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Tom Joyce (Tomj)
Posted on Monday, June 12, 2000 - 7:34 pm:   

Dave has provided an excellent picture of our chosen endeavor. I call it such as many address the job in a different manner. The range of those involved run from individual who treat the job as a professional career to part-timers filling in for specific amounts of time. I believe that it is up to those who wish to keep this as their profession to "raise the bar" to keep the carriers and vendors use to the quality and refuse to accept less.
AS far as rates, that is very much up to the individual as to what they will accept. I have found that if your provide the product, the rate becomes an issue that can be discussed.
AS far as the issue "bragging", it's plan foolish. No consideration is given to what is involved with the costs we incur, and it paints and extremely false picture. AS Dave said, it influences people to make changes that shouldn't be made.
Just an example, I was hired to work in house for several weeks, along with another adjuster. When we entered the office we got the usual joking "here comes the high price boys, or there is the money men". At the end of the day we were thanked by the office, from clerks to the manager for the job we did cleaning up files, generally straighten up the situation. The off shute is tomorrow we go on schedule to handle new work, reinspection and whatever at a decent rate.
This is not the first time this has happened, I have found that if you ignore the comments regarding the fact some think that the earnings are so great, don't brag, and do a professional job, by the time you leave the assignment, there is only thanks and no mention of the money. And you will be called back when needed, whether through a vendor or personally.
Also you must consider the fact the the company, although paying their adjusters as staff, consider the cat pay the adjuster gets, housing, meals, airline costs, car rental, extra equipment kept on hand (ladders, phones, cameras, company recourses such as phones office space). Oh health, disability and retirement. I wonder where the true cost figures come in?
Jim Hutt
Posted on Monday, June 12, 2000 - 10:56 am:   

Gale and Dave ,excellent articles i really enjoyed those today and renewed my faith that I'm doing this for the right reasons
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Monday, June 12, 2000 - 1:25 am:   

R. D. Hood June 1, 2000

North East West South


In which direction are we headed????

This question was posed recently on a forum page. It merits significant discussion.

The approach to the issue must be contemplated in several ways.
From the point of view of the Insurance carrier,
the Independent Adjusting Company,
and the independent Catastrophe adjuster.

The initial direction is always incepted by the Insurance Carrier. Their product, (Insurance) has a maintenance factor built into the contract of insurance. Basically they bet you will NOT be damaged by any occurrence, be it vehicle , property, health or life, and the policy holder (client) is betting that they WILL suffer some damages.

In this venue the carrier has an obligation to provide the service of adjusting the loss with the client.
This then takes many forms.
1) The company uses a office bound staff adjuster to settle the loss via the telephone, ( limiting the costs).
2) The company refers the claim to one of the staff adjusters to inspect and settle. ( Cost factor of employee being paid .)
3) The company out sources the claim to a vendor company. (Cost factor of this vs. in house , must be considered.)
4) The company refers the claimant to a contractor source (under an agreement) to ascertain damages, estimate and repair them.

All of the above are perfectly legitimate ways of adjusting a loss. HOWEVER, some of them are fraught with inherent disaster.
1) The desk adjuster. I am not aware of any adjuster that understands this business that can correctly adjust a loss without benefit of inspection. Even the evidence of photographs are NOT conclusive. The photo could be of anyone's damage, and NOT the assured.
The practice however will continue, because it is very cost efficient (or so it appears to those that make the rules)

2) The staff adjuster. There are thousands of
excellent, experienced staff adjusters. In fact
their numbers far exceed those of the comparable
talented Catastrophe adjusters.
These men and women are the backbone of the
Insurance Adjusting Industry, MOST of the
Present Cat adjusters, were at one time staff or
IA vendor adjusters.
This SOP will always be there. It is a solid
Business decision. These employees are being
Paid and they are there to do the job.

