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Archive through February 17, 2000Gale Hawkins2-17-00  9:00 pm
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Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Wednesday, June 14, 2000 - 10:50 pm:   

This is from today's USA Today. This may give paperless claims another push forward.

House passes e-signature legislation

The House on Wednesday passed legislation that would give electronic signatures the same legal status as a penned ''John Hancock'' on a paper document. The bill, passed 426-4, ''will further move us from the paper age to the digital age,'' smoothing the way for a change in the way people have done business since the time of the ancient Egyptians, said House Commerce Committee Chairman Tom Bliley, R-Va. The bill is expected to get quick Senate approval and President Clinton's signature.
Posted on Monday, March 06, 2000 - 12:36 am:   

This news only marginally fits into these discussions, but for general information tomorrow AMD Athlon Processors will be available in speeds to 1GHz in systems by two manufactures.
R.D. Hood
Posted on Sunday, March 05, 2000 - 11:23 pm:   

Well now, the issue that was originally presented was to inform , enlighten and assist those that may not have been aware of the truth.

I agree with Jeff, in that the E-commerce is a safe , and secure way to do business, IF YOU ARE CAREFUL.

Make sure the website that you are doing business with provides a secure server link. This is always visible, when in force.

And also he does speak the truth, as I have worked with him for several years both in the field and as a computer programer.

This discussion should be confined to the issues that concern all of us. E-Commerce will,in the next few years account for a significant portion of the GNP, and that's a fact, believe it or not.

The new generation hardware and soft ware will change the way we do everything in business, not just this business but almost every business.

It is time to "wake up and smell the coffee" before its all gone.
Jeff Goodman
Posted on Sunday, March 05, 2000 - 10:55 pm:   

Note to Gale Hawkins

You state:
I think all agree any confidential information should be encrypted just as your car and house should be locked but when one creates fear for his own gain that is crossing the line.

You boldly state that I am out to create fear for my own gain. If do generate fear (My goal was to generate awareness), I fail to see how it would benefit me. Have you seen posts from me touting my Internet security services far and wide on the CADO website? I do not provide Internet security services. Do you see me hawking my software or services every chance I get?

I have read CADO daily since 1998. I very rarely post here. I finally see a topic on an issue no one has mentioned, I bring it up and you slam me as a fear monger out to unjustly gain income from this group of adjusters. My only desire for this group of adjusters is that they all find satifaction in this course they have chosed for themselves.

I will mention this no more.

Back to the topic.

Murray asked for you (and the forum) to come up with potential problems for e-mailing claims. After a couple of days when no one mentioned the security/privacy issue, I thought I would. As my original post states, I have seen no discussion of this topic.

For the record, I am a great proponent of e-commerce and use it to purchase almost anything I can.

I develop custom software applications and without exception my clients that want to web-enable their applications are concerned with the security of the data that they send across the Internet.

The Internet makes it much simpler to support far-flung clients, email updates and keep in touch while madly driving around the country. You see, for four years I was a full time storm adjuster (and worked with several active CADO members) while supporting my computer clients as well. This might not have been possible without the Internet.

If there is no security concern, why do almost all the web pages that ask my credit card number use the SSL security layer? Or is it just a marketing tool to make users feel safer?

The situation I was hoping to address was the fact that no one seems to know about the privacy problem or care.

Gale, you are one hundred percent correct that the problem is that no one encrypts email, yet seems to think that it is private. I was not suggesting hiding our heads in the sand, but promoting a general awareness. If the solution is a simple as setting a flag in your email program why haven't we all done it.

While the MS case has no bearing on the encryption issue, it most certainly does on the privacy issue. Any email you receive may still be on your ISP's server and could be retrieved. As has been said before, "put nothing in email that you would not want read in a court of law". Surely some claims information could fall into this area. Most people think once you hit that delete button all record of that email is gone. This is often not the case. I think the folks at MS wish they had given consideration to this before the subpeona hit. It has NOTHING to do with encryption.

One should be AWARE, not AFRAID. Thousands of people die each year driving cars. Does that mean people should not drive, or does it mean people should be cautious when they drive? Aware, not afraid.

The technology exists to make Internet communication secure. The above-mentioned SSL security layer makes web sites secure and PPTP and Virtual Private Networking make working across the Internet as secure as working on the in-office network. As Gale noted, e-mail can be encrypted when it contains confidential info. I just feel that this should be more of a concern than it is for Internet users.

If I have scared anyone away from using the Internet or email, please post your concerns here, so I may address them.

