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Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 9:43 pm:   

Sixteen months after the “Open Standard” was announced here in this thread on CADO there will be four players from the property claims handling industry at ACE in Tampa next week that will be showing products based on an “Open Standard” of file transfers and live demonstrations are planned at this time as we go down to the wire.

The days of vendors that try to enforce proprietary claims handling solutions are numbered now that “Choice” is a word that has meaning for the carriers and adjusting firms for the 1st time since in the future they will only be locked into a vendor by choice and not by propriety claim file structures.
Wcenglish (Wcenglish)
Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2000 - 11:13 am:   

I still have my dad's Honda needs a little work, but it sure was a fine bike!
Ghostbuster (Ghostbuster)
Posted on Saturday, July 15, 2000 - 11:08 am:   

Perhaps the real root of our predicament lies in the basic ALL American Fault that bigger is better. It just goes down to the core of our pysche that we've just got to have what we THINK we want and not what we REALLY need.

For example, when life was paced by DOS, estimating programs were delightfully simple in execution due the confining limits of processor speed and limited size harddrives. Simplicity Ruled! Now that the shackles and hackles are off, the unfettered programers have lost all sense of proportion in life and we are overburdened with unwieldy and overpriced estimating programs. Witness my friends the likes of Windows based Xactimate, Boecke, etal.

The same analogy can be found in our recent history with other products. Remember the CB350 Honda motorcycles? It evolved into the CB360 of the mid 1970's and by getting heavier and more complicated lost the charm and utility of the CB350. Also, remember how nice the 1966 Chev Impala was in design and function? It devolved into the clunky 1967 model and went downhill from there. The same with Ford from 1966 to 1967, also Plymouth. My sanguine point is that once it's right, leave it alone! PLEASE!
Gale (Gale)
Posted on Friday, July 14, 2000 - 9:09 pm:   

Tom it sounds like the days of simplicity are upon us:)
Tomotexas (Tomotexas)
Posted on Friday, July 14, 2000 - 4:56 pm:   

Does anyone know that xtimate 5.8 also uploads to xware2000 and converts the estimate to the new fromat? It is nice to write the estimate and convert it to format and cant tell the difference.
Also,there is a way to avoid the update charge.
Ghostbuster (Ghostbuster)
Posted on Friday, July 14, 2000 - 12:06 am:   

AMEN! Jim,

Xact 5.8 is a very good estimating program. The windows version of it since 1997 have been to me a complete reversal of the elegant simplicity that was the DOS based series. 5.8's shortcomings were the result of a refusal on the part of Xactware to include a few measley adjuster forms for us, things like a photo sheet or a statement of loss. When I called them up and volunteered to go there and assist in getting these items included, they said that they were not interested because their biggest customers were contractors. They didn't have the time to waste catering to our peculiar needs. Then, out pops the window version in 1997 like some kind of demented jack in the box. At that point, I quit sending in the annual huge, chunk of change to Orem, Utah.

I still use State Farms Xactimate and raggedy old laptop and manoeuvre around in it. But, when working other carriers losses, I drop back to the era of common sense and run free with 5.8!
Jim (Jim)
Posted on Thursday, July 13, 2000 - 11:31 pm:   

Memo to Clayton Carr:

While I understand the frustration a lot of adjusters have with Xactimate, I do wonder if you are aware that there are several companies you are excluding from potential employment by ignoring Xactimate.

For instance, you will not be able to work State Farm or Farmers. Between those two carriers alone, you are giving up a big slice of the American insurance pie.

I also find a lot of contractors still use Xactimate and most especially on large commercial losses. Using Xactimate will make your life a whole lot easier if you are or want to work those types of losses.

If you are able to afford it, I would seriously consider adding Xactimate to your tool kit.

Personally, I still prefer and use the 5.8 version instead of the Xact Suite 2000.