3) The Independent Adjusting Firm. The use of
These firms as an outsource, depends upon the
relationship of the vendor with the carrier, the
quality of the work that is produced, the cost of
the work, as compared to the established carrier
anticipated costs, and the amount of claims
received by the carrier.
This is our bread and butter. IF the vendor
Receives work, they will need our services. We
are not always employees, and some work for
only one vendor while others choose to work
for several. The ancillary to this is the quality
of the work product. For the vendor is judged
on our performance and work product and our
abilities to adhere to the criteria set forth by
the employer of the vendor.

4) The use of the Direct Repair Contractor (DRP)
or whomever else the Carriers assigns the loss to.
This has been tried time and again. It does work for some companies and for the DRP for a time. The fallacies of this, is that the one who will profit the most from the loss, is the one that is in control of the loss. Like opening the hen house door while the fox is in the area. This is not to say that under certain conditions and with proper supervision and adequate controls, this will not work. It just that after seeing it in place so many times, it appears doomed for failure.
Again, the practice will continue until it's course is run.

The decision makers , for the companies will vary their wishes from time to time. The policies and procedures will change and the work will come and go.

One factor that we may wish to address is the ongoing use of the term :

This seems to be the watchword for many companies. Of course they all are in the fight for the Premium Dollar and they all are concerned about the Reserve .
The question may then be, 'How are we providing customer service, if we are not inspecting the loss, nor providing qualified trained professionals to adjust the loss?

This point may remain moot, as there are those that adjust the losses that do have the experience, training, expertise and qualifications to do the job correctly. BUT, there are many, many, that are NOT.

This applies to the Carrier, and to the IA firm as well. It may be in the best interests of all concerned to remember these words :

"The bitterness of poor quality,
is remembered long after the
sweetness of low price"

Now for the Independent Adjusting Firm:

These individuals take a tremendous risk. They have to outfit and fund the entire operation. Including the offices, staff, insurances and vehicles, computers, software, not to mention the costs incurred in marketing, traveling, personal exposure etc.

Most of the firms are very reputable. They have considered the opportunities, assessed the risks and have opted to jump into the fire. Some have been around longer than others and there are always new faces in new places. What with spin-offs, breakaways, retirees that wish not to waste away, whatever.

These firms risk everything on ONE THING. That is the potential for some catastrophic event to "make their day." This , of course does not always happen, and they are forced to venture into differing methods of providing an income and gaining some kind of return on their investment.

The firms are also faced with a common dilemma. There are only so many Cat adjusters to call upon, and for the most part every vendor has many of the same people on their call-out lists. Some vendors do have their core contingent and others do have committed personnel. These are the ones that can provide some guarantee of income to their people:

The risks that face the vendors are similar to those that face the carriers.

Will we have any losses?

Whom will provide the finished product that will be acceptable?

Whom can we depend on to be there?

Whom will present themselves in a favorable light to the insured?

So the risk of the IA vendor is significant.

1)They have to establish themselves.
2) Finance the operation.
3) Market the Carriers.
4)Acquire competent personnel to produce the work product.
5) Make enough profit to be around next year.

The independent catastrophe adjuster:

Herein lies the meat of this article. This is the profession that we elected to pursue, and whatever we do with it , is solely up to our discression.

The question initially asked is "What direction are we headed?"

The answers are as diversified as the people that are asked. There are many aspects to be considered, and so here are my thoughts:

1) We must be cognizant of the market place. In that we should market ourselves to as many of the vendors that we wish to work for.
2) We must be available when called. To refuse assignments, too often, will cause a lack of faith in those that have called upon us.
3) We must be totally familiar with the assignment, and ask all of the proper questions prior to acceptance. To take an assignment and then walk-out, fail to appear, complain, perform at less than our capabilities, reflects poorly on the occupation.
4) We must avail ourselves of the most up-to-date information, products, equipment that we can afford. These all make the job easier , faster and more productive.
5) We must NEVER take an assignment that is beyond our present capabilities. This single item will cause more grief, problems, and misery that you can imagine.
6) We must be , at all times, presentable, clean, and well mannered. We are the eyes and ears of the carrier. We are their representatives and should conduct ourselves in the professional manner that this industry dictates.
7) We must be honest and truthful with ourselves. To quote a favorite author,

" Know what you are, more
importantly, know what
you are not."

