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103 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2004 :  16:50:05  Show Profile
I recently considered pursueing flood certification on the premise that diversification might prove to be more in demand on call-ups - however, the more that I hear and see about NFIP, I wonder if it is worth all the headaches? Files that won't close, slow pay, etc.

I would like to hear first-hand from some flood people on their experiences and opinions.
Would you recommend certification?
Do you only do it if there is NOTHING else working?
Pay scale and file time? (Are the rumors true?)

Let's keep this on-topic. (Recon Man - no posts about how the feds are in the "big-business insurance conspiracy" also!)


Kevin Hromas


875 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2004 :  17:03:27  Show Profile
I don't think you can ever have too many certifications. Flood isn't my favorite kind of claim to work, but it sure beats digging through the couch cushions looking for change to put gas in the truck.

As far as slow pay, that depends on which vendor you work for. The few times I've worked flood losses I have been paid just like any other loss. Usually flood losses are about average as far as pay goes. If you get the big losses with high limits and contents coverage they can be well worth the effort. The key is to approach these files a little differently. You aren't going to close 6-7 a day from day one until you leave. If you are talking about claims where they had 3 or 4 feet of water in the house you will be lucky to scope 2 a day.

You have to take a more zen approach to adjusting the flood claim. Otherwise you'll go nuts.
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57 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2004 :  17:33:39  Show Profile
Allison was a good flood storm, but Isabel was a bad flood for me. I worked State Farm claims with the NFIP claims going through them. For the amount of work involved, coupled with the heavy volume of wind claims, the flood claims paid a fraction of what a wind claim paid. I am flood certified, but most of the people that were assigned claims were not, and like nearly all large storms, were "blessed" on site. I will update my NFIP next year, but flood is my last choice of storms. As far a s getting your NFIP, like Kile said, it beats not working.
Wasn't Zen a relief pitcher for the Astros?
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38 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2004 :  17:54:43  Show Profile
Kile, what's a zen approach to adjusting. Perhaps after 30+ yrs of claims I've been missing something.
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875 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2004 :  18:14:11  Show Profile
It kind of means you are just along for the ride. The flood claims process has it's own rhythm and you need to learn it and go along with it, because if you fight it you'll just end up with an ulcer. Scope the loss, have the insured start making their list of contents, write the estimate, review the estimate, revise the estimate, don't forget to apply proper depreciation, call the insured, light a fire under them for the contents list, review the contents list, call them back because they didn't put the age of the items on the list. It may seem like an eternity, but the claim will close...eventually.
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35 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2004 :  09:22:57  Show Profile
If you are a good adjuster with good reporting, estimating and photo-taking habits GO GET YOUR FLOOD CERTIFICATIONS (Dwelling, General Property and Condo)!! The days of the flood-only adjuster are coming to an end due to the mitigation and repetitive loss reduction efforts of FIMA, formerly FEMA. Adjusters that learn and keep up-to-date will be ahead of the pack in wind-flood (Tropical Storm / Hurricane) and flood-only events.


But remember, the flood certification is only a 1 day sit down and listen class. It does not teach you "how to adjust a flood loss". Although there are only 3 flood policy types, most of what you must know to handle flood claims is not clearly stated in the policy and some coverage issues change from flood to flood. These facts should not scare you away from adjusting flood losses but inspire you to get to know the flood program and become an expert on flood (or as much of an expert as any adjuster can be).

How do you do that? There are only a handful of adjusting firms that specialize in flood and the number of companies writing flood policies is shrinking every year. Get to know one of these adjusting companies. The good ones put on some type of a flood claims seminar each year where you will learn how to interpet the policies and adjuster a flood claim. You will also get to meet some of the claims managers from the flood companies and find out what they require and watch for in the claims they handle for the FEDS. These seminars run for 2-3 days and FLOOD is the only topic.

Most of the estimating softwares contain all of the new and old flood forms. Make sure the program you choose does the math for you (I heard one system doesn't).

As you know I own a flood claims outfit and a software company. In addition to our firm there are other excellent flood adjusting vendors such as Sweet Claims Service, Colonial Claims, Ray Graff Adjusters, Bellmon Adjusters, Keith Fountain Adjusters and American Catastrophe just to name a few. Seek them out, go to their seminar (you just need one to get a good foundation) and learn flood - IT PAYS!!
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17 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2004 :  10:32:04  Show Profile
We have many years of Flood Adjusting under our belt. Each year we see the deterioriation of the indusrty on a whole. The fee schedule for flood has now appeared as being better than most fee schedules. The typical 0 to 5000.00 fee schedule for mediocre net pay is what has become the norm. We believe that the only way to do Flood Files, is if you also have some wind peril losses to go into the mix. NFIP vendors are being held up in closing claims, where the IA's, like ourselve, have to obtain proof of losses on just about every claim. The insured's sometimes move like turtles and the fact that the claims usually get turned around in 30 to 45 days, means that we IA's usually need to wait some 60 to 90 days after the event to see our financial rewards from the fee billing. We attend and have held all credentials for the NFIP program. We can offer a lot more insight, however we feel the bottom is really simple. Flood files take a longer time to actually close. The paperwork and yes there is a ton of paperwork and CYA measures, that there is no way to be compensated under this 60 day wait period. We see year after year, that certain individuals all reap the better files. Favoritism is rampant on the IA vendor side. They use their chosen ones and seem to churn and burn the others. Just recently we had heard that associates of ours, were still hung out to dry on collecting on their flood files from Hurricane Isabel. My advice to anyone doing flood files is simple. Make sure you have a mix of both wind and flood assignments. Know, with out a doubt who you are working for. Know for sure their payment schedule. Know for sure if you will have the necessary flood file support which will allow you to properly close the file. Know all of the IA Vendor flood closing requirements in the beginning . Our MANTRA is " Know before you go".
We see the industry blinded by egos and lousy fee schedules. We all do not have to work for the mediocre IA firms. The carriers are trying to eliminate the independent field adjusters, but we know when a cat 3 or better stikes, then all bets are off and we will be able to make the living we deserve. The carrier management have no clues on what cat adjusters go thru, with reagrds to our expenses and seperation from family, to produce a properly closed claim assignment. May everyone have a great cat 2004 season.

Quaka Mole
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