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2008 and Cat Adjusting

Well folks here we are in 08. A retrospect of 2007 by most of us would reveal the bleak employment prospects that faced the majority of cat adjusters. Do we think that 2008 will be more favorable employment wise? Early predictions seem to indicate conditions favorable to the development of weather patterns conducive to employment. Aren't these the same predictions as 06 and 07? Oh well maybe they got it right this time. I'm sure a lot of you that had expectations of working after spending on training and carrier certifications were disappointed. How many have left for greener pastures or simply by necessity? Will the numerous folks entering the field at the end of 05 and early 06 still be around if needed in 08? Is cat adjusting more of a vocation than profession? How is the industry to retain talent with this type of periodic work availabilty?We all know that the industry got hammered by bad publicity about the Katrina claims handling. Is a repeat inevitable next time around? I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year filled with Health, Wealth and Happiness and would welcome your comments on what you feel 08 has in store for us.

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katadj

Each of us has an opinion, here is mine:
The cause and effects of the debacle of the Florida 4 in 04 is well worth noting. It has now brought us to a very wide gap in the road, which must be acknowledged and addressed.
Several years ago, an esteemed colleague stated here on CADO, that the world of cat adjusting was changing and would never be the same. That person was Clayton Carr, one of the most respected people in our profession, IMHO.
Prior to 2004 the carriers, in a classic cyclic mode, downsized their in-house adjusting capacity and turned once again to the Independents.
When the carriers requested the IA firms to supply people, irrespective of experience and talent, just to have representation on the loss they shot themselves in the foot. Those IA firms that did not adhere to the requests were then put out to pasture by the carriers. The IA firms that did supply untrained, unskilled and ill knowledgeable people, who were allowed to create a debacle of the claims and cause untold misery, to the policy holders, the examiners, the IA firms and the carriers. And that’s just the beginning, as some of these files are still in court and many are not yet settled.
This coupled with the active season of 2005, which produced many storms including “Katrina”, turned loose the ill informed and untrained people once again. This is when the carriers realized that the former talent they were used to was supplanted by those that could not “cut the muster”.
The carriers then staffed up again, (This cycle seems to run for 7 years, on average) and removed the IA firms from the workforce. They are changing yet again, utilizing internet, PDF, FTP, VoIP, and whatever other technology they can explore, expand, create and use to settle claims in an expeditious manner.
We, on the other hand, have had to resort to finding new ways, or return to our prior ways, in order to make a living. We are faced with a large hill in our path, and must somehow conquer it, much like Teddy Roosevelt when he charged up San Juan Hill to protect our country.
I’m thinking that a cat 3 hurricane will not bring out a large quantity of cat adjusters. We have to find alternative ways to market ourselves. That may include direct completion with the carrier’s present IA firms, or it may be that we augment the system, by stressing the fact that the older, wiser, experienced adjuster will do the job right the first time. There are options, all we have to do is recognize them, and act accordingly. The fact remains that when a claim is not properly handled, the carrier, the policy holder, the investors, the reinsurance companies, and the adjuster are all mistreated and not well served.
The surrounding issues of poor hurricane claim handling may be around as long as North ridge.
(c) RD Hood, 2008

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