” Adjusters ” handling BP Claims file a Class Action lawsuit on two issues- Overtime pay and failure to receive 65% of daily fee per contract

February 9, 2011

Roy Cupps over at CADO posted this link in the forums there regarding a Class Action lawsuit filed by MS Attorney JP Hughes  (I could not locate a website for him but I’m working on it through network connections )on behalf of the adjusters handling the BP claims regarding two issues:

1) Overtime pay- working more than 40 hours per week and not receiving over time pay (they were on daily rate)

2) Alleged failure of adjusting firm to pay adjusters their 65% of the daily rate they were paid by the BP Fund

For complete details, here is the link:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/02/09/34026.htm

This is definitely a case to watch as it is standard for independent adjusters to receive a daily rate of pay for each day worked on a catastrophe or daily assignment where they agree to work for a stipulated daily rate for a given split of the daily rate. The rate these adjusters were paid is on the high end of the daily rate independents normally receive. I have no idea why this alleged adjuster would feel entitled to time and a half for hours worked over 40 hours unless the contract indicated the daily rate was for a given 40 hours which is unheard of in the claims industry for independents working on assignment.

I am very curious if this person was actually one of the actually non claim folks working on BP claims. I have actually been told by several were working in field offices that BP Csar Ken Feinburg changed adjuster job titles to “evaluators” when he took over. If that is true, do you think that the prior findings of the Fair Labor Standards commission would differ on findings on this class action?

If you missed our prior several blogs on overtime issues and adjusters, here are links to prior blogs on the topics and prior decisions on some of these cases:

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/?s=Overtime

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/supplemental-info-on-geico-auto-adjuster-overtime-issues/

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/fenton-et-al-v-farmers-insurance-exchange-no-07-4864-dc-mn-2009-mn-staff-claims-adjuster-overtime-decision/

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/geico-wins-case-on-overtime-issues-for-auto-adjusters-view-washington-post-article/

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/adjuster-overtime-issues-supplemental-info-from-none-other-than-attorney-gloria-allreds-current-news-letter/

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/insurance-adjuster-overtime-pay-issues-and-complaints-in-the-news/

Regarding the second issue of alleged failure of  Worley Adjusting firm to pay the agreed 65% split of the daily rate, I find that very hard to believe as they have such an excellent reputation for paying adjusters fairly in the claim industry which is remarkable considering the number of adjusters who have gone unpaid by unprofessional firms since Katrina. I assume we’ll be able to view the contract when documents are filed during discovery on the case to show first of all the daily fee Worley was receiving per “adjuster” as well as the independent contract terms they were using on this assignment. I’ll keep an eye out for those to make the records in the coming months.

There were many experienced adjusters who would gladly have deployed for the given rate of pay. In addition, adjusters working out of town at BP assignments were given daily per diem while working which is unheard of for independent adjusters working for insurance carriers so those who were lucky enough to be deployed were most thankful for the assignment.

I think this case will be closely watched by all insurance carriers who use independent adjusters on daily rates. I know I will be closely following it. You can as well by subscribing to this blog to watch for updates as we post them.

If you also want to follow this discussion going on over at CADO where Roy Cupps posted this information, here is the link to that topic forum discussion there:

http://www.catadjuster.org/Forums/tabid/60/aft/11695/Default.aspx#22348


New Social Media Marketing Classes being hosted for Claims Adjusting Firm Managers and Associates

February 2, 2011

We have spent over a year now with all of the social media marketing options through Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and of course this blog which has been in operation since 2007.

We have narrowed down our preferences to this blog of course but also to Linkedin and Twitter for marketing in social media arenas with Insurance company claim executives.

Thus, we are now offering a three day seminar limited to 5 attendees and their administrative assistant to walk you through taking advantage of social media marketing when obtaining adjusting firm contracts. I have watched adjusting firm sites on these markets and find errors basically from left out steps that prevent the parties you need following your firm as well as your adjusters to increase your rosters, create loyalty among your roster members, and to keep all of those interested in your membership on social media sites.

Our course will not just teach you to use these tools but you will leave connected to over 1,000 important claims industry executives and adjusters as well as service vendors as well as being set up with your roster members on your individual sites. We have created the templates to allow you to achieve in three days what it has taken me over one year to achieve by daily working with these tools unlike so many courses where you walk away with no time to actually process systems from tools learned in classes.

These seminars can be hosted individually for your adjusting firm at your location or at our training facility. Please email dkmoroy@dimechimes.com for complete details or give me a call at 850-797-5067 to discuss your needs.

I cannot begin to say enough great things about the fantastic adventure this past year has been networking with claims industry members I never otherwise would have had an opportunity to meet through social media interactions. It is my definite belief that those who refuse to use these new tools will soon find themselves left behind when it comes to connecting with new adjusters for your firms and in roads to making marketing connections with carrier claims executives.


