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Chuck Deaton
Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2000 - 6:28 pm:   

It is a fact of life and always has been, that third party claims are adversarial. The claimant has no “right” to anything. May the best investigator/negotiator win.
Kelley Roberson (Kelley)
Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2000 - 6:29 pm:   

My 2 cents worth, well, maybe 3.

1)I worked claims this summer in the Detroit area & I had worked for this "XYZ"carrier several times in other areas. I had never had any trouble with the "XYZ" carrier nor its "Cat Center". At the time of the Detroit assignment a new Cat Center Supervisor had came on line for the "XYZ" carrier. This person looked for ways to cut payments and made demands that we could not agree to nor live with. We notified the claims company we were working for that we would not be accepting anymore claims and as soon as we could close out the ones in hand we would be going home. I/we made sure to document our recommendations and if "forced" to change them we would there again state that we were doing so " per Joe Blow" Before accepting another assignment from this "XYZ" carrier I would check to see who the Cat Center Manager is, if the same person was there I could not nor would not work with them since "I" feel this person is not ethical. I can not separate the "employee" from the company, are they not the company at the moment that you are talking with them? Does not the insured perceive us as "the company" ?

2) When I/we have clients that we feel like we are getting the attitude of " you are paid to cut my claim" we make gentle comments, " gee, I would love to pay you for that... see we really get paid based on what we pay you... so the more I can pay you the more I can make". The client usually comes back with " Really, I did not know that, so & so told me you got paid based on what you saved the XYZ Company". I usually state something along the line "boy, you can sure tell he/they heard a "story" because of all of the companies I have worked for as a Independent Cat Adjuster I have never found one that paid that way". This usually makes the client comfortable and opens the door of trust a little more.

As an individual I know how clients feel, I have been in their place. I have horror stories I have lived through with staff adjusters from my personal experience. My last personal experience prior to becoming an adjuster left me with very bad feelings. I remember this... and may God never let me forget it. My goal is to work for the insured as well as the carrier. I am there to report the damages I find, the cause of the damage, if the policy affords coverage, what it cost on the fair work market to correct the damage and the rest is up to the carrier.

IF I/we do the job correctly than all parties are protected and treated justly. I am not there to share my opinions, I was hired to share my professional knowledge.

As in all things in life, there is both good and bad !

Ummmm... maybe that was 4 cents worth. !
Roy Cupps (Admin)
Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2000 - 1:31 pm:   


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Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2000 - 12:20 pm:   

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Tom Joyce (Tomj)
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2000 - 4:10 pm:   

Rdoe, you hit the nail on the head. We deal with a contract, rather simple concept. One pays for items promised if certain events happen, the other fulfills the other part of the agreement. I always found that the best approach is to determmine coverage, write your estimate and hand them to the boss on hand. If there is a disagreement on the first group of files and I would suggest less than ten, at that point reach and agreement as to how they want the claims. If it is unacceptable to you, turn in the files and go to another vendor. I unlike others do not believe it hurts your credibality, rather establishes your professionalism.Several posts have dealt with liability claims and as a former supervisor with a major carrier all I can say it is a snake pit. Again evaluate using current local standards for injuries involved along with degree of liability and go from there. And remember if your not happy there are other places to work, take the time and check out the assignment and dont be afraid to speak your mind
By the way, Most of Texarkana now has power, mine came up as of 2:00 pm.
Good luck to all others
Happy New Year!!
JimLakes (Jimlakes)
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2000 - 4:04 pm:   

Cecil Kraft,


Jim Lakes
Cecil Kraft
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2000 - 10:09 am:   

The postings concern me because we tend to judge entire entities by a few who take it upon themselves to make selfish and sometimes wrong judgements and think "they are saving the company from bad insureds". Without insured's, we are without jobs. I have seen the same type of mentality you refer too on rare occasions. But we don't want to judge a major carrier by the doings of a few misguided employees though. The carriers true philosophy is to pay all claims fairly and quickly. As an independent I have worked for that carrier and others and have been fortunate not to have had the same experience you have had. We don't want to throw the baby out with the wash.

I do agree with you that if you are asked to do anything unethical that it is time to refuse and to exit the storm if that is required. However if what is requested is on ethical grounds we should do it even if it there are differences of opinion since they are paying our bill.

Good luck and I hope we all are busy this coming year.
Dale Strain
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 11:20 pm:   

Thanks to everyone for your responses.

I guess I should apologize and back off a little.

It is true that I haven't worked everywhere yet, and my experiences are limited by that fact. I was however, honestly troubled by what I perceived as being only one side of the coin being presented... but I was too heavy-handed in my response.

I haven't been a repair contractor since 1982, and I have no political agenda other than to express my disagreement with vendor bashing. I guess I've been lucky not to have experienced what some others have.

Next time I'll count to ten first....

Dale Strain
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 6:34 pm:   



Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 4:44 pm:   

To All Below:
HOGWASH!!!!! I have worked more than probably any of you for SF as an independent and you do not know what you are doing or you have an axe to grind. Or, you could just be full of it!