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

So many times, its been said. Many are guilty of braggadocio.
We all have heard the stories of the BIG score, the vast amounts of monies made on a particular storm. The "rest of the story" is never heard, till it's time for the IRS to be satisfied.

Then, the truth will surface, what are the real expenses? How much disposable income do you have, after maintaining two households, two or three vehicles and the related insurance insurances, food and lodging, E&O and GL insurances, computers and software purchases and rentals, printers, ink, paper, and cell phones and ladders, assistants and the related costs thereof??????……………………….

Are we not better off, keeping our commentaries to ourselves? The staff adjusters do not want to hear it, the bartenders have heard it a thousand times and still don't believe it, and the comrades in arms don't care.

What this bragging does is create a craving for some honest person, who is making a living doing whatever, to believe that they can do the same thing, irrespective of their background or talents.

No matter they have not the slightest inkling of what we do as a profession, they are attracted by the "lure" of the big bucks. And those that make these idle statements are perhaps guilty of damaging someone beyond repair.

There is always room in any trade for those that are ready willing and able to make an informed decision. But as we all profess to "Know Before You Go", is it not just as fair to disclose the TRUE aspects of working 100+ hours a week, fronting all the expenses, working part time, and maybe being home for a birthday, holiday an anniversary?

To disclose anything less that the total truth of what is really involved , to become a catastrophe adjuster is to perhaps destroy another individual.


The concept that this catastrophe adjusting trade may be on its death bed has crossed my mind several times in the past few years.

Sure, there are those that seem to be working as much as they want: they have been around a long time, have maintained a good rapport with the vendors and carriers and agents and office managers. They also market themselves and consistently turn out an extremely good work product and in a timely manner and create virtually no conflict in the arena which they play.

The constant changing of the guard among the decision makers of the carriers and the vendors will always dictate our viability, as we all know, stuff runs downhill.

The present work environment, always based on the whims of Mother Nature, has many working. Those that have quit will probably not return , to face yet another dry spell. Those that can, will stay.

With the advent of more advanced technology, upgraded equipment and differing ways to do claims processing, there is the possibility that some will be called to this advanced area. This will be in the very near future, possibly this year.

The only major thrust to re-kindling the trade , will be the havoc of a major event , like an "Andrew", "Hugo" or 'Northridge". We all know this will happen, from the highest tower of the largest carrier to the newest of the new adjusters.

What will be the scenario? Probably the same as it has always been, call anyone that can walk and talk, baptize them an "Adjuster" and trust in the almighty that it all works out.

Is there another way? Of course there is. Create a system, within our ranks , that identifies the competence, quality, location, availability and willingness of every adjuster. Interface this with the vendors that we prefer to work for, throw in the mix of the carriers that always ask for a particular adjuster, and have a data base that will be the epitome of the cat adjusting trade.

Is this a viable alternative? But of course it is. Will anyone take the time to study the worth and effects of such a system,? Doubtful.

Wherever the winds may blow , the earth crack or the ice form we will be there. We will do everything we can to alleviate the suffering of those that have been affected and attempt to comfort them. This is after all , our nature.

Many of us can feel the altruistic rewards of our work, and will continue to perform in this manner for as long as we are in the business.

To be anything less, is not to be, at least for me.

Which direction are we headed? That's up to each
individual. Personally, I love the business, love
people and progress, and refuse to be intimidated by
anything except my maker. C'est la Vie.