Must see video of BP’s Ken Feinburg at AL Townhall meeting yesterday- Hope to meet many of you this morning at the Fort Walton Beach Townhall Meeting

January 19, 2011

Here is some must see video footage of the Orange Beach, Alabama townhall meeting held yesterday with BP’s Ken Feinburg:

http://wkrg.com/1204118/

We will be attending today’s townhall meeting along with other independent adjusters in the Florida panhandle this morning being held here today in Fort Walton Beach, FL along with the founder of the Pensacola, FL Gulf Coast Claims Association and several other independent adjusters in the area. I’ll blog on that either later today or tomorrow.

In the meantime, I am putting together an article on the fruitless efforts made by hundreds if not thousands of adjusters like myself who applied to work these BP claims jobs from TX to FL  and were not utilized to work these claims. I have heard from hundreds who have applied and were not used being told that they were saving the experienced adjusters for hurricane season which never did cause damage in 2010. Information I’ve learned from many adjusters who were in the operation says that Ken Feinburg had changed the job title to “evaluator” from “adjuster” when he took over. Why? Is that so non adjusters could work the claims?

We’d like to piece together our side of the BP claims story by hearing from the many of you who applied and did or did not work claims. You can reply to this blog and I’ll approve the comments or if you wish to remain anonymous you can email me at dkmoroy@dimechimes.com and I will not use your name in any article or upcoming blog on the subject.

Thanks!


Special Announcement- KMConDemand Announces Release of the Property Technical Certification I Program for all Property Claims Adjusters

January 11, 2011

I am very excited to release the following announcement from KMConDemand executive, Colm Keenan announcing the release of the PTC1 designation program -Property Technical Certification I-now available to all property adjusters. I highly endorse this program and am a firm believer that all independent adjusting firms should require any adjuster they deploy to take and successfully complete this program to set your firm apart from others by having TESTED adjusters on assignments. I cannot express how highly I believe in this after being involved in ClaimSmentor and working with thousands of adjusters. It is far past time independents have an opportunity to not just attend seminars and obtain CE’s but to test to prove their competency to handle claims.

Without further comment- here is the complete announcement released with the permission of KMConDemand:

KMC On DemandSM, Advisory Committee Roll Out Property Technical Certification

 

Crawford KMC On Demand, a leading online provider of continuing online education and CE credits for insurance claims adjusters, in collaboration with  a key insurance industry advisory committee have released the first Property Technical Certification (PTC) course to the insurance industry.

PTC is designed to fill a gap in validation of expertise among property claims adjusters. The launch of PTC I – Elements of Property Loss follows the successful conclusion of a pilot program conducted during summer 2010. “The PTC pilot participants gave high marks to the content and relevance of the courses,” said Colm Keenan, vice president of knowledge management for KMC On Demand.

A Property Advisory Committee (PAC) made up of high-level professionals from insurance companies, independent adjusting companies and contractor networks has been working together for more than two years to establish the PTC. The pilot program included an industry-wide collaboration on technical content.

The PAC members include:

Allstate, Ace, Alacrity, Assurant, Aviva Canada, Claims Mentor, Contractor Connection, Crawford, Custard Insurance Adjusters, Cypress Insurance, Dri-Eaz, Fireman’s Fund, Fox Valley Technical College, Liberty Mutual, Metlife, Nationwide, Pilot Cat,  and SimSol.

PTC II will be released in the fall of 2011 with PTC III following in 2012. There are 12 courses in PTC I which consists of 38 modules. Each module costs $15 if purchased individually while the whole first designation can be bought for $425, a 25% savings. All courses have been approved for ce credits in all states that mandate adjuster ce’s. Courses are accessed and completed at www.kmcondemand.com/ptc .

Why PTC? Simply put, PTC fulfills a pressing need in the property and casualty industry. Everyone who has touched this project, from the largest insurers to the small independents, agrees on this one point: it’s about time.

First, it is very difficult to determine the expertise of adjusters, and even harder to predict their future performance. But though having knowledge is no guarantee of performance, not having knowledge is a guarantee of failure. It is impossible to perform well in our industry without the proper technical knowledge. Industry post-Katrina performance reviews were lukewarm at best, due in great part to a lack of property claim-handling knowledge. Though some companies might have commendable training, as an industry, we do not.  

Patrick Milone, vice president of the Property Services Division of Custard Insurance Adjusters Inc., sees the PTC “as a way to keep adjusters current in all property aspects of the claims arena via training by an accredited resource.” Milone also considers the compliance aspect of PTC to be important, as all courses have been approved in every state that requires adjuster continuing education.