Jeff Goodman
Goodman Enterprises
Posted on Saturday, March 04, 2000 - 4:29 pm:   

Gale you are correct and your advice is great.
Gale Hawkins
Posted on Saturday, March 04, 2000 - 1:44 am:   

Russ the overwriting is not a real problem. Even with email files you will get a message that a file is going to be overwritten but that can be dealt with so the file names are changed by the program.

Files in the claims management software at the carrier will not permit records to be overwritten. A simple time/date stamping of the files would be one example how that could be prevented.

Most agree that there is little a hacker would want with a property claim email. The firewall is an issue but one that is dealt with very well today. An employee with the same knowledge that is stored on the server in his head and is going in and out every day would be my concern. Life is about risk period as we were all reminded today.
Russ Lott
Posted on Saturday, March 04, 2000 - 12:52 am:   

Gale most of what you guys are talking about is a bit over my head but here is my take. With electronic files the comments that the adjuster makes in the files are there forever. Bad spelling and worse grammer but it is all there forever. If an estimate is received by a company and each revision overwrites the previous what happens to the integrity of the file in terms of discovery? As far as somebody intercepting the email, what is the hacker going to do with it? The information in most of the electronic files is redundant and some is available upon request from local authorities. Where I see the problem is when the purposed hacker break through a firewall and compromises a settlement strategy by accessing file comments.
Gale Hawkins
Posted on Saturday, March 04, 2000 - 12:18 am:   

Jeff and Murray, one side of me is intrigued by your ingenuity while the other side is stressed. It just so happens the computer I am on has Office 2000 on it. If I open Outlook and Click on Help and then type the word, encryption in the search box I get detailed help on how to setup Outlook to send and receive encrypted email. There is even a link to where you can get a FREE digital ID yet most do not bother.

Jeff do you have any idea how many millions of business e-mails are sent every day -- unencrypted -- with credit card numbers and other sensitive info? If it were a problem of any significant magnitude -- if it were really an open door for corporate espionage and increased theft, America wouldn't be doing business over the Net. It's paranoid people like you and others that has kept e-commerce from taking off as fast as it could have.

I think all agree any confidential information should be encrypted just as your car and house should be locked but when one creates fear for his own gain that is crossing the line.

Jeff your illustration about Microsoft’s email has nothing to do with the issue and is nothing more than an attempt to create unfounded fear in the minds of those less technical than yourself. When the court order came to print out the emails it made no difference where they were encrypted or not. That issue has nothing to do with sending unencrypted email as you very well know.

In a USA Today article by Bruce Haring he states the following about Prodigy's Chip Austin views of Internet security. He agrees concerns are "absolutely overblown." Strides in protection have ended the days when college students "could sit on a router and tap into packets and read them quite easily."

In the same article he quotes Adam Curry of Onramp, Inc as saying, "Sure, Netscape's security was hacked," he says, referring to a widely publicized incident about the Web browser. "But it was done with over $200,000 worth of equipment during the course of five days."

Murray I agree that Scene Genesis may be one of the companies that can help move technology forward but I doubt they will be successful only promoting security. Let take a look at the techno-savvy (correct spelling thanks to Bill Gates) thief that Jeff seems to know so much about how he thinks and operates.

If Jeff’s techno-savvy thief is as smart as he thinks where is he going to do his thing? Is he going to try to grab emails at random without knowing where they are coming from and can never be quite sure what computer they may arrive at and the path they will travel between the two points can not be known by anyone? Or will he target one server that is known to hold tons and tons of property claims?

Who is willing to bet Jeff’s tech-savvy thief will go for the mother load? Do the tech-savvy robber hit homes or banks and armored cars? They always go for the mother load don’t they?

My point is there is no such thing as a “secured site” if someone wants in bad enough just as there is no secured bank. In the article quoted from earlier we read, "What is secure, really?" Curry says. "Can you fly a plane into the White House? Can you hop the fence and shoot at the president? . . . There will never be a totally secure way to interact."

If we can shut up the fear mongers and get on with business more adjusters will be better off. Is this not what CADO is all about?

Fears have been raised about what can happen to an insured in a few nanoseconds of time relativity speaking. How secure is info that the agents gather when they write the coverage? They are in position to know what valuables are in the home and the going and coming of the insured as well as if the home is protected by an alarm. How much do you trust the “temp” that was filling in that day your information was entered into the computer? Did he scan himself extra photos of the family jewels?

Then there are the adjusters that Chad Smith refers to as “bad apples”. What if one of Chad’s bad apples has not worked in six months and he scopes a home and learns the house is not really secure due to the damages yet there are valuables every where?

Do we not agree the time it takes for an email to get to the recipient is a minor concern and that it is true there will never be a totally secure way to interact? Let us not fear, fear itself.

