My father, a dedicated retired Navy Commander, now deceased would be rolling over in his grave today if he were here to witness the disaster in the claims process now 50 or so days beyond the BP Oil Spill. This applies as well to all of us living along the coast and anxious claims industry members on the independent adjusting side of things….yes the very ones who can contribute to immediate processing of the BP oil claims and working in your claims offices yet we hear NOTHING.
Why would I include mention of my dad in a BP oil spill claims process blog? First of all he was my friend, my mentor throughout my career, and he was known well in his naval career for his business motto “Make Things Happen”. Second, I’ve researched now retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen. He definitely looks like he was the right man to be appointed to head up the federal response to the oil spill disaster. I found out today that he was also in charge of the Katrina response and found a good article commenting on his diligent research during Katrina he did BEFORE making a decision. We only ask that you include Independent Adjusting firm owners in that equation for the federal response on claims processes. We are the answer to improving the claims process as we do work for many companies where staff adjusters and insurance companies can respond only to the policyholders with their company. Here is a link to the bio of Admiral Allen and to an article commenting on his outstanding skills in conducting research.
Here is a link to his most impressive bio and dedication to a career in disaster response since retiring from the USCG:
Here is also great information documenting the date he was appointed to head the command of the federal response. This helped me have an inkling of understanding as to why he would have suggested the national guard involvement in the claims process- he has more knowledge of their skills than we do but I still don’t understand why in claims offices versus oil clean up operations when we can do that as independent adjusters:
Here is a link to the Washington Post blog explaining the four leadership lessons we all can use by following Admiral Allen which I really enjoyed.
Rumors on the streets or email highway in the independent adjuster world are saying that BP has instructed the ONE adjusting firm assigned to handle the claims not to deploy anyone experienced in handling the Exxon Valdez oil spill claims. Please look into this and assure us that is not true and the thousands upon thousands of independent adjusters sitting at home not deployed to help are not being excluded because they have experience handling claims. That is just unimagineable and I hope proves not to be true. The numbers of people who have applied directly to ESIS and to independent adjusting firms who have heard nothing might prove what you are told when investigating this that it is a fact. Let us know please. Rumors can destroy you. Facts posted on the ever popping up response websites would be helpful. Also, I suggest you not believe one rumor that we have run out of independent adjusters available. A quick check of the number of licensed resident and non resident independent adjusters will prove this is impossible even if 10,000 are already deployed yet we hear less than 1,000 are now in the BP field claim offices. *Update 6/9/10- we have now heard of numerous more EXPERIENCED adjusters who were deployed today to Worley- this dispels the rumors that experienced are not going.
This blog displays links for search terms adjusters use that leads them to our blog. Since the BP oil crisis, search terms for BP oil adjusters and adjusting firms are atleast 50% of all search hits on this site where adjusting firms and adjusters are looking for information as to who is handling the BP Oil spill claims.
Thus far the information circulating in our discussions is that ESIS has only appointed ONE adjusting company to assist their personnel. ONE-and that firm fortunately is a very reputable adjusting firm- Worley Catastrophe www.worleyco.com . Rumor on the street is that they are inundated with resumes flowing in but many many of us have not even gotten a reply to email and resume submissions yet.
I am extremely disappointed in the comments regarding the claims process problems by Gibbs and Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen in today’s press conference. While I am very happy to know plans are to improve the claims process, I could not be more disappointed to hear you are considering National Guard personnel to work the claims office when we have the skills necessary to create a professional claims image for BP and for the Federal government of their claims process. National Guard members need to be used for what they do best which is protecting Americans. Send them to guard our borders to protect our west coast neighbors in AZ, CA and other states with border issues. Have them assist with patrolling our beaches if coastal residents are forced to evacuate when oil spill makes their homes unlivable and let US- the Independent Adjusting community- do what we know best which is responding to claims disasters. * This too was dispelled in news that the AL National Guard is being used in the field for three weeks to notify residents of where they can report a claim to.
We will waive our fees to help you or assigned independent adjusting firms send in staffing to employ independent adjusters. ESIS can disburse them to claims offices.
What else can the government do?
1) You can help claims personnel find reasonable housing to reduce per diem costs to BP so all claimants can be paid by providing temporary quarters for housing for independent claims personnel. Rumors have it that BP is reimbursing 100.00 per day for costs incurred to find housing and every bit of that will be needed by independents for hotel rooms to stay in claim office territories while working in area damage zones. Can’t you use your influence to negotiate discounted hotel rates? To prohibit price gouging on hotel rates as state insurance commissioners do following major disasters? A very good argument for state regulations on disasters involving claims.
