Blogs

The Hurricane Helper

Categories


KATT'S 008 Commentary

Roy
/ Categories: CADO Blog, Cat Adjusting

The coming year of “007” sounds like another James Bond flick sans Title.

Now we are asking the same questions in 2008, the answers remain the same.

With all the disappointment of ’06 , and ''07 with respect to hurricanes and tropical storms, and with many adjusters holding down the fort by reverting to prior employment, living off savings, working at differing occupations, it is no wonder that we all have a similar question or expectation at hand. And many have fallen off the cart, filing babkrupcies, getting divorces, separations, etc.  IT ain't fun anymore

Will '08 be like ’04 and ’05 or will we be relegated to what happened in  ’06 and '07?

There are as many forecasts and predictions out there as there are meteorologists and risk managers and naysayers and procrastinators and prestigitators. In other words, NO ONE KNOWS. Not even Dr. Gray, RMI, or  Joe Basardi.

What we do know is that IF there is an impending occurrence, we will be inundated with telephone calls and emails asking if we are available to be put on stand-by.

What exactly does this mean? Well for some it means they know that their phone is working. For others it means they have a company that has their name listed in their data base, or they have had their name gleaned from a website such as CADO, ClaimSmentor, Claims Pages, or another site.

 

 

Yet, for others it means they have a guarantee of being put to work by the firm that called them, IF they choose to go that route. It is not unusual for one to receive as many as 10-15-20 calls to be put on stand by. This has happed to me, many times.

For the newer adjuster, there are some things that you should know before committing to anyone to actually accept a position, they are as follows, not necessarily in order of importance.

 

1)      Who is the IA Firm? An older established inter-national firm? (For instance, GAB, Crawford, THG, and Cunningham-Lindsey. A larger regional or national firm? (Such as Pilot, Ebrel, Renfrow,Worley) A well established franchised or smaller regional firm? (Custard, Frontier, FARA, RJMW and many of the ones listed on the CADO roster of vendors. These all have ratings established by people that have worked for them and have posted their opinions, it is worthwhile to investigate these posts. A start up company that has little financial backing, or catastrophe loss experience? (It’s not fair to render an opinion in this venue, so look and learn for yourselves.)

2)      Is there a guarantee of the initial amount of files?  Some will say that they are waiting on the carrier to determine the amount of files and will not give an answer. Others will give you some idea of how many files you will be given. To travel a long distance 1000-3000 miles at your expense to receive 20 files that net you 2000.00 or so dollars is a real fool’s errand. Make sure your expenses are covered. Some IA firms and carriers guarantee you a daily stipend to show up and pay you to stay there until the files arrive and are distributed. (It does happen)

3)      What is the fee schedule? Each firm has a certain fee schedule arrangement in their catastrophe schedule. It may vary from one fee for TS to a cat 2-3 and then change for a Cat 4-5. It is paramount that you get a copy of the schedule BEFORE you leave for the loss assignment location.

4)      What percentage % of the fee schedule are they willing to pay YOU? The fee schedules change from IA firm to firm and from carrier positions also. They can vary, for the adjuster in charge, from 50% to 75% depending on the quality of the adjuster, the work product presented, the work history of the adjuster, the productivity of the adjuster, the talent and versatility of the adjuster, and other related items, such as photos, proper documentation, explanation of conditions, location of the loss and cost differentials required to return the loss to the pre-loss conditions. The interpretations of the policy, policy knowledge and application there-of. So, you see, there are many factors involved in the assignment of claims as the acceptance of claims. The absolute worst thing one can do is to take a claim that is way over your head and will not be adjusted correctly, and may end up in a legal beagle courtroom. It is much better to return the claim to the IA firm and most likely they will replace it with not one but two or more.

 

5)      Who are the carriers the IA firm represents? This can be important in rendering a decision as to whom to work for. Some carriers opt to align themselves with staunch and reputable vendors, while others can only get an emergency workforce from what may be referred to as lower tier vendors. Also, the claims settlement practices of some carriers just goes against what we all are taught and expect to be able to provide. Each and every carrier has their own way of adjusting claims, and it is not within our purview to do anything but follow their directives. The golden rule applies here, “He who has the gold, makes the rules”

 

6)      Under which format will you be employed?  Most of the catastrophe adjusters work as independent contractors and are paid weekly or bi-weekly. These are referred to as 1099 employees in that they have to be responsible for all of their own state, federal, & local taxes, SS and Insurances. There are strict Federal guidelines which must be adhered to for you be a true 1099 employee and you should investigate what they are. The next classification is a temporary employee in that you are provided E&O insurance, workmen’s compensation insurance, but none of the benefit packages of the true employee. Then we have the employee, who is afforded the same insurance coverage as a normal employee and has taxes taken out and is supplied with a W-2 at the end of the year. It is very important to determine your status, as many items which can be deductible as a 1099 are not allowed as a temp or other employee. Check with your accountant as to which way is best for you.