The Internet is here to stay. Email or what replaces it will be used for a long time. Carriers that do to not except claims electronically will be turned over to the carriers that do embrace technology. Three years from now we will be laughing how we fretted over some of these issues. I am old enough to remember when people did not trust automatic transmissions or credit cards.

Technology will become the accepted norm with time and the fear mongers will find other issues were they can use fear to achieve their goals. Creating fear is easy. Taking away fear is a chore but more rewarding.
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2000 - 4:58 pm:   

Jeff great point there I dealt with insurance companies that woun"t accept email because of the size and privacy matters such as you spoke about . Theses issues are serious matters for insurance companies since the information and photos we collect for them is there data we have to make sure it doesn"t get lost or stolen. There is a company called Scene Genesis that has a secure way to transfer files to insurance companies via the internet that i have been testing , the service gives me the ability to store , organize ,transfer my photos and estimates .
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2000 - 11:41 am:   

Thanks Jeff, appreciated by all. All the articles that I have read reinforce the fact that there is no privacy on the web. Just look how advertizers will custom the banners on web pages using cookies to trace your movements on the web.
Jeff Goodman
Posted on Friday, March 03, 2000 - 10:10 am:   

What about the security/privacy issue. If you send unencrypted email across the internet, any interested party is capable of seeing what you send. At the very least this includes policy holder phone numbers and addresses that the policy holder very well may not want to be public knowledge. That is to say nothing of the policy numbers, coverage amounts, special endorsements for high dollar items.

If digital photos are included they could be viewed by anyone who puts forth the effort to do so.

A techno-savy thief could case the joint electronically. Check for high personal property coverages, look at the digital photos for valuable items, get his hands on the address, and even the fact that this is a seasonal home so he has four months to pick his night.

It has been said in many a forum that email is not even as secure as snail mail. Witness what happen to Billy boy Gates and his guys at MS. All that old email sitting on servers cost them dearly.

I wonder if the carriers have even thought about this concern. I also wonder where the liability lies if information is stolen from a file that is emailed unencrypted. Does it lie with the adjuster that sent it, the vendor who told him to email it, the softare developer who does not encrypt his files before sending, and maybe most importantly, where is the E&O carrier going to come down on this.

I have seen no discussion on this topic, but it is a major concern for those of us developing web enabled applications, as well as those who plan to use them.

Whadda'ya think?

Jeff Goodman
Goodman Enterprises
Computer Networking, Consulting and Custom Programming
Gale Hawkins
Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2000 - 7:43 pm:   

Murray there are a couple potential email problems that come to mind besides non-POP3 services like AOL and the limited space of many email boxes already mentioned.

One problem that is important to be aware of is the fact that when a claim is e-mailed, if it is worked on by a remote party and then returned to the original database you will overwrite any changes that have been made to the original claim after it has been e-mailed. Of course this problem could be solved with code. Most people won't be going two ways with the claims so this is probably not going to be an issue for most.

Perhaps the biggest problem in the mind of some is when the user is sending digital photos at dial-up speed. Even in compressed format claims with 20 photos are going to take forever to send over a 56K line. Kids will download an 8 MB game and think nothing about it but some adjusters would not want to wait on a 2 MB file.
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2000 - 8:26 am:   

Gale even with email you run into problems . Can you think of a few that might come up ? This is a test for you . Sounds like you have a new job selling visa cards and yes I"m already a sponsor.
Gale Hawkins
Posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2000 - 12:18 am:   

Murray the article hits on the subject that not embracing the Internet and the changes associated with it can cost you your job if you are running a business. Granted the CEO’s in most of the adjusting industry are running smaller operations than Aetna or Citigroup but regardless where it is a one person or 1000 in a business the business owner/CEO is threaten by the fast paced changes that can make one’s ways of thinking obsolete in a heart beat. As you pointed out in your post the paperless Internet claims solutions are here today. The term “24/7” was unheard of a few short years ago but is to become the norm it appears.

I think most small business owners/CEO’s in the insurance adjusting industry would like things to stay the same but deep down we know a steamroller is coming and we have two choices. We can become part of the pavement in the road to the future or we can become steamroller operators. Some of us will travel the road to the future while others of us will become the pavement that others will travel. I gather from this article that it is easier to become part of the pavement than one may think. I see the article is a wake up call to all in the adjusting industry.

Today is a good time to be paranoid if we are to believe Bill Gates. He has realized he is on a treadmill that is picking up speed daily. Today claims are being emailed which is nothing more than a stepping stone to the web based adjusting you talked about in your article.

We recently moved to a new home because much of the email services will not permit the emailing of large email files like you can generate with digital photos. Now with our new server we can offer free email accounts to our users that are currently bottlenecked by the small size mailboxes many online services offer today. Having software that can email claims with photos is great. Having a $2000 digital camera is great. Having an email account that will not handle the file you are trying to email is not great.

