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Last Post 10/25/2016 10:15 PM by  HuskerCat
Fire in CA
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Leland
Advanced Member
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Posts:741


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10/23/2007 5:35 PM
Tips for working claims in California

1) Use this government website to look up sales tax rates for your estimates: http://www.boe.ca.gov/cgi-bin/rates.cgi

every city has a different rate. Note that many “cities” including famous ones, are not really cities- for example Venice is actually just part of Los Angeles.

2) Get a “Thomas Guide” for navigation. This is indispensable, unless you have a GPS.

We refer to freeways by number, not name. Learn the numbers.

Learn which freeways are clogged and when. For example I would never plan to see anybody in Corona in the afternoon. Only the AM. It’s a difference of 2 hours driving time. I have been driving here for decades and I still don't know a lot of areas. Get a good map book.

3) By law, no depreciation on labor.

4) By case law, HO policies usually pay for matching to a high standard. Much higher standard of matching than other states. If you don't pay for matching when you should, someone else will be doing cleanup on your file 2 years later.

5) Be aware of stronger framing for earthquakes- framing is more likely to include shear panel and more strapping. Tougher building codes in general.

6) For nice people from nice states- be careful out here. Californians are much more likely to sue. Watch what you say and write. I have somebody telling me (often politely) that they will sue the insurance company about 2 or 3 times per month.

7) Learn the California Fair Claims Practices- send the letters out on time telling the insured the status of their claim. (read #6)

If anybody gets work out here let me know.
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Nicka0782
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10/23/2007 6:32 PM
What vendors are located in California? i have a lot of family in that area and am very familiar with california.
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stormcrow
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Posts:437


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10/23/2007 6:48 PM

You worked hurricanes in 04 and 05, maybe you worked a hail storm or two since. A vendor calls and says come to work, should you go?

I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
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SSADJUSTER-25
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Posts:37


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10/23/2007 7:09 PM
Several things come to mind on this:

1. Do you trust the vendor that has called you?

2. Do you feel you have enough experience to work the claims?

3. This is the way to learn and if you not in pressure there should be someone to help you

4. Why would you ask this question?

Just a few thoughts that have popped into my head.

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irvingsewell
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Posts:11


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10/23/2007 8:29 PM
From prior experience and the fact that insurance companies have staffed up I am sure we will need a minimum of 15,000 claims for cat adjusters to be called out in force better find a normal job making normal income till then.
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stormcrow
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10/23/2007 8:34 PM

1. Aways an issue.

2. What is enough experience, 10 year large loss,  20 years?

3.  How much support did most get in 05 and 04?

4.  This question speaks volumes.

 

"sigh"

 

 

 

I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.
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BobH
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10/23/2007 8:53 PM

At the risk of being wrong... Here's my take on Pete's post.

Adjusting a fire claim is the most difficult and demanding type of claim. I have stood in 1/2 burned out buildings with all the time in the world, pretty caught up on my work load, and still totally challenged just because of the magnitude of the scope.

years ago I quit writing scope notes on any fire, and shifted over to entering the scope into my laptop on site - otherwise I would fill a legal pad with scope notes. You may take some notes, like a cabinet diagram and so on, but the number of scope items will be vast if the structure has actual fire damage that got into the attic, etc. and not just "drive by smoke".

There can be issues like "temp bracing and shoring" of portions of the house while you remove bad framing.  You can have some framing that is lightly scorched that can be cleaned and sealed - if it has any alligatoring on it then has lost strength.  You get into truss issues, and even partial damage often means yanking the entire truss out, and all the decking and roof membrane in the way.  Building Dept's will sometimes accept an engineered fix but usually contractors will want to replace a truss rather than get OK to patch up an existing one.

It's one thing to have a tree hit a house and cause serious framing damage, that would be like a surgical strike.  But a fire is a whole new level because it's like the whole place got beat with the ugly stick.  With a typical fire the place gets hosed by the fire dept which adds water damage (but prevents total loss).  In a cat situation there may not be a fire dept response, but the current code for larger homes in CA requires fire sprinklers, so that can add to the mess as well if it was built in recent years.

We all start somewhere, and there's nothing wrong with being moderately experienced. I think his point was - if you get a severe fire loss that you have to scope, and it's your first one, you may get your head handed to you.

Bob H
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Dimechimes
Member
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Posts:196


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10/23/2007 9:32 PM

Here's the latest numbers with carriers reporting in to the CA Insurance Network with 1,760 reported losses and projections of $500 million in losses:

www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2007/10/23/84494.htm

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SSADJUSTER-25
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10/23/2007 10:51 PM
Peter,

I agree with what you and everyone is saying on this site about the fire. There are always new and different challenges to every Cat. We grieve, assess the damages, deal with the Home Owners and we do our “Job” the best we can and hope it is enough.
As with many of you I strive to do the best job I can on every Cat site and help any one needing help.

