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26 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2004 :  07:49:48  Show Profile
I agree with you Jim. ISO policies are pretty standard in this industry. There are some companies such as American Family, Met etc. that have their own special HO polices and it is important to read them. However, unless I am missing something ISO policies are the same whether you are in Texas or Minnesota.

Dan Guyer
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1200 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2004 :  07:50:19  Show Profile
Brooks, a comment you made earlier today in another forum, I think is more applicable to your discussion in this thread.

You said in the "If I could .... One Change ...." thread, ".... y'all make it seem like you need 10 years adjusting experience to spot damage ....".

I would agree, 10 years adjusting experience is not needed to spot damage. But, if you are exposed to any claims that require the "3Cs" to be considered and dealt with, i.e. a claim that is to be adjusted (not appraisal); more experience and / or training is likely required than what would suffice to merely spot damage.

The "3C" approach to a claim that is to be adjusted requires that the 'cause' be determined, so that 'coverage' could thereafter be determined; leaving the elements of 'cost determination (only one part of which is spotting damage) as the last segment after proper completion of the first two.

I don't want to debate how long that takes or how much experience is necessary to be at least capable as an "adjuster" that "adjusts" claims. But, I do suggest that being processed through a licence mill does not provide or enhance the skill set required to approach claims that require a "3C" adjustment.
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110 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2004 :  10:47:38  Show Profile
Brooks Todd
Look at the bright side Brooks, you MAY have 50% of the question right!

John Durham
sui cuique fingunt fortunam

Edited by - Johnd on 02/28/2004 18:34:04
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Brooks Todd

43 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2004 :  18:39:19  Show Profile
CCarr, the 3C lesson was good. Can you apply that theory to all claims? No BS, I like that formula.
I will be very succesful in this industry, if for no other reason than to show the JohnD's of the world, that people are capable of learning something different. I just want to break into the industry. I am to attend Pilot evaluation Wed. & Thur. If you never hear from me again, I blew it. If you hear more than normal, get ready to work for me in 3 years.
I have taught countless people my trade, and find it amazing the way most people on this site treat newcomers.
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1014 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2004 :  18:57:18  Show Profile
Brooks, there is another newer adjuster who has posted here who needs a little help on an environmental oil spill claim.

Since you now have a license and know how to read (a policy), perhaps you can give him a little help.

Never mind that much of what you need to know in order to adjust that or many other claims does not come from policy knowledge alone.

Since you think every claim can be handled with little or no prerequisite other than a license and the ability to read, when you finish the oil spill claim, let me know. I have a neat cargo loss, jeweler's block claim, a commercial 3rd party leasehold claim involving 3 separate carriers, a few liability claims, and a handful of specialized inland marine claims which I would gladly hand off to you for proper adjusting.

After all, you have your license (like I do) and know how to read (ditto for me too). That's all you need right?

Edited by - JimF on 02/28/2004 19:05:29
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54 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2004 :  19:51:39  Show Profile
I may be mistaken but I understood that Texas did not follow the standard ISO policy forms, at least in the past on the HOB's. Isn't that what got Texas "hung out to dry" on all the mold claims? Didn't Texas develop their own standard HO policies with wording that allowed the courts to rule that even though mold is not directly covered, it is covered indirectly if it is a result of a covered loss?

We all have to be able to read & interpret policies, but I have found that policies are different state to state, & how the courts interpret them are sometimes different state to state. The real problem is not in knowing the policies but in knowing where to clarify coverage questions when you do have a question.

I have a lot of experience in the insurance industry; however, I live in Texas & do not have a lot of experience with losses related to basements. I worked Isabel out of Richmond. Guess what! I needed a crash course in handling basement losses. I sat down with the team leader for about an hour reviewing coverage issues, talked with my mentor (at length), as well as the carrier staff adjuster & acquired a pretty good understanding while at the cat site. These are great tools that both experienced & inexperienced adjusters can use.

I don't think that anyone is arguing that construction with an adjusters license is all that is needed to be a good adjuster. The initial post was asking for a mentor, someone to teach them how to be a good adjuster. Isn't this the correct way to approach this & get your foot in the door?

Maybe I have missed something but it seems that Brooks & Louis are getting beat up simply for trying to get in this business without much experience. What can we do to assist them? What sources are available? I think this is what they want.

Your thoughts.

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1014 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2004 :  20:40:54  Show Profile
Ben, I will try and answer some of your questions.

First of all, I am by no means an expert on the Texas policies, but I do believe that Texas does follow much although not all of the ISO policy format. The same is true for all the other states. Variations from the ISO forms occur due to requirements of individual state departments of insurance as well as by modification by individual carriers.

It seems to me, that cat adjusters by their very nature, hold themselves out to be adjusters prepared to travel anywhere on a moment's notice, and then be able to hit the ground running while adjusting claims per the nuances of individual localities and states. Much of what gets newer adjusters in trouble, is following what little they may know about their state's policy to the disregard of important distinctions which are required in another state.