Murray because of the fast pace of changes pointed out in the article we are seeing two or more bottlenecks appear for each one that is removed. That is why our latest and greatest technology is always outdated. That is why it is so easy to be part of the pavement in the road to the future than travel down it. None of us posting on CADO today even start to understand the role the Internet will play in our adjusting industry. Roy does not realize what he started 5 years ago and the impact it will have on you and the rest of us in this industry. That is why I think clicking on one of the VISA icons located on CADO is something that everyone in the adjusting industry can benefit from and I encourage each visitor from the adjusting industry to help be a part of the industry’s future by clicking and becoming a supporting member of CADO.

Perhaps the Internet is more like a volcano. Think of Hawaii that once did not exist but many call Paradise now. The Internet is creating something from nothing it appears but as with the volcano it is just rearranging what already existed (commerce in the case of the Internet). With the Internet we have just a little more control over the final creation than we do that of what a volcano creates.

Perhaps others got something different out of the USA Today article and they will share it with the rest of us. As most know I am non-linear in my thought processing ability so I see more rabbits than some perhaps. I inherited that from my late mother.
Posted on Tuesday, February 29, 2000 - 9:20 pm:   

Gale what does your last post have to do with insurance adjusting?
Gale Hawkins
Posted on Tuesday, February 29, 2000 - 8:43 pm:   

The link below to USA Today talks about how technology, peace and the Internet mean it is no longer business as usual for business leaders today. The statement that 600 Internet companies pop up each month in California’s Silicon Valley took me off guard. How Internet companies pop up each month in the US? How many in the world?

There is no way with tenths of thousands popping up each year around the world that the entire food chain in the insurance industry will not be affected. Today we either decide to lead the change or be changed by those leading the change. Go back to the Homepage and click on the VISA Card icon and become part of the change by supporting CADO. This article illustrates how the Internet is driving all types of change at an unheard of rate.
Posted on Tuesday, February 29, 2000 - 4:40 pm:   

Theres insurance companies that have gone to a paperless internet claims solution where the adjusters use digital cameras to collect the photos and then transfer the file with the estimates to the main office thru the internet where it can be stored shared and retieved everywhere 24/7 , no more mailing cost no printing cost unless you have to go to court , storage is on the internet not on disk or hard drive space, easy to review before or after a claim great for reinspection. This is the future for claims handling eliminate the cost increase the profit .
Jim Flynt
Posted on Tuesday, February 29, 2000 - 1:04 am:   

For those of you who don't think what Gale is talking about is going to come to pass, may I suggest you take a look at the SettleOnline website at It is already here.

Now, also realize that the American insurance industry is getting "clobbered" by poorly written risks or risks that technically did not meet underwriting standards. How do you solve that problem? By sending out Equifax, TransUnion, Dun and Bradstreet or some other vendor to assess the risk and measure/diagram/appraise it prior to accepting the loss exposure. Thus, when a claim is made, the insuror already has dimensions, quality, and construction information as well as pre-loss photographs.

Not a far jump from having that type of pre-loss information to resolving the post loss claim by telephone or the internet as long as the insured sends digital photos of the damage to the insuror.

THAT, is where this industry is going.
Gale Hawkins
Posted on Monday, February 28, 2000 - 11:06 pm:   

Internet Shakeup for Insurance is an article from INFOWORLD Feb. 21, 2000. The Internet seems to be a trick that the old dogs are having more trouble learning than the young pups. You can bet the Internet is going to play an ever-increasing role in servicing (adjusting) this new market. As the auto/homeowners get digital cameras and insurance carriers provide easy-to-use web based adjusting software, what do you bet we all may be surprised at what the future may hold?

It would be more accurate and less expensive than the telephone adjuster. One adjuster at home in Podunk could review a ton of these claims per day and send them to the accounting department to be paid or to the claims department for them to handle. The claims department could ask for more photos or info from the auto/homeowner or just send out an adjuster.

Are you saying it will never happen in a Cat? Why do warm bodies find jobs in a Cat? Is it because this is what the carrier wants to do or the insurance commissioners demand? If the carriers could get the commissioners off their backs by handling 20-40% of claims at no real adjusting cost and do it days before even a storm office could be put in place would any carrier be stupid enough to try it? In a heartbeat! In time it will happen because the executives that oversee pulling it off will climb the corporate ladder like they were tied to a rocket.

The article does not deal with adjusting per say but if they can sell it cheaper by the internet they will be looking to adjust it cheaper by the internet in a decade or less from now. Hit

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