Just some food for thought.
Clayton Carr
Posted on Friday, July 07, 2000 - 9:55 am:   

Help please! I just sat down this morning with the great plan of studying and playing with my new CDs for DDS, Powerclaim, and Simsol. I have/had been a Boeckh on DOS user, but frankly I think it is a dinosaur and I've had enough of it.
So here I was trying to concentrate, first reading the lovely brochures; but my mind kept wandering down another dark and dusty trail.
Maybe its great that I find one of these three that I think is the best thing since the invention of the bread making machine. But so what, what real value is that?
Some carriers don't mandate the software, and some do.
I really don't want to add that Xmate ware to the list; at this point it doesn't seem to compare to the 3 new ones I've received.

So, to allow me to get back to a proper concentarion level while reviewing these CDs, I ask for the thoughts of anyone passing this post. I am gong to get a couple of these activated today, then hide for the weekend and see what I think is easy / hard etc etc.; and do some fishing as a break. Good plan eh? Oh Oh, you just found out I am a Canuck eh?
What I would appreciate is straightforward comments on your usage of these, and any thoughts on any carrier / vendor polarity on software; or otherwise. I have followed the thread on the developing "trend"; but it is not going to happen "soon" in my opinion.
Hopefully, I have explained what I am reaching out for through your valued comments. This is my first post to this site, with some reluctance due to some head bashing read from time to time.
However, I am a daily reader and really believe this is a great site for our kind.
Replies to this thread or to my email would be appreciated. Thanks in advance
Gale (Gale)
Posted on Monday, July 03, 2000 - 11:19 pm:   


PowerClaim is hardly the next Microsoft by design. We do not want the government to bust us up :)

With the price of adjusting software that permits an adjuster to quickly print a sharp looking estimate approaching $0 at the speed of light, it means the game is changing forever. How? Time will tell.

Personally giving up the right to our output format and offering it, as an open-standard was a hard thing to do on some levels. Investors typically do not like to give away things that cost $$$, especially the accountant type :)

The act of creating the Open Claims format for any and all to use freely really exposes us to all developers. We cannot ‘force’ loyalty to PowerClaim as the industry has done up to this point. If we do not stay out in front the Open Claims format will work against us. We remember that IBM made the design of the PC an open-standard but others benefited from that action more than IBM did. When IBM decided to develop a new standard and charge royalties for its use no one bought into it, leaving IBM to lose out on much of what they started because the other companies stayed with the open-standard and continued to modify it as required by changes in technology. This is what we envision happening to the Open Claims open-standard.

Based on what John Postava posted under the Hardware Forum several weeks ago it looks like the number of adjusting software vendors is about to double. That could be interesting to see if they want to go to the carriers offering yet another propriety claims format or not.

We at Hawkins Research do think the Open Claims format will evolve into the major standard over time because it is an idea whose time has come. As Eric has openly stated we are willing to modify the current Open Claims format as required by the industry.

By the way the name ‘Open Claims’ is for the non-technical types like myself. There is much more to the process of setting an open-standard and in the secret domain of programmers and IS people, they can vote on a very cryptic sounding name if they wish, complete with version numbers that describes the technology used and the rest of us will never have need to know :)
Accountant (Accountant)
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2000 - 11:07 pm:   

Powerclaim Powerclaim thats all we hear about , I guess they are the next Microsoft . Kudos to you boys for letting us in on your open output. When the IPO I"m ready to invest . I say get rid of Prop only software and data exchange lets open like free trade and satisfy the customers.
Ecarlson (Ecarlson)
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2000 - 3:22 pm:   

Jerry, Horace and others:

First let me answer your question Horace and then address the issue that Jerry brought up concerning pricing. Horace, you are correct in saying that our hope is simply that the industry will adopt an open standard. We are not so proud of our reports as to think that they are something that every carrier would like to see. :) What we have done though is to place a format in the public domain that can be used by any and all who wish. We have also stated that we are willing to modify that format based on feedback from adjusters, carriers, etc. We understand that this has been tried in the past but we feel that the industry is prepared for this and that the technology now exists to make something happen. Another thing that we hope to see happen is for other software vendors to make similar offerings that will help loosen things up a bit. We have already seen postings on some of the other software vendor's sites whose users are referencing this forum and asking if they might do something similar.

