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Cecelia (Cecelia)
Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2000 - 12:30 pm:   

I prefer the insured get on the roof with me. Sure, there's a chance the insured might fall off the ladder, but those insureds who don't feel comfortable on ladders or roofs will not offer to follow you onto the roof. When the insured goes up with me I can point out the damage (and I've educated a few Minnestoans as to what hail damage to a roof looks like!). If the insured is leaking and there is no visible damage to the roof we can discuss that and the insured will be more likely to accept an interior denial if working in a state where interior leakage is not covered. There are times when an installation or materials defect is evident and is causing the problem. The insured might like to know what is causing the problem if we are able to "possibly" identify it.

Some of those insureds are sure proud of those rickety old ladders. If I don't feel comfortable on the ladder I tell the insured that I am more comfortable on my own ladder and that if I fall off I'd prefer to fall off my own ladder than his/hers. I have never had one single arguement to that statement.

Regarding roof diagrams - after working at Farmers National Catastrophe center I feel it is imperative that a roofer has a diagram with measurements in his file. There are times when an adjuster and roofer calculate different numbers of squares for a roof replacement. By comparing the two diagrams one can frequently tell if the adjuster or the roofer has either measured incorrectly or has had a math miscalculation.

When an adjuster is working a storm the insurance company will, sometimes, provide us with a copy of a list of vendors (roofers/contractors) for the area. We are then able to refer (not recommend, refer) the insureds to 2-3 of the names on the list. If the company has a direct repair program that the CAT adjusters will be using that information would be supplied at the opening meeting. How to deal with the insureds and the direct repair contractors would be explained at that time. If neither of the above two scenarios exist we must be very careful. We can find out who the reputable contractors are in an area. We can agree on pricing. We can let the insured know that we have roofers who are local and have been in business for years that will do the work for the prices they and we have agreed upon. We can then refer (again, not recommend, refer) the insureds to several of these vendors and make it clear that we are NOT recommending these vendors. It's usually not difficult to do that as I tell them I'm from out of town and I certainly couldn't recommend anyone locally. If we, in any way, infer that we are recommending a vendor (as the insurance company representative) we could get into a situation that the insured may "understand" that we have recommended the vendor. This has happened and the insured infers some sort of "guarantee" on the part of the insurance company. Then we get into questions of legal or implied liability on the part of the carriers. REFER, not recommend and make it clear!
Jim (Jim)
Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2000 - 12:22 pm:   

HSmith. I don't climb shabby ladders and like you, I too cringe when the insured wants to follow me up onto the roof. Yet it comes with the territory, and I am especially more careful to see that the insured does not get injured.

I do however, have a policy of never telling an insured what I am going to recommend with their roof until I am back on the ground.

I once told an insured while on the roof that I was going to recommend denial, and that insured then went down the ladder and subsequently removed the ladder and told me I could stay up there until I changed my mind. He of course changed his tune, when I used my cell phone to call 911 and report that I was being held hostage.
Djackw (Djackw)
Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2000 - 12:07 pm:   

It is my opinion working both side of this issue that there should be a high/steep team available for roofs over 7/12 pitch and they should be doing roof measurements. It has been my experience working as a Catadjuster for contactors working State Farm and Allstate Claims this is not a workable program. We are trained by the carrier to adjust one way and actually the problems in properly adjusting difficult roofs is not addressed. Realize the insurance company should pay differently for a 20/12 than 7/12 yet I have seen a program that adjusts for the difference. Get the Supervisors on the Roofs and then maybe they can understand the problem! Best of Luck and hope to see you up the road.
Hsmith (Hsmith)
Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2000 - 11:25 am:   

My opinions in response to your questions:

1. If the carrier or the vendor furnishes you with a list of reputable roofers or general contractors (if applicable), there is nothing wrong with passing along the information, without a specific recommendation. If I have no such list I tell an inquiring Insured to contact their agent. If you should happen be doing SF or Allstate the agents will know plenty of good roofers.

2. Yes, it is okay to ask for help from a roofer in high and steep situations. Some cat offices have specialty people for high and steep, but if not, the roofer is the solution. Any 30' or longer ladder I have ever climbed was provided by a roofer.

3. It is indeed fair to ask a roofer for this type of assistance. It is part of the roofer's marketing and they will certainly wind up with some of the jobs.

4. If the job is above the skill level of the adjuster, yes he should have the vendor reassign.
However, as part of the adjuster's learning, training, process he should try to go out with the experinced adjuster who winds up with the assignment.

NOW, I have a question. On a certain percentage of assignments the Insured follows me up the ladder to the roof. I always cringe, wondering what might happen should the ladder give way or the Insured fall. Yet, if I suggest to the Insured that he stay on the ground, he suspects that I am not being candid with him about the damage. What would you do?

Question 2: As you arrive at the risk, you find that the Insured has already set up his own ladder, often primitive and shabby. He insists that you use his ladder. What would you do?
Jim Flynt (Jim)
Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2000 - 12:27 am:   

I am currently on assignment in Minneapolis for a hail storm. As such I have made some observations of other adjusters here as well as have heard some complaints from roofers which I bring to this Forum for discussion. Especially knowing that several adjusters have also from time to time worked hail storms selling roofs, I wanted the input from those particular adjusters, as well as our larger audience.

Here are the questions I pose for our readers:

(1) Is it proper for an adjuster to recommend a roofing firm to insureds? Assuming an arms length transaction (with no under the table "kickbacks") are there any conflicts of interest? Any risks?

(2) Is it proper to ask a roofing company to provide us with access to steep and high roofs? (Especially when the roofing company is not representing the insured). Is it proper to ask the roofer to diagram, measure and photo the roof when it is beyond our skill level or ladder level?

(3) Is it fair to ask a roofer to take their time (time by the way is what the roofer and adjuster are both selling) to help us with our losses?

(4) When an adjuster is incapable of handling a loss due to skill level or lack of proper equipment, what should the proper protocol be? Should the adjuster turn the claim back to the vendor or insuror? Should they scope the loss from the ground? Should they engage a roofer to handle these kinds of claims?

I am getting mixed opinions from the roofers up here regarding these topics and wondered what our adjuster audience might think as well.

Thought this might be a helpful topic for our audience and help steer some in the right direction.

By the way, since I am also cleaning up some "re-opens" as well as some unclosed files from the 5/15/98 hail storm, I will post at a later date, some additional comments about what I am seeing and have seen regarding file quality. You would not believe (or maybe you would) some of the most unbelievably horrible files reported by the initial adjusters.

If you could see the files I am seeing, you would then understand why there is so much negativity towards catastrophe adjusters from some of the carriers and their personnel. And NO, these were not adjusters working for RAC. The original vendor was fired by this particular insuror (St Paul Insurance). We are here to clean up their crap.

Jim Flynt AIC, CIC, AAI, AIS

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