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Cecelia Sharpe (Cecelia)
Posted on Saturday, August 26, 2000 - 6:29 pm:   

I, too, tend to stay put until the claims count goes way down or until I'm told that we independents are being cut off. I have never left one storm site for another. When another event happens while I am currently working I just keep plugging away at my current site. So far, it has always been the thing to do. I am still usually working when the second event is shut down.

I prefer a sure thing to a gamble. Maybe I've sat at an inside job a little longer than others when outside events were occurring. But when you average out what I make (less per day or per file), but for a MUCH longer period of time, I doubt that I am making any less money. And I'm not stressed between events wondering if something will happen where I'll be called out.

Sometimes, when you are working in an area that is slowing down another event will occur in the same area. That happened to me last year in Colorado and it looks like, after last night, it may have occurred here in the Twin Cities area. We'll know by Monday. If so, all the adjusters in MN who didn't bolt and run for the possibility of a hurricane will be VERY glad they didn't and will continue to work. We're pushing 2 months in this area since the storms of 7-7 occurred.

I'm with Linda on this one!
Jimlakes (Jimlakes)
Posted on Saturday, August 26, 2000 - 12:53 pm:   

Linda, I think you said it best. It is real refreshing to see that people take a step back and consider the overall picture. I have never pulled up stakes and left a "good site" because of another storm, unless I was directed to.

I'm glad to see that someone knows that a vendor will take care of a "quality" adjuster in a circumstance like this. We have good adjusters deployed now and when the approach of Debby was a possibility we made preparations for her and the adjusters that were working. Some were even given the option of going or staying if she hit.

This is a "two way" street. We as vendors need you, the adjusters and unless we are fair and take care of our good adjusters they will "bolt" in a circumstance like this. But, believe me that most vendors would not forget the ones that did not "bolt," when the work is slow and they need just a "few good adjusters." Those that are loyal generally get treated with loyallity. At least in our case, we DO remember those that are loyal to us and they are the ones that are called out when we only need a few.

Jim Lakes
National Catastrophe Director
RAC Adjustments, Inc.
Russ Lott (Russ)
Posted on Saturday, August 26, 2000 - 10:38 am:   

Excellent post Linda,
I know the high of watching a Cat 4 hurricane coming close to land fall and then having my heart drop when it turns out to sea. In all fairness to the adjusters that did not go for the midwest assignment, they may have made an informed or ill informed decision, but the decision was theirs and I will not second guess them. We all make those decisions but the lure of the "major" hurricane is and will be with us at all times. The weather models provided some input but most were sketchy even 3 days out. I wonder how many of us would bail out of a current assignment if a 7 or 7.5 quake were to happen today in California. That's my two cents worth on the adjuster's actions.
Linda (Linda)
Posted on Saturday, August 26, 2000 - 8:46 am:   

I believe I would have been on the road to the Midwest. The "know before you go" answers would certainly affect this decision at the onset.

For full time professional adjusters, we can't always rely on the Big One. Mother Nature is our silent partner in the overall scheme of this profession and she doesn't always come through. The Big One just might not make it.

For part time adjusters, I suppose you can pick and choose whether you work at all in this profession this year or the next for that matter. But don't whine if you refuse an assignment.

As IAs we have that choice. I do strongly believe that if you have given the vendor your word that you are available for deployment, then you have an obligation to go. The vendors cannot stay in business only staffing the Big One and their overhead goes on just like ours does. There may be 20 mini cats and not one Big One. Are you going to refuse the one or more of the 20? not this adjuster.

No one expects anyone to go to a storm and lose money. We simply can't do that. Sound business practices must be applied to all situations. But if the "know before you go" factors you have set for yourself are all positive, why would you not go?
Jim Flynt
Posted on Friday, August 25, 2000 - 1:54 pm:   

Twice this week, a vendor claims manager called two different adjusters and offered them immediate work assignments in the Midwest. Both adjusters (who just a week ago were begging for work) advised the claims manager that they were waiting to go work Hurricane Debby damage and thus declined the bird in the hand Midwest assignment. Of course, we all know what happened.

