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Archive through September 10, 1999glen garoutte17 9-10-99  11:03 am
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Chuck Deaton
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 1999 - 7:11 pm:   

After reading the "Tom Toll" postings I am putting in my two bits worth on Tom's behalf. Obviously I can't attest to the truthfulness of his current postings, but I know Tom personally and can vouch for his general character and his ability to get the job done.
Tom Toll
Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 1999 - 1:32 pm:   

Perhaps your skeptism is enamourous of your philosophy in claims adjusting. No, I did not do this everyday, as I am not super adjuster, but I do possess enough common sense to rationally figure that I cannot see 11 people in 8 hours without an appointment. I have a prepared typed sheet I give to the insured's outlining their entitlemnents on DP-1 and DP-2 policies, related to this particular event. It also explains the procedural elements of how the claim is processed. I use DDS, DeLorme 7.0 with GPS, and make all my appointment calls 48 hours in advance of that days work. I ask that the decision maker be present at the time of inspection so an explanation of damages can be told. I use a Little Giant 19' ladder which requires minimal time to extend. It is relatively light and very maneuverable. I ask the insured to join me on the roof, if they are able and the pitch is not steep. I also ask them to help me in each room. I use a laser measuring devise and let them watch. With the creation of the proper macros in DDS, a 2,000 to 4,000 estimate can be completed within 10 to 15 minutes. Technology is wonderful, if it is applied appropriately and is learned before an event hits, not during. I do not sit on my tuckus during slow times. I learn my equipment and understand it before leaving to the site. This feat cannot be done day after day. The comments I wrote emphasize that with proper attitude and demeanor, it can be accomplished. I just get tired of the crap I read on this CADO site. More emphasis needs to be placed on how to and when to, not negative and questioning of purpose so constantly. Under no circumstances will I question or criticize ones accomplishments or tasks. We all have a purpose in life. I have found mine and will run it my way, which seems to be working for me and my wife. She also is highly organized and wastes no time in or out of the Condo. I don't stay in hotels or motels, as there is not enough room. That is why I recently sold our motorhome, it was not spacious enough to totally organize one's self. Perhaps pondering on negativity is important to some. Not to myself or my wife. Organization and education is the answer.
Jim Flynt
Posted on Saturday, October 23, 1999 - 10:40 am:   

This is in further response to Tom Toll's comments about inspecting 11 losses in 8 hours in Eastern NC while driving to 5 towns. Tom further commmented on an earlier post (on the Bulletin Board BTW) in which I had said that unnecessary windshield time is not conducive to generating income for an adjuster.

I stand by my earlier comments and the purpose for which they were intended: which is that with the technology available for computer "zoning" of claims, windshield time is so unnecessary and should by now be considered "passe".

This morning three adjusters here discussed Tom's comments, and the three of us have a total combined adjusting experience of almost 80 years.

Here is the problem we have with what Tom is saying:

We assume that Tom must be calling on his Insureds without an appointment. (After all he mentions going back to his hotel room and printing his photos and working his estimates. He did not mention making phone calls to his insureds to set up the next day's appointments nor did he mention calling the insureds back to advise them of his estimate. Perhaps Tom you are closing the claim on site? Yet, in mentioning that you worked on your estimates back in the hotel room, that would not appear to be the case).

Further, we also assume that Tom is inspecting each and every risk roof and also diagramming the roof. After all this is a windstorm, and how would an adjuster know if there was roof damage without inspecting the roof? Setting up a ladder takes time.

We would also believe that Tom at some point is explaining the insurance adjustment process to his insureds and also explaining recoverable and non recoverable depreciation, as well as answering questions from the insureds and discussing coverage issues which come up. For us at least, we find that this kind of quality service to an insured would take at least quite a few minutes.

As a thorough adjuster knows, it is important to walk around a risk so as to ascertain other damages not readily visible from the front or sides. Again, this takes time.

The experience that each of the three of us have is that a quality inspection of a risk including answering questions of the insureds as well as explaining the adjustment process takes us, on average, about 45 minutes. If you are spending less time than that Tom, please share your secret with us so we can improve on what we are doing.

