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Last Post 02/17/2008 8:40 PM by  keithb1222
Union?
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steph9176
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02/03/2008 10:53 PM

    I noticed someone mentioned forming a union for adjusters in another thread. How many of you think this would help the Cat profession?

    Honestly I don't see this flying with the insurance companies. I'm sure they will try to crush it. It will only drive costs up for them. I can see where it would help get more professionalism into the industry but I can also seeing it turn into a monster.

    sbeau4014
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    02/03/2008 11:30 PM
    I have heard the talk/threat of unionization for over 25 years and my guess is it has as much chance of coming about now as it did 25 years ago. I for one would have nothing to do with it, but it is each person's personal preference. When unions started they were a very good idea and needed for the areas that they were developed, but cat adjusting is not anything like the industries where they came about. My gut feelings about them is that they have abused their power/standing in too many instances and I have zero desire to pay a union part of my pay for what they would claim to be able to offer me in this business. I don't see any benefit gained for me personally (pretty sellfish I know) but that is how I feel about it.
    steph9176
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    02/03/2008 11:33 PM

    I think I agree with you, Steve. I think it would cost Cat adjusters more than it is worth since the work can be so slim. Unions were useful back in the day when there were no labor laws.

    JimGary
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    02/04/2008 10:19 AM
    Part of being independent is just that, being independent. A union is just the opposite of independent. The only real issue I see in this business, is the lack of work recently, and a union cannot help that. I've seen several posts regarding rates, and auditors, or maybe no paying vendors, unless you are an employee, that is just part of being independent. The other side of the independent coin is being able to go out and make more in one deployment than our staff counterparts do in a year. Though there have times with no income, I have made more over the last several years than I would have had I stayed in my previous staff position with farmers. And I got more vacation time.

    In my opinion, we could benefit from a good strong association. Ive seen a couple, but they seem to be primarily an outlet for CEU's or yearly conventions, not so much for negotiating standardized rate sheets. I don't know that this group would be cohesive enough to form a good strong association. Just looking through the posts on this forum, you see almost as many different ideas and directions as there are people posting.

    JWG
    I know the voices aren't real, but sometimes they're right!
    tonyd46
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    02/04/2008 11:53 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. With collective bargining our industry will see an increase in quality,experianced adjusters getting the positions that they deserve and with the big guns from forming a group like this there will be no more fighting for money from bad ia firms.. Also unions can get us to be w-2 contract for a deployment thus relieving us of the tax burden at the end of the year. And it also gives us a voice in our industry that will be heard far and wide.

    being in a union or anyother group does not make you less of an independant but more of a group of professionals that have a voice and power. No one says that you can not pick and choose your assignments but what they are saying is that we should have the same rights as every one else that works as a group in an industry. Wouldn't it be nice if we could have the power for health insurance , 401k benifits and retirement plans for our futures.

    I know the negatives that other adjusters wil voice allI am doing is putting out there another idea with teeth that will help us in these changing times and make our profession one that people and the industry will respect and take notice of. Change is good why even migrant farm workers have a union so why shouldn't we have some thing similar?

    K ung Fu tzu
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    02/05/2008 7:42 AM
    I would fight a union with everything in my power. I don't need anyone or any 'body' to negotiate my contracts, secure benefits, establish rules and regulations and I sure as hell ain't going to pay anyone a fee to do it. The only 'voice' I want heard it mine, not as a group with a selected speaker.

    There was a movement around 1988 for the same rhetoric and it was fought vehemently.
    Bass
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    02/05/2008 10:14 AM

    Once again the word union is mentioned. I never in a million yrs thought I would say this but a Union is needed for us. It would at least open the eyes of the all the IA companys and maybe we could get 70%, 100 claims when we travel to a storm. You know the old days that was the 1st question you asked am I going to get 100claims. If you did not you stayed home, cause you werent going to be making anymore than a WalMart greeter. The whole point to the pay we get is to make it thru the slow times but be on call all the time. Most of the IA companys have forgot this. The insurance companys have tried to turn us into staff adjusters and work a storm as quick as possible but keep adding more and more for us to do on each claim to where you can't hardly get any thing done. I have heard stories thur the yrs about adjusters traveling across country and sitting there for a week and then sent home with we will make it up next time. A Union could address all theses problems and stop things like that. Safeco use to have a pollicy where you were to get a 75 claims evertime they called you out. I have heard they have stopped that. A Union could start a rotation for working the storms so that all the Uncles,Aunts, brothers and such don't get all the work when we have times like these.  Has their been a fee sch change since the gas prices went up. I don't know of any. We tried this while working at the LA Quake, out of 400 IA we only got 27 to come to a meeting about starting a Union. Word was that everybody else was scared of there job. I don't think a standard of 70%, min of 100 claims, compensation for travel with out working, a rotation of some sorts ect is too much to ask for. So in the mean time keep running up those credit cards and hoping that thestorm season will start soon and be a better yr than next.    IT IS NOT FAILURE ITSELF THAT HOLDS YOU BACK:  IT IS THE FEAR OF FAILURE THAT PARALYZES YOU.