The resource Milone refers to above is KMC On DemandSM, part of Crawford & Company, which has a long history of claims training. KMC technology enables the PTC to record user completions and provides an attractive interface for the learner. Each course in the PTC has a corresponding performance support file that is easily accessible and has vital information to assist the adjuster long after the course is completed. Performance support files will be regularly updated as they become the industry technical resource of record. Passing an exam becomes the beginning, rather than the end, of the PTC experience. 

The next advent in the progression to industry certification is individual insurance company certification. The first insurance company in line to do this with KMC/PTC is MetLife. This will enable independent adjuster’s online industry certification, PTC, and individual carrier certification. More insurance carriers will added to this list throughout 2011.

To purchase PTC I go to www.kmcondemand.com/ptc or contact Elise Quadrozzi at elise_quadrozzi@us.crawco.com .


Sponsor Opportunities Available for 2011 at ClaimSmentor

January 8, 2011

New for 2011 is acceptance of Insurance Claim Recruiters, Temporary Staffing agencies,  Insurance Company HR personnel and claim recruiters as Sponsors at ClaimSmentor www.claimSmentor.com.

Interested claim recruiters, temporary staffing agencies, adjusting firms, claims service organizations, and software vendors should email dkmoroy@dimechimes.com for complete details.

Our Sponsor package includes up to 10 FREE job postings in our Career forum per month, free postings about upcoming seminars your firm is hosting, and special discounts you offer to our ClaimSmentor members. Sponsors also receive 100% access to our roster of adjuster members. Much more ….contact me at above email if interested in helping keep our e-mentoring program active for auto, property, and casualty adjusters.

We will reach our five year anniversary next week and currently have approximately 1,600 members and are very proud of it! Unlike other claim forum sites, we require preapproval for membership to confirm we are all licensed adjusters or claims managers. Members upload their resumes for adjusting firm and insurance recruiters use. Our desire is to enhance the job opportunities available to our members for consideration in 2011 by now accepting insurance claims recruiters for our members who are located nationwide.

Also- all welcome to join our Linkedin group and our Twitter group:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=1820952

www.linkedin.com/in/claimSmentor

www.twitter.com/claimSmentor

You can also follow our blog entries by clicking on the SUBSCRIBE tab in the dark gray area at the top of this blog.


Remember our blog on “Who Moved my Claims Cheese”? Well 2011 claim changes are very active already!

January 6, 2011

Some things just never change in claims! 2011 is rolling out many important announcements that will effect claim job opportunities for both staff adjusters and for independent adjusters.

If you missed our initial blog in 2007 which is still relevant today, here is the link:

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/30/who-moved-my-claims-cheesedealing-with-change-in-the-insurance-adjusting-community/

Here are just four of the more important changes we’ve found via news releases in just the first 5 days of 2011:

Cunningham-Lindsay buys GAB North America operations:

Cunningham Lindsey adjusting firm buys out GAB North America Operations

http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2011/01/04/cunningham-lindsey-buys-gab-robins.html

Hartford Insurance to sell third party claims division:

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. is narrowing its focus and selling its third-party claims unit for $278 million. http://ow.ly/3yQv1

USAA to cancel some coastal policies:

USAA dropping some coastal policies-http://www.sunherald.com/2011/01/04/2753375/usaa-dropping-some-coast-wind.html

NCA Group (adjusting firm) acquires T. M. Mayfield adjusting firm:

http://www.ncagroup.com/adjuster_community.php


We are only 3 viewers short of reaching 200,000 hits on our ClaimSmentor Blog

January 4, 2011

A special thank you to our viewers as we will cross the 200,000 viewers mark today on our blog here at www.dimechimes.wordpress.com!

Thank you for supporting our mission to education independent adjusters on their down time between assignments when they lack the opportunity to learn about current events and trends in the claims industry as a whole since insurance companies do not keep them in the loop when they are not on a current assignment.

We look forward to working with you again this year and talking to the many we hear from each week via email and phone calls to discuss events and hot topics adjusters want to know!


2011 Independent Adjusting Firm listing ready for your marketing or resume submission needs!

January 2, 2011

We have completed our ClaimSmentor 2011 listing of independent adjusting firms compiled from recommendations of our members and lists through major independent adjusting firm sources such as NACA and NAIIA. We have approximately 65 firms on our current list. If your firm has not been listed, please email dkmoroy@dimechimes.com to have your firm added if you have been in business a minimum of 3 years with your website, resume email address, office # and fax #. Thanks!

Adjusters – if you have more firms you think would qualify and you recommend them- please send your recommendations to claimSmentor@dimechimes.com or simply reply to this topic. Thanks!

The listing contains the website, resume contact address, link to the online application if required, and contact number.

Use of this list will save you hours upon hours (if not days like it took me to create it) when submitting your resumes to what we hope to be some of the most reputable firms in the property and casualty claims industry.

Should you need the listing, it is free to our ClaimSmentor annual supporters and can be ordered by others needing it by sending a request for information to dkmoroy@dimechimes.com.


