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Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2001 - 8:09 am:   

Anyone have or used the Mavica FD-95 camera. I am considering getting one and am looking for feedback from any of you.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2001 - 9:17 am:   

Use your computer to show the insured shots of the roof. I load mine on photo adjuster to make sure my disc is okay and the photos turned out the way I wanted them. Now, while in Omaha, I find that if an insured disagrees with your no hail damage analysis, you can ask them to get into your vehicle and show them the roof photos on the laptop or any other photos of their dwelling. It has worked very well for us. No more, "I want another adjuster to look at my roof", cause the neighbors are getting a new roof. I have found 4 bad disc's and had to re-shoot, but beats the heck out of having to drive back later. The new 2.4 version of photo adjuster is great. Now you can use the Company Logo or name on the small prints and large prints.
John A. Postava (Johnp)
Posted on Saturday, June 02, 2001 - 6:35 pm:   

John T.:
Gald to see you posting on CADO. But most of all, glad to see that my tech support people (a.k.a. Danny Sutliff) were correct in advising you that your printer woes were due to HP drivers and not SIMSOL. Now that we are into the official hurricane season I hope that the storms shine down upon you and make you enough cash to buy a real laser printer (with a better driver).
PS: Call me this week and let's catch up!!!
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Friday, June 01, 2001 - 9:11 pm:   

What settings do you use on your digital camera to get the quality of a Wal-Mart processed 3x5 or 4x6 photo? I do not mean like Standard, Fine or Max but like 640x480, 1024x768, 1280x1024 or other.

Do you even try to match the quality of a 35mm?

What resolution seems to get past most carriers?

Thanks for your input.
JOHN A TURK (Johnturk)
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 10:21 pm:   

The driver for the 2250 that works is somewhere out there in the installation disk sent by HP under Custom Installation. I spent an hour and a half with tech support (HP) of which during that time issues were dealt with that I don't have a clue. The tech person mumbled about the right drivers not being addressed in the set up as it is sent out, but he did make my unit work. So far so good, no problems, knock on plastic. I went from 4 pages b/w to 18 pm and color up to 14 in fast mode which I don't use. Maybe this helps others if they have a problem and what to do. Thanks for the update.
Jeff Keahey
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 3:20 pm:   

John, The HP 2250 albeit a great printer fast and great quality has the flakiest driver known to man. I support a company written photo/loss program and we have had many adjusters buy this printer only to replace it with a less expensive printer with a better driver. The 2250 and the 2200 use the same driver although the 2250 has more problems than the 2200. I like the 2000 best but you just cannot find it very often as I believe it to be replaced by the 1200 series photo smart witch have equally as crummy a driver as the 2250. This problem we have been having with HP is a long a drawn out one. The problem this creates is that the new HPs cannot be matched in speed and quality but you have to have a printer that works without the headaches these cause. I do not have a recommendation on printers but I would warn people to talk to your software provider before making a purchase as lofty as these printers. Once you get them home and play with them for a few days they are not always easy to return. Mike may be able to shed some light on this problem.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Monday, April 16, 2001 - 9:29 pm:   

John, my only concern is that water stains have evolving/differential colors as time progresses. A spider web in black and white could look like a water stain, so I would suggest that color would be better. It is not that difficult to get good stain shots, if attention is paid to what you are doing. Thanks for the insightful suggestion.
JOHN A TURK (Johnturk)
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2001 - 9:31 pm:   


What do you think about using black and white mode when you need some real high contrast? I have experimented and get some interesting results. Damages look worse on some photos. Just a thought.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2001 - 12:18 am:   

Another trick you might try to get better photos of stains on white backgrounds. First, of course, try existing lighting and use the exposure to adjust the lens opening. On the Mavica that feature is on "camera"- then "exposure". You have a 0 setting to plus and minus 1.5. Minus being less light to throught the lens, and plus + meaning more light through the lens.
In a room with bad light, place the flash in low mode, set the exposure to minus -1.5 and shoot. The stain should not be centered in the lens, but to the upper right or upper left. This is for compostion purposes. Always get in the habit of placing damage to the upper right or center right and not int the center of the lens, if you are focusing on one small area, otherwise, fill up the lens.
Be sure to load the photos on Photoadjuster software, so the companies will know your photo has not been altered or tampered with.
Good shooting to all.
JOHN A TURK (Johnturk)
Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 11:13 am:   

Recently had discussion with Mike Stephenson of Photo Adjuster which lead to what model camera I use which is a Nikon Coolpix 990. The camera menu allows me to set up Individual Folders for each loss inspected. I use the last four digits of the claim number and the first letter of the insureds last name as my ID. This allows photos only for that loss in the folder and when you go to down load from the Flash Card you can select only the folder for a particular loss, rather than having to download "all" photos from the day into one big Thumbnail. Makes it easy to manage and takes no additional time. This is one of the many features that sold me on the Nikon 990. Another useful feature is the lense and flash body rotate so you can keep the LCD screen in "eye" view even when holding the camera over your head taking a hard to reach photo. Cost is $1000 list, bought for $750 at Wolf Camera.
The 990 uses a flash card, when I download from it I place it into a PCMCIA adapter and install it directly to the computer which dose not break the authenticity of the photos. After photos are in the program the evidence chain remains.
The next thing I do is create a desktop folder to keep a "copy" of the photos and is labeled with the date of inspection for future use on that particular storm. Finally I do burn the photos onto a CD burner as a permenant archive. OVERKILL some say, however I have traveled the road of "recreation" a couple of times which is woefully painful. The time and cost of a CD is cheap.
Yes, I travel with two computers, two printers, and just about two of everything relative to getting the critical part of the job done. I have used all of the duplication at one time or another or at times, gracious enough to help someone in need for what they didn't have when in trouble. This creates another "believer" Ha.
I would also mention I usually shoot in "Normal" mode, however some vendors want "FIne" mode. There are a lot comments on this issue. I guess if you hit legal issues the photos can be blown up nicely without loss of resolution.
I use a 64 meg flash card which gives me room for 12 to 15 losses per day, but also carry a 48 and 16 meg backup. Also 3 sets of rechargeable batteries, although one set will work fine for a whole 64 meg card. The battery life has to do with how much flash taken and use of LCD screen.
Mike I hope this helps out in regard to our conversation and if I didn't get it right let me know.
JOHN A TURK (Jatstorm)
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2001 - 10:08 pm:   

Cecil and Catmann, the HP 2250 is my choice over the HP 1218, Epson 900 and 1000 for the following reasons;
Standard 24 Ram, upgrade to max of 88 Ram option which I did for future expansion and presntly will spool all of the memeory intensive photos and reports to be printed right into the printer freeing up the computer program and memory for my next operation, no wait time, I like this.

Second paper tray optional, 250 sheets per tray, one for bond one for photo. I use both, bond 106+ bright in tray 2, photo paper, Epson Ink Jet Paper for Photos tray 1. You switch between two with print manager window, slick as whistle. No misfeeds so far w/ 4000 copies. Tray snaps in place like a plug and play really simple.

Unit has two processors, I think there 486's and it makes things run quick.

Four ink cartridges and you replace them when the printer tells you their out. No throwing out a three color cartridge that has one or two colors remaining but won't work until you change it. Some cost saving here but how much don't know.

Production is tops, photo quality excellent with no vendor disapproval thus far. The Epson paper is great and shows sharp 35mm quality photos. I know I can get away with bright 24lb 106+ Bright but it does not produce the same degree of sharpness and I think the vendor deserve better so there are no rejections. Cost for the paper is right a 9 cents a sheet, I get two photos per page and of course you have to add ink and amortize the cost of the equipment.

Cost for this is right at $1100 direct from HP and they have a great service tech department. I ran into speed problems with the unit when it was first installed, used the CD they provided and their instructions, but never got up to speed. After tech support, there is a hidden program under custom installation that couples with your computer and when that was unraveled we were in business and I mean running. Tech support is important with all of this techy stuff and I need help after 15 minutes of trying to make it work, why be fustrated for hours on end when that tech person can make your life tolerable.