If I were ever ask to compromise my principles by any supervisor, which I was never, they would be looking for a job by the time I would get through with them. I am proud of the profession and have worked every day to weed out some of you that will not learn and do not know what you are doing and worse yet, do not care.
JimLakes (Jimlakes)
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 3:41 pm:   

Fellow Adjusters!!!

I started this post to alert all adjusters of the referenced article and to let everyone know that we as independents need to keep the policyholders informed of the difference between an "independent" and staff adjusters.

As you may note, I did not mention the carrier that I spent years with or downgrade any single carrier and feel that we should not do that. As everyone knows, or should; there are "bad apples" in every barrell and that doesn't spoil the whole bunch.

My intent was to improve our communication and understandings, not open the door to specific critisism or instances against individual carriers. Lets discuss things that make us better and stay on the positive side, not the negative. If we think, act, and speak professionally, which is what we are, less and less articles of this nature will have the "smoke" that inflames these type stories.

RON SMITH (Rwsmith)
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 2:53 pm:   

Dear Dale:
I worked as a senior field adjuster for one of the Companies that you have done work for. I was told Many times to cut the estimate by only allowing a third of the amount due on flooring or not to replace the water damaged cabinets, just put a piece of plywood on the side and stain it to match. I was also a Contractor for years preceding my above employment and I never cheated a customer from getting what they paid for! I have worked for State Farm on two occasions since I became an independent and was never told to reduce the estimate. Maybe I wasn't in the right part of the country.
I know that it happens. The Office Managers make their own. They are allowed to run their office as they want, as long as the numbers are right at the end of the year. I had an Office Manager that bought and paid for a new Cadillac after coming in below the amount paid out on one hail storm (that corporate allocated).
I am much happier after becoming an Independent Contractor and will Never go back.
Good luck to all Independents and may you make your quota this coming year!
mark (Olderthendirt)
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 2:45 pm:   

Dear Mr Strain
While the majority of claims people are fair, their are bad apples in this industry too (even the occasional policy holder is less then forthcoming). I have chosen not to work for sf , I do not like their practices! Have I seen adjuster cheat an insured YES!!! Have I seen questionable company practices, YES!!! Is this self correcting? Class action litigation is an unfortunate solution as are PA's, but they are a creation of the insurance industry. All we can do is an honest days work, and do the claims right!
Karen Murphy (Murphy)
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 2:01 pm:   

To Mr. Strain,
"Drivel", I believe, is an unworthy description of what has happened or is presently happening with the company I referred to. In fact, you rather contradicted yourself in your own post with your last paragraph.....
If you have worked SF as much as you claim, surely you have at lease heard horror stories, if not experienced them. There are dozens of us independents, many of whom post, who have seen or experienced nightmare situations working for SF, as I described...which brings a question to mind. I see you are also a repair contractor; apparently you do jobs for SF checks; which hat do you really wear? So, it is obvious why you would be interested in posting in the political manner which you have, and it is , after all, good business to "grease the palm" of the one who feeds you.
Personally, I am not concerned with your biased opinion of the facts I have stated. If you truly do not believe me, I could readily provide you with a list of names to call to see if my statements are true. Because, you see, they were doing the same things to the other adjusters on site! There is absolutely nothing in the world to gain by lying on CADO, for me or anybody else, Mr. Strain. Just think about it logically for a moment.....simply because you have not experienced something in life does not mean it does not exist. For example; giving birth. Stick to basics.
"Perfect" has nothing to do with the topic; ethics and good business and fair treatment of people has everything to do with the topic.
alan jackson (Ajackson)
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 10:49 am:   

It is my understanding that the information in question was obtained through the discovery process. I believe the company in question attempted to obtain a court order sealing the records in question. However, the where not able to achieve this goal. The manual and documentation makes interesting reading. I high suggest that everyone take a peep.
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 8:19 am:   

I believe an informed insured is the easiest to deal with.Every inspection I do starts with an explanation of the claims process,including the amounts of coverage and my role in the claims process.It starts the inspection with few mis- conceptions of what i'm there to do.Make them whole again.It also keeps the insured from calling their agent or the storm office for information.I also give them my cell phone number
so they can reach me if they have a question!It really works good for me,I get very few calls and the few minutes I spend with the insured pays off
in a lot of ways to save me time down the road.I always look for coverage,never look to deny a claim.I've met a lot of Insureds who have been screwed by staffers and are leary of any adjusters. I will explain their rights as Insureds and explain the policy.I Know when we as
cat adjusters under pay a claim we get admonished
for poor claims handling.I also have had problems with State Farm coming to me after I have closed a file and got an agreed price with a Contractor or Insured to cut line item pricing.I refused to
play the game and although my manager agreed,I never got any more State Farm files.Treat every file as though your adjusting your mother!Have a great day and Please BE CAREFUL.
Dale Strain
Posted on Friday, December 29, 2000 - 1:02 am:   

To All:

I am truly amazed at the previous two posts by Ms. Murphy. Every time I see such drivel, I think back over the last 28 years and my exposure to State Farm and other carriers.