Your comments, as always, are welcome. Please fell
free to express yourself, offer opinions, criticisms,
input, complaints, whatever you wish, just be

Im sure Roy will post this in the proper area when time permits. But as so many have ventured their input, it is time to reply.
Posted on Sunday, June 11, 2000 - 11:43 pm:   

Sure are a lot of different view points being expressed. However, it appears that we are just getting started. So just don't sit there jump in and post your Two cents worth.
Don Politte (Don)
Posted on Tuesday, June 06, 2000 - 3:42 pm:   

This was the only post you have submitted, which I read from start to finish, and I might add a very good one.
Jim Flynt (Jim)
Posted on Tuesday, June 06, 2000 - 1:31 am:   

Gale, Tom Joyce is right on the money. You posted an excellent article worthy of serious consideration by all CADO readers. Damn fine job!

I especially enjoyed and appreciate your correlation between the Red Cross course and becoming a Doctor.
Tom Joyce (Tomj)
Posted on Tuesday, June 06, 2000 - 1:12 am:   

Excellant post Gale, ont thing to consider no matter how professional you are, if you are paid for $100 of work, do your best for the price. If the job warrents more, someone has to pay for it.
Gale Hawkins (Gale)
Posted on Tuesday, June 06, 2000 - 12:29 am:   

RJ you have raised some good points that have lead to other points being raised. Concerned2 may have a point about a true trend change being underway instead of the short lasting fad. Perhaps the industry is being caught up in the current business school teachings that quality is dead because no one cares.

A long time adjuster recently told me that the business schools today are teaching that research shows the consumer is more concerned about price than quality. Some say Americans are forgetting that it was ideas that made this country great and not just the making of money without high ideas. Standing for ideas does not get most shareholders excited today if it does not pump up the price of the stock.

Chuck’s point about MacDonald’s method may have hit the nail on the head. Everyone knows of a local hamburger joint with better burgers but no one is buying stock in them. Wal-Mart is another example that does not make ‘quality’ job 1 but I for one keep going there because of their hours and I can find most things the family requires cheaper than anywhere else. I presort at the register to insure the bananas and bread are only laid on the belt after the heavy items are bagged and are in the cart.

How concerned is the auto or homeowner about quality if they are willing to bypass the carriers that use local agents and buy off of the Internet because of the lower price. Personally I have been buying auto insurance for over 30 years and homeowners for over 20 years yet has the local agent has never done much more than take payments for me.

If it is true today that people are more interested in price than they are in quality don’t expect to see the trend reverse in our generation. Another cold hard face that some of us have not come to grips is deflation. For example when we can get a new computer that is 10x faster that the old one yet at ½ of the price of the old one we think that is cool. When we are asked to give more services for less it is not so cool. Can we have it both ways? Yes the price of gas is up but computer hardware and software are ½ of what they were only a few years ago and yet the quality is up. Getting both cold and hot water out of the same tap is confusing for some.

Are we on our way to becoming a third world country? For some perhaps yes and perhaps for others no! If quality is not the trend today then providing quality-adjusting services are not going to pay as well as it did in the past. Are carriers throwing away quality to be able to sell at a lower price? Remember the insurance industry is powerful yet quite regulated. Remember the recent aftermarket parts case? The carriers know they can lose on both sides of the game if they are not careful.

From what I hear from the carriers is that they are very concerned about quality but they that see estimates being written that do not reflect knowledge of the policy, especially in cat work. Perhaps in ‘CATS’ they are starting to pay on the least common dominator principle. If I am an apple buyer and on average I know I am going to throw away 40% of all that I buy because of their low quality then I will pay 40% less. If you are one of the few producers that produce very high quality apples that only have a 3% shrinkage rate you are going to be upset at what I am paying you if you are grouped in with the rest of the flock.

Guys and gals have you gotten lazy and not marketing yourself. Birds of the feather flock together. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but you are no better than the worse you run with and I am not talking about character here necessarily. If a cat company calls for adjusters and you go running with your hand up saying, “ME TOO, ME TOO” like my 2 ½ year old twins do, you have not presented yourself in the best light. Many firms hold training seminars to try to build a roster of adjusters but in the thick of battle they cannot always be able to be selective and will have a large cost associated with files that get reopened because of poor adjusting practices.