On to the pricing. Jerry, you are also correct in saying that there are issues beyond just the report format. My first answer to that is to say that we are simply taking things one step at a time. My second answer is that there is almost a de facto standard established for pricing but I don't think most people realize it. Several of the major software vendors are already using the Craftsman databases in one form or another and from my knowledge of the companies using those software packages there is a large portion of the industry who accepts claims written with that data. We have also been surprised by the fact that adjusters who were once using one of the packages that are well known for their proprietary data have converted over to our system which uses the Craftsman data without much complaint. One user ran a comparison between our software and one of the more established packages on a $15K claim and found that the difference in the final numbers was less that 1%, ours being a little lower. And all that would need to happen for that "standard" to be taken a little further is for some of the "big boys" to simply state that they will now accept claims written with Craftsman data, etc, etc. If you take a look at the recent thread about how unit costs are being established there is also the well known fact that you guys are adjusters and no matter what a pricing database says if it is wrong in a particular circumstance you guys will adjust it to make it right (within the parameters given to you by the companies you are working for, of course.)

So yes, there are many other issues to be addressed and no, we don't think we have all the answers. However, the time seems to be right and the interest is very high right now so lets see if we can't do what others have been unable to do in the past. If we resign ourselves to saying that we can't, well, I don't have too much use for that kind of thinking and I don't think that you guys do either! Let's have some fun and get something done!
Jerry_Nc (Jerry_Nc)
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2000 - 12:35 pm:   

The standardization of reporting formats is important and would make reviewing files much easier, however I believe the main reason for requiring a specific software program, particularly Exactimate, is for the price database. Each company or vendor that requires a specific program trusts the pricing detail and regional modifiers in their chosen product. Creating a open standard for price data has been "in the works" for years but never gotten off the ground as far as I know.
Hsmith (Hsmith)
Posted on Friday, June 23, 2000 - 12:08 pm:   


Walk us through this. Let us say that one very huge carrier has always required that their adjusters utilize software from one of your competitors. How is Power Claim being in the public domain gonna change that?

Is an adjuster with Power Claim, Simsol, DDS, etc., going to be able to don a red shirt and use
non Xactimate software? This is not a criticism of SF, they make their own business decisions.

Or are we saying that it is hoped that most of the industry will adopt a "standard open" format?
Gale (Gale)
Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2000 - 11:42 pm:   

As the results of this discussion PowerClaim has now officially put its printed and digital output format in public domain, making it a standard that any and all adjusting software vendors can use freely. The great thing is in the future both the carriers and adjusting vendors will not be caught in the trap of forcing adjusters to buy a specific "brand" of software but can specify a "open-standard" format for the output to be printed or sent digitally.

This will save the carriers millions each year as the standard evolves. The adjuster will no longer be forced to own 3 or 4 different adjusting software packages, which will mean less tax deductions but more cash and fewer headaches for the adjuster.

Slavery exists because it benefits a 'few' but as we have learned it extracts much from the 'masses'. That is the main reason that some vendors talk about open-standards but never act. They being the 'few' enjoy extracting much from the 'masses'.

Open-standards level the playing field, forcing we software vendors to compete on total performance because a carrier or adjusting vendor will be free to buy their next copy of software from a different software vendor if they so choose.

Keep talking and we at PowerClaim will keep listening but more importantly we will keep acting.
Eric Carlson
Posted on Friday, June 09, 2000 - 9:30 am:   


Yes you are right. Being the in software development business we are somewhat familiar with intellectual property law and are aware that a piece of work does not necessarily need a copyright notice to be copyrighted. In my former life as a wannabe sound engineer I also studied copyright law as it pertains to music, etc. so I understand what you are saying. However, we have made a statement in a public forum stating that we no longer enforcing that copyright. This is similar to what Microsoft and Netscape did when they released their browsers into the public domain. (Note that we are releasing only the design of our printed output and not our software.) And just to satisfy any other legal questions, we will go back and review our licensing agreement to reflect that fact. Thanks keeping us technically correct Tom.
Tom Weems
Posted on Friday, June 09, 2000 - 8:16 am:   