Sometimes things are hard really, really hard but we go on and we do our job and yes sometimes it means we have to go back out. One thing we can all agree with there are days no matter how hard you work to do everything right there is that one Home Owner that you can’t make happy.

Just like why do people stay when they are told to leave they know more than anyone else or have had more experience than the person telling them to leave. With a Father that was a Fire Chief and police officer on the day he died I have seen a lot of different tragedies in my life. My brother is still a police officer and sometimes I wish he didn’t have to risk his life because someone want do as they are told during these times. But I’m grateful he does this because I know he makes a difference just like I believe all of us do.

My deepest sympathies are with everyone in this tragedy and those who still have the task of the long waiting game is my house next and etc.
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01Snake
Member
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Posts:85


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10/23/2007 10:53 PM
Posted By Bob Harvey on 10/23/2007 8:53 PM


We all start somewhere, and there's nothing wrong with being moderately experienced. I think his point was - if you get a severe fire loss that you have to scope, and it's your first one, you may get your head handed to you.

 

I pretty sure thats what he was getting at and I couldn't agree with him more. Some of these people will have lost everything. The last thing they want is someone handling their loss thats never handled a large loss and/or fire loss before.

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BobH
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10/23/2007 11:11 PM

Speaking of people who have lost everything - it's amazing how you can have a fire where "most" of the house is present, but the contents are totally gone. The smoke damage to contents is the hardest part as far as a "time suck". I have one carrier that demands that the adjuster fill out the inventory on site with any homeowner loss, and it's kind of interesting to get the list done that day instead of nagging for it week after week.

I had a fire loss where a professional Restoration company did a pretty good job cleaning lots of furniture and nick-naks that were not an obvious total loss. It was an affluent family, with high standards, and they rejected almost all of the cleaned items, and we ended up auctioning it off. The content restoration bill was over $10,000 and the best bid for the house full of furniture was $200 (hard goods, the upholstered stuff was gone).

Bob H
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okclarryd
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10/24/2007 8:08 PM
I got this in an email this evening.

There may, in fact, be some work out of this as one of the major IA companies has rolled some adjusters to the left coast.



Insurance Adjusters Expedited to So. California to Quicken Recovery by Local Residents and Businesses







SACRAMENTO – Today Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, in anticipation of an onslaught of severe insurance claims, issued an emergency declaration to help accelerate claims from the aftermath of the Southern California fire storms.







"I am issuing a declaration which will expedite additional insurance adjusters to California to assist survivors of the fire storms with the prompt processing of insurance claims resulting from this catastrophic event," said Commissioner Poizner. "During this state of emergency, I want to ensure Californians that I will do all that I can to help them through this crisis and rebuild as quickly as possible. For many, the first step on the road to recovery is to cut through the red tape, have their loss documented and processed for a claim. We want to remove any unnecessary delays to the system and make sure we have enough adjusters on the job."







The California Department of Insurance (CDI) proclamation will allow CDI-licensed insurance adjusters and insurers to use the services of non-CDI licensed adjusters, such as those from out-of-state, to assist with the processing of the multitude of anticipated insurance claims arising from the fire storms. The work performed by the non-CDI licensed adjusters must be under the active direction, control, charge, or management of a CDI-licensed insurer or adjuster.







Commissioner Poizner issued the declaration in according with the requirements of Section 14022.5 of the California Insurance Code, which provides that such use is reasonably necessary in order to adequately respond to the emergency situation.







The last time Commissioner Poizner issued this type of declaration was January 22, 2007, in the face of the extreme, California crop freezes. Prior to that, however, the last insurance emergency declaration was issued in November 2003 in response to wildfires in Southern California.







Text of declaration can be found at www.insurance.ca.gov under LATEST NEWS.



Larry D Hardin
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BobH
Veteran Member
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10/25/2007 12:15 AM
I spoke with a claims examiner today who is with a large insurance company based in California (but not one of the "big 3"). After we talked about my local claim, I asked if he was getting many fire losses. He said they had lots of "evacuation claims" where people put them on notice of mandatory evacuation, but very few confirmed structure claims because the Insured simply didn't know if they were going to be OK or not. So we are in kind of a holding pattern right now.
Bob H
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katadj
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Posts:256


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10/25/2007 5:07 AM
Was informed a few hours ago that Farmers had 18,000 claims filed so far.No count on fire, auto, smoke, ale for forced evacuation or any additional info/

The numbers will be in the 10's of thousands by Monday, IMHO
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new... Albert Einstein"
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Tom Toll
Moderator & Life Member
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Posts:1865


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10/25/2007 5:52 AM

Janice and I are heading out to CA Friday morning. Only have 22 losses, but several are very large losses. Looks like most are ember burns to roofs, contents and odor. We are already getting questions about ALE and loss of use. Janice called all our loss owners yesterday and is making appointments for next week. So far, all the people have been super nice and understanding. I hope that continues.