Three days and piece of paper may make you certified but you will not be a qualified adjuster any more than you would be a MD after taking a Red Cross course. You can spend time and not have quality but you cannot have quality without spending the time.

Marketing is what that makes or breaks us all but before marketing can be effective there has to be a product of quality to market. There are courses that cover some of the basics of property adjusting but I have never seen a University that offered a BS in property adjusting. It is a trade that seems to be acquired by an apprenticeship only but many forget in the Old World to learn a trade it takes 5-10 years working under a master or even longer. Many of our more consistent winning clients have done the time with GAB, Crawford or the likes.

Don’t expect the Universities to start pumping out qualified adjusters any time soon. Meaningful certification is the only way I know the cat adjuster is going to improve his lot in life. A union will not do this because of the negative logic they typically employ but a professional organization with guts and teeth could fill the bill. The roadblock is that the ones that put in the energy, time and money will benefit the least because it will take time before the positive results can be seen in a big way. It will take leadership with a vision that can and will give of them self beyond what most are willing to do.

Without question CADO could become this organization since I feel it will have to be more of a virtual organization in nature to meet the every changing needs on the fly. Training in the way of courses and online mentoring as well as on the job mentoring would be needed. Meaningful certification would be required and adjusters certified by the organization that did not live up to the technical and moral requirements would have to be removed until they could prove their deficiencies had been overcome.

There are ‘non-cat’ adjusters out there making lots of money but they have marketed themselves very well by differentiating themselves from the rest of the flock. Most have spend years under another adjuster or with a firm. They take responsibility for their income by marketing themselves daily by overt actions and presenting quality estimates to carriers that do care about quality instead of just ‘waiting for the next big one’.

Long ago One made the statement, “Do not cast your pearls before the swine”. Maybe you are just trying to work for the wrong companies. How much time do you spend visiting the offices of adjusting firms when you have down time or you just sending in a resume to unknown firms and hoping the phone will ring?

This a great industry and for the most part it is working for the ones that work the industry by overtly marketing themselves and following up with a product that reflects the fact that they have learned the trade well. There is much more right with the industry than is wrong with it in my view. I wish everyone would buy PowerClaim but we will never sell a copy by wishing it will happen. It takes hard work and putting yourself at risk for a long time to prove yourself and your product.

If you are a cut above and the carriers or adjusting firms do not have proof of it then you are no better than the least of your fellow adjusters. If you say,” My future is controlled by the carriers and adjusting firms”, then you are correct but if you say, “My future is controlled by myself then you are correct as well. Guys and gals if you are not happy in your profession the problem may be you. There is only one thing on God’s green earth that you have total control over and that is your ATTITUDE.
Paul Bagnato
Posted on Monday, June 05, 2000 - 11:21 am:   

I believe that as the technology increases our capacity to "run claims" then so will we find the decrease in the number of "Cat Adjusters". This being the case, whomever stays and adapts will become become "good adjusters" and get the calls for the smaller storms not just the seasonal stuff with all of the other warm bodies.
Many of us started with notepads and a calculator.
Today I leave with two printers, a powerful notebook computer, digital camera, an asortment of accessories and my lastest in up to speed technology, a GPS unit. This GPS will only increase my turn around claim time when the street signs are down.
I am a young fellow and not as experienced as the adjusters that have been around for decades. So this being the case, if "Cat Adjusters" are not willing to adhere to the changes in technology then just keep quite and wait for the big ones to hit. We really have no choice in the technology changes. The only choice is if we what to stay in the business.
P.S. Did anyone notice that these preview of these posts can be spell checked, Technology at it's finest.
Jim Flynt (Jim)
Posted on Monday, June 05, 2000 - 8:49 am:   

R.D., exactly equal policies in every state are an admirable GOAL, but that will never happen. As for National insurance adjuster licensing testing, in my opinion, that is a long way off too. Just think about trying to get 50 politicians (read: State Insurance Commissioners)to agree on anything.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners website is located at for more information.