Eric, you need to study the copyright law a little more closely. Under the Berne Treaty, of which the US is signatory, a copyright NOTICE is not required for a copyright to be granted. Simply put, the mere removal of the notice does not put the reports into the public domain.
Tom Joyce (Tomj)
Posted on Friday, June 09, 2000 - 12:05 am:   

Well, Looks like we got a poker player. Things might get interesting
Eric Carlson
Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 3:28 pm:   

Thanks for the responses. Mr. Phantom, you are right about there being a problem with the copyrights for each software's report format and design. So, being a man of action, I have conferred with the CEO of our company and as of today we are removing the copyright from all of our reports. We will ship a new revision of PowerClaim on June 9, 2000 which will no longer include the copyright information that was previously found on the bottom of our reports.

I realize that this will not solve the problem of a standard format over night because not all of the carriers require their reports in PowerClaim format yet. :) However, we hope that this will at least provide at starting point for the industry. Although we get a lot of positive comments about our reports we are open to modifying them in anyway that will benefit the industry as a whole.

So there you are. CADO has now been instrumental in breaking down some of the barriers that are costing you money and time!

Please FAX us at 800-280-9480 or e-mail with any modifications you would like to see to our reports.
Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 12:23 pm:   

If you can take a standard data exchange/reporting format and fit it into your program where when we print out a report for the company, this data will print out reports that are exact duplicates of what ever the forms are that the carrier is use to looking at and require, you may have something. Of course, there is the problem of copyright for each software vendor's forms and design.

OTHERWISE, you are back to square one. Carrier's need for uniformity is most important.

Carriers want and get what they want and understandably so. If you were in their shoes, you wouldn't want 10 different reporting forms coming in to review. Besides, the man with the gold rules!

As I don't think you can do the above, I am voting for "A" and more gold for the Phantom!
Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 11:55 am:   

2 B or not to B that is the question!
Tom Joyce (Tomj)
Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 11:10 am:   

Have to go with B
Jim Flynt (Jim)
Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 10:37 am:   

"B" for me Eric!
Eric Carlson
Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 10:24 am:   

The comment about "a few desperate software vendors pitching [their] wares" was very disappointing to me. First of all, if you look at the software vendors who post, you will see that there are posts from just about every software company out there, certainly not all of which are "desperate." I am associated with a software vendor but my intent on posting to the site was to try to put forward some suggestions that would aid adjusters and the adjusting industry in general. Yes, my company and the other software companies may get a little free publicity in the process but I don't see much wrong with that. The discussion thread topic is about software so who better to have in the discussion than software vendors?

Anyway, the intent of this discussion thread was to address the issue of adjusting companies requiring adjusters to use specific software packages. Yes this is an expensive proposition both in terms of money and time. There are two solutions as I see it.

Solution A) One solution would be for there to be one standard software package. As we've seen with Microsoft, monopolies are not well liked in this country and tend to lead to stagnation. However, if this is the solution that adjusters want, they need to decide on one package collectively and then present their desire to standardize to the adjusting companies. So far I have not seen any indication that there is one software package that every adjuster loves universally so it might be a very long time before this is a viable solution.

Solution B) The other solution is for there to be a standard data exchange/reporting format that would allow adjusters to use whatever software they liked and work for any carrier/adjusting company they needed to. This is a model that is already in use in other industries and seems to work just fine. It encourages competition and advancement in technology while at the same time allowing freedom of choice for the adjuster. If this is more appealing than solution A, the questions that need to be addressed have to do with who will develop the format and make it available to the software vendors. This solution also presents some challenges but could be put into place in a relatively short amount of time. Every software vendor has the capability to create an import/export routine for their data and would simply need a specification to work from. There would still be a need to convince the carriers/adjusting companies but if they could continue to work with whatever software they liked they would not be losing anything in the process.

I would be interested in hearing from adjusters as to which solution they see a being the most viable: A) having a single "universal" software package or B) having a standard data exchange format.
Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 3:03 am:   

Mr. Todd Milton:

Your posting gives the impression that you are very happy with the position you are in with regards to your employment. If this is the case allow me to congratulate you on your success.