The 1218 is every bit as great as the 2250, but is has no second tray, 8 meg of ram not expandable, no separate cartridges, small single processor. You can print photos without computer and print two sides of the paper which is great for book style reports. Its cost is about $500 the last time I checked.

Epson 900 and 1000, high quality photo work it is tops but lacks the second tray, ram, and processors. Their Ink delivery system is state of the art in my opinion and I do plan to get one of the professional series for photography other than insurance. Need another storm to do so or the better half will not be so cooperative.

I shoot Nikon 990 series, easy to use and loaded with features, auto or maual. I like the fact that I can share those photos with insured before I leave the loss, especially those photos on the roof or under the house where the insured is not going with you. Its like the days of poloaroid, these photos don't lie and help to deny those difficult claims as well as show the damages.

Use Simsol For Windows as main program. New upgrade coming out May June, photo manager new content data base and single page print screen and some other goodies. Hey John Postava, don't make us wait too long for this. Also SFW has a great tech support department and these guys care and will go the extra mile for you.

All of this makes you and me beter adjusters that offer our years of experience and equipment upgrades to the vendor with a quality product. Its what works for you, I am not advocating anyone, their products or services, just the fact that I have had a good experience so far and its what works for me! I'm always on the lookout for a better way. Hand Held is next HP Jourdana

Have a great day, I'll get off my soap box. See you at the convention.
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2001 - 6:29 pm:   

Tom's forest looks like a bunch of trees :)

If at all possible you really do need to move your photos into your software prior to leaving the loss location. First, you will notice if you forgot to take a needed photo. Secondly, you will notice if the camera corrupted a photo.

What causes image corruption?

Cameras either store the images on a floppy disk or a memory card.

Floppy disks are inexpensive, cheap, or if you mail in your rebate, free. Only a sample of the disks are tested during manufacturing. Expect a 3% failure rate on major brands, 5% on off-branded and 7% on un-branded floppy disks (Manufacturer's published %) You can reduce this rate by formatting your own disks using a recently cleaned drive.

Memory cards can corrupt images if you fail to reformat the card weekly. When you delete the photos from the card, only the directory is deleted, the images remain on the card until they are over written by new photos. This causes the memory blocks to become scrambled and the card does not hold as many photos as normal. Check you camera's user guide to determine when to reformat the card. If you are using the camera daily you would normally reformat the memory card once per week or sooner if you have corrupted images.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 9:56 am:   

I don't care how smart and perceptive you are, some things just don't appear as they should. Now, I am and always have been concerned about how my digital photos turn out. I have checked the photos on the Sony Mavica index to make sure all the photos took on the disc, but for some weird reason, they sometimes would not print. I drove 283 miles Friday on one large loss and took 49 photos. Now, what would I do if all the digitals did not write to the disc properly? I would have to drive back to Magnolia, AR and climb on the metal roof again, 270,000 sf, and re-take them. I was sitting in my truck setting up the GPS and it suddenly occured to me that I could load the Photo Adjuster with the photos and could tell immediately whether the photos were of good quality and whether they would load properly from the discs ,(4). I loaded them on the photoadjuster software, viewed the quality and discovered another back up tool. The photos were good, so that concern was eliminated. I have been using photoadjuster for two months now and did not think of that until this past Friday. We as a group need to pass on any information that will save us time and that will make sure our photos have turned out properly. A photo, taken properly, is worth the perverbial 1000 words.

What ever photo program you are using, load the photos before you leave the claim sight. It really frees you of any concern about your digital photo quality. Just thought I would pass this on to all of you for possible use. Janice is in Jackson, MS working and I had to stay in Little Rock. She called this morning and I told her what I had done and she said thanks, I will start doing that. Hope to see all of you at convention and bring any digital ideas with you for the digital photography round table. This is a very important subject.
Cecil Kraft (Cecil)
Posted on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 7:58 am:   

Any input on how the HP 1218 compares to the HP 2200. I think both are competitive in price.
David Houtz (Catmannn)
Posted on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 6:55 am:   

Thanks for the information concerning my photo
I got the go from my wife to get another printer
have picked the hp 2200.

Going to get on the web and get the best price.

Thank you all for your help
Be carefull out there,

David Houtz
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 10:56 am:   

Bruce is correct that capturing the photos in the raw, native .tif format can produce a better photo. But it seldom does.

Only very few cameras, like Olympus and a few other brands, support both the .jpg (Joint Photographic Engineers Group) and the.tif (Tagged Image Format)format. Because the .tif file is un-compressed, Bruce is correct that they will always be 2,000,000 bytes or larger, as compared to 64,000 to 125,000 bytes if compressed with .jpg.

The .jpg format was designed specifically for the best mix of speed and quality. The .tif format takes up too much space on your drive, takes longer to import and will drive you crazy waiting on them to print.

Even if your software allows you to import a .tif image, we suggest you don't. Never take photos with your camera set to capture the image with the .tif format.

Photo Adjuster, by design, does not support the .tif file format.
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 8:32 am:   

I use the Epson 900. It is fast, colors good, and it also prints my dos simsol files with no problems. 12 pages a minute black/10 pages color.
See you in Biloxi!!!
Bruce (Bholling55)
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 7:43 am:   

To really get good photos, you should save them in a tif file and set the resolution to 200, there are trade offs with this because it will take up lots of memory. One photo will take around 1400 to 3500 of your memory depending on the size of the picture. To be able to do this you may need adobe Photoshop 5.0 or adobe illustrator 9.0, which these programs are expensive. Around $400 each.
Justin Duckworth (Justducky)
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 9:05 pm:   

Dave Houtz, I use a very cheap Epson 660 color printer. I tried using different printers but saw an article in the Houston paper where they compared all the available printers and said the epson was the best. warning, do not purchase the epson 700 series if you use any dos based programs and want to print as it does not recognize dos and will only print from windows.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 1:46 pm:   

Dave, I too just bought a new Compaq 1800, 750 MZ laptop. My old one fried itself when coffee was spilled into it. Your combo printer, to be honest, is not a good machine to print photos. Janice uses an HP 895C and I use a HP 2000C. I understand HP has come out with some 1200x2400 dpi printers that are fantastic. Hey ol friend, invest 300 to 400 in a new printer, the HP 972C or 2200 C is the best, in my humble opinion. Consider using the Photoadjuster software for your digital photos. I am sold on it, but that is my opinion only.
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 12:51 pm:   

Sorry, the printout quality is in no way determined by the screen resolution.

The screen resolution controls only the width of the pixel that you see on the screen.

The width of a printed pixel is determined by the print driver and it's interaction with whatever version of the Windows operation system you are using.

If the width of the pixel changes, the quality of the printouts will change. Always use a print driver that is written for the exact version of Windows you are using.

[A print driver is simply software that allows a printer and the computer to talk to each other]
Ric Vitiello (Ricvitiello)
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 1:45 am:   

What program are you using? many times the printout quality is determinrd by the screen resolution.for example I had a laptop with a 12" screen and 800x600 screen setting 16 bit color setting and it worked fine but when I got a new laptop with a 14.1" screen I had to tinker with the settings and ended up with having to use 32 bit color with 1024x768 to get the same quality printouts. Boech Express is famous for this. If you're using Boeckh Express let me know and there are a couple of other settings to tinker with.

Ric Vitiello
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 11:13 pm:   

The following has been recommended by Tom Toll, who has taken many digitals.

Camera setting at Fine, pixels @ 480 x 640, this is the setting I have been using for several years, and it works for me. We both use Sony cameras, but different models.

Printers I use are HP 895C and the 970Cse Professional.

Next printer I will buy is an HP 2200

Your printer may be the cause of the problems, or it may be a printer driver, or a setting.

Call the Mfg, and see what they recommend, or go to the help contents on the printer software for starters.