"If you are not connected to CADO, you are not connected to cat adjusting."
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Monday, June 05, 2000 - 8:19 am:   

This past weekend was an informative one for myself as well. Having an umpire assignment in North Carolina, I was fortunate to meet the "grand daddy " of the loss appraisers.

The information gleaned from the conversations (not relevant to the loss in question, of course)was the revelation that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners are attempting to homogenize the basic homeowners insurance policies in all of the USA.
(All coverages and possibly endorsements being similar)

This would certainly be a boon to the cat adjusters as the coverages will be equal in all of the areas in which we normally work.

The States agreeing at the present number 35 and with the cooperation of the balance, we shall finally have some realistic policy dictates, as we only now have with NFIP.

There is also a movement afoot, to have a national testing, upon which to grade and license insurance adjusters. This, we understand, will be a reciprocal arrangement. Again a positive and tremendous stride forward in our ability to work unfettered within the USA.

As additional information is acquired, it shall be passed along.
Jim Flynt (Jim)
Posted on Monday, June 05, 2000 - 7:17 am:   

Don, Sorry I did not mean to be arrogant nor snooty.

We had a very good "CADO crowd" on Saturday night and Roy has some digital photos of the event which he plans on posting on CADO although I did hear some protest about that.

Afterwards, a smaller group met in the bar, and we agreed to try and have a CADO "working session" while some of us are in Chicago to map out and plan (to some extent at least) the directions we attempt to steer CADO into the future.

We all agree, that the directions which CADO takes will not be determined so much by Roy, Dave and I, but to a much greater extent with where our readers, CADO Members, and CADO Sponsors want to see it go.

These things we are fairly sure of:

(1) Every increase in CADO Membership increases our ability to serve our readers and members,

(2) We will like to see more CADO Socials around the country as various storms occur,

(3) We would like to offer CADO online education, training, and perhaps some certification program,

(4) We would like to explore some sort of Grievance or Arbitration process where "subscribing" adjusters, vendors, and carriers could submit a request for a "hearing" when there is a pay or work dispute. Such a hearing and process of course would be non-binding,

(5) We would like to explore an "industry" or CADO "code of conduct" or "code of ethics" which we would ask adjusters, vendors and carriers to subscribe to, which would outline the expectations that we all could agree on (i.e., pay every two weeks as a for instance; one way travel paid for assignments, etc.) While this would be purely voluntary, the power of a larger CADO Membership we believe this could become a very powerful incentive for vendors and carriers to "sign on,"

(6) While not talking "union" we do feel that we need more "organization" and that the organization should become a more powerful lobbying tool for change and establishing greater "standards" within the cat adjusting industry,

(7) We believe that CADO needs to do more to involve carriers on the CADO Site and in CADO Sponsorship,

(8) We feel that we need to establish a CADO "advisory board" to help guide us into the future. Again, it is you, the reader and Member, who will determine our directions more than it is Roy, Dave and I.

(9) Finally, we all agreed that the greatest strength that CADO offers, and should continue to offer is as a resource center for information exchange, education and training center, networking outlet, and organization for establishing standards and expectations for the cat adjusting industry.

(10) We do feel the need within the next couple of years of finding the financial resources to allow Roy to devote full time to the CADO organization and website.

(11) We all agreed that as the catastrophe insurance does change in ways beyond "our" control, CADO offers our best and only opportunity to best shape and influence HOW it changes. We feel that CADO can help shape the future within our industry and in so doing, improve aspects for each and every one of us.

(12) We feel that CADO is improving information and educational "content" quite nicely (Take a look at the new "Tip of the Month" from Lyndon Graves as an example) and we look forward to involving more CADO Members in sharing articles and columns. (For instance, Linda Asberry has agreed to write an article for CADO to be entitled: "How to Read an Insurance Policy.")

