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Rj (Rj)
Posted on Thursday, December 07, 2000 - 4:51 pm:   


One of the things that Tom & I both have stated is that good common sense and judgement is very important when you are in the process of a cause and origin of loss determination.

Obviously if an F-5 tornado or category 5 hurricane came through and leveled a structure common sense and good judgement will tell you not to place to much emphasis on codes, stamps and methods of construction. However, if a F-1 tornado or category 1 hurricane came through and leveled a structure common sense and good judgement will tell you to look beyond the storm event for the possible origin and cause of loss that may have caused or contributed to the structural failure.

As an adjuster we have to look at the whole picture and not just part of it. Therefore, given the right circumstances the answer to your question may well be yes to all of your questions.
Chuck Deaton (Chuck)
Posted on Thursday, December 07, 2000 - 3:32 pm:   

When we handle a claim we should consider the stamps/certifications on the many parts and claims made for the finished whole. Is that stud actually southern yellow pine kiln dried as marked. If not do we have a subrogation claim. Did the structural engineer actually certify that truss as it is stamped? Is the misleading stamp or certification actually the cause of the loss? Did the supervising architect actually supervise? Do we need a cause and origin expert and/or a mechanical engineer?
Rj (Rj)
Posted on Thursday, December 07, 2000 - 2:02 am:   

mark (Olderthendirt):

The guiding light for any adjuster is to make his/her best recommendation to indemnify the insured according to the terms and conditions of the insurance contract that exists between the insured (property owner) and the insurer (the carrier) as soon as possible after a loss occurs. I have never been told by any vendor or carrier that we were at liberty to pick and choose which of those terms and conditions of the insurance contract (policy) we would like to base our recommendations on and which ones we would like to ignore. If you see anything that raises any question as to coverages, salvage or subrogation you better include it in your recommendations to the carrier. Anything short of considering the entire contract in your recommendations will place your E & O at risk.

Mark there is also a need for the adjuster to have and use common sense along with good judgement during the entire adjustment process.

There are carriers out there that you had better look through that rubble with a fine tooth comb. You will never know when and how close you are being watched. I know in addition to adjusting mobile homes, single and multiple family dwellings I have worked a very large number of high rise buildings and commercial structures for various carriers and believe me they go behind you to check every I that you dotted and T that you crossed and you had better dotted all the I's and crossed the T's and covered all the bases.

After all, we are paid to adjust or appraise claims, not to partially adjust or partially appraise claims.
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 8:05 pm:   

RJ, thanks for the commentary. That is what this site is all about. 99% of cat adjusters, inclusive of General Adjusters, are not qualified engineers. Knowing loads, stresses, etc. are in the original engineers plans, usually not available to the adjuster. If the adjuster suspicions that the wall, roof, etc. failed as a result of shoddy construction, material, or design, then he should pass this information to the carrier and let them decide if a qualified engineer needs to inspect for possible subrogation, prosecution, and/or errors and omissions. I agree that we should, as a professional community, learn as much as possible in our trade. Your commentary about the abbreviation was excellent. That is the commentary that will educate those who are interested in being educated. Common sense plays a key role in any failure investigation. I specialized in in flight airframe failure, but did not have an engineering degree. I called in the appropriate stress analysis engineer to back up my summation of the failure and that is the way it should be here. Many adjusters feel like they are qualified as attorneys, engineers, psychologists, etc. We are not. If we had those credentials, we sure the heck would not be in this trade. We are an information gathering body. We investigate and recommend. We estimate, not build. We negotiate, surmise, and make the most intelligent decisions that we can. The more educated we are, the better the decisions. Knowledge is power and so is common sense. RJ, please continue with your very educational commentary.
mark (Olderthendirt)
Posted on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 12:10 pm:   

RJ you raise some interesting thoughts. After the big storm, is our job to dig into every corner and see if we can find something wrong, to either deny a claim or subrogate? (ie crawling through the rubble to look at every rafter). Or is it our job to get the money into peoples hands so they can re-build their lives.
Rj (Rj)
Posted on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 11:46 am:   

Hi Tom:

You are right abbreviations are trade orientated. SYP KD is a common construction material code that unless you deal with lumber in the construction field this code would be unfamiliar to you.
SYP KD means the following:

S: Southern
Y: Yellow
P: Pine

K: Kiln
D: Dried

Normally only an individual that was involved with the purchase of lumber, a building inspector, a building contractor, an architect or a structural engineer would know this as various building applications have different requirements of the lumber being used in construction. For this reason almost every piece of lumber you buy will have a code stamped on it.