There will be a digital photo workshop at the CADO convention, always more to learn.
David Houtz (Catmannn)
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 6:20 pm:   

I have purchase a Sony Mavica 85. I own a compaq
1800 lap top with a 650 pentium 3 Processor.
My photos are not coming out very clean/sharp.
I would like a few of you that have been into
digital to list the type of printer and the
settings you set your camera and printer on to
get good photos. My hp 380 printer-scanner-
copier is about 3 years old. Could it be my
old printer?

Thanking you in advance for your help.
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 10:42 pm:   

Have lost FD73 Sony Mavica manual. How do you clean disk drive ? Appreciate your help. Thank you
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 2:09 pm:   

Use this as a reminder:

Put the floppy disk cleaner in the box where you keep your blank floppies. When you have used all of the floppies in the box, clean the camera and put the disk cleaner in the new box. This will help us over the hill guys/ladies to remember to clean the camera :)
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 12:05 pm:   

Have you considered this? Download all the photos from the disk. Use the ones applicable to the loss. Delete the rest. Leave the disc in the drive.

On the subsequent loss, be sure to create the new loss before importing, and then repeat the process.

I have tried this several times and it does work.

Many times I allocate one disk per loss and then name and place them within the loss folder. BUT, occasionally it's like the one-hour, and something gets messed up. LOL

When we are doing small inspections, 2-4 pix or minor losses as you say, it is nice to have 4-8 losses on one disk.

Here is yet ANOTHER advantage to the Photoadjuster program.

The sharing of info, as Tom has done, is what WE are all about. (Guess I'd better clean the disks also as have 5000 shots on the camera)

Good Luck.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2001 - 10:09 am:   

Another suggestion, based upon my boo boo. I thought the photoadjuster software was messing up, as I was unable to download all the photos from a 3.5 disc. After talking to Mike and trying to resolve the issue, I discovered that the write ability of my Mavica FD83 had been lessened due to the fact that the disc makes contact with camera disc drive. I had taken over 2,000 photos and had never cleaned by camera disc drive. Upon opening the operators manual, they recommend the drive be cleaned periodically with a dry type disc drive cleaner, not the wet type. I did this and lo and behold, my photo quality improved considerably and the problem was resolved on transporting contents of the disc to the photoadjuster software. I felt this should be passed on to all adjusters using the Sony disc cameras. I also cleaned by laptop, which helped its performance.
Alan Sexton
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 7:30 pm:   

Mike Stephenson, the creator of Photo Adjuster program, mentioned this forum to me, so I thought I would check it out. I need to put in my "2 cents worth" about the Photo Adjuster program. I am not a CAT adjuster but am a GAB Robins staff adjuster in the Lubbock, Texas office. I was one of the original "Beta" testers of the program and even made some suggestions on the program to Mike Stephenson.

As far as cost goes, I have not kept records because I print the photos on my home computer, which is used to print all kinds of "family-oriented" stuff, in addition to the photos. My best guess is it costs me about 5-10 cents per 3X5 photo for ink and paper. GAB reimburses $1.50 per photo. That's a profit of at least $1.40 per photo after the equipment is paid for.

But what about the savings in mileage, in addition to time, traveling to and from the photo developing store? That's probably worth at least another nickel per photo.

I haven't used any other photo program so I can't make comparisons, but I have to agree that the program is easy to use, love the default options, the "magic labels", and the fact that you can import multiple photos at one time.

One problem I have with the program is if there are photos from multiple files saved on the camera, you can't select some of the photos to's either all photos or just one.
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 10:03 pm:   

Mike, that is very an interesting account of how and why you developed Proclaim. My path to PowerClaim was a lot more crooked. After graduating high school in 1969 I took a 9-month programming course where we studied Assembly (sp?, machine language), RPG-2 and Cobol. I had a job waiting on me (a computer service bureau) when I finished operating/programming a 360-20 card system with 4K of ram and no keyboard or monitor. With the mini computers coming on to the market the service bureau closed down. After a 9-month machine shop course I worked in a tool and die job shop before joining the Navy in 1973 to see the world where I was an AT (aviation electronic tech). I remember seeing my first transistor in 1974. After the Navy I earned a BA in 1980 and an OD in 1986. While in optometry school I got a TI-99A an thought I really had something. Due to advancing arthritis I never practiced and finally had both hips replaced in the fall of 1991. After getting home I got a Gateway 486-33 and started to teach myself about the PC world and started Hawkins Research in my basement. The following year I got into PC repair after a lighting strike left only the case, keyboard, mouse and two floppies. The business grew and I moved to town and my first two hires had done programming as well so we just added development to our hardware business. A couple years ago it was clear there was more potential in software so we dropped the hardware side of the business but the knowledge comes in handy doing tech support.

Like you we were taken back when we realized how behind the times the property claims handling was. I guess Proclaim was one of the first Windows based program on the market was not it? I know the former DDS product was the first corporation out with a 32-bit version. It was interesting how you did not study the other photo management software that was on the market because adjusters were surprised that we did not pour over the then current adjusting software packages upfront. For the non-programmer reading this, it is hard to build a better house using the same blueprint as the last guy used. Mike the big thing we saw quickly was the effect of adjusters turning developers, the functions were there but the logic flow often was not universal in nature. The guys that had DOS systems seemed to have a real struggle moving to Windows. In fact it was like that Xactimate just emulated their DOS version in the Windows environment without realizing the down side to doing that, just like a lot is lost if one does a word for word translation of a document from one language to another.

It was good to hear your research and development was very successful in the area of digital photos. Often it is the side roads that pop up that are the best to travel or at least that was true in our case. Not to take away anything from the developing side of our or anyone else’s adjusting software, I still say that marketing is the hardest part. There has been many adjusting software packages developed and everyone with something unique but so few ever gives much back to the developer it seems because of the difficulty of getting market share. It sounds like you have found a successful marking plan for Proclaim to see a growth rate of 12% per month. What is the price of Proclaim?
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 12:37 pm:   

Gale, after leaving the programing world in the mid 80's, I became an at-will adjuster (storm trooper). I could not believe the turn of the century methods being used by the insurance industry, so I wrote a nice little package for me to use to generate all of the forms and estimates used by the companies I worked claims for.

When the Northridge quake hit, I worked in an office with 400 other cat adjusters, and at the end of the second week, I was the leading producer. After seeing my name on the top of the billing board week after week, other adjusters start offering to buy my program. I spent a weekend making it more user friendly and started selling it under the name "Adjust It".

Here is one of the war stories you asked about. It was for the Macintosh only! I sold over 200 copies to adjusters who actually went out and purchased a Mac, just to run it. (I have a life time discount card at the Office Depot in Burbank, CA). After the quake was over, I returned home with the intention of retiring, but cat adjusters and small 2-10 man offices kept my phone ringing until I agreed to port it to Windows. This version became "Proclaim Adjuster" and has generated a large installed base. It does the estimate, digital photos, roof diagrams, short form/captioned reports, ACV proof, RC proof, Statement of Loss, activity notes,business cards, appointment scheduling, etc. Our Proclaim customer base grows fairly steady at about 12% per month. I have been working on a new version, which was interrupted by the secure contract below, that I am certain will put you out of business :) :) :) :)

Photo Adjuster is a non exclusive public version of a once in a lifetime non-public contract I was awarded. I am under a NDA which prevents me from revealing any details that would give away who I was working for on this project. I developed the technology to determine if a digital image has been altered without the images having to be digitally watermarked using the least important image luminance component. During the development we made many other discoveries that allowed us to create a program that could reconstitute or resample at twice the rate know before which not only imports the photos faster, but also allows the photos to be printed faster while maintaining the same color depth.

I guess there is nothing wrong with the other photo management software on the market. All I know is what my customers tell me. Gale, as a software developer you know why I have not seen the others. I am told that Photo Adjuster is faster and we know it uses less ink. It is certainly more flexible. And most importantly, as Tom Toll wrote in a message below:

"Photo Adjuster, presents an evidence trail, in the event the authenticity is questioned in appraisal, litigation, or at the examiners desk. I have tried to trick the system on the evidence trail, and it catches me every time."