There were a million more ideas being brainstormed, and we all agreed we could not reach all of the conclusions in one night.

Besides, they finally kicked us out of the bar!

NOW, Tell us where you think things are going and what YOU think WE all can do (through CADO) to shape the direction!

And remember: "If you are not connected to CADO, you are not connected to cat adjusting."
Don Politte (Don)
Posted on Sunday, June 04, 2000 - 10:02 pm:   

We are all not in Chicago to go to your get togethers so tell us what went on.
Jim Flynt (Jim)
Posted on Sunday, June 04, 2000 - 8:47 pm:   

Sorry but you missed this very conversation last night at the 2nd CADO Social/Dinner in Chicago. You will have to ask someone who was there to answer the question.
Posted on Sunday, June 04, 2000 - 8:43 pm:   

I'am still waiting for a good discusion on they subject. where did everyone go?
Posted on Monday, May 22, 2000 - 1:54 pm:   

The business will continue the downward cycle until one bright summer day, someone at one of the major companies discovers that you get what you pay for and service sells. This amazing discovery will revolutionize the insurance business (again). Meanwhile the class action suits will continue to amaze the powers that be for the near future.
Chuck Deaton (Chuck)
Posted on Monday, May 22, 2000 - 1:19 pm:   

Guys, we are going to the MacDonald's method. Any idiot/moron can work for MacDonald's and MacDonald's knows it. If you can say Big Mac and you can punch a button with a picture of a Big Mac on it and then count the amount of change that the register shows you can work for MacDonald's.

Hail and auto claims are heading to the MacDonald's method. A "good" adjuster is not required to draw a square and count the hail hits, draw a diagram and take photos. A "good" adjuster is not required to work auto hail.

A "good" adjuster is still in demand, but most "cat" adjusters don't have the experience and exposure to get the call.
Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2000 - 11:27 pm:   

I hate to be an old sourpuss guys, but with the way our industry is going these days, I cannot in good conscience encourage any new people to get into this business. I know this will raise a lot of hackles out there. Could it be that for the forseeable future our trade should contract or at least not grow so as to increase our value to the carriers? After all, a shortage of anything drives up its cost.

Yeah, I know this is NOT a popular idea, but just ponder it a while. Please...
R.D. Hood (Dave)
Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2000 - 7:54 pm:   

Thank you, this will create a wonderful topic for the June "Katts Report".

Over the past 4 years we have attempted to present these facts and findings in the "reports" but evidently they have not made an impact.

NOW, we shall attempt to put the issues into the proper perspective and submit some real "food for thought"

Will just look into the proverbial crystal ball for a few days, and it will appear.
Jim Lakes
Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2000 - 2:32 pm:   

J. R. I agree with Jim Flynt. These are good questions to ask ones self. As we have discussed I believe that with the advent of the newer systems of claims handling that there will be less and less need for the "comon sense" adjuster. The problem with all of this is that a lot of the "younger" adjusters have a problem seeing the forest for the trees. Also there are a lot of good experienced adjusters that refuse to work for these lower fee schedules because they "can" see the trees. More and more carriers are demanding more and wanting to pay less becuase some vendors are willing to accept less to get the work, because they are interested in the numbers and not the quality of the claims handling procedure. If more "good" adjusters would refuse to work for these unfair schedules then the carriers would have a hard time finding qualified people to handle their claims. There are still good carriers out there that are still interested in "good claims handling." They are on the rise. When carriers are more interested in "objects, forms, and paper work" than they are providing fair and good quality service to their insured's, it becomes a sad state of affairs. But being in the cliams business we all should know that "stuff" rolls down the hill and who is always at the bottom of the hill? CLAIMS ADJUSTERS. Keep plugging, keep doing quality work, be fair, and use common sense and you will become a "good adjuster."
Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2000 - 1:51 pm:   