Mark your calendars now to attend the National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters 2011 claim conference -January 2011 in Daytona Beach, FL

August 17, 2010
NACA www.nacatadj.org

NACA National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters

Don’t miss the opportunity to host as a sponsor, exhibitor, vendor or just attend the annual NACA National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters claims conference held this coming year in Daytona Beach, FL January 10, 2011 through January 13, 2011. I am very excited it will be held close to home in Florida this year!

This is an outstanding opportunity to meet many adjusting firms looking for great independent adjusters and obtain your annual CE credits at the same time.

ClaimSmentor will be manning a booth in the exhibit hall this year and look forward to getting to meet many of you attending in person finally! Use our ClaimSmentor invitation code when you register so they know your associated with our group. Our code is 377:

http://www.nacatadj.info/naca/html/convention.aspx

I’ve said it in the past and it bears repeating now that this is the best claims convention I support fully due to the high quality of the many classes they host at the convention along with outstanding opportunities for networking with other independent adjusters and adjusting firms. Well worth the cost of attending!

We support NACA as they are very mentor friendly- we hope you’ll join NACA and support their mentor program for adjusters as well!

http://www.nacatadj.info/naca/html/mentor_program.aspx

They are strong supporters of ClaimSmentor and we definitely appreciate their support!


Will the real Ken Feinburg- BP Pay Czar on 20B BP Fund please advise- Who is handling the claims when you take over- 2 entirely different quotes from you this week

August 6, 2010

This is just unbelievable! If it isn’t strange enough that hundreds of experienced adjusters have applied to work BP claims and can get no where the hopes were out there in the adjusting community that as soon as Ken Feinburg who has been appointed to take over the BP 20B fund administration this month that possibly more opportunities would present themselves for experienced adjusters to deploy to handle these claims.

In two different sources this week, we have Ken Feinburg alleged to be quoted with two entirely different versions of who will be handling the claims! It sure would be nice to clear this up and let the claims industry know – do we stay or do we go?

The first article published August 5, 2010 by Claims Magazine quotes Ken Feinburg as saying he will continue to use ESIS to handle the claims and expand that service if necessary in this article:

http://www.claimsmag.com/Exclusives/2010/8/Pages/Our-QA-With-Ken-Feinberg.aspx

It says in part on page 3 of the 4 page web exclusive article:

” Who will work for you on this project? Will you hire contract or independent adjusting companies?  

Right now, we are going to use the people that BP has contracted with and put into place. If we need more [personnel], then we will simply add to the resources that they are using now. (*Editor’s Note: BP is currently using Worley Catastrophe) I am sure that we will add the staff as we need to in the future as we improve the process. 

Next we have the website Pro Publica (their motto is Journalism in the Public interest) publishing an article only a few hours later on August 5, 2010 also quoting Ken Feinburg saying he is replacing ESIS with two other firms (non adjusting firms) who helped in prior mass claim settlements. The article in part quotes a BP spokes woman who confirms and says:

” Patricia Wright, a spokeswoman for BP, confirmed that ESIS would be replaced, and said that the decision was made by Feinberg without BP’s involvement. She said that BP was continuing to pay claims and that ESIS would stay on the job while BP retained control of the process. “Our contractors will continue to work until we transition,” Wright said.

The companies that will replace ESIS, Garden City Group and the law firm BrownGreer, both specialize in the resolution of mass claims. BrownGreer was previously hired by Feinberg [3] as a fee and expense analyst during his tenure as the executive pay czar overseeing compensation at banks that were bailed out by the federal government. “

Here are the links to the two companies named if you want to do your own further research:

Garden City Group headquartered in Melville, MY- Business week shows them as a subsidiary of Crawford and Company :

http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=1004650

and Crawford and Company also has information up on their website about Garden City Group here:

http://www.crawfordandcompany.com/content.aspx?CID=374&SID=2

  http://www.gcginc.com/pages/case_archive_search.php  (Says they are a class action law firm- this links takes you to an archive of numerous cases they have handled. Their home page says they employ over 400 nationwide).

Law Firm BrownGreer: Their website as well shows proactive involvement in claims administration of class action settlement cases to include Vioxx.

http://www.browngreer.com/who.htm

Contact information for BrownGreer:

BrownGreer plc

115 S. 15th Street
Suite 400
Richmond, VA 23219-4209

Main Number: 804.521.7200
Fax: 804.521.7299

Email: information@browngreer.com

Employment Opportunities: hrdept@browngreer.com

Now here’s another new twist- while researching BrownGreer who apparently has worked with the Feinburg firm before, I found a June 25, 2010 news release quoting the business manager for BrownGreer who confirmed back in June that Feinburg had hired them to take incoming claims information from the BP claimants. Here’s what she says in part in the article:

” Lynn Greer, a partner at BrownGreer, emailed a brief statement about her firm’s involvement in the BP claims process.

