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Last Post 03/13/2010 9:13 AM by  roofmates
2010 going to be a make or break year for a lot of adjusters
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Medulus
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03/08/2010 2:29 PM

There is one reason why I no longer have my auto insurance with a company who shall remain nameless ((State Farm)). It is because the service provided by the current "Team" approach. The theory is apparently that "Team Two", handling claims by phone at a distance, means that the entire "Team" has responsibility for the claim. In reality, no one has responsibility for the claim. In one case the "Team Two" member wouldn't even give me her name because I was supposed to just ask for "Team Two" when I call them. And believe me, I had to call them - because they certainly were not calling me.

Phone adjusting looks good on paper, and may even cut expenses. But it also cuts income. Only an unbiased bean counter could tell you how much business has been lost in the implementation of phone adjusting. And an unbiased bean counter is a rare creature indeed. The outcome of analyses is often a foregone conclusion because the executive that came up with the idea has a personal stake in making sure his or her idea appears to be wildly successful.

I agree with Bababooey that most people look only at price, but certain niches of the market have been quite successful by providing superior service.  Just ask Chubb or USAA.

Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

"With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
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moco
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03/08/2010 3:39 PM
**Posted By Bobabooey on 08 Mar 2010 02:20 PM
Most people buy insurance based on price and price alone. People don't buy insurance based on their adjusters. The only thing they know about the adjusters is whatever the agent or commercial tells them. **
Your right, the premiums do matter. But,  if the insured is not treated well they will find another carrier even if it costs them more . CUSTOMER SERVICE comes first just like in any other business. If it is not there customers will find it some place.



 

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Ray Hall
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03/08/2010 5:06 PM

Customer Service..... Its a check for a fair amount ijn the fastest possible time.  What I have seen in the last 10 years...... is... a person calls and says I am your adjuster and I just got into town and I will call you when I will be looking at your house. No I can,t make an apointment now but my phone number is xxx xxx xxxx. Yes I will call back, oh you have a tree on your house, well have the tree cut off the house and save the bill. Make a list of all the items you want me to look at when I get to see you. I will call you back within 2 weeks. Q don,t you h ave some help. . No sir I live in a mobile home park in my camper and I work alone. Sounds like you need some help and more authority to do this job, as you look like you are overloaded.

 

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Bobabooey
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03/08/2010 5:28 PM

Depends on the business and how you define customer service. 

You go deny a homeowners roof in which both his next door neighbors got roofs.  Be just as nice and polite and professional as you can be.  Do you think he is going to have good things to say about the carrier and do you think he will renew?  Probably not. 

 

 

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moco
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03/08/2010 10:35 PM
Posted By Bobabooey on 08 Mar 2010 05:28 PM

Depends on the business and how you define customer service. 

You go deny a homeowners roof in which both his next door neighbors got roofs.  Be just as nice and polite and professional as you can be.  Do you think he is going to have good things to say about the carrier and do you think he will renew?  Probably not. 

 

 What i have seen that is poor customer service and reflects on IA's and the carriers , but may not be how you all handle assignments are as follows: 

(1) Failure to return calls to the insureds/ late contact 

(2) Rushing in and out on inspections (power scoping)

(3) Not spending the time to explain coverage/ exclusions/ limits of liability etc

Ray states " tree fell on your house, pay to have it removed and keep the bill" ? What if the limits on trees is $500.00 and the bill is $2,000.00 ? How many times is the insured aware of these limits ?The insured is under the impression that any amount will be paid. In my experience 99.9% of insureds have very little understanding of their policy. Patience, explanation, policy basics overview and question answering is very important.

examples of this are:

(1) Insured has water heater burst and damages contents in addition the dwelling.. I make contact and explain not to dispose of anything until i have inspected and determine coverage and amount of coverage. If you must dispose, please take photos yourself to present to me as proof of loss. Not rush out and buy everything you claim to be damaged without showing proof. What if replacement is not warranted, perhaps cleaning will indeminfy ?The amount spent to replace may far exceed the limits, especially with contents being paid at ACV only.

(2) Insured has wind damage or tree on roof..  I make contact and inform of day and time to inspect and ask " is the roof tarped ? If so you will need to have it removed so i can document damage". The last thing i want to do, and have heard of this, is arrive and say "mam/sir you are going to have to take the tarp off. I cannot remove it for liability reasons".