By the way, if any of you reading this play the guitar, stop by your local music store and buy a copy of the "Chord Genie" software. I could use the money :)
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 12:39 am:   

Mike I was teasing in away but there was a Proclaim user that I recently was talking with that thought you were no longer supporting it. In the future I will tell anyone that you are still around.

You should go to the Software Forum and create you a thread like has been created for PowerClaim and the other guys and post your company info and what you do. If you have not already become a CADO sponsor you will want to do that and Roy will get your company information posted with the other sponsors as well. It is the best deal in town.

Besides adjusting, are there other markets developing for your Photo Adjuster? I will look forward to meeting you in three weeks. CAT adjusting is really a new market for PowerClaim as our product as finally worked its way up to the top of the heap in easy of use based on the reports coming in from the field and offers paperless claims handling that does not require any proprietary software or hardware by the receiver. Of course with the investors of a major competitor recently deciding to give up on making it big in the adjusting software industry as well has two other big names deciding to put their names together is drawing more attention to the remaining players in the industry. For PowerClaim it is one of those being at the right place at the right time things.

Since we were a software-developing firm that got talked into developing a property adjusting software package it has not been easy. After we crossed the point of no return there was only one choice that had any appeal to me so that is what we have done. After researching the software needs of the adjusting industry in 1996 it was clear we would have to be several steps ahead of the other guys in functionality and we had to do it for less than $500 per year to be looked on as the clear industry leader. That is the reason our price was set before we developed PowerClaim so we knew how much we could afford to invest and still realize a healthy return on our investment.

Perhaps I would not have gotten into the PowerClaim project had I known the pain that would come with it but since we finally are now consider a top rated product among the users from the other camps and sales are continuing to increase as the results of our listening to the adjusters we are now proud to be the producers of PowerClaim. Needlessly to say I have a talented staff that is as thick skinned as I am and enjoy our profession and working with the adjusting industry. By 2004 PowerClaim should be the most used package in the US market and internationally in 2006 if we keep our products current.

Mike I am sure you have a ton of war stories you could share about the history of Proclaim and I bet the readers would enjoy hearing them. What lead you to create the Photo Adjuster even though there is other photo management software on the market?
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2001 - 8:44 pm:   

Thanks a lot Gale :)

Proclaim is alive and well. Any licensed customers have two after hours tech support phone numbers as well as our normal business numbers. The only customers I have lost either died or failed to pay as promised (which is the same thing)

As you wrote, Photo Adjuster is doing very well, especially from several unexpected sources.
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2001 - 11:08 am:   

Mike are you still available to do tech support on Proclaim? One of your users said he had lost contact with you after Permian (sp) Claims. I told him I did not think so and that he should buy PowerClaim. :)

It sounds like your PhotoAdjuster is a hit based on several post here and on the bulletin board.
mark (Olderthendirt)
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2001 - 10:31 am:   

If you eat at a waffle house should it be two hours?
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Friday, March 02, 2001 - 10:27 am:   

Tom is correct about cleaning the lense. The rule of thumb is to wait one hour after eating at Taco Bell before you lick the lense :)
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 11:49 pm:   

Digital photography, where art thou, oh digital photograpy. Could it be that digital has now turned into digiprestation. I think not, nay, digital photography is a key note in our presentation of who and what we are, and what we are capable of doing. I received a phone call today from a company claims manager wanting to know how Janice and I process our digital photos. He was very complimentary of the product, so guess what, Our names will come up at his company the next time a good one hits. Some feel photos, as a whole, are a wasted effort, yeah, sure nuff Tonto. By the way, one way to take good photos, clean your lenses twice per week. Amazing how much better the digitals turn out. If you have the Mavica series of cameras, set your quality to FINE and you image size to 640X480. That setting works great for 4x6 photos. Need an 8x10, set the image size to 1280x960. This increases the pixelation tremendously and produces a great 8x10. Don't forget to set it back to 640x480 however, as the larger image size eats the disc up quickly. Always treat your image device like it is a member of your family. Take care of it and it will take care of you.
Good luck to all, and please, lets keep the digital photo thread to digital photos please.
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 11:56 am:   

To answer your question, since 1973. As a full time CAT adjuster since 1995. Allow me to correct your statement about Glen. I had been "mentoring" Glen for over a year prior to his death. Glen did not work for Reliable, I however was attempting to get him a position with Reliable. Glen was a very good adjuster, and yes he was a NEWBIE. To further correct your statement, I do not travel by motorhome from Arizona to Abeline, TX. I do, and have for many years, travel throughout the year to CAT's in a 5th Wheel Trailer.

And last, I was not trying to amuse people, I was attempting to obtain an answer to a question asked by many in the adjusting business regarding todays new adjusting software.

Christian, Glen and I had many conversations during the time he was in Fairfax, VA about some of the people that he met there. I know he held many of them in high regard. I do not feel compelled to share those conversations with others on this forum.

John Durham
Cecil Kraft (Cecil)
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 8:42 am:   

We are all here for the same reason. To make a living and to learn more so we can continue to make a good living. We need to help each other and avoid tooting our horns and putting others down. It doesn't matter whether we are old or new. It matters that we care and are diligent and professional in what we do. All the programs are good and the vendors continue to update them. It is true that the old DOS versions were quick and less cumbersome. However, they lacked certain functionality and options now required if we want to work. To operate in windows and to do all they can now do ( the new programs) is complicated and required much work on someones part.

Thanks to all who have commented and please continue to do so. But remember we sometimes say things and in context from the point of view we are thinking, although no offense is meant it can be crass and hurtful. And I know from long years of experience and practice that foot goes in mouth very quickly.

Have a good day and may we all go out of storm soon.
Christian Coggin IV (Christian)
Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2001 - 12:39 am:   

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I would like to know one thing???? How long has John Durham really been handling Claims on a part time / full time basis. I can tell he is very articulate and informed, but I had a Dear Friend in Fairfax, Virginia that died last year on March 13th, 2000, and he was working for Realible Claims Service out of Indiana, on a Spot to Spot basis and told me that John Durham was actually a "NEWBIE" and had just started his second career from a Motor Coach,in 1998 that he ferried between Phoenix, Arizona and some none descript local in Abiline, Texas...... I actually have a copy of John Durham's Boeckh 3.5.7 program that was left on Glen's 2nd machine,with all the RACE Clais Data, that I bought from his widow and little girl. All of this advise is good and it seems to amuse people, but you should ask yourself one thing? If you have seen 30000-45000 claims over a 30 year history, and the coverage has really not been liberized too much, then most "Newbies" should ask someone that is handing out advise and council... who, what,where, when and how did you arrive at the conclusion(s),and is there really only one answer to every claim situation? Anybody can : "pack that baby as full as the postage will pay", that has a macro, and or templete, and truly most catastrophe wind / flood claims have a "level of damage", that is consistant with the "deepnest of the water" and the "speed of the wind." I WAS JUST WONDERING ABOUT ALL OF THESE SO CALLED "EXPERTS" ???? that burn up this forum........ I respect anyone that tells me they learn something new everyday, I am 43 years old, NS Hve been handling wind /flood claims since 1974, and my 6 and 12 year old boys teach me to be humble everyday when they help me see to install a memory chip and or play one of their playstation II games, that requires you to remember 25 turns, 40 dives, and 10 jumps in a cave to get the golden key......... Remember Glen Garoutte, he was a good guy that knew little about claims and less about coverage but he knew people, and I respect that everyday. I have never had an Insured request another adjuster because I shorted him / her and or failed to tell him about every coverage allowance and every change to benefit him and put him back whole.....
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2001 - 6:52 pm:   

Sorry, I did not intend to make any derogatory and derisive comments regarding "NEWBIES". Quite to the contrary, a new adjuster entering this business DESERVES to be mentored, trained and have his hand held until such a time as he/she gains the experience and education necessary to successfully complete their assigned duties. I would suggest you re-read my post and see if you cannot gleen some derisive comments regarding vendors who do not follow this scheme.

My previous statement(s) were directed at software designers, not the NEWBIES who use the software.