“BrownGreer PLC is assisting Ken Feinberg as the Administrator of the Independent Claims Facility established for the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Greer said in the email.”

Here is a link to this full article out of Richmond where BrownGreer is home based:

http://www.richmondbizsense.com/2010/06/25/local-firm-lands-bp-claims-work/

VIP- BrownGreer does have a job posting up on their career link looking for a claims reviewer here (requires a Bachelor’s degree) and it says they are accepting applications until August 12, 2010:

http://www.browngreer.com/images/pdfs/claimsreviewer_072910.pdf

I’ve made contact with a few sources working in BP claims offices and they knew that ESIS was going but have been told that does not apply to Worley that they are aware of. The adjusters there now do wear badges saying they work for ESIS.

Well, hopefully we will all know soon if independent adjusters through Worley and/or through these two new firms above will be used. The BrownGreer firm already shows they have analysts and claims reviewers on their staff on their career link.

More tomorrow on BP Claims statistics and more conflicting information on what will or will not be paid based on additional news articles under the new 20B BP Oil fund Ken Feinburg will be administering.

So- Should I stay or should I go- enjoy the video!


“The Independent Adjuster and the Oil Spill; Opportunity or a Trap” Guest Blog by CPLIC Risk Management- Errors and Ommissions Coverage for Adjusting Firms and Adjusters

June 22, 2010

Each year since founding ClaimSmentor, I have turned to CPLIC  for advice to share with our members on Errors and Omissions coverage for independent adjusters. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have members of this firm participate on our site. This year is especially important due to the added complications we may be facing this hurricane season with the oil in the gulf coast. I cannot thank them enough for their support providing this information for our members and all of you in the independent adjusting community. Their specialty is dealing only with Errors and Omissions (known as E & O ) coverage for the claims industry.

The following statement to their members is reprinted with permission from the Claim Professionals Liability Insurance Co., a Risk Retention Group created by independent adjusters for the risk management of independent adjusting companies.  See WWW.CPLIC.NET for more details:

Urgent Message from

CPLIC Risk Managment Concerning Oil Spill in Gulf Coast.

The Independent Adjuster and the Oil Spill;

Opportunity or a Trap?

The June 14 edition of the Wall Street Journal ran a full page ad on page A18, the back page of the first section. It outlined how BP wants claimants to file a claim, and their claims philosophy.

This is prior to the meeting at the White House, in which BP put $20 billion into the hands of an independent commission. How that will affect the present operation BP is now running we do not know.

All of us want more work, and we all, probably, would be willing to be involved in this claim settling process. But there are some pitfalls.

At CPLIC, we have analyzed the situation, and would like to offer some insights, suggestions, and comments. Remember, this is all prior to the White House meeting.

The Present Situation

Our understanding is that Worley has been engaged to handle claims on behalf of BP. Crawford & Co. represents Transocean. We are not aware of how the work is being spread between the two, or if it is only BP/Worley that is processing claims at this time.

How the $20 billion fund, now in play, will be handled is anybody’s guess. However, this could mean some opportunity for independents.

Geographical Areas

Obviously, the area covered is the Gulf Coast from Louisiana around to Florida. Considering the number of claims that are going to come out of this spill, you probably do not need to be in that area to be involved.

If you are in that area, here?s a word of caution. Forecasters predict this to be the most active hurricane season since 2005, and the Gulf Coast could very well be affected. If you get a chance to be involved in the BP claims, please be judicious in resources you commit to BP. Remember that a hurricane will also stretch you, and that you have regular clients who depend on you. These situations always stretch and challenge us, but do not get so overloaded that things get out of control. When this happens, the chance of E&O claims goes up. Using resources wisely protects your deductible.

Type of Claims

At first blush, you would think these claims would be third party claims, and so they are. However, determining liability will not be the issue. Damages will be the issue.

Many of these third party claims will handle just like business interruption claims. Make sure you use adjusters knowledgeable in this area. You may also encounter some hull claims, as well as other kinds of property damage claims.

There may not be many first party claims. The pollution exclusion may see to that. There also may be trigger problems. One of our members thinks that fire or explosion may be the trigger. In the end, this may be a decision for a court.

If the claims are first party, you will be working for a carrier, not BP. If there are questions of coverage, do not forget to take a non-waiver, or a reservation of rights. Those cases where you should have reserved rights, and did not, are hard cases to defend. If you are not sure, talk to your principal. If you are still not sure, or cannot get an answer from your principal, reserve your rights anyway. It is better to be safe than sorry.

If there is coverage in your claim, subrogation will be in order. This leads to a potential trap.

The Trap

If you find your regular client base sending you work that leaves you subrogating against BP, and you are taking BP cases in addition, you may find yourself in a conflict of interest situation. Be very judicious in the work you accept.