(3) Plumbing line burst.. What caused it to burst, is plumbing even covered. May be that only access to repair is covered. The insured however has contacted a Plumber and wants to pay before inspection to have it replaced/repaired. Insured should be advised whether or not plumbing is covered and to what extent before jumping the gun.



 

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ChuckDeaton
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03/08/2010 10:43 PM
A small sampling of my friends and neighbors indicates to me that they did not buy insurance based on price. I bought my homeowners based on price, thru and independent agent, but all of my samples bought their policies because of advertisements.

State Farm and Allstate advertise, but State Auto, Columbia, Republic and several others don't, but have better coverage, guaranteed replacement cost and ISO forms, and better prices.

In Arkansas the money saved on advertising and not insuring on the coasts is at least partially passed on to consumers.
"Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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Olegred
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03/08/2010 11:35 PM
I think Ray told us one of his dreams, that's all.
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jlouden
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03/10/2010 9:46 AM
Posted By ddreisbach on 08 Mar 2010 01:36 PM

mgfirment,

Great post!  I had previously said on this thread that as a matter of good customer service some companies want their adjusters to go to the loss, meet with the insured, walk them through the process, and hand them a check.  But it was buried among the posts saying that all that is needed is a picture taker, a satellite image and a desk adjuster hundreds of miles away who will eventually mail a check.  The insured is an afterthought, if they're thought of at all.  An extensive (private) study has shown that 75% of insureds that change carriers after a loss do so because of the way the claim was handled and how they were treated, and not because of how much they were paid.  The carriers of last resort may not care about customer service, but those that are competing for premium dollars do.  Those are the people I want to work for.  They'll be hiring competent IA's for a long time.

David


We can go back and forth and throw scenarios out there each supporting our own opinion.  That's not really the point.  I've mentioned a couple of times empowered desk adjusters, and less of a need for IA's.  Notice: LESS NEED.  Not NO NEED.
 

IA's will exist.  IA's will be needed for overflow situations or unique circumstances.  I don't think unique circumstances come up often enough considering the amount of turnover for both staff people and IA's.  It is less likely that the relationship necessary for those unique circumstance situations is developed well enough because of that turnover. 

That being said, your scenario where the Insured is an afterthought (while it may exist) is highly unlikely to go down like that.  Most (not all) carriers are smart enough to realize who pays the premium along with the importance of retention.  One of the best ways to retain customers is to provide top notch claims service.  People don't file claims every day.  In fact, most file one or two in their LIFETIME.  Here's the kicker:  all of the customer service needs can be met WITHOUT using an IA.  Between the desk guy, the staff field guy, and the contractor, there's no mention of an IA.  If a staff field guy is available, the IA isn't going to get the business.  If it is a small loss where tools are available to adjust remotely, that is the way the claim will be handled, and there's no mention of an IA.  If done correctly, Key: CORRECTLY, customer service expectations will be met and can easily be exceeded.

You may handle things differently, that's cool.  With all the IA firms out there competing for carrier business and the promise of providing the carrier with their own excellent levels of customer service, you may as well just tack on 10 days to the processing of a claim.  Between scheduling the appointment and scoping the loss, to writing the estimate then sending it to your IA file reviewer, correcting any mistakes, reviewing it again, blah blah blah.....

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Bobabooey
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03/10/2010 3:26 PM
I agree jlouden.

It amazes me that we have made a simple hail claim so difficult. It used to be when I first got into this business that the IA inspected a roof for hail damage. If it was damaged, the IA paid a specific amount for the roof. X per square for 20 year, X per square for 30 year. Closed the file and moved on. If it was a unique roof, then call around and get local prices and pay it based on going rate.

Since that time, there have been layers and layers of middle management hired, quality controlled hired, more file reviewers added, and 10 times more IA firms competeing for the business. They have made something so simple into a chore. The experienced IA was originally hired so that he could accurately tell if a roof was damaged and if so if it could be repaired. Now, an accounting firm is needed to go over all of the stupid guildelines that have been put into place. It has become more important to have the file set up correctly and to have the laundry list of guidelines followed than it is to accurately tell if the roof was damaged.
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ChuckDeaton
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03/10/2010 4:54 PM
The driving force here is the same as Toyota is facing and that is a class action lawsuit. The damage to Toyota is that it sold millions of cars and the value of each one is diminished by some degree. And Toyota has no procedure to deal, equitably, with the owners.