RJ's post is one of the most intelligent summations of the current situation that has been posted. These are the problems that currently affect this industry. Experienced adjusters are having a hard time making it through these times expecially those who are not multi-line. Those who can handle casualty/inland marine/etc. can find work, but a lower income than ever before. We were making these hourly rates 15 years ago so what does that say about today's income in "real dollars"?
Unlike many on this board, I do not think this is the usual "swinging pendulum" of use-independents/don't-use-independents that we have experienced over the years. The current problems and trends are going to continue as long as the "bottom-liners" continue to run the insurance industry. This is the cut all costs no matter what to maximize profits for shareholders mentality. It is great for investors but will eventually ruin a lot of industries in this country. It is going to take multiple large catastrophes at the same time to save the independent CAT business. I personally think this business is in for some long hard times if it even survives. I am working most of the time, but looking for a way out when I get the opportunity.
Also, these guys that get on here and go to 25 seminars a year, buy $40,000 vehicles and lots of toys, don't do it from income received in this business. They are able to do it because they have another source of income, wife, family, another side business, investments, home equity loans, real estate etc., or they are single and have no responsibilities. If you are new and considering trying to support a family from this business, keep this in mind and don't let these guys tell you how great they are doing. There is another side to every one of these stories that you will never find out. Just a word to the wise.
Jim Flynt (Jim)
Posted on Sunday, May 21, 2000 - 10:08 am:   

RJ: These are excellent questions which rightfully deserve response and vigorous debate.

In behalf of CADO, I ask all of you to review RJ's post and share your views with all.
Posted on Saturday, May 20, 2000 - 11:51 am:   


Before we begin please fully understand that this new topic is not being created to target any carrier, vendor or adjuster. Nor should there be any negative comments directed toward any carrier, vendor or adjuster. The objective of this thread is to explore how everyone perceives the problems that are currently going on as a result of lower fee schedules and over staffing events.

Lower Fee Schedules

Since Hurricane Andrew a steady lowering of the Fee Schedule rates have taken place in the industry. This trend appears to be driven by Three major forces;

1. Carriers desire to lower Claims handling expenses

2. Competition among the vendors

3. The conversion to daily per diem rates

As long as events occur on a fairly continuous basis the lower fee schedules impacting an independent adjusters's income, while significant lower, are not totally devastating to the IA's ability to survive financially it just makes it increasing more difficult . As everyone knows events as of late have been far & few in between which only amplifies the negative financial situation independent adjusters find themselves in.

Over Staffing Events

Coupled with the lower fee schedules is an even more disturbing situation that appears to be on the rise. The over staffing of a storm event with no minimum guaranteed income level to the independent adjuster. While this is great for the carrier (reduces the time to take care of their customers) it is financially devastating to the independent adjuster under the current fee schedules & per diem rates.

Where are we headed?

This is the question that is being poised here. Are good experienced adjusters being driven out of the business due to lower fee schedules & over staffing events? How long will it take new adjusters to figure out that financial survival may not be possible? Will it take a major disaster to occur and no one shows up to work before the industry wakes up and realize the financial damage currently being done to the independent adjusters?
No I am not advocating any kind of union or action against any carrier or vendor. My desire is to open this discussion in a positive manner in order to enlighten the many carriers & vendors of a major problem facing independent adjusters today. Maybe just maybe if enough independent adjusters express how these problems are impacting them and offer positive suggestions the problems will be corrected. Maybe my head is up in the clouds, however, I believe that being an independent adjuster is an excellent profession with many personal rewards in helping people in their time of need. I also believe that this is a good industry with a lot of good people. By talking about this problem in a positive manner, cooler heads should prevail and with a little common sense correct what appears to be a run away situation that is threatening to financially ruin the back bone of the independent catastrophe adjuster business. Remember this is a Two way street, the industry needs us as much as we need the industry.

So if you are so inclined please offer any positive comments & or suggestions on

"Where you think we are headed"

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