Obviously, both you and Kelly DO NOT fit in my estimate of a NEWBIE, maybe you two are living inside this self-imposed shell, however, I would urge both of you to break out. The newbies I was trying to define were the ones who were handing in the dreadful files she alluded to.

Remember Cecelia, some people have 20 years experience and some people have one years experience 20 times. No, with your background I would not consider you a NEWBIE.

Cecelia Sharpe (Cecelia)
Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2001 - 11:03 am:   

John Durham,

I think, perhaps, that the first post from Kelley was a response to your derogatory and derisive comments regarding "NEWBIES".

It looks like Kelley came from the construction side of a "prior life" and, as such, would have to learn the insurance/policy side. We all, generally, come from either a construction or an insurance background and learn the other half of the business. We now have some very young people coming into the business who have parents that are either in construction, insurance or are actually CAT and/or independent adjusters.

You say that you wouldn't consider Kelley a newbie, but Kelley considers himself so. I consider myself a newbie, as well. I've only been doing property adjusting for a little over 3 years although I have 20 years experience in the insurance industry handling many different types of claims. I have also been a paralegal for an insurance defense law firm and have worked for a private investigator whose primary business was insurance fraud.

Due to this, I had to learn construction. I still learn something new each day. I put together a very neat and complete file. My reopen rate is very low. And I'm currently working a branch assist job rather than a CAT loss.

I have to say that I took offense to the wording of the post also. No one has to "dumb down" anything for me. I am required to use Xactimate which doesn't have a picture to click on for carpet. But if it did then I would click. However, I can just go ahead and feed the codes straight into the room because that is how the program works. As we all know, one or two extra steps wouldn't appear to be a "slowing" process for us in writing our estimates, but it is when you add up the time over the period of a day or a week. So I understand your frustration, but please don't try to explain your frustration at the way a program works by blaming it on newbies or your perception of their needs.

You said in a later post that both young and old adjusters are guilty of not doing a good, thorough job. I have done enough clean-up that I must agree with you. I don't see a trend where it's the long-time adjusters, older (age) adjusters, short-time adjusters or younger (age) adjusters. I think it's an individual problem when adjusters "breeze" through and don't do their jobs properly. I agree that something should be done. Identify the problems and share them with the adjuster. If the adjuster doesn't correct the problem then the adjuster should find another field of work.

Perhaps you meant no offense when you asked if the software companies had to "dumb down" their programs for NEWBIEs who "just don't understand". But I think what you might consider the "problem" is not the software products. They are conforming to what the insurance industry has indicated it wants. The companies have the bucks. They pay the software companies the bucks. They pay us the bucks. We can do it their way or not. That's the beauty of being independent. We can choose NOT to do something because we don't like it. There are things in every aspect of life that we like and things we don't like. Everything comes with a price. We weigh the benefits and drawbacks and decide if, for us individual, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and if we can live with those drawbacks if we make a particular choice.

Perhaps you could come up with a windows based software program that works the way you would like it to work. Or you could consult with one of the current software companies on changes. Take what it is you do NOT like about the way things are and at least try to change it into something positive. We'll all benefit.

What happened to the digital photo thread, anyway?
Scott Wiens (Digitalsaw)
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2001 - 7:22 pm:   

Thanks for the response and I respect your opinion. I would like to chat with you sometime to get more detail about the issues you brought up about DDS. I am always interested in hearing suggestions. I also may be able to address some of your questions about the software and show you some of the short-cuts our users are telling me are so powerful.
I can be reached on my toll free line at 888-337-9665. Hope we can get in contact and don't worry about the spelling. It is not my strong suite either :)
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 11:29 pm:   

Kelly I have a theory that some guys have a stronger relationship with their adjusting software then with their wife’s. I know they will stand up for their software longer. :)
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 1:56 pm:   

In all due respect, I still can complete an accurate estimate faster using Boeckh. With the use of Templates, something not available in the version of DDS that I have, and maybe not available in any version. I can prepare templates for just about anything I will normally see in a particular storm and use the same template with the same price structure throughout the storm. I can prepare my hand drawn diagrams faster, better and with more detail than the ones allowed by DDS. The attached memo can either be completed by Boeckh forms generator or by simply using MS Word. The photos can be completed in a Word Photo-Template that is superior to the workings of DDS and is much faster. The only place you "got me" is the wireless transmittal of the claim, DDS is faster. I can, however, transmit it as an Email attachment.

Scott, I probably would use DDS more often if the program was not so confining. If the program allowed me to adjust and report the way I wanted to and not the way the program wanted me to it would be an improvement IMHO.

Again, I must make it very plain; "It is not the duty of software companies to train adjusters." Hell, a lot of the adjusters I know cannot train adjusters, and it is well documented that this industry needs some standards in training, file composition and handling.

Maybe your position offers you the ability to make some of these suggestions into future changes in software development.

Scott, sorry about the spelling, having trouble with the spell checker...
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 1:43 pm:   

Thank you for your answer; however, I would not consider you a NEWBY. If your previous job required you to be organized then you have overcome a large part of the problem. If you were capable of writing an estimate without using a computer then you should be as upset as I am regarding the trend in the new computer software.

Yes the new software does allow for the preparation of good-looking adjustments, something that could be and should be required without a computer if necessary. If what you say is true then this software was only written for NEWBIES not experienced CAT adjusters and therein lies my “gripe.”

If a company wants their adjusters to follow the same format and turn in work that basically looks the same, they have to power to control this situation by only employing the adjuster with enough common sense and ability to follow directions that fits their criteria. The real problem stems from the companies (vendors) who hire and train shoe clerks and grocery bag boys to fill their requirements and turn them loose after a “full week” of training. Now they can achieve nirvana by having each of the NEWBIE adjusters submit the same looking estimate. This, I respectfully submit, is the reason you are seeing so many “crappy” looking adjustments. YES, some of the old timers also are guilty of this type of work, and unfortunately, some of them just do not care. An adjuster of your experience will no doubt someday be in a position of authority. I suggest you keep a list of the names of the adjusters that cannot or do not prepare proper – accurate adjustments as you alluded to and when you reach the position of authority make sure they DO NOT work. This would be a huge benefit to our industry.

Kelly, I have trained several new adjusters or NEWBIES and not a single one did know how to prepare a good looking adjustment “package” including estimate, diagram, memo, etc. or they were not “graduated.” I do not believe that it is the job of the Software Company to “train” our adjusters to prepare an estimate.

If an individual, as per John Postova, is happy with their estimating program then by all means stick with the program you are using. Many of my friends in the industry do not like the current offering of adjusting software due to its confining use parameters. I do not understand why an install program cannot allow a series of switches (on/off) or (true/false) to offer the end user control over the product they are selling. I still do not want to click on the pretty picture of carpet to include carpet into an estimate. I still do not want to screw around with some convoluted drawing program to draw an extremely complex roof and have the program figure the number of squares. If an adjuster cannot do this without the aid of a computer, he/she SHOULD NOT BE ADJUSTING. This is an insult to the end user and something a whole lot of adjusters WILL NOT contend with.