For those of you doing work for governmental entities in the Gulf area, be especially careful, particularly if your client has a shoreline. They may have cleanup costs, and ask you to handle their subrogation. Certainly, BP will be the target. You may run afoul of Public Adjuster laws.

CPLIC can offer no hard and fast rule here. Be judicious, use good judgment, and err on the side of caution.

What To Do At The Beginning

Even if you take every precaution, you will be sued. We are dealing with a highly politically charged situation. The plaintiff’s bar will be running ads soliciting clients. We will draw some suits. How do we protect ourselves?

This is the situation our insureds and CPLIC faced after Ike/Rita. First remember this is an agency situation. We all understand the principle of agency. In any contracts you sign with clients in association with this (or, if possible, any) work, make sure there is a clause under which the principal agrees to defend and indemnify you, absent a specific count of negligence against you.

This is a partnership here. Make sure your client understands this. Your client wants you on his side when the yelling starts. Do not give the plaintiff?s lawyer the opportunity to separate you. Even if there is a specific count against you, your principal may still defend you, depending upon the allegation.

Make sure you have your lawyer look at the hold harmless agreement in this light. If you need help in this area, contact us.

Closing Comments

What is written above may sound scary. It is not intended to scare. It is intended to make us wise about the opportunities out there, and to prepare us to meet them. It comes out of CPLIC’s six years of experience defending you. And there are opportunities, hopefully for many of us.

As you go forward, let us know of problems you encounter in following our suggestions. If you think we are off base, or missed something, let us know. It will help us serve you better.

K. M. Johns III CPCU, ARM AIM

Risk Management Committee Chair

Major contributors to this article were:

Alan Mayfield & Bruce Mountjoy

All Rights Reserved

© CPLIC 2010

*******

 

Please view their Q & A they did for us in 2009 here. Most importantly note the recommendation that independent adjusters have their own E & O policy for their own protection:

CPLIC 2nd E & O Info

Here is also a link to our first guest in August 2008  blog post by Dale Moore and Michael Hale of CPLIC with additional FAQ:

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/errors-and-omissions-coverage-guest-bloggers-dale-moore-client-relations-director-for-cplic/

During my 50 Hour Fundamentals of Claims class, we cover Error and Omission Coverage with new adjusters. I am constantly amazed at their answers to questions on adjusters E & O coverage. Most state that they would rely on the coverage of an adjusting firm to protect them. When I question them further, it is interesting to see that I have never had one adjuster be able to tell me who the adjusting firm’s E & O policy is with, what the policy number is, how to contact the E & O carrier, what the E & O policy covers them for, if the E & O policy provides for defense costs for them if they are named individually in a lawsuit. In other words,  they are working without even knowing about their coverage.

In recent years, many carriers, especially state run insurers like Texas Windpool and Citizens Property of Insurance in their RFP 08-0016 had terms stating they did not protect adjusting firms or independent adjusters so they were basically out on their own as far as providing an Answer to a Complaint (lawsuit) which is a costly proposition. I especially disagree with this position as the majority of claims litigation issues post hurricanes Katrina and Ike involved disputes insurance consumers had due to insurance company coverage decisions on wind/ water issues, wind debris to shingle issues, and other coverage or carrier guidelines an independent adjuster is required to follow.  It is long past due that  insurers,  the government,  and now BP and the Ken Feinburg group administering the BP Escrow fund  grant independent adjusting firms  and independent adjusters a  fair and meaningful defense and indemnity agreement.

This guest blog is a great example of what ClaimSmentor is all about. It is not about what I think as a former staff adjuster and claims manager nor about my experience as a participant in the independent claims industry. It is all about bringing together a professional group of reputable resources to provide proper advice and information to the independent claims adjusting community who have a most difficult time gathering current industry information applicable to claims assignments and catastrophe operations except when they are out on assignment.

I urge anyone who does not have their own E & O policy to run not walk to CPLIC to address your questions and check on your own E & O coverage.

Thanks again from ClaimSmentor to CPLIC for allowing us permission to share their 2010 Urgent message with our members.


BP Claim Information Updates through Sunday June 20, 2010

June 20, 2010

The national news is just full of information regarding the status on BP oil claims so I wanted to take a few minutes tonight to post links to some information independent claims adjusters and adjusting firms will be interested in tonight.

First, Worley Adjusting Company  now has information posted on their website that due to the overwhelming number of applications they received, they are temporarily no longer accepting any new applications. View their complete statement here.

Second, the rumor throughout independent adjusting circles is that a second adjusting company has now been deploying adjusters for BP assignments. Here is a link to the GAB Robins website. We have not been able to confirm this directly over the weekend but have heard  this from numerous adjusters. ***Update Monday 6/21/2010- GAB has now confirmed that they are handling and the contact there is the Columbia, SC office- Mr Hubbard. There is a link on their site to office locations for specific info there.