    Tom Toll
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    02/05/2008 10:28 AM

    I agree with you on the union, I don't like them. They were necessary many years ago, but not now. A good organization, geared toward providing very qualified adjusters would work, however. But there are many like you that want your independence. Of course, nothing would have helped during 06 and 07, there just was not any work to be had. Hopefully 08 will produce some work for the qualified adjusters and old timers like me. We are working a lot of daily claims right now and after working the fires in Ca. for Cunningham Lindsey, at least we are not starving.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    tonyd46
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    02/05/2008 11:09 AM
    Good morning Tom,
    Thank you for your post and as i said in the beginning the opposition to a union or group to stand up for us will be the biggest obstical to overcome. The notion that we will lose our independant status is foolish there is nothing in any bylaws of the unions that I have seen that take away your independance. As i have stated over and over again we as indivaduals do not have the power or the money to keep hiring lawyers to collect when IA firms refuse to pay. How many of you out there still haven't been paid in full for work you did 4 years ago during katrina? I have seen the restiance from other adjusters and all I can say is that you must lead a charmed life as to not ever have not been paid for all your claims. An aren't you tired of taking crap from IA firms that control wether or not you work and how many claims you get. But everyone is entitled to their opinion .Unions or organizations that stand up for us may not be right for some people but having been doing this since 1979 all over the country and working for some of the largest IA firms I have found that we are nothing but warm bodies and no thought is giving to our well being on the road. We are just expected to arrive at the scene and do our jobs usally with no firm instructions on how the client is gong to handle the volume and as we progress the procedures change hourly.

    In my opinion collective bargining with a large group always works better the one person trying to climb a mountain that they are not familiar with. But again I feel that this is a waste in explaining the advantages of becoming one group as the fear of losing something is greater then trying to make our profession a big and powerful group that will not tolorate the ways of shoddy IA firms and shoddy work from our members.Change does not come easy and for years all i have heard is the complaints that we as adjusters have and no one to stand up for us.So I thank you all for letting me voice my opinion and if the mood changes let me know as I do know how to get the ball rolling and at least set up a meeting to have everyone's questions answered by the professionals. I love what I have been doing all my life but I feel that we are taken advantage of and have no way to defend our selves. And the biggest point of all is that with a lagre organization behind us the cost of health benifits that work for all our family memebers will be affordable as well as retirement benifits for the future.So agin my fellow adjusters I thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion on the future of our profession.

    K ung Fu tzu
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    02/05/2008 12:11 PM
    Anthony,

    You articulate the benefits quite well and as expected of someone that advocates union membership. The belief or disbelief in the union system for adjusters in my opinion is purely philisophical. I've heard all of your above arguments before and the word 'adjuster' can be substituted for 'teamster', "UAW', whatever. The bottom line is whether or not an individual wishes to give up their rights in exchange for collective bargaining. Sort of signing away your right to negotiate to a third party. I would choose to NOT give that right away. I'll negotiate with vendors, I'll chase down outstanding payments and I'll make the decision on who I work for. I'm not obliged to any one organization, firm and I sure as heck don't have to pay someone to do those things. I have my own affordable health insurance, disability, and life insurance. It's all available in the free market at a reasonable cost.
    I've been at this 20+ years and I can tell you if it becomes the 'future' of the business as you say, I'll opt out. I won't subsidize my income for those who can't market themselves because of the 'greater good of the group". I'm a capitalist and I'll stay that way.
    Walt Rogers
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    02/05/2008 12:53 PM
    why should everyone get 100 claims and 70%? I do a better job and I want 120 claims, right off the bat. This industry is cutthroat and only the strong survive. I like it like that, thank you very much. Lesser qualified or bad adjusters get 60% or less and maybe only 40 claims. And who is going to manage this retirement fund? Some union rep? No thanks.