Compressive strength of a piece of lumber is very important to know as various types and grades of lumber vary in compressive strength rating. For instance if you were building a structure using wood as a load bearing wall support member you would need to know the compressive strength of the wood to make sure it would be capable of carrying the weight of a roof or perhaps a second and maybe additional floors in addition to the roof load.

Shear strength, load carrying capacity, the amount of deflection under load conditions are also very important to know as it relates to load carrying and span capacity of a piece of lumber as it relates to its length, width, height and how it is milled and dried (kiln or just hand stacked) as to its moisture content. All of these factors play a very important part in the determination and selection of lumber used to construct a building.

Know you are probably wondering how the guest thought that this topic would have anything what so ever to do with our profession. Well the answer is quite simple. In almost every policy that I have ever read or adjusted a loss on there is a section describing causes of loss which are almost always excluded as a covered cause of loss. Unfortunately most adjusters are not familiar enough with the building trades or design professions so they often pay very little or no attention to the section describing poor workmanship, defects in design, violation of local planning or building ordinances etc. ect..

As an example a roof truss must be designed and certified by a licenced structural engineer. The engineers certification stamp must be stamped on every truss at the time of fabrication. In addition every piece of lumber used in the fabrication of a roof truss must also have a rating stamp by the mill producing the lumber. This rating stamp is the certification of the characteristics of the lumber. The certification must meet or exceed the requires as set forth by the structural engineer in his design of the truss. The engineers design goes back to the standards that are in the building code books that are based on extensive research and testing.

So if you have a structural roof or wall collapse the first thing you must do is determine the cause and origin of the loss. Knowing something about construction building material codes and standard building practices will give you a very quick answer by simply looking at these code stamps and how the materials were being used to make a determination that you may suspect that the cause and origin of the collapse may be due to an uncovered cause of loss. Then you would have a basis for a request for an engineers' evaluation to confirm or dispel your suspicions.

As an example as to why this is important is that if a failure were to occur due to a wind storm and a determination could be made that the peak wind speeds were only 50 MPH and the damaged material in question was designed and required by code to sustain winds in excess of 100 MPH, then your first clue would be to look at the materials being used, the workmanship then the design. So knowing and being familiar with these codes is invaluable to the adjuster and the carrier as the adjuster is normally the first individual representing the carrier to view the damage.

So Tom while the guest failed his spelling test he did bring forth a very important topic for discussion that unfortunately is over looked by most of the staff and independent adjusters in this profession.

So I don't upset anyone thinking that I am slighting them I will state for those, that I am sure will attempt to discredit what I am saying, briefly my background qualifications.

Purdue University:
Major courses of study

Electrical engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Architectural Design
Computer Programing

General contractor retired after Sixteen years

Licenced insurance adjuster since Hurricane Hugo
Tom Toll (Tom)
Posted on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 12:15 am:   

Knowledge is power, no doubt, none whatsoever. Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. Guest. A professional, regardless of their profession, Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, or adjuster, needs to present themselves professionally in public. This is not meant to be a belittling comment, but please check your spelling before publishing. Firstly, LICENSE, Secondly, what the heck is comprefesive. It is not in Websters. Thirdly, what is SYP KD. Is this a secret code name for a code. Your certified, so please answer this commentary. I have been a pilot since age 13 and have investigated hundreds of aircraft accidents, some with notoriety. I could throw out some abbreviations that few would understand, but what would I accomplish. Absolutely nothing. Guest, please try to accomplish something we can all learn.
Posted on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 7:50 pm:   

Just wondering who, or how many of our group are certified & licsened code Inspecters? After reviewing 4 policies from 4 different vendors, this endorsement is attached. Even in areas that have no buiding code official; ie, BOCA. SBC, UBC or OK which has there own.

Question? What is the comprefesive strength of a 1" SYP KD cube? I am a code certified Adjuster. More to come! You'll need it.

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