carriers must give in to the policyholders demands and only send qualified people. These people should be a contractor that the carrier stands behind or an adjuster they will back up.

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    brighton
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    02/03/2008 8:09 AM
    Untill the upper management in 98% of the companies cease to be fixated with the bottom line, nothing will change. Some companies are running as high as 35% turnover in their departments and cannot figure out why. With micro-managing every move of the adjuster be it staff or independent, the constant worry of the cost of the claim, cheap and very green adjusting is what is going to be used as it keeps the LAE down even though the average cost of the claim will go up. And very possibly customer satisfaction is not very high as well. Making a profit is well and good. Doing what ever it takes to get the end of year bonus is another.
    Rocke Baker
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    cowboy26995
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    02/03/2008 11:23 AM
    I think Dave Hood's idea of a premier IA firm wanting an elite team of adjusters is a good one. Let's see who steps up to the plate. Insofar as Rocke's comments are concerned carriers know they can get back claims overpayments by rate hikes, they have more trouble justifying admin costs. With what we have seen in the media this year about claims handling on both a Cat and daily basis you'd think that somewhere those actuaries running the claims departments would clue in. Maybe when claims departments are again run by claims people things might change. I won't however hold my breath.
    Marc Dubois
    Executive General Adjuster
    M.G.D. Claim Services Inc.
    "Your Commercial Claims Solution"
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    tonyd46
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    02/03/2008 11:26 AM

    In answer to the question to a group of adjusters forming a union or such. As a union delegate from way back when in the teamsters I have discussed this in depth with James Hoffa Jr. and my cousin who is number 2 in the teamsters and he handles all the contract and benifits negoations. In my talks I have found that as adjusters with a union behind us  the benifits are great. We will have representation with both the carriers and ia firms.There will no way an ia firm would  be allowed to not pay their adjusters and with collective bargining we would have contracts that are to our advantage. It would set standards for training and allow us the health and unemployment benifits that we should be allowed as american workers. Also the carriers would be held accountable for timley payments to the ia firms and the ia firms would be held accountable for full payments to all adjusters. And we would have access to delagates and lawyers who will stand up and fight for us. But lets get honest at least 80% of adjusters fight this idea as they feel that doing it by themselves is to their advantage. But lets look back at the threads dealing with bad ia firms and whatnot.

    These practices would not be allowed and every ia firm would be held accountable. The power of the union  as a whole is better then a group of us complaining on this site and not achieving any results.doing it one person at a time. Just look at how many adjusters have still not been paid for loses they worked in new orleans and surrounding areas. with a union delegate the ia firms would be held accountable to and have to justify to the union lawyer why the adjusters have not been paid when they have already been paiid.. the union would set up standards that we as adjusters  and the firms that hire us have to live by thus making our employment more desirable to clients.The power of the union would force the bad apples out of the industry. But in all honesty this is just my opinion and I already know the negative reaction this statement will bring in our community.but untill we as a group decide to take this matter head on and realize that there is strenth in numbers nothing in our industry relating to adjusters will change. We are not leaders in the industry we are disposible to ia firms and carriers and the past 2 years prove it.

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    Ray Hall
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    02/03/2008 3:22 PM

    I have been around before Crawford & Co. started their national catastrophe teams and the thing we can not overlook is the insurance carriers are not  concerned by "insured" losses. All losses paid in indemnity will be captured in increase cost to the buying public. They are not that concerned with outside legal expense as that cost is passed along also. However, they are charged to find, report and resist fraud, Ex gracia payments and payments not covered by the contracts language

    Now the biggie, the claim department. This is a cost of doing business and can not be figured in the loss ratio's that make the base for increase in cost to be approved by the regulatory agencys.

    If you want proof go to an insurance carrier and your pitch is :your adjusting service is ABSORBED as you will save the cost of adjustment by useing your software or your tight fisted adjusters.  This will not get you the business.....but cheap labor and warm bodies will get you plenty of business. So who needs an over qualified person to look at a roof loss?  ...... Hmmmm

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