 

 

 

7)      What amount of the additional charges, levied to the carrier, will be paid to you?  In days of old there were always added charges to a file, photographs, mileage, telephone calls, postage costs, etc. These were normally paid to the individual that incurred these costs. Things change, as we moved from 35MM film and processing to digital photographs, some felt that digitals cost nothing. Well, that’s their opinion. What does the camera, paper, ink, printer and time element cost, nothing? hardly. Then there’s the mileage factor, where we now pay 500-900 % more for fuel that we did years ago. Some of the IA firms and or Carriers still pay a small portion of the incurred costs. Others will pay you a percentage % of these costs, just as they do your percentage % of the fee schedule. In other words, you are absorbing 100% of the costs and getting back anywhere from zero to 75% under these options. Be careful, ask the right questions, and make sure you fully understand what and when you will be paid.

There are a few questions that are always should be asked when called for stand-by or deployment.


A)    Who are the carriers? Refer to above.

 

B)    What is the fee schedule, please fax or email to me. Information Please.

 

 

C)    What is my percentage of the fee schedule? This can have a serious impact on your decision. 60% of $100.00 is $60.00, however 75% of $80.00 is also $60.00 and yet 70% of the same $100.00 is $70.00. So, it is simple arithmetic folks. Know what the schedule is and your percentage of the add-ons and you will have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

D)    Who is the storm manager? This can become an all-important part of your decision. We all have had experiences that we would never again wish to have. Sometimes these relate directly to the storm boss and his way of handling the files. Does he/she play favorites; do they critique your files correctly and assist in getting them approved? Do they issue kick-backs indiscriminately? Are their file examiners proficient, experienced and knowledgeable, or are they just have-to-have people that we spend hours educating? Real time consuming to have to re-do files several times for no apparent reason or risk being at the whim of a bad hair day, IYGMM.

E)     If a new company, get references.  Many times there are numerous start-up companies. You should check on them, if they are listed on CADO, or you can make calls to adjuster friends and acquaintances, or check the BBB

F)     Get a copy of their Contract which they will wish you to sign. Make sure you get a copy of anything that you sign, it’s just a good business practice. As with every claim, treat every employment opportunity as if it may go to court. The more ammo in your weapon, the better chance you will have to survive.

This is just a basic guideline for the newer adjusters, and perhaps some who have crossed over from the staff side and others who have not thought of some of these items. It never hurts to be a Boy/Girl scout and believe in their motto: “BE PREPARED”

Comment

kds008 · 1/13/2007 10:46:03 AM

What a great summary of what would take hours to compile from the forums! I have printed it out and will keep it in a handy place. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. Kim

CharlesC · 1/13/2007 3:12:41 PM

Very good advice. Thanks for taking the time to post it.

katadj · 1/15/2007 1:32:17 PM

Check this info:

http://insurancenewsnet.com:80/article.asp?a=top_news&id=74333

wstj · 2/22/2007 10:51:00 PM

Good information. I am new to the adjusting business. My background is mechanical engineering. I have for 30 years been a contractor, a designer and an inspector. I have walked and inspected over 20 million SF of commercial property including airports, manufacturing, multi-family and office facilities. I hold a real estate inspectors license, Registered Accessibility Specialist & Mechanical license in Texas. I worked for the SBA after Ivan in '04 in FL. I decided to get my P&C adjusters license last April here in Texas, then in Florida. I went to Denver to Eberls to get my State Farm, Pilot to get Allstate, TWIA and Ca. earthquake certifications online. I have taken two Xactimate courses. For all of this experience and training, I hope to have an opportunity to work this year and get some experience.

ChrisM · 8/28/2007 2:27:32 PM

Thanks for this info. I am a former staff senior outside property adjuster and lI'm in the process of securing the necessary licenses to become a cat adjuster. I have not chosen a school yet for the texas license course and I wonder if you could provide any information on which may be the best school. Thanks Again

warning
You don't have permission to post comments.

Past Articles

Note: Since CADO first went online in 1995 we have had many members contribute to the site with their articles and forum posts.  But over the years many of these post were lost however, we have recently been able to recover some of the articles and forum post and will be re-posting them as time allows.   They will be posted on this page (Commuunity Blog) with a note indicating that it was a prior post. RC

Forum Topics

What to do when the insured is deceased or divorced

I think death and divorce are common issues that rarely get covered in training. Adjusters learn what to do by trial and error, or if they are lucky, a knowledgeable supervisor tells them what to do.  Scenario #1.: The adjuster is handling a claim for Mr. John Smith and speaking with  a

Posted By: Leland
Posted In: General
Replies: 8

Another Blow to Professional Adjusting

Xactware and ServiceMaster have teamed up to offer insurance carriers a contents estimating service.  Now the carriers are using restoration contractors to handle contents claims.  Pretty soon there will be nothing for property adjusters to do except review and pay contractor invoices.

