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Catastrophe Central, Discuss, Share, Learn

The best Xactimate training manual I have ever seen
Last Post 01/06/2013 10:57 AM by olderthendirt. 33 Replies.
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Author Messages
keithb1222
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Posts:4


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02/14/2008 12:50 AM

    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 

    Good Luck, 

    Keith

    stephen addkison
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    Posts:1


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    02/14/2008 12:01 PM

    the best trainning book if have ever reviewed for xactimate 24 and 25 is produced by richard beckner it tops the sf staff material

    Chrisdody
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:1


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    02/14/2008 7:01 PM

    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.

    CBiancardi
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    Posts:1


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    02/15/2008 5:28 PM

    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. 

    rcarv3135
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:9


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    02/16/2008 1:19 AM
    I met Richard about 2 years ago on a storm site. Most of us still had xactimate2002 loaded on our computers. The carrier we were working for required us to upgrade to xactimate24. The vendor we were working for had their tech people up there installing and setting up our computers to the new version. We soon discovered that about 20% of the adjusters were having problems with our Tokens populating in a word document (a required form provided to us). The tech department spent days trying solve the problem. First they had us buying newer versions of Microsoft Word, then they told us it was our computers. Like I said, this was going on for days. I ran into Richard in the hallway at the hotel. Seeing that we both were wearing the same shirts, he asked me how I was doing. I advised him of my frustration about the problems I was having. Richard said he had the same problem at first too and advised me what the problem was. He said that when the tech people installed your software they didn't install it to the default root directory and the MS Word file was trying to load the Tokens from a different location. Richard said I could do one of two things, either reinstall the software using the default settings or use his revised MS Word file. Due to time restraints, I took the MS Word file. Had no problems since. He is an Xactimate guru.

    Thanks again Richard!
    KMCQ
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    Posts:1


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    02/16/2008 10:09 PM

    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.

    Tom Toll
    Moderator & Life Member
    Posts:1865


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    02/16/2008 11:50 PM

    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.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
    OdieWyatt
    Member
    Member
    Posts:56


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    02/17/2008 12:57 AM
    Does anyone else wonder about all these 1 post "testimonials" in such a short period of time?
    stormcrow
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:414


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    02/17/2008 12:32 PM

    Just co-incidence.

    I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
    BobH
    Posts:754


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    02/17/2008 1:26 PM
    Does anyone else wonder about all these 1 post "testimonials" in such a short period of time?

    Yep.

    If I learned 25, would I be wasting my time

    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.

    Bob Harvey
    rcarv3135
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    Posts:9


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    02/17/2008 2:02 PM
    Posted By Tom Toll on 02/16/2008 11:50 PM

    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,

    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.

     

    BobH
    Posts:754


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    02/17/2008 3:02 PM
    As an Independent Adjuster, this is something we deal with constantly.

    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 

    Bob Harvey
    rcarv3135
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:9


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    02/17/2008 3:28 PM
    Bob, you are correct about xactimate 24, I use it too, and like it. I'm certified with many carriers, but I am only going to mention two of them as that it relates to this subject. I was recently advised by the vendor I work for that I needed to upgrade to xactimate 25 for Liberty Mutual, but I also do work for AMFAM and they use Xactimate 24.12 (last I heard, its been a while) both carriers require us sending file via xactnet. Like you, I wouldn't change either if I didn't have too.
    BobH
    Posts:754


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    02/17/2008 3:43 PM

    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. 

    Bob Harvey
    rcarv3135
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:9


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    02/17/2008 5:24 PM

    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.

    To all:

    By the way,  I said I met Richard a few years ago and he helped me,  I have never seen his book.

    HuskerCat
    Posts:747


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    02/17/2008 8:22 PM

    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!!"

     

    rbryanhines
    Advanced Member
    Advanced Member
    Posts:119


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    02/18/2008 1:14 AM
    Bob said "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"

    Whats the deal with this. I've had claims where an adjuster came in later changed(much more than a tweak) my estimate(without my consent or knowledge) in a way which I actually disagreed, but left my name on it. I was wondering what others felt concerning this practice. Any thoughts
    Ray Hall
    Posts:2443


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    02/18/2008 1:04 PM

    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.

    Tim_Johnson
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:243


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    02/18/2008 4:56 PM
    Tom,

    At this point don't learn 24, we are all going to have to go to 25. It all about the same, just an upgraded version, but there is a quirk where earlier and later copies will not communicate with each other. I can post it here if anyone is interested. Nobody is going to request that you use 24 if you are already using 25.

    Tim
    Tim Johnson
    rcarv3135
    Guest
    Guest
    Posts:9


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    02/18/2008 5:17 PM

    Tell us about it Tim, and thanks for your input.

    Tim_Johnson
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:243


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    02/19/2008 9:00 AM
    Many of you have different versions of Xactimate. I have learned that it is not as simple as just having version 24 or version 25. Through the life of version 24 there were 12 upgrades/enhancements to it. So, depending on when you started with Xactimate and whether or not you ever did any of the upgrades along the way, you could have version 24.0 or 24.1 or 24.6 or 24.12 or 25.0, or now as of late December 2007, even version 25.1. This was the first upgrade/enhancement of 25 since it came out earlier in 2007.

    Some clients are tied into version 25.0. So, if you have 25.0 or any version earlier than that, you are compatible to do that client’s work. HOWEVER, there is a logistical problem with adjusters in the field having these varying versions of Xactimate. The issue is that IF the assignment is sent to one adjuster that let’s say has 25.0 and then that adjuster says that they cannot accept that assignment for some reason, you cannot simply forward it on to a neighboring adjuster if that adjuster has, let’s say, version 24.12 or 24.06 for example. There is a compatibility problem that requires that the assigning examiner completely re enter all the data so that it can then be sent to the second adjuster that has that different version. This would not be required if the other adjuster was also on version 25.0. In other words, once the assignment goes to an adjuster, and that adjuster opens it up in Xactnet, it is locked into the version of Xactimate that adjuster is using. It can no longer just be forwarded on to another adjuster with a different version – all the data has to be re entered and it has to be sent to the second adjuster like it was brand new.

    And I have also learned this week that if you work with a contractor that has a more recent version of Xactimate than you do, you will not be able to get that estimate from him through Xactnet because your older version can’t handle his newer version. The beauty of him sending it to you through Xactnet of course is that you can then easily make changes and modifications as may be warranted. But being on different versions will necessitate that he send it to you in a PDF and then you would have to re enter all the data manually into your version of Xactimate.
    Tim Johnson
    BobH
    Posts:754


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    02/19/2008 11:01 AM

    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).

    Whats the deal with this. I've had claims where an adjuster came in later changed(much more than a tweak) my estimate(without my consent or knowledge) in a way which I actually disagreed, but left my name on it. I was wondering what others felt concerning this practice.

    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.

    Bob Harvey
    Ray Hall
    Posts:2443


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    02/19/2008 4:04 PM

    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.

    BobH
    Posts:754


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    02/19/2008 7:59 PM

    Ray I am also back to doing Daily Claims between storms.

    I would like some programer to explain the factors that compose the unit cost

    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.

    Bob Harvey
    mjholmes
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    Guest
    Posts:1


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    03/29/2008 10:48 PM
    FYI Xactimate tracks who makes changes to an estimate. From the print screen look at the xactimate audit report.
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