However, when you stated that you are a catastrophe adjuster you failed to mention if your status was that of a self employed independent catastrophe adjuster, a catastrophe adjuster employed by an independent adjusting firm or a catastrophe adjuster on a carrier payroll. You may ask why would that make any difference? For your comments to have any real meaning as to your criticisms of comments by independent catastrophe adjusters you should first be in a position of first hand knowledge by being an independent self employed catastrophe adjuster.

Your statement "Its better to work hard and keep quiet and progress up the company ladder" is typical of someone who would be classified as an employee vs. that of an independent contractor. You see an independent catastrophe adjuster is self employed and as such does not by definition have a company ladder to climb. He or she owns their own company of which he or she is already at the top of their respective so called ladder. Since you stated that you wish to be quite & climb the company ladder you obviously have not elected to become self employed. Therefore, how do you expect your comments to be taken very seriously by those who are independent self employed catastrophe adjusters.

There is nothing wrong in electing to be either a self employed independent catastrophe adjuster, a catastrophe adjuster employed by an independent adjusting firm or a catastrophe adjuster on a carrier payroll. It's just a matter of personal choice. Qualified individuals are required in all of these positions and as such does not make any one group better than the other.

The problem here is one of lowering the fee schedules to the point where it is becoming ever so difficult to maintain an independent business. The fee schedules will have to increase if the independent adjuster is going to financially survive. This is why there is so much posting going on about this subject. Those of us that are true independents that are in this business for all of the right reasons do not wish to quit the business. It's just that we are being forced to find alternatives to financially survive. The fee schedules don't have to go up very much, the carriers have just gone to far in lowering them.

Todd you seem to think that independent catastrophe adjusters are wealthy. I derived that from your statement about stereo typing us as eating at the big buffet tables in Las Vegas. We are small business men/women just trying to financially survive in a business we care a lot about. If we did not care about this business & it's survival this site & conversations would not be taking place. Unfortunately, somehow you perceive as being ok, slamming the independent adjuster group, while being offended about conversations involving low fee schedules & bad working conditions. Don't you understand that this forum is for us to share information, learn and to improve our understanding of this business.

As in any public forum very rarely will Two or more individuals express their individual thoughts with the same writing style. Once you learn to look beyond the written words and begin to understand the message each individual is trying to convey then perhaps a lot of the anger & frustrations that are written in many of these forums can be over looked and real dialog of the issues can take place. Once our problems are under control then perhaps we all can begin to work together towards the needs of insured's without these distractions. After all, isn't that the reason we are all here in the first place.
Todd Milton (Cyclonestorm9)
Posted on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 12:24 am:   

As a catastrophe adjuster who has recently been checking out this site it has come clear to me that its a few desperate software vendors pitching there wares and whinning adjusters sounding off about unfair pay and working condition . I say get real in life theres winners and losers and not everthing is fair or equal .The squeaky mouse to me is the one who talks themselves out of work. Its better to work hard and keep quiet and progress up the company ladder. I know its a free country but if vendor and carriers are constantly being slam on this site they will never see value in investing money to help it grow into a strong portal of information and education. If the money is so bad get a different job and if you fear the new ones who gonna replace the older ones when they go to the big buffet table in vegas. I wish you all luck and please think before you speak and grow up.
Eric Carlson
Posted on Wednesday, June 07, 2000 - 5:15 pm:   

The Phatom said there should only be one program on the market. I think this would be the worst case scenario and would certainly not fit well with our capitalist society. Would everyone here like to drive a Buick? Nothing wrong with a Buick but being Americans we would at least like a choice. The better model (which already works in the medical insurance industry) would be a standard claims reporting/data transfer format that would allow you to use whatever software you wanted and still be able to work for any carrier, etc. I've mentioned in these forums before that CADO would be a great organization to start the process of defining a format.

