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Clayton Carr
Username: Clayton

Post Number: 61
Registered: 11-2001
Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2002 - 11:18 am:   

How to become a LL adjuster - ditto others and emphasis - education, training and experience; and I add the right mindset. The "become" aspect is a journey not a destination. As time (a lot of years go by) the losses you are exposed to get either larger a/o more complex. A serious fire in a 1500 sqft bungalow is not a lot different from a "large" 3500 sqft 2 storey home. The rooms are larger, their are more materials, likely better finishings - basically more and better of most things, both structurally and with contents. That does not necessarily make it more complex. The dollars are much greater both in direct damage and other coverages such as ALE, and hence the loss is much more visible to your peers.

Complex issues are often found in the commercial losses - be they small or large. Dealing with the management of a company is uniquely different than dealing with that same person as the owner of his home. Often there are many more specialists to manage with a commercial loss. The "size" comparison previously made is basically the same, but construction types are many and varied.

I have to also touch on the "why" be a LL adjuster - I admit I wanted to do the biggest and worst claims that came in when I was a dutiful employee many years ago. Yes, my claims count went down because of the length of time these types usually took to close. However, the proportionate level of headaches, BS, and politics associated with complex large losses is seldom offset by any greater level of personal satisfaction or compensation. In time I grew happy to deal with "medium" size commercial or fairly serious residential losses where I felt I could best help the affected people or companies and get the file cleanly closed to the satisfaction of both parties to the contract.

I saw this again years later while doing loss control / replacement cost inspections. Several of the people around me wanted to do the million dollar homes that had four or more roof levels, 16 or more exterior walls areas, architectural custom finishings, and very demanding owners. Yes, they paid three times that of the nice $250 - $450K home, but I could comfortably do more than 3:1 of these relative to the guy who wanted to boast he did million dollar homes. The same applies to commercial on this. The nicely laid out retail plaza with even a weird mix of tenants was much nicer to do than a plastic manufacturer in a stinky older not built for building, etc.

So, learn, watch and listen and take on claims within your ability. As you prove yourself you will find you are assigned more "larger" or "complex" claims, that really are only bigger in area and you will have the experience and confidence to deal with coverage issues. The confidence comes when you realize you are comfortable in both saying you do not know the answer at that moment but will find out and are comfortable in approaching your peers to seek guidance.

Have a good claims life!
Tom Strickland
Registered User
Username: Toms

Post Number: 38
Registered: 12-2001
Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2002 - 7:10 am:   

Education,Training,Experience and knowing how do do your job.
Difference between LARGE loss and all others is the bottom line $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Every loss is handled the same, (o.k. yeah there is additional things on a large commercial loss) but it still is "adjusting" the claim with the knowledge you know what you are doing.
D Wong Whey
Registered User
Username: Dwongwhey

Post Number: 147
Registered: 10-2001
Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2002 - 6:45 am:   

Can we tell who is out working mold assignments right now?
Todd Summers
Registered User
Username: T4summ

Post Number: 10
Registered: 12-2001
Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2002 - 1:08 am:   

I'll second that, Mark.
mark salmon
Registered User
Username: Olderthendirt

Post Number: 191
Registered: 12-2000
Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 11:24 am:   

I managed to bit my tongue about the use of the word large. But a serious thought here. Taking on a mold assignment with one of the major carriers is a good area for training. The requirements most of them want are not all that different from large loss requirements and you work perils not normaly associated with cat work.
Jim Flynt
Registered User
Username: Jimflynt

Post Number: 338
Registered: 6-2001
Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 9:00 am:   

A reader has asked on the CADO Bulletin Board:

"I was wondering how you become a large loss claim rep?"

Here is my answer and I invite other large loss adjusters to weigh in with theirs.

You have asked a question which I think deserves a serious answer, so I will throw in my two cents worth.

First of all, education and training are the cornerstones of handling large loss, technical and commercial losses.

Most large losses consist of issues which are not necessarily strictly property insurance issues, so being a true multi-line adjuster is not only important but essential. A thorough knowledge of property policies (including the commercial and business interruption forms) and endorsements is required but so is a working knowledge of the inland marine forms. It is not unusual for a large loss adjuster to also encounter casualty issues which that adjuster should at least be able to recognize and then understand how to handle or assign to an affiliated casualty expert.

Writing commercial and large loss estimates differs significantly from residential estimates not only in scope and size, but in materials and the construction process and building codes.

Vale offers an excellent two week commerical estimating class which focuses on those differences including the nuances of estimating for concrete, glass and steel construction.

Most large loss adjusters start like everyone else with handling residential and small losses, and as their ability and experience improves they move into handling ever larger claims.

The parties of the insured who has suffered damage (architects, engineers, contractors, lawyers, public adjusters, consultants, Realtors) are generally more savvy than homeowners and homeowner's representatives, so being equally savvy in knowledge, appearance and professional ability and demeanor is necessary if the large loss adjuster is to play on a level field with these advocates.

Finally I would ask you to question why you might want to consider handling large loss claims? They are challenging yet also time consuming, and many times, cat adjusters handling smaller losses during a cat end up making more money during a storm than the large loss adjusters simply due to the ability to handle so many more claims even though those claims don't pay as well on a per claim basis.

It is also essential that with experience, you build a resume of claims handling which includes the ability to handle perils beyond just those limited few which one might only traditionally encounter while working average cat events: hail, wind, flood and earthquake.

The large loss adjuster must also be well versed and experienced in handling fire loss, arson investigation, C&O (cause and origin), theft claims, cargo claims, collapse, boiler and machinery, explosion, bailors/bailee, salvage, subrogation, computer and electronic media loss, defective construction, and many other issues too numerous to mention.

Building that kind of experience resume requires time and to some extent being in the right place (and with the right carrier) at the right time. And that experience is equally as important as the policy knowledge and claims training which is also essential.

One of the best ways to learn more is to volunteer for and seek out those opportunities to work "clean up" on regular storms where you will have an opportunity to see how other adjusters handle claims correctly as well as incorrectly. Further working "clean up" generally involves researching and applying the more complex intricacies of policy application, which serves to improve any adjuster's skills.

(Message edited by jimflynt on June 12, 2002)

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