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Catsvstrainedcreated the topic: Choose Your Rope & Harness Training Provider Wisely
anthony camargoreplied to: RE: ICAP for Veterans
So many of us are looking for the best training schools, unfortunately with so little work out there our pockets are getting very lean and can't afford those $500.00 classes. I recently purchased what I think is the best self study Xactimate 25 manual I have ever seen. This book has 377 pages and I was able to teach myself the software. I just wanted to let everyone know that there is a cheaper alternative out there. The web site is www.learnxactimate.com
the best trainning book if have ever reviewed for xactimate 24 and 25 is produced by richard beckner it tops the sf staff material
I wrote the largest checks in Ft. Lauderdale during Rita, closing 420 homeowner and commercial claims. Closed 400 claims the following year in Madison WI and St Louis MO. I thought I had all the training and on the job experience that could be had. I was wrong I learned more from Richard in 2 days than any Cat adjuster provider company or company trainer could offer in weeks of training. The material teaches you what you need to know and all the tricks to make you efficient, accurate and effective. The best money I have spent since starting this profession, well maybe my gps was as good. It is obvious: "been there done that" applies to Richard.
This is the real deal. I purchased the Xactimate24 manual because I was assigned to a hail storm where the carrier required the use of Xactimate. So there I was scope notes in one hand and this manual in the other. After the first minute it became obvious that Richard knows what he was talking about. The manual was easy to understand, diagrams and pictures in the right places to make it easy. I learned Xactimate24 in a very, very short time and to this day I have it with me as a reference. The best thing is I just received Xactimate25 which is better than Xactimate24. Finally, a useful tool for the field.
I have reviewed Rich's Xactimate 24 manual cover to cover and I can attest that it is the most effective and thorough guide as a hands-on practical reference of this popular estimate program. His use of easy to read graphic screen captures and notations along with step by step instructions makes this book the definitive source for learning Xactimate. This manual is not just for those learning the software, but is also a quick reference to experienced adjusters that need to brush up before a storm. With this manual, you will be able to keep writing your estimate into the wee hours of night when your tech support specialist is not available. I highly recommend Rich's books. They should be in every adjuster's took kit of reference guides.
I am technically soft on Exactimate. Are the companies requiring the use of 25 or 24. If I learned 25, would I be wasting my time, I assume you have to buy both programs if one company wants 25 and another wants 24. Good lord, that sounds ridiculous.
Tom I have been using Xactimate since 1993 and the changes have been fairly gradual. There was a major change when it went to a Windows based interface around 1997, and when Sketch got debugged enough not to crash daily a couple years later that was a change, now it has been some refinements - but not like serious changes if you had learned the previous version.
There is a tutorial within the "help" section of the program that has demonstrations with sound, and you can navigate to the early basics of the program and do separate chapters including how to make a staircase with landing, roofs, etc. That is the basic knowledge that needs to be known before any "macros" or "speed secrets" would have meaning. And there is a DVD that Xactimate will send out for about $30 that has good tutorials.
Once the basics are established, further training is always good - but I find the best bang for the buck to be actual use of the product on a paying claim file. And I like to do the Xactimate Sketch ON-SITE whenever possible, because if you scribble a bunch of notes and then try to put the floor plan together the next day, you may find things that don't line up like they did in the real world. It doesn't take that much longer to do it on-site, even if you enter the repair steps later - the diagram is vital with Xactimate and the sketch part is no longer a novelty. People pretty much expect you to use Sketch if you are using Xactimate.
You are shifting gears from MSB - and that is going to be the largest single change, using Sketch. MSB has that little place where you can draw a diagram, but it is very limited compared to the diagramming features in Xactimate. And the way you find the repairs steps in Xactimate is going to be a change for you - the trades are "grouped" in a way that makes sense but won't be familiar to an MSB user. The doors are in a category of doors, but the knobs-locksets-hinges are in a different Finish Hardware category.
If you use the "search" feature to look up your repair items, it will put you where you want to be. And as you are looking within the doors, or drywall or whatever there are so many items it can be like a needle in a haystack - so you hit F2 and search within that category. I prefer it to MSB because the database is better, and I don't feel as constrained by the limits of the program as I do with MSB.
Some do still use xactimate 24 but I believe most of the major carriers have moved to xactimate 25, and the others will most likely upgrade shortly. As an Independent Adjuster, this is something we deal with constantly. Thats why I use two laptops.
I'm still using Xact 24 because I have no reason to change, and it is very stable. I work for dozens of different carriers, and for years have simply sent them a PDF of the estimate. Even with USAA that has now moved over to the on-line XactNet system - we are just uploading a PDF report with PDF'ed estimate (as opposed to something that they can make changes to - the actual estimate file). Maybe some of you are giving them the ".esx" file but they haven't asked me to do that. We had guys for years using the old X-2000 on a network server while I had switched to X-24 on a laptop for use "on site". the estimate gets PDF'ed and sent to the client - really can't tell the difference.