It is our understanding that both firms are paying independent adjusters ( and others with experience unknown) on a daily rate PLUS per diem on an incurred basis for temporary housing. This is a great thing on the housing allowance as insurance companies make no consideration for temporary housing for independents. They provide temporary housing only for staff adjusters. The long term experienced adjusters say the amount of the daily rate is not enough as far as they are concerned in comparison to billing on catastrophe large losses and commercial claims so they are telling me they would not be interested in these BP assignments. Rumor also has it that GAB is paying on an hourly rate plus per diem. The amount I’ve seen would come to slightly more than the daily rate Worley is paying if the amount I was told is accurate.

We will all see how they feel after a major catastrophe as most independents are very displeased with insurance companies reducing fee schedules while at the same time drastically increasing file requirements which I’m hearing on the average take an experienced independent adjusters on average about two more hours per claim to close a file and get management approval.

Should this be the case. this is a good indication that possibly many more independent adjusters will be deployed to assist with the now 61,000 claims of which BP is stating they now have while only about 31,000 of these BP claimants have now been issued an advance.  Here is a link to the June 19, 2010 BP report advising they now have 33 claim offices set up with 1,000 people working in the claims offices. I’d like to say they are all licensed adjusters but I can’t verify that and have heard from some of the adjusters who are deployed that there were unlicensed people in their induction meetings. In CEO Tony Haywards prepared testimony to Congress on page 8 he stated as of that date that 700 adjusters had been deployed and states 600 of those were experienced.

  To compare this assigned adjuster response to hurricane season, I wrote a blog the other day showing that over 12,000 emergency adjuster licenses had been issued in 2005 and over 17,000 in 2004 in FL alone. This does not take into account the regular permanent licensed adjusters and the non resident adjusters who worked those 2 hurricane seasons in FL. Here is also a link to an article post Hurricane Ike on the number of claims adjusters assigned in TX.

The same 6.19.2010 BP update above also states BP has received about 84,000 calls into their call center. Now compare this to news coming out of Houston where the BP call center is set up quoting them as having received over 200,000  calls about claims and quoting some of the 100 BP phone operators as saying the call center is just a diversion and the calls go nowhere . See this second article  by Huffington Post with video quoting a BP operator  as well saying the call center is just a diversion.

Florida Insurance Commissioner, Alex Sink, who is currently running for Florida Governor also jumped into the act on BP claims per these articles  here and here coming out of the Pensacola, FL area where she went into the Pensacola, FL BP claims office with a claimant and news camera in tow. The part I surely do not understand about that is that BP is self insured first of all but secondly that the article says the claimant was attorney represented so I am not sure why the claims manager even talked to the claimant if his attorney was not present. She next met with a group of business owners in Pensacola to discuss their problems with the BP claims office. I do in fact hope that the insurance commissioners do get involved and that only licensed independent adjusters are able to handle these claims. It is a disservice to all BP claimants to have to work with “claims processors” as Tony Hayward called them when testifying to Congress yet I am not sure that these “claims processors” must be licensed if  BP is self insured.

According to an article about Katie Couric’s interview with Ken Feinburg, it states that $600M in claims have been filed and $71M has been paid out. Friday he promised legitimate claims would be paid within 30-60 days:

“Kenneth Feinberg was chosen to oversee the $20-billion compensation fund promised Friday to pay all legitimate claims quickly – in 30 to 60 days. He spoke with CBS News anchor Katie Couric from Baton Rouge, La.”

For those of you in the claims industry….wouldn’t that be quite a feat? Lawsuits still are being filed in TX over hurricane IKE weekly and we are just approaching the statute of limitiations ( deadline period to file lawsuits on property damage) in FL from hurricane Wilma. The part especially misunderstood about this is how in the world can claims be settled within 60-90 days as stated when they do not even expect the escaping oil to finally be capped until sometime in August and by all reports that is a BIG if !  

Most importantly is that you see this Katie Couric video interviewing the newly appointed Ken Feinburg  who will oversee the $20B BP escrow account announced last week by President Obama. It is very helpful for understanding their planned claims process between the BP escrow account and the 1990 Pollution Act claims process these claims were originally solely being processed under. Also view this CBS news article outlining important other traumatic disaster cases Ken Feinburg has handled to include settlements with the victims family for 9/11 and the Virginia Tech shooting case settlements.

This next Bloomberg article  gives the case citations which says in part:

“The multidistrict case is In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, MDL-2179, Washington. The dispersants case is Parker v. Nalco Co., 2:10- cv-01749, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).”