We also assume that the "5 towns" you mention driving to must be at least 15 minutes apart as well as the drive time between each claim at least 10 minutes also. Add up the numbers for 11 claims and see what you get.

What you did not tell us Tom was how much time you spent per file writing the estimate and mounting photos. You mentioned working "late" but did not share the total number of hours in your "day." We all only have 24 to work with and some of us need at least 4 hours of sleep.

You mentioned that you "made close to $1,200.00 for the day". Did you make $1,200.00 consistently EACH and EVERY day or just this one day. It is our opinion that anyone could accomplish THAT feat, but yet could not consistently make $1,200.00 per day in Eastern NC on this storm. Again, if we are incorrect about that Tom, please share your secret with the rest of us.

With regard to your "making $1,200.00 for THE DAY", would you agree that the money is not really made until the estimate is written, an agreed value settlement with the insured is arrived at, the photos are mounted, and the paperwork is completed (including a copies for file) and handed in? How much time did that take to complete all of these other required functions?

Share with us the average number of photos which you mount? Share with us the average time required to write each estimate and which computer program you use?

We assume that you stopped for gas and perhaps ate at least one meal for the entire 24 hour day? Please share the time you allow for these extras?

Without even taking into consideration ANY drive time, we conclude that it would be next to impossible to accomplish what you say you did within the 8 hour period and give quality service and attention to your insureds. Yes, perhaps a "windshield appraisal" of the damage at 11 losses could be performed, but for us at least, full quality service and a full inspection would not fit into an 8 hour time frame for 11 losses in 5 towns.

Oh, and did I mention, when do you return your phone calls and make your next day's appointments?

I would think that given the amount of interior water damage we are seeing down here, it would be imperative for you to isnpect the interiors and that would require the insured's presence which would further require an advance appointment.

Tom, my hat is off to you for the job which you did. We will all hold you in the highest esteem if in fact you can provide us with your secret formula for such a record success.

Just be glad you were not working for some of the other companies which required a little more of their adjusters.

Good Luck in all you are doing and please share your secrets with the rest of us.

WE need your HELP and SUGGESTIONS! We have evidently being doing it the wrong way too long.
Tom Joyce
Posted on Saturday, October 23, 1999 - 9:15 am:   

Well, almost 8000 miles in three weeks is still a lot of windshield time and expence.
Jim Flynt
Posted on Saturday, October 23, 1999 - 12:02 am:   


I appreciate your comments and generally agree with you.

You are to be congratulated on your productivity and initiative.

You mention that you inspected 11 losses within an 8 hour period which in and of itself, is pretty darn good. You then go on to say that you did this by ALSO driving to 5 different towns. Obviously, these 5 towns were clustered fairly close together.

I would be more than happy to have you share with us the names of the particular 5 towns you visited while also outlining the boundaries of your claims area. We may not be talking "apples and oranges" here given the greater distances of the boundary areas we were working.

The point I was trying to make was, that given the marvels of computers and technology, ANY INCREASE in an adjuster's productivity not only results in more income to the adjuster but also increases the income stream for the adjusting firm while allowing for more responsive service to the Insureds.

I am glad you had such a fortunate experience and again, you are to be congratulated on your positive attitude and initiative.
Tom Toll
Posted on Friday, October 22, 1999 - 11:08 pm:   

Holy smokes. What the heck do I want to be an adjuster for. All I see on these posts are bitching about the industry. If you don't like it, get the heck out of it. That solves your problem and others real quick. There is no perfect industry, never has been, never will be. This is a wonderful occupation, even with the downside of it. Jim Flynt said you can't make money with windshield time. I will be 60 one month from this date. I hit 5 towns in 8 hours, saw 11 losses, came home, stayed up late, printed my photos, worked the estimates, (average $3,500.00) and made close to $1,200.00 for the day. Now,if I were digging crap out of ditches at $5.65 per hour and 8 hours work, lets see, thats right at $50.00 per day. Maybe I want to sell cars and make $45,000.00 per YEAR. Come on guys, quit bitchin and start workin. The end result of your busting your patooty is income. If this old fart can do it, anyone can. It is experience, but mostly want to. By the way Jim, one vendor did try to zone the claims and guess what. The adjusters started bitching because the other adjuster was getting a better area. Its not easy to be a vendor, nor an adjuster, but sitting around complaining is not the answer. Perserverence, perception, and perspacacity is the answer to all questions. Don't know what those three words mean, then look them up. They are what has been driving me for many, many years. If a boat had wings, it would never be in rough water. Think about it gents and gals.
Trent Massey
Posted on Friday, October 22, 1999 - 11:37 am:   