Two other smarter adjusters accepted the assignment and now they are making money after sitting at home for a while.

As for the two who were looking for greener grass on the other side, well they are still at home watching the Weather Channel and praying for an assignment.

How would you have handled a phone call for an immediate assignment? Would you have gone for a bird in the hand or waited for one in the bush?

Aren't we all "multi-line" adjusters folks? Or do some just sit at home and wait and wait and wait for the Big One?
Whitey (Whitey)
Posted on Monday, August 14, 2000 - 9:43 pm:   

I to have had similar situations, stepping through the ceiling while inspecting the attic area and even through decking. Generally the carrier will cover the repair cost of this little mishap.

Regarding the Respondent Superior, as an agent of the vendor or carrier they are generally the ones with big pockets. But don't forget, they can come after you for any damages that they are required to pay as a result of your negligence. Even though there doesn't appear to be any in this case, a good plaintiff's attorney can convince a jury of anything. So yes liability coverage is a good idea.

I choose to work for those vendors who provide liability coverage and comp. coverage while I'm out on the job for them. Saves expenses and I still make a decent living.

Have a great day.
Jim (Jim)
Posted on Saturday, August 12, 2000 - 9:52 am:   

Dave, Thanks for clarifying. Sounds like a wonderful policy. I'll ask my own agent about this policy and carrier.

The protection of knowing the insurance carrier has a duty to defend alone makes this an excellent investment. The cost to defend even those actions for which we are not responsible are what will "break the bank" so to speak.

Legal defense insurance alone make this type of coverage not only necessary but a rather inexpensive way of transferring probable exposures given our tort frenzied society.
Ddehlinger (Ddehlinger)
Posted on Saturday, August 12, 2000 - 8:21 am:   


To unmuddy the waters, I have a small business owners policy written thru Columbia Mutual that covers Liability and Med. Expense for $1,000,000, Fire Legal for $50,000 and it also covers Buss Personal Property for $5,000. Both are on BOP forms. Cost $250 per year. I'm on the fourth year of this policy and no increases. Of course, there haven't been any claims either. A cheap investment to CYA.
Posted on Saturday, August 12, 2000 - 7:03 am:   


I have heard more than a few stories about adjusters who are stuck on roofs because their ladders blew down. I now take my cell phone with me, in a fanny pack, when I climb the roof. Just in case. And your case shows that just to be on the safe side it really IS a good idea.

I, too, step off the ladder on one side and back on from the other. In a pinch I can do both on the same side, but I'm not comfortable with it. Unless a roof LOOKS rotten, sagging, etc from the ladder there would probably be no reason to assume you couldn't get on and off safely in either direction. I don't know in what state this occurred. Many states have liability laws that would pertain to the HOMEOWNER and these would be a "know or should have known" type law. If the wood was rotted or there were termites weakening the wood, the homeowner either knew or should have known. If anything, that could make the homeowner liable for YOUR injuries if you sustained any.

Just food for thought.

But I do agree a liability policy is always a good idea. Anyone can sue us for anything. Maybe our carrier will defend us along with themselves, but, if not, legal fees can get VERY expensive just to prove you never did anything wrong.

Jim (Jim)
Posted on Friday, August 11, 2000 - 8:08 pm:   

Dave Dehlinger, just so you don't confuse anyone, isn't it fair to say that the CGL (commercial general liability) policy covers liability only and your coverage for property in transit and business personal property is covered by an endorsement to a personal lines or by way of a BOP, BPP, or CPP policy. The ISO CGL does not cover property exposures for property loss.

Please advise me if I am wrong, but I don't want someone to buy a CGL without knowing what they are generally getting (liability protection) and generally not getting (inland marine and property coverages).

