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Last Post 09/05/2007 11:06 AM by  Ray Hall
App Developer needs some advice
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gglover
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09/02/2007 3:36 PM

    Hi there -

    I am not an adjuster.  I'm a custom software developer and I'm trying to help out a family member who is involved with independent adjusting.

    The fieldwork part of things is apparently much less a problem than the preparation of the data which is submitted to the insurers.

    I happened upon your forums discussing Xactimate and others, and am hoping to get some insight as to how to streamline the process.  I did see a brief demo of Xactimate and can see how that could easily be a bottleneck, albeit necessary.

    From my admittedly limited understanding of the nature of the work, y'all are called upon suddenly and it's fast and furious.  Obviously the insurers need to be provided accurate information - quickly.  So I'm just trying to determine if I can help in that regard. 

    My initial thoughts include things like creating a standardized form with the most common codes and values so things can be "checked off" rather than all being hand-written.  Plus, if these programs like Xactimate have data import capabilities, I can think of several beneficial possibilities, including development of a tablet pc app with matched entry fields so the data, codes,etc., are closer to what is ultimately used by the insurance companies.

    So, all rambling aside, I guess what I'm asking for is where I can get some education on how the data is handled, from the adjuster in the field all the way to the insurance company destination.  Then maybe my creative juices will come up with something that will help.

    Appreciate your time and consideration!

    -Gary

     

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    Ray Hall
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    09/02/2007 6:18 PM

     No 1 Glad to have you thinking Gary. This is just my opine. Probably more than 75% of wind only catastrophe claims on dwellings are written by about 10 insurance carriers and it seems at least 9 require thier adjusters (IA or staff) to use x-mate to estimate the damage. I think it would be accurate to say 6 or 7 of the carriers require the ASSIGNED ADJUSTER to do all the contact work and scoping with the insured. We do know some use help on the estimates and photos.

    No 2 A new concept is catching on. This move,s the claims faster in the field and the estimated files to be paid faster by e review and submission. Its the co-adjuster or the supervising adjuster who has less experienced people working under him/her but must sign off on all losses. This works very well, but will never be"how it works", until the log jam with the No 1 thinkers become # 2 thinkers.

    Remember No 1 is primarly Homeowners claims only. No 2 is commercial claims on building and condos losses.

    Catastrophe Adjusters come with all grades of skills from excellant to ***  worthless as presented on the first try. Therefore expend your efforts on trying to help*** to assist  the No 2. this year and No 1 next year.

     

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    Ray Hall
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    09/02/2007 6:44 PM

    This is my second thoughts on reading your post Gary. Just think that most of these adjusters work 15-18 hours each day doing the same thing day in and day out, etc etc. The computer estimate had been a great help to the industry and will always be around as a great tool. Some could not be adjusters if they had to handwrite an estimate and use long arithmetic. Some use the software like a word processor on complex losses.

    To close 6 good roof/hail/slight inside damage on some is required by most vendors, EVER DAY X 7. and this takes about 12 hours.

    To close 3-4 hurricane losses each day will require 14-16 hours per day. Very large losses 1-2 per day. Thats why the No 2 plan is catching on. In and out as fast as possible is always what the carriers, vendors and the public demands.

    Some old guys like me believe they can train a $30.00 per hour person to measure a house and take photos, bring the info in and do the scope from the photos and the first contact notes, them have others crank out the estimate or send it to India which has a 24 hour turnaround. Make more money in less time and live longer.

    Therefore, all*** beware I may get your files. No I would not do that or work for someone who would; but someone will.

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    gglover
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    09/02/2007 7:25 PM
    Many thanks for your replies. From what I saw, Xactimate is a great tool, and perhaps the others are, as well.
    My assumption is that the adjuster does a walkthrough and handwrites notes as they go along, including sketches, measurements, etc.
    I may be completely wrong, but it does seem unlikely that they'd cart around a laptop with them so they could make the entries into Xactimate directly.

    Given that, my next assumption is that the adjuster then has to review their notes and do the entry into the software. Seems to me that it would be advantageous to just do the adjustments and have someone else do the whole setup in Xactimate. Does that make sense? Is that what's done in India?

    Assuming it's okay for someone else to do the Xactimate parts, it would require that the entry person be able to accurately interpret the hand written notes - and to be able to identify and match all the photos.