2) While we definitely support the use of displaced workers in the fishing industry…don’t you have things a bit reversed? The great people in the fishing industry have the physical stamina to work in beach and ocean environments like field claims adjusters do. Why not put them to work on the clean up efforts to stop the spread of this oil and use trained inside independent claims adjusters in the claims offices. They are experienced to deployment within 24 hours of assignments nationwide and experienced to working 10 to 12 hour shifts 6 or 7 days a week and that will go far in speeding up the claims process.
3) What are the licensing requirements for the claims office “adjusters” ? I hear FL’s Crist has already declared FL Emergency declarations to prepare FL for the incoming oil spill damage spreading our way. Once that happens on normal major disasters, this allows emergency adjusters to enter states with a temporary emergency adjuster license. I sure hope that is going on here with one exception I will address next. Why can’t President Obama declare a special emergency order allowing this in all coastal states experiencing oil spill claims or if this is only the perogative of State Insurance Departments then please immediately approve the use of emergency licenses for any independent adjuster who can prove an active license in another state. Atleast by running all claims personnel through the state insurance departments (with BP picking up the cost of the emergency licensing and state required fingerprints) BP claimants would not be exposed to potential scams if convicted felony offenders get involved in claims or entering homes and businesses. I have no doubt Worley is handling this for the adjusters they are sending in as most independent firms do now but what about the folks being plopped right into the claims offices by other sources without proper criminal background checks (if that is happening) ?
Speaking of state regulation- are state insurance commissioners going to be involved? Will the individual state statute of limitatons apply by state or is there a federal statute that will provide one standard statute of limitations giving all BP claimants the same time frame and deadline for filing a suit should that become necessary. You can see they are very clearly different in coastal states:
Chip Merlin, a consumer attorney wrote a blog this week suggesting BP use CPA’s and accountants on the loss of income claims. While he provides good reasons, we in the claim industry are plenty capable of helping issue the $5,000 advances and there are thousands of adjusters trained in business interruption claims for loss of rents, tourism cancellations, and much more but I do agree CPA firms are often used by insurers for proper determination of amounts due for large commercial business interruption claims. In fact, my brother in law is a retired IRS CPA and has huge resources to other CPA’s who are also interested in deploying. In fact, this week I will post a large number of online business interruption links for some great information on business interruption claim training.
BP- please ensure that your hiring process for claims office personnel excludes any public adjuster currently licensed in ANY state in the USA. They are the driving force for referrals to plaintiff attorneys and more importantly we need to resolve claims prior to litigation consideration so a vast number of BP claimants do not suffer loss of settlement dollars by signing contracts with firms charging excessive attorney fees to represent them on these claims. Here is a good example of problems addressed by California’s proactive Insurance Commissioner Poizner warning CA consumers on his April 16, 2010 Scam artist warning press release to be leary of unlicensed public adjusters and unlicensed contractors. His feelings seem to be clear in this press release about this group of potential public adjuster unlicensed adjusters.
How about using this link above as a template for a great posting for gulf coast residents warning them of the same potential to get taken advantage of by scam artists? You can post this warning on each of the 4 state sites now shown in your Area Plans at http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com ?