    Keep you hands out of my pocket. Any union deal is a bad deal.
    tonyd46
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    02/05/2008 12:55 PM
    k'ung Fu-tzu,

    Thank you for your responce and i congratulate you on the benifits that you have achieved. I am not trying to change your thoughts or idea's and again this is just my opinion. In answer to what you feel you can do as an individual that's great but this is for all adjusters and not a single one. Maybe not every one has your knowledge or financial ability but what I do know is that the majority probley do not. The shot you took at my advocating the unions I thank you for at least I am trying for the better of all and not the better of one. If we are ever going to really be a professional organization we need a voice not cries from every direction. And to be honest with you I an not advocating union specifically but at least a strong organization that can and will stand up for all of us. And by the way have you really ever done the math on the total cast breakdown after expences, taxes, you own health care etc on one loss. You would be surprised how much money over all we really earn. yes when paid in lagre amounts at the storm level it looks like huge money but after everyone takes their piece we are left with less then 22.9% profit. Yes we have tax deductions but most all adjusters I now in our field always owe more to the goverment. It great to tout the advantages of going it alone but in any society there has to be a voice that stands up for the working guys and helps to improve their working conditions.
    When was the last time you heard an insurance company say how can we help you after the storm or you were working for an IA firm and you got dismissed because of a personality conflict? Having a grievance commettie to back you and the legal know how to enforce it is what I am talking about.
    I don;t care if it's called the International Independant Adjusters Union of the hell with it organization all I am saying is that untill we have an organization that talks for the majority of us we will always be just another warm boby to do witth at their whim. Don't you think that as a whole we will be better off as one person aginst the big guy? then a lot of individuals going willy nilly. I do not attempt to sway you or anyone else from their beliefs in the good or bad an organization all I wanted to do was open an avenue of discussion and see if we as a group can come to something that will work better for us and our industry in the future.Change does not come eaisely but with out change nothing ever improves. Again thanks to all my fellow adjusters for their opinions and thoughts on this matter. One more note in the above reply to my post I was wondering what rights will we be giving up? The right to not be paid, the right to have someone not qualified to review our losses, the right to not be able to negoiate with Ia firms for our percentage, The right to continue to spend money for classes and seminars that really most adjusters can't afford to attend during lean years. The right to be treated as a warm body till the event is over. In answer to that from my experiance is that a union or association with members has the money and where withall to provide these classes and events without major cost to us. and by doing so sets a standard that all adjusters would be proud to follow and all companies would be awed by the knowledge and professionalism we as a whole represent to the communityand to our industry. Remember we are the people who the insureds meet as their companies representive and we should all have the same standards expected of us just like any other noted and respected industry.
    cantonking
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    02/05/2008 3:59 PM

    "I won't subsidize my income for those who can't market themselves because of the 'greater good of the group". I'm a capitalist and I'll stay that way. "

    How many business owners, entrepeneurs or profesionals are represented by unions. Unions are for the weak and lame that cannot compete in todays society based on their own merits. Independent Adjusters are self employed business people. If you cannot accept the fact that you are a business person you need to find a JOB.  Some people need the security of being employed by someone else. In the world of the self employed there are no gaurantees. We are currently confronted with a situation they call in the buisness world-SUPPLY AND DEMAND-some people post 2005 encouraged everyone under the sun to become an adjuster and get rich. Now that is biting the profession in the (censored). Time will take care of this.

    Now that all the inexperienced newbies have joined our ranks why dont we form a union to cover their (censored) and make sure they get 100 claims that they cant handle, a high fee schedule to insure they get rich and a high milage fee so they can pay for the new truck they went out and bought when they got their three day wonder license. 

    "Maybe not every one has your knowledge or financial ability but what I do know is that the majority probley do not."

    Then this is not the business for you to be in, get a job. I have been a self employed entrepreneur for twenty five years. There have been good years and bad years. No one has ever gauranteed me a net profit. If you cannot make the deal work for you then take a walk.

    My uncle Donald and I discussed this extensively while he was in office.

    Ray Hall
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    02/05/2008 5:20 PM

    An group rate is available to all adjusters who work as temp. employees for a least two of the largest vendors. They have a saying when I worked for the best vendor I know. "you are only as good as your last storm". I am a multiline adjuster who has worked inside as a "temp" many months in the auto claims department. I could bill out 12 hours per day for 6 days time xxx per hour. All the annual employees put in 40 hours per week. Well I liked the overtime.

    Another very large carrier would limit me to 40 hours per week no overtime. But the employee's were doing the same thing I was doing had to work before I got to the office and when I left just to keep up and got no overtime. Why don,t all adjusters join NACA who ask for references from other Adjusters and have been around for 30 years.