We are going to try something new this time. We are leaving our truck home and only taking our 23' Minnie B, RV. It is self contained, just like the big RV's but is reasonably small enough to park in a regular parking space. We will live and work out of it. It is cramped, but you know what, ,most of us are spoiled when it comes to life and material possessions. I remind myself everyday that we don't have to live in a shanty, mud hut, or other deplorable place. We don't mind putting up with the small space and are thankful that we have what we have. We will be able to take as much equipment as is required for working large and small losses. We will stay in an RV park with wireless, so we hopefully will not need a Verizon type card for internet, but may have to get one later.

I hope many of you will be deployed to this event so you can cut your financial losses we have sustained. Be sure and take an OSHA approved mask to filter out the bad air associated with this event. My lungs are damaged, so I, for sure, will be wearing one. God speed and good luck to all.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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Dimechimes
Member
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Posts:196


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10/25/2007 8:14 AM

Tom and Janice- good luck on your trip!

Dave- here's an article quoting the CEO of Farmers on stats for Farmers at 2,000 and Foremost at 500 which came out last night about 7pm but I don't know how up to date the stats are. I'm keeping a running toll on the claim numbers on each carrier as released in the news and haven't seen anything yet like the numbers you were given for any of the major carriers yet. You'll find the ones reported on in the news yesterday in last night's blog if you want to see other carriers reported numbers thus far. I agree with you the numbers will be high once all of the reports do come in.

Here's the article on Farmers (latest news I've read on them right now):

http://home.businesswire.com/portal...ewsLang=en

 

Visit our Adjusters Information Blog
www.dimechimes.wordpress.com www.Linkedin.com/in/dimechimesclaimSmentor www.Twitter.com/ClaimSmentor www.ClaimSmentor.com
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01Snake
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10/25/2007 9:36 AM
Good luck out there Tom/Janice. Sounds like a long way to go for 22 claims. I know these fire losses can add up though and I'm sure you'll be getting more claims as they come in.

Stay Safe!
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HuskerCat
Veteran Member
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Posts:762


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10/25/2007 10:29 AM

Yep, long way to go...but maybe they are getting a little assistance on the mileage as part of the deal.  And, with the losses likely being pretty large, they'll likely all be T&E.   T&E billing can be done along the trip with the duo making contacts, setting up files,  reviewing coverage, sending 1st contact report, and the good old "prepare to deploy" if allowed by the carrier.  Never did understand that one as an examiner and vendor billing approver, for fees I saw from a particular service provider that will remain nameless .  Seemed like a fee to roll out of bed & get dressed, wish I could get by with that one.  

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Tom Toll
Moderator & Life Member
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10/25/2007 10:53 AM

Rob you are correct. It is a long way to go for work. Will we make any money above expenses, who knows. I certainly hope so. I am sure there will be more claims as time allows the homeowners to return home. Many claims will be odor, ash, and ember damage to buildings. Hopefully we will get some nice commercial losses. In this business, work is a guessing game. You either make or break even. I hope we make as funds around the Toll house are extremely low. We had a nice savings account, but with my surgery for cancer and related  medical expenses and then no work, it is shot in the foot. I would not think our vendor would send us if they did not think we could make a living, lets hope so. If not, they and you will certainly hear about. I am becoming more vocal as I age.

Already having problems with MSB. Everything goes in Janice's name, as she is the lead adjuster and I am now her assistant. We cannot import/export files due to com central. I was assured by MSB over a year ago that this problem had been resolved. I certainly hope so. I will keep you posted on this matter also.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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Leland
Advanced Member
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Posts:741


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10/25/2007 5:12 PM
Tom- you're doing well. I've only gotten 2 wildfire claims (besides regular fires) but I have gotten more overflow (pun intended) of water claims that aren't being assigned to staff adjusters. I think more claims are coming....

California Fair Claims regulations: here's one example:

b) Upon receiving any communication from a claimant, regarding a claim, that reasonably suggests that a response is expected, every licensee shall immediately, but in no event more than fifteen (15) calendar days after receipt of that communication, furnish the claimant with a complete response based on the facts as then known by the licensee.

here's the link to all the rules:

http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0100-co...t-regs.cfm

Your vendor should train you on these rules; I know that the biggest insurance company runs a several day class. Many, but not all adjusters in CA do CE on this subject.

Welcome to the Golden State. Maybe I will stop by your mobile home.
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