Admiral Allen and President Obama, please protect all parties operating at the claims offices. Use your national guards to protect them from frustrated residents in coastal communities who might take out their frustrations on the face of the disaster response- the personnel in the claims offices. I also would like to make sure to enact provisions prohibiting plaintiff attorneys from naming adjusting firms and individual “adjusters” from being named in lawsuits unless they have absolute proof that a firm or particular adjuster deviated from BP or ESIS instructions for claims handling. We had untold numbers of independent adjusters named in TX claims litigation (note cases on this link filed by the Mostlyn law firm in Jefferson County, TX ) who in most cases were merely following insurance company instructions which they are not allowed to deviate from. This increases our premiums for required Error and Ommissions coverage they are going to need to cover their extensive expenses to be removed from a lawsuit. BP should be providing blanket E and O coverage for all claims office personnel because in most cases, they will not even qualify for E & O coverage since they have no experience. This is going to drive up the cost of E & O coverage for all independent adjusters for years to come. Please check with www.cplic.net who specializes in error and ommisions coverage for independent adjusting firms and independent adjusters. Insurance companies do provide the defense and costs for staff claims personnel. Many contracts by state insurance such as TWIA in Texas and Citizens Insurance in Florida included terms in RFP’s stating (scroll down to public information on RFP08-0016) that they would not provide a defense. In fact ,TWIA sent out an email post IKE that specifically told adjusting firms and independent adjusters to hire their own attorneys as they were overwhelmed with the responses to Complaints they had to file on behalf of TWIA leaving adjusting firms and independent adjusters to get this handled. Additonally, let us know who we need to contact with our Congressman to have bills introduced to prohibit state agencies and insurance companies from imposing hefty fines (go back to link above to RFP08-0016 ) on adjusting firms and individual independents for unreasonable expectations as we too suffer from unreasonable expectations on time service when resources do get stretched thin during major disasters. This should include establishing standards to restrict insurance commissioners from imposing the same fines. Here is a link to the 2007 Citizens of FL Claims Manual still up on the Citizens Task Force on Claims Handling which includes an example of unrealistic expectations during times of major disasters. This should also include prohitibing carriers from fining adjusting firms who fall short of being able to deploy numbers they committed to on RFP’s (request for proposals for laymen) which they can prove they have on the rosters prior to a major disaster but those same resources won’t be at their finger tips as they scatter for other opportunities servicing claims – especially based on the whether the fee billing is reasonable or not. The adjusting firms have no control over this as we are talking about independent adjusters with no benefits operating on 1099′s. They have to go where they can find a guarantee of work when it is offered. Please help us out here!
My dad’s common quote “Lead, Follow, or get the Heck out of my way” is certainly applicable here. President Obama is not in the claims business, carriers’ cannot provide their staff adjusters under present processes where they handle their own claims and only involved in Flood claims processing for the government. We as independent adjusters can help BP and Admiral Allen who is overseeing the government response to the oil spill. So….if you are just deploying ONE adjusting firm, then please contact me. I’ll freely share my information for some great additional adjusting firms based on members I have personally come to know over the past five years through their participation on ClaimSmentor.
Please do not tie up Worley’s executives. They are well respected in the claims industry- you have assigned them claims- let them do their job following your claims handling guidelines but do not put another black eye on the independent claims industry- we can’t take the blame when you will not even deploy us. Seems like today’s news release is starting the claims blame game which isn’t helping resolve the issue. Months ago I wrote blog about the claims game for insurance company disaster responses. Can the USA government with their vast agency resources not “make things happen” ?
President Obama, I know your wife is a strong supporter of Education. I am as well and have now volunteered my time for 4.5 years creating the first online e-mentoring group ( CADO first with forums and links for firms- our site hosts the actual classes now ) for independent adjusters to provide them educational information for professional claims training throughout the USA. We have access to excellent sources of claim trainers as well who are very experienced in deployments and training at disaster induction centers.
A last suggestion for federal government and BP claims response- COME OUT OF HIDING- locating available adjusters or the firms handling claims shouldn’t be a where is Waldo’s game trying to track down the information. As a fellow Golfer…you can choose this city BEFORE the oil spill arrives to dispel rumors you are making trips to the gulf coast only for photo opportunities. Here’s your chance!
Heck- I’ll be glad to “Make Things Happen” and host a group of reputable independent adjusting firm leaders to gather here in Jacksonville in our beach community of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. We have a great location overlooking the Players Club here at Sawgrass…..the same location where Tiger Woods gave his return speech. We invite you to follow his lead- is all you need to do is show up and meet these great leaders. They would be more than willing to make reliable suggestions. They just hold back due to the fear of carriers retaliation if they go public under normal circumstances. We are used to this media restriction in the claims industry due to insurance company carrier Code of Conduct forms. The purpose would be a townhall meeting for positive suggestions by independent claim firm owners and head managers.
You show up- I’ll host the conference center. Smile- I know that is a simplistic offer with the involved security you need. However, Sawgrass home of Tournament Players Championship since 1977 is well equipped to plan for your arrival and we’ll meet you there!
We’ll make the same offer to work with any news agency like CNN, HLN, Fox News, or any state news reporters interested in talking to a group of claim managers even if news agencies have to allow participants to remain anonymous with voice overs and protection of their identity so they can provide truthful evaluations of the claims process and stories about what they have heard in response to their efforts to get through to ESIS claims executives as it isn’t great news although we recognize they too are overwhelmed with the situation.