I have long held that the easiest way to learn policy for cat adjusters to be able to adjust nationally in all 50 states, is not to concentrate on the policy in their state, but to concentrate on learning policy by way of the Insurance Institute of America and AICPCU programs, which teach policy and policy interpretation based on the national ISO model.

Once the student learns the national ISO forms, learning the nuances and distinctions of an individual state is made easier by being able to recognize those differences present which differ from the national model.

Beyond the homeowner policies, I find very little if any variance in the commercial forms and inland marine forms from state to state. Variations are much more likely among endorsements.

It just seems to me that spending money and time on traveling and attending some of the seminars out there designed to provide "certification" are more or less meaningless in terms of acquiring much knowledge. Sure they are great for allowing the vendor to put a name with a face and for networking. Don't get me wrong, anything that an adjuster can do to build a base of contacts is worthwhile. Just don't mistake "certification" with some measure or standard of knowledge acquired.

For those seeking real knowledge in adjusting, the real programs are out there. AIC. CPCU. RPA. And other designations such as the Certificate of General Insurance, all of which are available at except for the RPA program.

The problem as I see it, is that newer adjusters coming along today, think like Brooks, that having an adjuster's license combined with a little construction experience and one or two "certifications" is all or most of what is needed to be a successful catastrophe adjuster. I for one, beg to disagree.

Under another thread, you mention the concept of having tiers of adjusters which would be ranked to handle increasingly more complex claims. The problem in the real world of catastrophes is that severity is not generally known beforehand, and what happens when the new adjuster visits a loss, and is soon in over his head? What happens to those with false bravado who attempt anyway only to create estoppel?

I would and do support the concept, that hail "adjusting" really should be separated from real adjusting, and concede that little adjusting knowledge is needed for hail claim handling alone. The problem occurs when the hail adjuster suddenly hears of a hurricane or some other storm and then believes themself to be properly capable of handling claims requiring real policy knowledge and greater awareness of more complex insurance tools such as subrogation, non-waivers, ROR, etc.

I respectfully submit to you, that learning this business requires more than just education or training or who you know. It also requires effort and diligence in not only learning but staying abreast of important changes which are always occuring in policy and in process.

Few here have spent as much time as I have working with newer adjusters and on numerous occasions, taking them into the field for a hurricane or other storm to help train them, and for some, on an extended basis. Among all the trainees I have worked with, few have stuck with it, and even fewer were willing to pay the price in time, effort and expense to go and acquire the advanced knowledge and designations which I personally feel are important for success.

A lady attending a concert once told the world famous pianist,
Arthur Rubinstein, "I would give anything to be able to play like you do."

Mr. Rubinstein replied: "No Ma'am, you wouldn't. You would never practice for 14 hours a day, seven days a week, for decades in order to play like this. For that is all that is required."

My suggestion to newer adjusters is to not expect to be spoon fed cat adjusting, as most if not all of the old timers around here weren't either. And don't ask nor expect us to teach you the basics which would so easily be yours, if you would only pick up a book and read it, spend your money and time to take the AIC or CPCU classes, subscribe and read industry magazines, and invest your time earning meaningful designations and don't worry about the cheap trinket certifications.

This truly is a profession where you LEARN in order to EARN.

And if you really want to be a REAL ADJUSTER, just remember this is not a fast food joint. There is no instant fix and no fast food recipes for success.

If indeed one wants to sound and succeed like the Arthur Rubinsteins of adjusting, then be prepared to make the lifelong commitment required for that kind of success. The long hours in classes, in reading, and in starting with being able to only play with one finger notes before graduating to using both hands.

Anything less, and you'll just be a cheap piano player or one peril adjuster.

And I would add one final note: I would encourage anyone thinking about this profession to seriously ask themselves why they want to enter this business. If it is only for the money, then you're not only wasting your time, but you're wasting ours as well.

I do hope that you and others (including Brooks) don't take my comments as personally directed as discouragement to him or as a personal attack, but rather read my comments as a contrapuntal argument that there is no easy fix, no quick way to acquiring adjusting knowledge and skills, and no, not all adjusters are or can be equal in ability based on anything less than long years in this industry. The long years are part and parcel of the price we had to pay, and sorry Charlie, it's one you'll pay too if you want to achieve the same levels of ability and success.

Learning more means earning more. There is no easy way for all that is required to be successful as an adjuster to be quickly instilled nor can one be spoon fed knowledge even by the old timers, without effort and diligence on the part of the student. I truly believe that those who really and truly want to learn will find a way, and the rest always fall by the wayside sooner or later.

I hope this helps.