I've yet to meet the adjuster, supervisor or reinspector who sets out to cheat their customer. I have seen situations of inexperience, inadequate information or difference of opinion.

As an insurance repair contractor, we dealt with State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, Aetna, Safeco, Firemans Fund, Liberty Mutual, Prudential and a host of others.

In 1986, I went to work for State Farm, and have worked on and off for them for a total of 11 years. I've worked as an independent for them as well. With rare exception, they are fine people. Some need training, some need more common sense.
Some just need to experience life and try to see both sides of a story.

But I have never experienced the BS Ms. Murphy tells in her biased, one-sided fairy tale. I simply don't believe it, and it casts doubt on any other information she might offer.

It is an unfortunate fact that we do experience poor treatment at the hands of staffers when we work Cats with them. We are "outsiders" to them, and there can be jealousy over pay, independence, etc...The best way to handle it is to keep your distance and do your work. Or, work for other carriers as Ms. Murphy elected to do.

The bottom line is that State Farm isn't perfect....nor are we.

Thank you all for your indulgence.

Dale Strain
Karen Murphy (Murphy)
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2000 - 2:47 pm:   

Along another thread, I was working in Syracuse, NY for Crawford with branch assist for state farm auto. I was there for 2 weeks only and left the assignment thoroughly disgusted.
Here's why:
Working in the auto claims department. There was this 18 yr old couple that got in a motorcycle accident. Their legs were messed up for life, with severe facial scarring to the 18 yr old woman riding the bike. They each were in the hospital for several days as the doctors tried to put their torn up bodies back together. The state farm adjuster, per instruction from his supervisor, was to find ways to stall any payment to the insureds, to "put them in a financial corner". Then the tactic was to rush them each into signing the release form. This approach was to keep the claim amount low. The adjuster was instructed to keep them from hiring an attorney, which he did successfully. SF held off paying any claim amount until the insureds were broke and desperate. Consequently, the adjuster settled with them for $5,000 total amount each. Keep in mind they are scarred for life. After they signed the release form and left the office the adjuster informed his supervisor of the settlement amount to the insureds. He got a hefty pat on the back for "screwing the insureds on that payment" and a gold star on a chart they have with all the adjusters names on it. Different colored stars for similar achievements by their adjusters (all staff) were displayed proudly on this chart in back of the office. A running total of saved compensation amounts due to the adjusters' excellent performances was in full view for all of us to see, creating a competitive atmosphere; kind of like a race. The more the adjusters saved the company, the higher the total became with a target amount at the bottom of the chart within each quarter of the year. It was like a celebration, a victory, for the company to not have to pay what they could have had to pay, if the insureds got a lawyer. That adjuster wore his praise proudly like a medal; how pathetically sad the scene was.....I could not get out of that office fast enough. It rather felt like a slaughterhouse there....
how frightening this concept is, and we can be absolutely sure Syracuse is not the only town State Farm is doing this practice in.....
Karen Murphy (Murphy)
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2000 - 1:44 pm:   

The only insurance company I have not been allowed to pay for all hail or flood or wind damages has been State Farm Insurance. It didn't matter what storm, what state, what kind of damage, but State Farm "Reinspectors" and "supervisors" have made it extremely, if not impossible, to recommend payment for all observed damages. No matter how many photos were supplied for the file, even. Consequently, months after the cat was closing down, State Farm was in the newspapers getting sued yet again (and losing their cases) for unfair claims practice. SF has been the only insurance company I have experienced this with in all my 11 yrs. They take every chance they can to not allow recommended payments by the independent adjusters. And as we all know, there is no "reward" to anybody working claims for state farm....
"Old Hail", shredded screens, downed gutters were, by SF accounts, maintenance issues and neglect. And when we disagreed with their "reinspectors" there was he-- to pay!!! Their practices are well known in the independent adjuster community....
Naturally, I chose not to work for such a company years ago, and life is good! It is comforting to know that the insurance claims business is not the same within all the insurance companies, to say the absolute least.
JimLakes (Jimlakes)
Posted on Thursday, December 28, 2000 - 11:51 am:   

There is an article concerning this subject at: (Link removed at the request of the site.)

It does not state where they got their information from to make these type statements, however, the point is, that it would leave the basic consumer to believe that "all" adjusters try to cut the claim settlement payment to gain favor with the carrier and "all" fall within this group.

When I worked for a major carrier as both an adjuster and staff person, no such policy existed with them. Maybe that was to many years ago and things may have changed since then, but the point being that "all" adjusters, because the public does not know better, they believe that we as independents also fall into that group.

If we all use the concept to pay a $1.00 where a $1.00 is due and not .90 cents or $1.10, we cannot be accused of these type tactics. Thats why I feel that we as "independents," should at every chance try to keep the public informed that we adjust the claim on an individual basis and that we receive no compensation for cutting the claim payment. We are paid, based on paying what is owed and providing a quality product.

Jim Lakes
National Catastrophe Director
RAC Adjustments, Inc.

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