This is a good thread to talk about Richards training manual, and http://catadjuster.org/Forums/tabid...aspx
Gotcha. The longer I do this - the more amazed I am at how some of the people I report up to (claims examiners) could not write an estimate if their life depended on it.
There are exceptions, and there are exceptional people out there. But they are rare. In other words, if they need to have something changed in an estimate they usually will ask me to do it rather than tweak the estimate on their end. Sometimes it is a simple change, like "our mobile home policy has non-recoverable depreciation on carpet - can you change recoverable to non-recoverable?" and that would be something they can adjust on their end.
I totally understand the benefit of uploading a file that can be tweaked on the other end. Just hope the person on the other end knows what they are doing. An exception to this is State Farm, everything is dynamic, editible, and the Nat Cat phone team is staffed with people that have worked the field and know what they are doing. The Insured calls in, says their ceiling is not the default 8', you can see in the photos they aren't 8' and make the changes. If it's a PDF file - he would have to re-enter the entire estimate.
As I'm sure you are aware of, the purpose of using xactnet is to transmit files is more complex than just editing estimates. There is a whole other world out there on the other end. They use xactimates database track, manage and distribute files all within xactcentral. Each caiirer may be using a certain version of the sofware and us adjusters need to comply with it. Of course I always enjoy working for the carriers that let us just PDF an estimate, but I am finding this less and less.
By the way, I said I met Richard a few years ago and he helped me, I have never seen his book.
Posted By Odie Wyatt on 02/17/2008 12:57 AM
Does anyone else wonder about all these 1 post "testimonials" in such a short period of time?
Caught my eye too. Perhaps...hmmm..."these are real customers, and to help them tell their story we had them be first-time posters because we couldn't afford to hire a celebrity. Guyco.com!!"
I have changed some estimates I reviewed with a red pencil on the paper copy if it was a minor typo or a math error. I do not think any examiner should change the authors report or estimate without their knowledge IF IT CHANGES THE SCOPE OF DAMAGE OR THE FACTS OF THE LOSS.... IT may be criminal, if entered into evidence.
Tell us about it Tim, and thanks for your input.
I have a good example of what Tim is talking about, where you might need to make a change to a contractor estimate.
I have one with minor smoke damage throughout a house (something left on the stove. The Cubic Feet to be deodorized seemed HUGE. I looked at the formula, which is supposed to be Sf of floor x height, and it was entered by the contractor as WC x H (Sf of walls and ceiling x height) which was about 4 or 5x the right number. I had the actual (editible) file - so I was able to see how he did his math, what formula he used. If it was simply printed to PDF I would have been guessing how he got the numbers. They were way off.
A more common error is painting an entire kitchen although only a narrow area of drywall exists between cabinets and behind fridge, etc. Not taking out a large shower surround as a missing wall area to be painted in a bathroom. (the error is treating the kitchen and bath as a basic box, with no adjustment for missing wall areas).
In my opinion, the last one who touched an estimate should change the estimator's name to their own ID, and if they don't it may be they are lazy and overlooked that step - or it could be more sinister of not wanting to be responsible for their actions.
Working Clean-up, you pretty much have to fix estimates, and the mistakes in a pile of 100 claims do exist and they are real. The person fixing them usually identifies themselves as the person currently responsible for the file, and signs the latest version of the estimate. Sometimes it's not your fault, the attempt to patch the hardwood floor didn't work out and they need to do the whole room to get a uniform appearance, etc.
This is a good place to bring up the cost of removing the smell of a fire in a structure. Using an electric fogging machine with the chemical is effective, but the high cost per cubic foot can not be justified .I would like some programer to explain the factors that compose the unit cost.
I work regular losses daily and when I moan to the carriers about the low fee bills, you know the answer "thats what we pay -no one forces you to work for us." Thats a fact. I just want to tell that to the water suckers... chirp up on this cost please.
Ray I am also back to doing Daily Claims between storms.
I know you have done this forever, but with non-Xactimate software (until recently).
In my zip code 93420 you can Ozone treat a smoke damaged room for 5 cents a cubic foot.
Some of the water suckers prefer Ozone as it is supposed to remove the offending odor particle, others say it is hard on electronic equip in the room (TV, stereo) and will cause metals to corrode if too much ozone, and will mess up rubber seals in appliances, etc. (I just had 2 small smoke losses where the contents were not packed out). This is Xactimate code CLN-DODROZ and for that 5 cents a CF you get the ozone machine running, close the doors, etc.
So... some opt for the foo-foo juice treatment, (electric fogging machine - deodorize) and that is Xactimate code CLN-DODR. If you look up that item, and click on the image (or hit F-8) you get the description and breakdown. In my area it is 6 cents a Sf, and 1 cent is materials and equip, 5 cents is the labor.
If you click on the "i" for "information" next to the price, you can drill down to the materials and they say a gallon of this foo-foo juice cost $39.95 and will do 64,000 Cubic Feet per gallon.
You can do this on any repair item for Xactimate, and see what materials are being used - like on a drywall Min-charge how many Sf are allowed for materials, they break down the mud and screws etc.