Edited by - JimF on 02/28/2004 21:45:54
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476 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2004 :  21:46:21  Show Profile
Very well said, Jim. Brooks ambitions to hire all of us in three years reeks yet again of an overdose of contractors testosterone poisoning blended into an inflated ego. I've seen so much of that, it now only serves to be a cure for insomnia.

Also, gloverb, the Texas HOB policy had an inherent defect in it that differed from the national ISO based policies. This was the consequential loss clause that laid dormant for decades and then was pried open, first with the Slab Wars, then culminating in the Mold Wars.
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315 Posts

Posted - 02/29/2004 :  01:15:13  Show Profile
IF ONLY Jim's words of guidance were to be followed, our loosely knit association would be much better off.

IHMO, the work required to be, as Jim suggested, a REAL ADJUSTER, will suffocate all but the best.

An old Arkansas agage is appropriate, "All that's lacking is the want to."
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Brooks Todd

43 Posts

Posted - 02/29/2004 :  13:07:33  Show Profile
JimF I will be happy to help you with these projects. It would be a wonderful opportunity for me to learn.(toll free 817-797-8794)
All Louis and I want is a chance to learn. I also came from the cellular industry.I never said I was an expert adjuster. What 1st step would you have taken Jim? Is there another way to obtain your state license? I will be excellent in this field despite all of the discouragement.
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25 Posts

Posted - 02/29/2004 :  23:08:54  Show Profile
All you new guys, keep in mind that Insurance Adjusting is more than just climbing a roof and taking pictures! Its about knowing the insured's policy, know when you can pay and when not to. Its about presenting yourself in a professional manor for the carrier you are working for. You will need to be an expert in everything.
Good Luck to all of you. Rich B
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3 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2004 :  15:14:29  Show Profile
Wow… what a thread! I must admit that I have never authored a post with such concern over my spelling. Please accept an early apology for any mistakes that follow.

As difficult as this may be to believe, I generally agree with the many opinions that have been expressed so far. Nonetheless, I have found it difficult to offer accurate career guidance in an online threaded format (from here on out, it may appropriate to simply answer, “Rubenstein”). I think it has more to do with the individual that to any one training program or system. For the record, I did not begin my adjusting career in 1961 (in fact, 1961 is before my time period). I do have several industry designations and an advanced degree in risk management and insurance. I have worked staff assist, branch assist, etc., as well as those seemingly advanced claims mentioned in earlier posts (municipal utilities, environmental liability, inland marine, Jones Act, museum losses, manuscript coverages, etc.). And while I still offer my two cents now again on a particular claim or regulation, I am mainly an industry trainer. The thing is; I started as a cat adjuster with nothing more than some desire and a Texas License (from Leonard’s prior to Dearborn, by the way). And I know first hand a professional career can be accomplished from such humble beginnings.

Perhaps I am simply stuck between both worlds – a young old-timer of sorts – with some appreciation of both ends of the spectrum. Nonetheless, here are some of my thoughts:

To the newcomer: Professionalism is not measured by the size of your income (WorldCom and Enron suddenly spring to mind). It is often measured by your knowledge, respect and loyalty to those who share and depend on your profession. Telling me that you will be best thing that ever happened to the industry or that I will work for you someday is not as inspiring as you may think. Believe me; we’ve all heard it before. Each one of the experienced adjusters who contribute here represents a hundred or more others who never made it. These people have value (beyond their seemingly boundless intolerance [:)]) and deserve your esteem. If you truly desire to be respected yourself someday, set the example by respecting those that have earned it.

To the old-timer: Newcomer questions are among the most valuable in our profession because they remind us of where we have been and where we are headed. The fact that we have trouble answering these questions with grace and authority does not always show well for our industry. Sure times were different when we were new, but that doesn’t change the fact that we were new once. One of the differences between us and them is that we have fouled-up more claims that they have had assignments! By the way, I still don't know which is more antiquated, the typewriter or the company car. [:D] Perhaps it time to spend more of our energy developing and promoting some industry standards for professionalism and less of our time demanding it.

As a trainer, I do have a question that appears topical here: If someone were to build the best of the best, the “Top Gun” of adjusting (or catastrophe adjusting, take your pick), what do you feel it would teach its students?

Herb Carver
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11 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2004 :  19:27:04  Show Profile
You ,stop IT .
MY SON ADAM BROSCH ,just got home from Iraq, put his life on the line for us ,
saved one life that I know.. [maybe your little boy or girl]
We are all here to help ..
The new people are US ..

[if you are in this for money , get out]




paul brosch
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Tom Toll

154 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2004 :  23:55:54  Show Profile
Mr. Max, read Jim Flynt's post several times, as it holds true to what most of us feel. It was an excellent post. Yes, we are here to help each other, but we don't get excited when a newbie gets cocky or is going to show us how the world of adjusting should be. Glad your kid got back alive, many did not, and to me, they are the heroes.
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