I work part of the year for an old-line company (vendor) who have very stringent file requirements. They simply return the file if it is not correct and continue to return the file until an adjuster “gets it right.” If an adjuster cannot get it right, they get gone. This is what is needed in this industry, quality work requirements that EXCLUDE the fast buck artist and the untrained adjuster.
Scott Wiens (Digitalsaw)
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2001 - 1:30 pm:   

I wanted to take a minute to offer some of my experience with moving adjusters from older DOS based programs over to a Windows-based system.
When people talk about DOS systems such as the old Boeckh system, their comments about speed are very accurate. Once an adjuster memorized the appropriate codes and keyboard functions in an older system they could 'fly' and estimates were cranked out very fast. As someone who is a member of the MSB (formerly DDS) team and someone who has trained many adjusters in the use of our software, I will say that in some cases these DOS programs were faster than our DDS Multi-Line Pro and the other Windows-based systems on the market. I think the issue is really what kinds of claims you are writing and what is required of you by the larger carriers. DDS was a system designed to not only write estimates fast (I can give you plenty of users who will attest to the fact our system is fast) but to allow the user to also fulfill those other functions required such as diaries, diagrams, photos, and reports. When people tell me about what they like about our system they all find the estimator more than adequate and easy to use and some love the Virtual Reality menus but, what really gets them excited are options like the Captioned Reporter or the DDS QuickDraw feature. As John Postava mentioned in his earlier post, time is the real money-saving element. Many of these DOS-based users may have been able to write an estimate faster but they could not handle the paper-work required on some files nearly as fast as these newer programs and of course did not have the ability to producing a paper-less file.
Many of the adjusters I spoke with who had used the older systems have told me that the time saving features of the DDS system such as the Captioned Reporter, the DDS QuickDraw diagramming utility and the digital imaging have saved them a tremendous amount of time. With the older systems they had to mount photos onto photo sheets, keep track of their accounting on a separate program, hand draw diagrams, put data in multiple times, etc. They have told me that these time-intensive tasks quickly overshadowed the small amount of time they may have lost, if any, on the speed of the estimator.
I offer that as a thought with full respect to those individuals who still use the older DOS systems. In my experience I have found that it truly does come down to the type of claim you are working or the carrier and the claim file they require. I hope this comment can be considered in the discussion of old versus new.
Kelley Roberson (Kelley)
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2001 - 11:05 pm:   


Read your post & noted that due to the fact that some of the estimating programs require an adjuster to click on a pic of a roof you felt the need to refer to it as "dumbing down" and the process of doing so was for the NEWBIES !

It appears that the ppl building the software programs are attempting to get it where the files being turned in follow the same format. This makes reading of the reports much easier.

I am still what you would consider a NEWBIE. Due to my "past life's" adjusting came very natural to me. Writing of the estimates was something I was an old hand at. Organizing was a must in my previous job. Paying attention to what I left for others to attempt to understand was a must. To create contentment & happiness in a mad, wants to strangle anyone at hand client is something that I did daily in the wake of my employees.

Due to the abilities I have & the abilities to pick up policy I have found my self doing clean-ups & re inspections.

I am saying this to say one thing, I am shocked at the reports that I have to review from some of the older adjusters. They are poorly written, no information about the damage, location & quite often measurements are wrong, grossly wrong. I see more consistency in the NEWBIES files, they at least tell me something. They leave a better trail to follow.

Now I am not saying all of the ole dogs out there need to learn how to write a file, nor am I saying that all Newbies have it together. I am saying that we all have something to learn from each other.

Computers make our lives much easier & organized programs make organization in files. Re viewing an unorganized file is murder ( or maybe someone should be murdered for writing one whey they have been in the industry for 22+ yrs).

I am thankful for the ease that we can face the claims. NO I have never had to write a loss estimate by hand. But I have written & put bids/estimates together on commercial jobs that would make most estimates look like childs play.
If someone can my life easier than more power to them. I believe it smarter of ppl to use the software programs that make things go faster... I look at it this way. Why would I want to waste my time creating a round wheel when someone has already done it for me.

Maybe the programs were not created due to the need to dumb things down for NEWBIES. Maybe someone in the industry saw the need to move this industry forward. Why spend our valuable time doing the same things over & over again.

Give the Newbies a helping had... you to were one "once".
Horace Smith (Hsmith)
Posted on Wednesday, February 21, 2001 - 8:09 am:   

For anyone interested in Mavica cameras, Walmart is featuring the 85 for $498.00: the 73 for $399.00. Quite a bit off the original pricing.
John A. Postava (Johnp)
Posted on Monday, February 19, 2001 - 11:48 am:   

Each system mentioned in this thread handles most of the basic property adjusting functions adequately. Each system has its strong and weak points - the developers know it and each system's "Power Users" know it.

For every system there have been and will always be users that tout "their" system as the "only one you'll ever need". I used to know a storm adjuster who said the Ford Crown Vic was the only storm vehicle any cat adjuster ever needed (and who's to say he is wrong!).

I say to the new adjuster, demo each system and make up your own minds. Spend a week on each (there are only a few players in the insurance estimating market)and find the system that works best for you. In the end you may still have to use the system that your vendor or client tells you to use but at least you will know them all when the time comes to PRODUCE CLOSED FILES AND MAKE SOME MONEY.

Faster is not always better. At storms I used to challenge other adjusters (with systems other than SIMSOL) to see who could write the faster estimate off the same scope. It was great fun and I ate some free dinners (and I bought a few). For every one cat adjuster who wants to write estimates FAST, there are 25 staff and local IA's that don't need speed but rather flexibility, features and user-friendliness.

I have seen the new Photoadjuster software and think it is a solid program for those adjusters who need an photo-processing system. I wish the software developers who created and continue to enhance the system much success and look forward to seeing them at CADO in March.
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 11:31 pm:   

I have no idea what they plan to do with Boeckh DOS version. I have the DOS version as the windows version has a propensity to crash at the most inopportune times. I appreciate your candor regarding software, that in itself is a breath of fresh air. What are the faster and less costly options, please send me EMail information. Thanks.
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 9:16 pm:   

John you hit the nail on the head. Software and computers are only tools so if a tool works for you and the vendor or carrier you work for then that is all matters. I do expect your (and many others) combination of adjusting tools will serve you well for several years with many vendors. My standard reply to the question you asked is that one should continue using what he or she wishes until it starts costing one in the pocket book because his or services are not being requested because of his or her choice of tools.

There are several factors besides the speed of the estimate itself even if you cannot find one as fast as the one you are using. How many times do you retype the same info, how many programs do you have to keep up with, how many icons do you have to manually attach to an email. John you maybe surprised (based on what others have told me) but there are faster and less costly options out there than you may think but again what you use is your call. As Dave pointed out about digital photography one must look at the true cost and when one does it can be surprising. Having one fast adjusting software package that lets you offer paperless claims handling and therefore not limiting who you can work for does have its upside. John as an independent you are your own boss and no one else calls the shots for you unless you decide they can. It is going to be an active year I expect so I agree with you that handling losses as fast a possible is the way to go. Have you yet learned what the new owners of Boeckh DOS plan for its future support?
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 7:10 pm:   

Many of us, myself included, still use an old DOS based program (BOECKH) and have for years. While I understand that BOECKH is quite antiquated if you compare it to DDS or Power Claim or SIMSOL, etc., and I have experience with all mentioned, it still "does the trick" for me. A lot of vendors are just happy to have a CAT Adjuster that uses a computer and can generate computer estimates. The problem I see with most of the new software is it has too many constraints and each process must be completed within the software with no allowances for the speed the old (Boeckh) program allowed. I have many friends who will only use old DOS software for the reasons mentioned above. In several instances I have used DDS to handle claims when they ABSOLUTELY had to be handled by paperless transmission. This has proven to me that I can probably complete 4 claims in the old Boeckh program to one with the DDS or other programs, not much of a deal in my book.
My question Gail is; Why not allow the use of these "new" programs in selective stages, ie: If I want Photos inside the program, fine. If not, the program should exclude them. If I want to do my diagrams by hand, then why not, I can produce a better, more comprehensive diagram than the computer can and the carriers love them. Why not the ability to turn off this feature.
Why do I have to click on a picture of a roof to add roofing to an estimate? Has all this software been "dumbed down" to the level of NEWBIE adjusters who "just dont understand"?
I have owned a software company and written many megs of code ( C, C++, ASM ) etc. so I do know what I am talking about. I know I will have to probably change to another program within the next 4-5 years, or retire, I just cannot find one that will allow me to handle a claim MY WAY and not the way some programmer wants me to.....
I am quite serious about this, please offer me some help or an explanitation.
ROY if this is in an improper Forum, please move it to the proper place... Thanks
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 5:37 pm:   