Posted By: johnpostava
Posted In: General
Replies: 30

Hurricane Sandy

At this time a rapidly strengthening hurricane is going to cross Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas. But what then. Some modleing is suggesting a sub tropical blow to the NE with widespread 60 to 70 mph winds heavy rain and or snow. If this developes could see a billion dollar storm (ref: Dr. Jeff Master

Posted By: stormcrow
Posted In: Hail, Flood, Hurricanes and Weather Events
Replies: 24

I Thought I Had Heard It All

Greetings to everyone from Oaxaca, Mexico, where Jennifer and I are taking a break from our last assignment and staying far away from the demonstrations taking place across town. I guess I'm reviving this thread from a similar thread now located in the archives.  For those of you old enough to

Posted By: Medulus
Posted In: General
Replies: 43

LONG NIGHTS - LONGER DAYS

Much has been stated about the trials and tribulations of life on the road while working a storm. We all know about the non- stop 18 hour days and the pressure with performing and delivering to maintain a significant income. While I do not know personally what my physical appearance is when I a

Posted By: margar1
Posted In: Community Chat
Replies: 16

How many Independent Adjusters out of work Today

Just curious, How many IA's are there out of work today who don't have other income to survive .  How many total adjusters are there in the USA . Including Staff adjusters.?    How many newbies still want to get into this stagnant business.

Posted By: Goldust
Posted In: General
Replies: 35

Business Casual

Report of duty or a class- Dress code- Business Casual I have been watching the gathering of adjusters for several years. Seems about 25% know the definition, 20% try hard , 20% make some attempt.and 35%  did not read the instructions or have defiant leanings.

Posted By: Ray Hall
Posted In: General
Replies: 23

"Muffled Cries" story of adjuster killed in Tampa in Nov 04 reruns 9/22/07 at 6:30pm ET

Florida Farm Bureau adjuster, Katie Froeschle, age 25 ,was murdered in Tampa,FL on November 12, 2004 while inspecting a loss by the tenant who is now serving life in prison. Forensic Files investigated this and is re running the story "Muffled Cries" on 9/22/07 at 6:30pm ET. She was beaten

Posted By: Dimechimes
Posted In: General
Replies: 31

Stress and Mental Health of Adjusters

Does anyone know of mental health services needed by or provided to claims adjusters suffering from stress related symptoms after a severe cat? I am completing my grad degree, and this is the topic for my reserach paper. I am also an adjuster who has been there and done that.

Posted By:
Posted In: General
Replies: 24

Claim Scenario for Discussion

  Forum Transfer; First posted by Janice Toll The following scenario is presented for discussion: Ms. Insured notices that the shingles on her roof are in pretty bad condition, and being one who likes to keep her home in top notch condition, asks some friends to assist her in replacing the sh

Posted By: Janice_Toll
Posted In: General
Replies: 17

Did I mess up?

 I just got hired by Pilot, I guess. They called and said get your paperwork in and get ready for a drug test. The lady told me that she knew they would call me so pack my bags. I have all paperwork in, but they haven’t called me for a drug test yet. I e-mailed and they said if I was called to

Posted By: newguy3
Posted In: General
Replies: 50

Is the Independent Adjuster Fast Becoming Obsolete?

I have written  more than few times about with Satellite roof technology , the fact that Xactimate is now fully integrated with EagleView and with Sketch , once the adjuster enters the sketch properties, that building is forever archived and future measurements are but a few keystrokes away fro

Posted By: CatAdjusterX
Posted In: General
Replies: 36

Isaac

Does it appear to be a lot of work from this storm? Before the storm my email and phone were busy. It seems to have gotten pretty quiet.

Posted By: LucyZ
Posted In: General
Replies: 13

HOW SLOW IS IT???

I HAVE BEEN RUNNING THE ROADS FOR 12 YRS.  UP TO THIS POINT EVEN THE SLOW YEARS TREATED ME OK.THIS YEAR HAS BEEN MY SLOWEST EVER.  NONE OF MY ROAD FAMILY ARE OR HAVE BEEN WORKING.  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS, HAS IT BEEN A GOOD YEAR OR HAVE I STEPPED ON A LOT OF TOES?   HOUTZ &nbs

Posted By: Catmannn
Posted In: General
Replies: 26

Your Reading Files

Your closed files are the best example of your work. When you are looking at all the vendors who are not seeking your commitment during this very slow period ask permission to email 5-10 of your best work. The narrative reports will get their attention.

Posted By: Ray Hall
Posted In: The Claim File
Replies: 17