As for the state of technology in general, remember that PC's are still in their early adolescence. Look at PDA's. There were literally hundreds of PDA's before the Palm came along and someone finally got it right. I can't live without mine now. PC's are just more complex animals and therefore it will take them longer to hit that "computing nirvana" where they become truly functional. Most of you are probably early adopters and so you see more of the rough edges but if someone didn't do it the technology would never mature. I think adjusting technology still has a ways to go but I think it will not be too far in the future that things will suddenly start functioning "as advertised." Just keep harping on the software and hardware vendors. :) (Just for full disclosure I am the Lead Designer for PowerClaim.)
Posted on Sunday, June 04, 2000 - 10:08 am:   

Phantom--------You have been there and done that. I couldn't agree with you more. You are probably one of the top producers also. Just guessing!
Posted on Saturday, June 03, 2000 - 9:11 pm:   

Yep, too many programs where there should be only one. Too many changes to go from one carrier to another today. We spend way too much time getting acquainted with a program to just have another complete program change or another program thrown at us when we arrive at a site for another carrier and start all over again spending time that could be producing more income.

Now, there is a lot of talk about hand held computers coming again. One of the largest carriers trashed their hand held units after spending a bunch to try them. This has been going on for the past 7 or 8 years and for some reason, they decided not to update them and gave them a toss. I will get one maybe if and only if I have to do so.

I am not convenced that the paperless way is the way this industry to go or will go either. There is a lot of factors that have to be taken into consideration by the carriers.

Frankly, I am more interested in income at the present time than different play toys. What ever it takes to save time including hand writing the losses is my route. One today can be "tech poor."

Oh well, different strokes for different folks. Bet I will survive well without all the change possibilities. When they are here and I can not do anything else, then I will change. That may well be the fifth of never.

For now, I will just do the best I can with the tools I have to operate with. I am going to keep the same old hamburger grilles that got me here also.
Mike Row Softie
Posted on Saturday, June 03, 2000 - 6:38 am:   

Wonder if any of the software vendors give cash kickbacks to the vendors and carriers who require adjusters to use their specific brand of estimating software?
Posted on Friday, June 02, 2000 - 3:34 pm:   

That's right! The windows version of Xactimate is needlessly complicated even after three years of being on the market and attendent 'fixes'. And the insult to the injury are those silly little pictures used as icons. I am convinced that they hired a throwaway microsoft engineer to create this mess. What used to be a powerful and LOGICAL estimating program has followed the path of bigger is better when the better path would have been to stay the course. I will not spend another dime on them until they come back to simplicity. In the meantime I will explore other estimating programs such as Simsol, Powerclaim, and others.
Clint Bell
Posted on Friday, June 02, 2000 - 10:55 am:   

I couldn't agree with you more Horace. I still use Xactimate 5.9 (DOS) Lots of folks still use and prefer their DOS based programs. Sticks and Bricks don't change much over the years. New technology is great, but technology for technologies sake is a waste of money. My Father used to say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Horace Smith
Posted on Friday, June 02, 2000 - 9:47 am:   

Well, that's a ficticious estimating software program,"Utopia Ware" mentioned here to illustrate a point.

Is anyone bothered by the fact that many adjusting companies, large and small, require that before you represent them, you agree to utilize a specific software estimating program?
Thus, after you have paid out a tidy sum and become competent on one brand you are required to purchase and learn another, often during the busiest time of a new assignment.

My informal, non scientific survey, indicates that
for the most part, this is not an issue with the carriers. The carriers certainly want computer generated detailed estimates. They want neat estimates and estimates that quickly show the examiner the valuation and whether RCC is appropriate.

Virtually all the estimating software programs
marketed to the claims industry will accomplish the goal(s) of the carriers, including embedded photos and electronically zapped files.

Nevertheless, the adjusting firms remain adamant, perhaps for the covenience of their "file checkers" or because the software company has provided incentives. With these requirements, adjusting companies often miss getting some excellent adjusters, who, by the way, already have enough hoops to jump through.

I do not expect an adjusting firm to require that I use a specific vehicle, camera, ladder, tape,
etc., and the same applies to software. I would rather just make my deal direct with the carrier.

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