    So there are at least TWO places I could be way off base. 1 - how do most adjusters document their initial findings? 2 - does the industry require that the adjusters themselves do the Xactimate entries as well?

    Thanks again - I'm finding this whole thing somewhat fascinating...

    -G


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    stormcrow
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    09/03/2007 12:19 AM

    My field notes and diagram are done on a yellow note pad.  I prefer to enter my own notes into my estimating program. My claim my responsibilty.  

    I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
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    sbeau4014
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    09/03/2007 10:18 AM

    Same here Dirt, although sometimes I use white notebook paper pad vs yellow.  Programs used in the past had "worksheets" that can be utilized in the takeoff of the scope ie one sheet per room, one general sheet, etc. Tried it a couple times and decided my way has always worked and stayed with it.  No one can read my chicken scratch, so the only drawback is if I wanted someone else to transfer my notes to the estimating program.  I agree 100% with you, my claim my responsibility.

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    Ray Hall
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    09/03/2007 7:31 PM

     Gary,You have input from three people who have been involved in thousands of catatastrophe losses from weather and man made events.

    Scoping requires the scoper to see the article, building, part of the building that is damaged or not damaged. This person has a big advantage if the eye's and memory bank does the scope in person.The same person who does the scope in person also is very knowledgable in insurance adjusting. Able to climb and measure roofs, crawl into tight quarters on occasion. Assume this person does this for 8 hours each day taking notes and drawing diagrams in a rough form.  Then this person must input all this scoping for the damaged property only onto a estimating program.

    The software works takes about as much time as the field work; therefore the 16 hour working day. I know all three of us could look at good digital photos and do the correct scope of damage if we had the other data such as a blueprint with floor plans and elevations or notes from a person trained to take measurements, photos and notes needed.

    What we need is a file like a large medical office has were each trained person makes the "noted" file univesal language for insurance loss scopers to pass on to the "estimators" with the software.

    I do not speak for Peter or Larry, but I do know they can do what I can do as well.

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    gglover
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    09/03/2007 9:58 PM

    I very much appreciate the education!

    So one last imposition- yeah or nay: 

    1) Would this be a good thing:  You do your initial walk-thru notes on a tablet pc-type of thing, rather than paper (you're able to sketch and scribble, but also have dropdown lists, checkboxes, option buttons, etc. for some of the entry items). 

    When done, the "program" collects the entries and converts them into a format that can be imported into Xactimate.   When you open the job in Xactimate, the imported parts show up as though they had been manually entered, and you finish up the balance.

    ????

    Thanks again for all your help.  I'm just brainstorming, probably to no avail, but....

    -Gary

     

     

     

    using check boxes, code lists, etc. for the entries that are most common among your typical job

    Do you think it's possible (forget practical for the moment)

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    Brent_Young
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    09/04/2007 11:52 AM
    I agree with you guys.
    Gary, I was a software engineer for years and I, also, thought about creating a program. As an adjuster, for several years, i realized it is not worth it!

    Example of workflow:
    Take a look at Xactimate's "Valuation" form and workflow. It has a "walkthrough" with multilist fields, radio button, checklists, etc.
    The problem is for most adjusters they would spend more time trying to input the data as opposed to quick scope notes. Scope notes are like short hand, then the short hand is quickly inputted into Xactimate.

    Example of import and export of human resources info. of the claim/file
    Again, xactimate has the functionality to import / export - excel files, comma delim. text files, etc.- (you know what i mean!)

    Now, you could try to create a touch pad program like FEMA inspectors use. Except, for the adjusting world, have it display building types, construction items, etc.

    Good luck!
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    Ray Hall
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    09/05/2007 11:06 AM

    Ah short hand notes. Go back to "one adjuster, one house" start to finish.

    The assigned adjuster records the first phone call to the insured and discusses all aspects of the loss, estimated time about 25 to 30 min. Sends the recording  someplace and all notes are put in the log notes of the e file. Inspects 20 losses per day and dictates scope and photos needed into  a recorder. Has three helpers following behind that measure and take the photo,s from the recorded scope. The following day all estimates are cranked out by the puter putters and one file reviewer who gets the agreed settlement. Result 140 claims per week with 6 people only one adjusters license needed. Avg time 3.6 total man hrs per file. This is about the time needed now for one file one man and this limits the top adjusters to about 4.4 files per day.

     

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