David you have raised the question that is on the mind of several. As you have read some are not exited about the photo features of their adjusting software package but there are a large number of adjusters outside of the CAT world handwriting, using a homemade system or a DOS version that just does not handle photos so there is a market for transition software for those that for some reason want or need to hang on to the pre-paperless way of doing things. Personally I am aware of firms using four different software components when one would do the job better and save them hours of rekeying the same information every day. They have to keep all four packages up and running to answer incoming calls concerning the same file. Tower Hill stated at WIND that they will not accept any hand written claims this year on any CAT and that any brand of adjusting software will be OK. David the number of property adjusters between the ages of 50 – 70 is very large and most did not have PC’s starting in preschool. I turn 50 this week and I graduated from high school before I ever saw a computer and then the first computer I programmed on in 1970 took up much of a room, had 4K of ram, no keyboard or monitor and cost over $250K. As Allstate pointed out this last week most of their 200 new staff CAT members are new college graduates so you can understand how they never knew the pre PC days.
David P Bennett (Whitey)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 2:56 pm:   

I guess I am a little befuddled. I have used SIMSOL (the windows program) and it is not necessary to have a seperate photo program. I am able to either download from the disc, direct connection or memory card, direct in to my claims file, label the photos as they are downloaded and then print them through whichever printer I am using. I can use either straight copy paper, Heavy Matte or High Glossy paper. The printed photos are 4 x 5 1/4 and the quality depends and ink costs depend on the printer. And of course I don't have to reenter all the claim information for a header, because the photo form pulls the information from the claim file info. In addition direct EMAIL is available from the program, so EMAIL'ing the photos is not a problem.

I guess if you use an estimating program which doesn't have a direct photo download and conversion you need the additional photo program. Why pay extra?

Just asking the question and welcome feedback.
Mat Safran (Matsafran)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 1:38 pm:   

One of the finer points of digital photographs that I have found is that I take more photographs, no additional processing or film costs, review and use what I need for the file and erase the rest.
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 12:09 pm:   

This discussion may prove to enlighten the many hundreds of adjusters that still cling, voraciously, to their present ways.

A recent gig, up north, for a smaller independent, who is a mulitline firm with 6 staff adjusters, 2 IA's and 2 support staff, including a GA.

Believe it or not they still hand write estimates, dictate and transcribe and type reports.(they use a computer for file tracking, billing and word documents). AND THIS IS NOT THE EXCEPTION TO THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS AMONG THE SMALLER IA'S.

The use of the technology that was explained and exhibited, digital photography, color printing, laser measuring, hydrometer tools, GPS etc. was acknowledged and desired.

The HUGE stumbling block for this firm is the purchase of 6-8 of everything and the education of the individuals to implement the technology. Their comptroller has evaluated this at in excess of $50,000.00. (Cameras $6000, laptops $12,0000, GPS $1000, printers $3000, LAN network $2000, PC's, and software $9000, education and loss of production $12,000, File management system $13,000 and so on. They want it, they cannot afford it.

As Gale has mentioned previously, he speaks to many, many people that cant even turn on a computer, are afraid of them, are reluctant to change, and the numbers are staggering.

Eventually, all of the carriers will "see the light", as some are doing at present. This then will force the non-techno dudes to become familiar or change venues.

The cat adjuster community, is by far and wide, the most advanced technologically. We can out preform almost any of the ones that work in other ways. This may be the basis of their position that we earn too much, (gross, not NET).

The Quebec experience brought this to home, where none of those adjusters could write an estimate, much less a computerized one, (remember Tom?)

WE are a unique commodity in this industry. WE invest in ourselves, with equipment, education, soft ware and vehicles, time, seminars, whom else does on an individual basis? NONE.

Like others that have been in this trade a long time, and truly enjoy the altruistic benefits, enjoy technology, and learning, THIS is where it's at. Where else can we find the answers, for FREE!

The truth of the matter is that WE, the catastrophe adjusting community are the "cutting edge" of the business. We lead , the others follow, and that's the way it is, like it or not.
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 12:58 am:   

Dave thanks for the complete picture. Digital photos are becoming a requirement for more and more adjusters to keep working in the industry because more and more adjusting firms that us IA’s expect to receive the completed file in digital format and I agree with you digital photos can be as expensive as 35 mm but are much more convenient.

Mike I realize that in perhaps in law enforcement and some types of adjusting an evidence trail could be required but since it is not required for property adjusting and emailing capability is already a requirement for some you could perhaps put in an option that omitted the evidence trail so property adjusters could use your software to submit photos to the adjusting firms or carriers in digital format. Dave is at the forefront in both adjusting and the use of technology so if he points out a limitation of a product it should be noted. As I went to post I see John also stressed the email function and talked about security for those that might have a need for it.

Tom I think it is a cold hard fact that income is being pressured at all points of the game and not just in the adjusting world. The carrier world is under greater pressure than they have been in years with the collapse of the stock market. I agree that with the intelligent use of technology the adjuster can increase his or her efficiency to enhance or at least not lose ground income wise if he or she can get assignments.

As was discussed at WIND, with companies like Allstate with 200 staff CAT adjusters trying to stay busy makes it hard on companies like Pilot therefore the adjusters on their list and this is just one big example. There many smaller firms that handle day to day carrier claims that have sold some of these carriers on the idea to let them handle smaller CATS in their region. Since these adjusters will be sleeping at home these firms are pricing their services way below the GAB, Crawford and Pilot rates. Tom the pressure is even on me to cut our rates with their other options costing 250% more. As someone posted a few weeks ago, everyone in this industry knows how to negotiate and practice it even unconsciously. I do not think the pressure to lower fees will go away anytime soon and the industry will lose more good adjusters because of it but most will figure out a way to hang.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 12:06 am:   

I guess I assumed too much, in that I felt the majority of adjusters already had laptops, digital camera's, printers, paper, ink, etc. The cost of adjusting seems to be going up more and more as the years pass. The adjusters pay scale seems to be going down more each year. I think we all agree that is a given. We can become techno nerds, but it costs a lot to do so. The companies demand expeditious handling of their claim files and that is what we must accomplish in order to survive. Possibly the adjusters rates are going down due to estimating software, but I doubt it. I feel the companies realize that estimating software is not inexpensive and that the tooling costs for digital photos is not inexpensive. Any thing we can do to free up more time to spend on working the claims properly will be well received by the industry. My words and thoughts are my own on the photo adjuster software. If I am the only one that ever uses it, I will use it. I see the time saved, is more time spent in the field taking care of claims and the insured's problem, that of loss.

A 30 day free trial is a good basis for all to make judgement on the effeciency of the photo adjuster software and its related expense. I felt it my duty to inform all of the potential to free up more field time and reduce office time.

Gale, if the companies see fit to reduce the pay for photos, then the good adjusters are going to fade away and all they will have will be those not truly qualified to handle claims. Let us hope their noses are not that short.
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2001 - 11:58 pm:   

Mike (photoadjuster)
If you are looking for a way to Email digital photos and keep them secure maybe you should investigate secure socket software. You could even use PDS such as PGP. Try this thread for data encript software

Maybe you should consider an Email program for the photos ever IF it is not secure. If DDS can send photos they you should also. Not everyone needs the foolproof security and the ones that do can always go to something like the PGP.COM that I outlined above. PS: It has been estimated that at one trillion calculations a second, it would take over 54 years to break the PGP software code or (key.) Food for thought... IMHO
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2001 - 11:22 pm:   

Tom, Gale, Mike et al:

Many of the points made are well received,HOWEVER:

Is it not in the best interests of our community to present "the rest of the story" as it pertains to the actual cost per photo?

Lets us consider the following:
1) Cost of the digital camera ( 600-1000)
2) Cost of the Printer (300-500)
3) Cost of insurance of these items.
4) Cost of paper (addressed)
5) Cost of Ink (addressed)
6) Time to print
7) Power to print
8) Depreciation on the products
9) Cost of software
10)Diskettes or flash card

There are many aspects to determining the true costs of anything. (many times the hidden costs will eat you alive)

Having done this both ways for a long time, it is an opinion that the true savings is in the time it takes to drop off and pick up the 35MM at the one hour, (the money one may spend waiting for the film to be developed),the time to mount and label the 35MM photos and the expense to travel to the one-hour also.