Please correct me if I am wrong Dave. I just wanted a clarification for our readers.
Ddehlinger (Ddehlinger)
Posted on Friday, August 11, 2000 - 6:56 pm:   

This very thing did happen to me 15-20 years ago. While up in an attic, trying to walk on the ceiling joists, my foot slipped and my leg went thru the ceiling up to my knee. I simply included the repair in my estimate and explained it in my report.

I have a CGL policy that also covers business personal property away from my home and in transit for $5000. Total cost is $250 per year. Talk to your agent.
Red (Red)
Posted on Friday, August 11, 2000 - 6:16 pm:   

By all means get a liability policy IMMEDIATELY
It won't help with this problem, but you can get
blamed for things you don't even do that you have to defend. I have personal experience on this one. I had an insured say that I hit him in the head with a ladder. Of course this was after I told him I couldn't see a covered loss but I would send it to the carrier for their final determination. I could see where it was going to go so I immediately took pictures of the insureds head showing no blood and no marks. Ihe insured wasn't aware of the photos. He thought I was taking photos of his building. I am sure glad I did because I was right, he filed suit. We still had to defend it which cost lots of money. So by all means do get a liability policy. Being in this business as long as I have you can smell it coming.
Jim (Jim)
Posted on Friday, August 11, 2000 - 4:56 pm:   

Stormadjuster, it is my opinion that you are not liable for damages to the roof caused by rotten decking.

I would include however a repair for the damage in my estimate and would note the reasons for it in the file and closing report. Generally, most carriers will cover this type of accidental damage caused even indirectly by an adjuster.

I would also immediately notify the policyholder of the damage, and would do the same with the vendor storm manager as well as the carrier examiner.

Under the principle of respondeat superior ("let the master answer") your liability would be limited in that you were perfoming duties as an agent or sub-agent for the insurance company. While it is probably the case that you would be named in any inital legal actions should there have been harm to humans down below, plaintiffs and their attorneys always go for the "deep pockets" and how much better could it get than to go after an insurance company if there was negligence.

The final point I would make is that I can see no area in which you were negligent. As I am sure you are aware, a tort action (a civil wrong) occurs only when there is a duty owed, a duty breached, proximate causation with resulting damages. From the facts you have given, I see no breach of duty. Nor, do I see what could be considered to be proximate cause.

You are probably right though to consider personal liability insurance, as you never know when you might need it, it always provides a legal defense, and it is cheap to purchase.

I hope this helps.

By the way, I had a similar situation this past week when I ran over an insured's trashcan while backing out of their driveway with some scarring of a newly paved driveway. I included those damage repairs within my roof estimate as well as an explanation within my closing report.

I have also from time to time included carpet cleaning during an ice storm when I have walked into an insured home and tracked mud onto their carpets inadvertantly.
Stormadjuster (Stormadjuster)
Posted on Friday, August 11, 2000 - 3:25 pm:   

What would you do? This morning I was doing a roof inspection on a town home. I climbed onto a small portion of a flat roof to gain access to the larger concrete barrel tile roof. I climbed the ladder and stepped onto the roof to the right of the ladder. I inspected the roof and got all my measurements. I was getting ready to go down the ladder and stepped to the left of the ladder on the flat roof and my foot went through the sheathing, I immediately shifted my weight to the left and stepped through again making two holes on the roof. I was not injured but it scared the hell out of me. After falling on my back I noticed that the roof was rotten and loaded with carpenter ants or termites. By the way, I am an independent contractor for an adjusting company not an employee.

Here my question, do I have any personal exposure to the damage of the rotted roof.

What are the damages.

Has this happened to any one else before an if so how did you handle this?

This is what I learned today:

I need to carry liability insurance not just E & O What would of happened if I fell through and a baby or a child was beneath me and I hurt them or even killed them.

I should have walked the same path as when I got on the roof, that portion of the roof was already tested.

The insured was in the house and did not know I even fell, next time I will take my cell phone with me on the roof in case I need to call for help.

In my 15 + years as an adjuster I have been on hundreds of roofs for the first time I realized this can happen to me and you to.


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