Similarly large insurance companies now have to deal with masses of policy owner's. Hail is probably produces the largest volume of claims and when the suits start the company has to be able to show how the claim was handled.
"Prattling on and on about being an ass with experience doesn't make someone experienced. It just makes you an ass." Rod Buvens, Pilot grunt
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Ray Hall
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03/11/2010 4:01 PM

The history of the IA is only about 80 years old. If you read history of property & casualty insurance you will find most of the home office were in areas thousands of miles from a risk. Most claims were handled by mail with  a sworn proof of loss that the insired filed and the carrier accepted or rejected with an explaination in 30 days.

The IA business came about because of the structure of insurance carriers, pure mutual fire insurance and stock or other wise insurance carriers. The independant agent/broker producers in the country handled most of the claims/losses. Mutual & stock carriers did not mix and the IA movement was started to service the mutual fire carriers out of the east coast and Chicago. The Western adjustment Co. was started for the mid-west to handle the large stock carriers, Aetna, Hartford, Travelers, St Paul, AIG and so forth. They owned all the stock and would not work mutual losses. The IA's really got a good hold (this was regular claims only_no diff,. back 60-70 years ago.) Western Turned into GAB, Crawford & Co. was primarly an auto/casualty company when I started in 1955. State Farm was a small F & C in 1955.

When I went to property school in 1957 I was working for Firemans Fund and GAB did all the major cat. work as FF was a stock company. Since about 1960 OVERFLOW is the life blood of the local IA's. They got the big, complex losses and the staff closed all the one shot losses from the office, IF they could. Inspections were not required by staff adjusters. Hurricane Carla hit the gulf coast of TX in sept.1961. I was a staff adjuster. We called in 5 staff from around the country, hired local IA's and one small team out of Tn. and a couple of semi-retirted adjusters and worked the storm (in House) Lawson & Caraway and Einglebritz started about this time.

Pilot was a small player until 1989. The flood adjusters were the first adjusters who started the large vendor system, which I never saw until 1989. This industry is new only since 1989 with about 10 big vendors and about 100 more who want a share of the wealth. We can all see the bigger getting bigger and the others falling off the vine, just like the experienced and the wantabee adjusters. More people in the pool less quality work and lower wages. Thank goodness the Vendors can,t hire aliens.

 

 

 

 

 

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Medulus
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03/11/2010 5:18 PM

I'm going to amend your history a bit, Ray. This is from memory because I don't have time to check my facts right now. The General Adjustment Bureau (now known as GAB) was formed almost 140 years ago as a group of adjusters designated to handle the Great Chicago fire (1871, I believe). By the time State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company had its first claim (in 1924, if memory serves - SF was started in 1922), the General Adjustment Bureau was called in to handle the massive auto claim that settled (again, if memory serves) for between eleven and twelve dollars. There have been independent adjusters around longer that most of the insurance companies we recognize in the market today.

That is, unless by independent you mean those who are not on staff of an independent adjusting firm such as GAB, Crawford, or CL.  Then I bow to your first hand knowledge.  I was still learning to walk and talk when you started adjusting claims.

Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

"With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
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Medulus
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03/11/2010 5:29 PM

Here is an article expalining the relationship between GAB (which was formed after the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906) and Western (which was formed in 1885).

www.gabrobins.com/AboutUs.aspx?id=2...4c_202_202

My previous post was slightly inaccurate, but this is the straight scoop.  Somewhere I have a photo of all the GAB SF Earthquake adjusters all dressed up in the double breasted suits they used to wear to inspections.
 

Meanwhile, there is an interesting photo of one of the countries first cat operations at this link.

http://gallery.pictopia.com/sfgate/gallery/4178/photo/154498/?o=23 
 

Steve Ebner CPCU AIC AMIM

"With great power comes great responsibility." (Stanley Martin Lieber, Amazing Fantasy # 15 August 1962)
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roofmates
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03/13/2010 9:13 AM

Any Adjusters interested in picking up immediate ladder assist work in OH,KY, AL or TN. Please let me know, $50/house, $100 if a Tarp applied. Plenty of work available.

Email if interested : theroofmates@yahoo.com

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