    Many years ago I got a lot of direct storm work from the carriers themselves, because I was a member of NACA. No vendor involved 100 % of the fee bill. Their are still some very good IA,s working on Katrina, Rita etc and they did not need a local union to get the position.

    cowboy26995
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    02/05/2008 5:22 PM

    Having worked as an adjuster for the past thirty four years on commission or other similar form of remuneration I would want to stay as far away as possible from a union. Like the previous poster I believe in capitalism and the principle that the cream rises to the top. I do not want to ensure benefits for the mediocre or plain lazy. An association of qualified adjusters marketing their wares and benefits would be a far more respectable venture. People wanting and willing to work hard and honestly for their money will survive just fine. Unions filing petty grievances to protect the weak are nothing but an encumberance in today's society.

    Marc Dubois
    Executive General Adjuster
    M.G.D. Claim Services Inc.
    "Your Commercial Claims Solution"
    tonyd46
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    02/05/2008 5:24 PM
    Just once I would like to see some one with out the nasty attitude reply to a post with constructive advise instead of complaining. Mr. Regan no one has asked you to join a union and I do not know how long you have been an adjuster but that I me me I attitude really has no place in this discussion. What was talked about in this thread was the use or non use of some sort of form of representation for all adjusters. But I guess you being the super entrepeneur that you are you have all your bases covered. As I have gotten older and wiser in my years I have come to realize that there is more to life then just me. There are people out there wether they be newbies or experianced adjusters that the last thing they need is a chest thumping non team player to listen to. This is a team wether you are working for someone else or yourself you have to answer to someone. As some one has to pay you for all that knowledge and skills you have achieved over the years. As an small to medium business owner over the years I have found that most people who call themselves entrepeneurs really have no direction especially if they have had many different types of businesses. The most profitable people I know in one way or another have a collation, union, representive or voice in what they chose to do for a living. Do you have the legal training to answer any question that comes up when your working claims for someone else and an E&O situation come up and the ia firm and carrier leave you to hold the bag? Or like some of our members who have passes on and did not have the financial reserves for their families because they just couldn't do it by themselves. Lets face it if your in this business to make a fortune and not care about anyone else but you then you surly won't work for me. Most firms want a good adjuster not only in his ability to handle the claim but for the time and consideration they can give to the client.
    And hw would you feel if some one told you that dribble you posted because the idea of maybe other people liking an organization to stand with doesn't appeal to you. The great thing about this country is that we can agree to disagree but there is no need to get nasty about it. Voice your opinion like the professional you are supposed to be and not like someone who is trying to sound off his own horn. This discussion is for everyone rich or poor new or old adjuster. And as far as supply and demand I do not know about you but I have been busy with claims all last year and the past 2 months of tis year. Unfortunately not everone has been as lucky as I but I still am looking for some common ground for all adjusters to have the same rights as a migrant farm worker.I hate to address this to just one person but I must. Mr. Regan How you came up with now that all the newbies are here why don't we form a union is just foollish. This is not about them and surley not about you it is about our whole industry and the people that make it fly. If you want to attack me personally because you do not like what i have to say so be it send me an email and we can have a one on one but do not belittle anyone on this site with your GET A JOB BS.
    Everyone is supposed to be a professional in this industry and you sound like I am suggesting that someone takes away your toys.If forming a union or association is frighting for you do not join but having the experiance of both union and non union the basic principles are not in our industry and untill you can look past your nose and at the whole picture I would appreciate any unproductive thoughts you have based on your negativity about any group of adjuster you would be kind enough to keep to yourself. Do not make a new adjuster feel like an outsider as I am sure You remember when you first started and felt that way why make someone else feel that way. Again I welcome open comments on this subject but please keep to the point and do not attack any on on this post. It does no one any good. Thanks again for the rest of your inputs and thoughts. Remember not evryone is like you so be considerste of their feelings if you want some one to take yours into consideration.
    okclarryd
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    02/05/2008 5:27 PM

     

     

    Every couple of years, someone tries to resurrect the "Union" thing.

    It has never had a chance and never will.

    We have all been in seminars, schools, luncheons, etc and have been in groups in a room.

    That being said,  tell me about the time when everyone in the room agreed on anything.

    I have a landing strip in my back yard for the flying pigs in case they can't return to their home base.