It is not ANY less expensive to produce a 35MM photo than a digital, IT IS DIFFERENT........

The software in discussion, has been used, (thanks MIKE for the DL help) and found to be very efficient, time saving, easy to implement and will become a party to this adjusters repertoire.

The fact that it cannot be electronically transmitted (and I beg to differ) is not good for this user as a lot of the work requires this feature, therefore the use of the DDS or equal export/import feature is appealing.

Let's all continue to explore, innovate, and gather the information we need to make progress in this trade.

For my $$, when I know it all, bury me........
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2001 - 9:21 pm:   

The print small button prints 3 - 3"x5" photos per page. The print large button prints 2 - 4"x6" photos per page. The print thumbnails prints 24 thumbnails per page and the print enlargement button prints 1 - 8"x10"

Use the "Print Large" button for Tower Hill :)
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2001 - 9:15 pm:   

Gale, Photo Adjuster does not offer a way to email the photos. Emailing the photos while keeping them secure is a problem that we are working on daily. As long as a digital photo or photo labeling sheets with digital photos are in the digital state, they can be tampered with. The present technology would required a double ended system with two software products, one on the adjuster's end and the other on the examiners end. There are a couple of patented systems available to law enforcement, but they are not well received and would, in no way, work in the claims process. Freezing the evidence trail as the photos are printed is fool proof. Emailing them today is not, but maybe tomorrow.
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2001 - 7:47 pm:   

Tom yesterday at the WIND conference Tower Hill made it clear in their adjuster certification class that they liked an adequate number of photos that told the full story and at $2.00 each they were a real money saver. It seems the PA industry is strong in FL (which they were not negative of) but by having good clear detailed photos it was easier for them to make the case that a good job was done by the CAT adjuster that handled the claim up front. They were clear they only wanted 2 photos per sheet. Tom be careful and not get the going rate paid reduced to $1.00 per photo!
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2001 - 6:42 pm:   

Today, Janice and I had to go out on a problem file. Instructions from the company claims manager, take a lot of photos and label them accordingly. We went out, took 48 photos, (digital). We came back and I timed the photo creation in Photo adjuster from start to finish using an HP2000 printer in the default mode of photoadjuster. From start to finish it took 12 minutes. Thats pulling them from the 3 discs, (very easy by hitting the GET ALL PHOTOS TAB), labeled them and printed them. Janice and I figured we had approximately 8 cents per photo in cost, thats for the ink and paper. The vendor is allowing us 100% on photos, so the cost for the 48 photos was $3.84. Our income is 48 x 2.00 = 96.00, less the cost gives us a profit of $92.16. Not all vendors pay 100% on photos, so lets figure it at 60%, which is what most vendor reimburse us for photos. 60% of $96.00 = $57.60, less the cost of $3.84 gives us a profit of $53.76. Did we make money, sure we did, and it took less than half the time it usually does to load, label and print. I was working on the estimate as it was printing. With the 30 minute savings of time, I almost finished the completed product.

Is it worth the $24.00 per month they have asked for the program, darn right it is. I am sold on it for sure. Fact is I paid for the program the first 3 days of use. Now I have all year to make a profit on the next storm or the next claim.

See you in Biloxi. Tell all your friends to come to the CADO convention. We are all going to learn something new.
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2001 - 6:32 pm:   

Mike in the chat room recently someone thought Photoadjuster was going to be upgraded so you can email from the software to the carriers preferring paperless files but from your website I gather it does not offer that yet. Does it now or will in the future offer the email function? Look forward to seeing it demonstrated at CADO soon.
mike stephenson (Photoadjuster)
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2001 - 5:37 pm:   

We at Proclaim Software wish to announce a change in our business plan.


Although we will never charge for technical support for Photo Adjuster or our other software titles, beginning on Monday, 2-19-2001, we will begin charging for technical support on non Proclaim products.(i.e Windows)


Charging for tech support for Windows OS repairs, creates an additional profit center, allowing us to reduce the price of Photo Adjuster to $24 per month on an annual lease.


For those of you who use your computers in a truely professional manner, as the money making tools they are, this is a 20% reduction in cost.

For those of you who continue to install all the free screen savers, games and other odds and ends you can find, you are still welcome to call us for help, but repairing the damage they do to your Windows system files will be fee based.


Our web site is now complete including the ability for you to activate our trial versions 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, using your credit cards with 100% security.
mike stephenson
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 3:47 pm:   

Merlin, thanks for the good report. If I may, let me qualify one of your statements. I don't want to mislead anyone on the ink savings. Although our testing of Photo Adjuster occassionally shows the ink saving to reach 35%, the baseline is closer to 25%. Your larger savings is due to the HP2000 printer you are using. The Hp2000 has been replaced with the HP2200 and the speed & ink saving is even better.
Merlin Orr
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 12:00 pm:   

I have printed about 17,000 digital photos over the past 3 years using the Proclaim Estimating Program - Started with the Proclaim Photo Adjuster about 4 months ago. Proclaim Photo Adjuster uses about 30-40% less ink than other programs! It is also LOTS faster - Time is money..When you can download an entire load of digital photos in one seamless operation - you are making money! Also the captioning operations are, by far and away, the very best. It keeps track of numbers and money for you. At any price this is a Must Have program!
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 8:56 am:   

No John, I feel the $360.00 per year is too high. I feel that $20.00 per month is a fair price, but this will be left up to the developers of the system. It is a faster system than the templates I use, and probably the ones you use. I am very excited that you can print an evidence trail report to put in your file, in the event of legalities involving a loss. The trail report identifies the photo as being original or identifies it as being altered. I have tried to trick the system and have not been successful. Obviously the claims industry has some concern about photo modification or photo enhancement. With this system you cannot modify the disc or flash memory without detection. That I like very much. I don't rely on digital photos on large loss adjustments and you probably don't either, but it is still in our best interests to protect ourselves against the possible accusation that the photos have been enhanced or modified. I like the templates we have been using. They are much slower to process than the Photo Adjuster program, and I cannot provide an evidence trail report on my template.
John Durham (Johnd)
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 4:29 pm:   

My wife and I are also processing about 60 - 70 photos a day.

Do you think the software is worth the $29.95 a month fee, or $360.00 annual fee ? Is it that much better than the templates that I also have been using ?
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 10:43 am:   

ARCSOFT.COM also has free software for digital photo's. You can download the older versions, but they are just as good!Have a great day!
Roy Cupps (Roy)
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 9:56 am:   


Here is the link, will have a booth at the Convention.
Dan Stelly
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 9:19 am:   

Can you give us their web site address?
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 12:28 am:   

I have been taking digital photographs for five years and have tested everything out there involving quality printing of my images. I developed a template in MS Publisher that I have been using for three years. I thought it was great, but not exactly swift. It took time to download the photos and frame adjustment was a little perplexing. I saw some commentary on CADO about Proclaims Photo Adjuster 2.2.2 for windows and thought it was probably a joke, but I sent for the 30 day trial anyway.

I was wrong. It is no joke. It is a serious digital photo processing system that is fast, loads the photos as thumbnails so you can move the photos around before printing. I can print a 35mm quality photo on bright white plain paper or a superb set of photos on Epson Matte heavyweight paper. The system allows the viewer to see the photo size, date and time taken and presents an evidence trail, in the event the authenticity is questioned in appraisal, litigation, or at the examiners desk. I have tried to trick the system on the evidence trail, and it catches me every time.

Janice and I will be conducting the digital photography roundtable at the CADO convention. I will be demonstrating what the Sony Mavica 83 can do and will be using the Proclaim Photo Adjuster program for printing out the photos. I suggest that all of you contact Proclaim and ask for the 30 day demo discs or download it from their web sight. Come to CADO prepared and ready to learn. If we work together, we can take photographs that will impress the industry, reduce our photo expenses and the time involved to print them. Always remember this, and it is true. "A picture is worth a thousand words" Lets all learn to do it right.

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