I agree with Glen about maintaining your own professionalism and integrity. Personally, what I hear from carriers is "they hate independents". I heard it when I was a staffer in the 80's and still hear it today as an independent. I have never worked a storm where I don't see 1 or 2 adjusters contribute to the carrier's feelings. For example, most carriers want you to contact your claims within 24 to 48 hours of receiving. How many are doing that? How many are really settling their claims ( dollars, scopes, claim procedures, etc. ) before closing?

It doesn't take much effort to do exactly what the carrier asks. I once was given an almost impossible tasks by a carrier, but with organization and patience I was able to complete the assignment to their satisfaction.

Not everyone is going to be a good estimator. But, anyone can call someone as asked. Anyone can take the necessary time to thoroughly discuss the settlement with the policyholder. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "the adjuster was only here 5 minutes". Everyone can be professional and caring to the policholder's situation. The question is will the adjuster do these things?

I would like to see more professionals in this business, BUT not more people. I really don't have a problem with the line of work the adjuster did before getting into this business. I have concerns with those who get into this business and don't care about quality service and making themselves better. You must first know what is quality service before you think you are providing it. Be open to criticism; your supervisors may have a point.

I know there is blame to lay on some insurers and vendors. No matter how much as individuals we make ourselves competent and qualified, there are always going to be those carriers and vendors who just need warm bodies. We just have to stay away from those carriers and vendors, when we have a choice. I believe they are the ones contributing to decreasing fee schedules. In a perfect world, everyone would insist on hiring only the best qualified. This year, I saw the warm body abuse in OKC when an insurer's storm coordinator handed 20 total losses from the tornado to a first time independent adjuster while a friend of mine with 20+ years experience rec'd 12 minor wind losses on his first batch. Can we change this? I don't know. I can come up with some suggestions, but will any work? There is, unfortunately, always going to be someone who needs a warm body and someone who will be that warm body for bottom pay. As for me, I will try to avoid those insurers and vendors when I can.
Trent Massey
Posted on Friday, October 22, 1999 - 10:21 am:   

My comments here are coming late to the prior posts, but I just returned home like all of you from working.

Tracy in September posted looking for work as a staff adjuster. I am an independent now, but on 8-16-1986 I graduated college with a B.B.A. at 22 years of age. On 9-2-1986, I began working as a claim rep. trainee for State Farm Ins. My only insurance knowledge was what I picked up around my family's dinner table each night as my father was an insurance agent for 29 years, now retired.

Tracy, the trend then was to hire non-insurance people like myself then and to mold in State Farm's own image. They didn't want anyone with prior knowledge. In fact, many of their ins. agents in the 60's and 70's and 80's came from non-insurance backgrounds. State Farm rarely hired from another carrier, to my knowledge, and always promoted from within. All of their executives most always started as adjusters, underwriters, or agents from within the co.. Today I know there has been some changes. However, someone correct me if I am wrong, but I still believe they want non-insurance people at their entry level positions. You can guess at their reasons. I also believe other carriers follow State Farm's example in many ways, so possible hiring philosophy is just one of them.

Tracy, I don't know who you have applied with and hopefully by this posting you are already working in the position you sought. I don't know that I would spend the money yet and obtain certifications like CPCU, etc. if you haven't found what you desire. Any company you go work for will help you enroll for these courses and most will pay for them after you pass. Besides, you may find you don't like the staffer road.

Good luck!

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