    Larry D Hardin
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    02/05/2008 6:32 PM

    Its funny that as I sit here and read all the response to the Union how stuff comes out that was never mentioned. Such as the retirement fund? where did that come in at. Take your freedom away from you who is going to do that. A Union would not make it easier to get a job for the newbies propable make it harder. Bottom line is that as a group call it Union, an Assoc or anything that makes you tick,,We would have our voice heard instead of it falling on deaf ears. There is no telling what we could do. Here are some of the things I thought about today. If we had a large group of qualified IA that could handle anything why would the INS COs go to anyone else. If that happened as a group maybe we could payout 80% of a fee bill and the left over could cover the E&O, good quality training not the 4day wonders. Start an appentrice ship, have ride alongs, newbies become helpers for a while before your let loose. Become a good people person heck anybody can learn to estimate thats only half of the adjustment. The left over 20% could cover any of the extras like a retriement fund, health insurance or anything else we as a group see fit.. I don't see where a Union is going to get you anymore work than whats out there. I don't see if the Union is getting 100% of the fee bill and it pays you 80% back how that would cost you anything. I know this Union thing is only a Pipe Dream but I got nothing else to do but dream.

    host
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    02/05/2008 8:04 PM

    For some more pros and cons on this subject >>click here for a discussion we had in 1999 <<.

    cantonking
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    02/05/2008 9:59 PM

     

    Tom Toll
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    02/05/2008 10:03 PM

    Lets face it, a union is out of the question. First, the insurance industry would not tolerate it, the vendors would not tolerate, nor should we. We can, however, look to representation as a group in some form of association. There are several good associations out there, NACA, etc., but, they do not offer the assitance is securing claims.

    An association of very competent and experienced adjusters could be formed and it would work, if properly planned and thought out. Right now is not the time, as the last two years has been very rough on this industry. Many newbies have left the circle, as they are unable to establish themselves for daily work. Ray Hall and a number of us have no problems getting daily work, as we have been around a long, long, long, time. We certainly don't make the money we could in a good storm, but then we don't have to work 16 to 18 hours per day. A good association of nothing but dedicated, professional adjusters would definately work, but would there has be enough interest. There are many people, such as Regan, that feel they can accomplish what they wish to accomplish by themselves, and I wish them well. At one time we tried to start the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters and that has fallen by the wayside, do in part to the lack of work and disinterest of the many. I really feel this could work, if many participated and the right reasons and plans were facilitated. We had about 80 that said they would participate, out of thousands of adjusters.  Yes, there are some cocky adjusters around.  I unfortunately meet them all the time, but every industry has them.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    HuskerCat
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    02/06/2008 12:38 AM

    Does anyone else feel like the agenda here has become a spin-off of all the training classes that were being offered last year?   It's pretty flat up here in my neighborhood, too, if you need to land one of those flying pigs. 

    Ray Hall
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    02/06/2008 2:08 PM

    Many catastrophe adjusters have an inflated value of their worth. I have a very impressive CV of claims I have worked. But most of things on the CV have nothing to do with replacing 40 sqs of composition shingles on a dwelling or 800 sqs of mod bit membrane on the Grand Casino in Tunica, MS.

    My exotic passport required trips had nothing to do with me getting the last storm loss I worked. The weather conditions was the only thing that got me the job, I could talk the talk and walk the walk. I was not my "certifications" or training schools orTexas License. However, I would join the bar tenders union and drag up when a storm hits if I wanted steady work.

    However, I have thought about a new training school for adjusters on how to handle both sides of the stories told in the Applebee's parking lot with a 24 page book that you keep.

    tonyd46
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    02/06/2008 4:06 PM
    Tom,
    You hit the nail on the head. I for one would be in line to join and offer any service i can to better our industry.
    okclarryd
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    02/07/2008 7:34 PM


    All previous comments aside, I am for an association of good, experienced, qualified, hard working adjusters. I really am.

    There are many, many IA companies that say they have them. These companies say they can go anywhere and staff any storm and do really good work.

    Really!

    If all of this is so, why are so many of the old guys lamenting about the current situation? Why are we not working?

    I have worked many, many claims in storms that never made the news. I prefer those over the "headline" storms. I suspect most of us do.

    No loss of life; the property damages are not devastating; few tragedies; simple claims that are easy to close; etc, etc

    Even on these smaller storms there is a strong need for adjusters that just show up and go to work. No drama queens or kings, just guys and gals that get up in the morning and go to work.  Close 'em and they stay closed.

    I don't think an association will address or cure the ills in the industry at present. I think the pendulum will swing back (eventually) and those that have stood the test of time will be rewarded.

    But then, what do I know?

    Larry D Hardin
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