This is not acceptable time service for any insurance company, claims adjusting firm nor an individual adjuster and definitely should not be acceptable response time with BP with their huge profits -come see us independent claims folks who are regularly following the insurance crisis in coastal communities.
We- the Independent Adjuster community- are the group who can help professionally improve the BP claims process- just do what you say you will do…….create jobs, take people off the unemployment lines but please use the RIGHT PEOPLE for the RIGHT positions where our skills can best service the claimants of these disasters. There is a link to my prior blogs in response to this blog posting about the claims blame game, hopefully we won’t just need to substitute the ridiculous blame game organization chart very soon and substitute the parties now involved in the BP oil claims because right now my honest evaluation is we need one to follow the BP oil spill blame game parties. Let’s reverse this quickly. Insurance commissioners never stand by and merely observe what insurance companies do. Instead they monitor them regularly and require weekly status reports on the number of claims procecessed during major catastrophes.
In Florida during the 4 hurricanes in 04, carriers and adjusters were held up to stringent deadlines which were unreasonable given the repeated events here. How about talking with our former FL Insurance commissioner for reasonable expectations. Alex Sink has also done an excellent job as current FL Insurance Commissioner and is another reliable source on reasonable expectations and time lines on loss of income claims deadlines as they require a much longer pending tail for closure due to the ongoing losses. Heck, go straight to all insurance commissioners for a prompt discussion to help make your decisions- respected members of the NAIC National Association of Insurance commissioners and get their valued input. I’d also recommend you talk to the NACA past President Woody Britton who is a weath of information on catastophe deployments.
There is much more I can add to my suggestions but no one is asking me nor valued members and managers in the independent claims industry from the independent adjusting firm side with the exception of ONE independent adjusting firm. If there are more, please respond and let us know the name, website, contact phone number for each adjusting firm with a definite contract to handle these claims.
We also request you stop the bleeding and announce this on your websites so independent adjusters aren’t on standby with false promises to go to work on BP oil spill claims by firms not even under consideration by BP or ESIS to handle claims. Independents are already on standby with many firms and we have no idea what the likelihood is of ever deploying.
We want to help and know you are facing oil spill disaster claims of untold proportions. Please let us know just how we can apply our training and skills to assist you to speed up the claim process.
President Obama and respected Admiral Allen, our intention is not to be critical of the response, the intent is to move forward from this moment forward to speed up the claims process and stop the spread of this historic oil spill. We don’t mind your use of a telepromters, we’d love you to bring your daughters to experience our pristine beaches and let your daughters learn the joy of collecting sharks teeth on the beaches at Mickler’s landing. I assure you they are not attached to the shark (smile) and it’s much healthier than them being exposed to picking up tar balls on the beaches. We want you to select this area as a pre-oil spill venue where you are proactive coming before the oil spill reaches us. You can take time (yes we do understand work/ life issues for emergency responders) while here to take the kids to explore the Naval Aircraft carriers at Mayport Naval Air Station, a follow up with a visit to our oldest city of St Augustine and especially the old fort and the Fountain of Youth tour. It will help your family have a good grasp on what living in a continental USA beach community is all about before we incur damages coming our way.
By the way- one last story about my dad- my hero- you talked yesterday about determining whose A** to kick- well we have a military award plaque still up at my parents wall at home here in Jacksonville where they awarded “my dad” with a replica of his well known A** kicking boots while serving out at sea as an Aircraft Maintence Commander. He had 2 shoes in yellow and he painted a different colored dot on each toe to indicate which parties he was holding responsible for a problem and the dot showed if it was an enlisted man or an officer under his command. Your family will understand the significance of the colored dots if they can view the take off and landing of military aircraft on landing decks while out at sea. It is a trip they will never forget as I never have when going out on a family cruise day which allowed us to see what my dad was up to all of those years he was at sea. The guys look like MnM’s running around so quickly as the planes take of f and land when you get to watch it from above. Heck, if you don’t have time- send someone out to video this in action when one of the carriers near you are hosting one of these events.
To independent adjusters : If you missed the White House press conference 6/7/10 , CNN now has it posted. Watch the claims process comments for yourself as well.
Here is the link:
Sign me- a regular CNN , HLN, and FOX news BP Oil spill news follower …..Deb