CNN tonight was interviewing a gentleman providing warning about BP job scams and other warnings about firms showing up to offer to help you for a fee which is not necessary. I in fact ran across something that really bothered me tonight just researching for this claims update. To see it for yourself, go to www.bp.com/claims which is the official site for BP announcements. Remembering the exact website for this incorrectly, I first entered www.bpclaims.com and to my surprise it is a public adjusting firm website that defaults and moves you seamlessly to www.publicadjuster.com . I didn’t even bother to read the public adjuster site but my thinking was how bad that is that some innocent claimant would think that they were designated to handle BP claims which is not the case or atleast I have not heard that BP has hired any public adjusters to handle their claims.

**Additional info added  6/21/2010- I meant to include the following link to a Bloomberg article explaining the 232 class action lawsuits on BP claims will be moved/handled by 1 appointed judge:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601102&sid=aljqY7Nv_AzA

Well, I intended to spend a few minutes updating on the claims status as of 6/20/2010 and now hours later I’ll wrap it up with a  link  to my blog with a prayer and a song to all Gulf Coast residents and recovery workers and adjusters working these claims as promised that I would end every BP blog with this prayer for them:

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/eternal-father-strong-to-save-a-prayer-for-americans-during-the-bp-gulf-coast-oil-spill-recovery-open-letter-3-to-president-obama-and-admiral-thad-allen/


Eternal Father Strong to Save- A prayer for Americans during the BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill Recovery- Open Letter 3 to President Obama and Admiral Thad Allen

June 15, 2010

President Obama is speaking from NAS Pensacola, FL as I write this. It is the most support I have seen him express to the brave men and woman serving in the US Armed Forces  since he began his Presidency. I am taking this particular speech very personally as my father, my brother, and my brother in law are all buried at Barrancas National Cemetary at NAS Pensacola.  I cannot bear the thought of the memories of our childhood being destroyed with the gulf oil tar nor of disturbing the area so others can  grow up with the same wonderful memories our family shares from the area during our youth when my father was stationed there.

I still  have family in the area including my nephew Ryan who is attending college at the University of West Florida  following in the foot steps of my wonderful father and brother who also attended the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL. His degree is going to be in the marine industry. He too is watching his dreams disturbed by the worst environmental disaster in Amercian history as he faces unemployment working part time in the beach restaurant industry as a means of income to help cover his expenses while in college.

President Obama- thank you for doing us proud with your military speech in Pensacola and for finally showing our military of all branches the respect and honor they so much deserve. As a military brat as us military children are known as, we do know the sacrifices having watched our fathers depart on Naval aircraft carriers, departing for war, and the fear and sadness we experience as we support our brothers, sisters, neices, nephews, sons, daughters, and our fathers as they protect Amercians at assignments both at home and have to regularly leave us to go abroad to protect us around the world.

I’ll end this thanks with the words of my very favorite navy hymn heard every Sunday growing up on military bases and attending church at military chapels where our father was stationed.  If you really listen and read the words, I think you will agree this song represents all of our prayers for our military, our national guard members, our claims adjusters who will have to work in these coastal environments during hurricane season, and our BP responders constantly exposed to the oil spill tar and disperants as they clean up our beaches and marshlands and experiencing illness as a result. We also extend this as a prayer to all gulf coast residents suffering from this oil spill :

             Eternal Father Strong to Save – Original Version

             The original words are:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee 
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

For links to the origins and history and other more modern versions of this song, visit this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_Father,_Strong_to_Save#Lyrics

**Note the Episcopal version is also very appropriate and shown on the link above

I find the following musical version very comforting at times like these and hope you will enjoy the music and pictorial vision as well:

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/e/t/eternalf.htm

Please pass this on in hope it brings a focus to the faith that God will protect us and keep us safe. Especially for the families of the victims killed in this BP Oil explosion. Our prayers are with you every single day. Just click on the title to this blog today and you can then copy and paste it into an email to your friends and family suffering through this disaster or serving in recovery efforts.

Respectfully,

Debbie Moroy, AIC,IIA  ClaimSmentor Founder www.claimSmentor.com

 

 

 


Let’s Compare Florida’s 2004 & 2005 Bad Hurricane Seasons with the Current Number of BP claims as of 6/12/2010 and Currently deployed Claims Adjusters- Part II- Open Letter to Obama and Admiral Allen

June 14, 2010

The news as you know is just full of news organizations analyzing BP response to the claims resulting from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill disaster.

It might help, without throwing accusations around,  to just compare a few numbers and several major differences between the disastrous 2004 and 2005 hurricane season in Florida and the Gulf Oil spill numbers as of  yesterday, June 12, 2010.

Let’s look at this  article  dating back August 2008 by the Florida Insurance Council. The article  states in part that:

” The Department’s Bureau of Licensing issued 17,488 Emergency Adjuster licenses for the four-storm 2004 hurricane season and 12,284 Emergency Adjuster licenses during 2005. Florida was again impacted by four hurricanes that year, but most of the damage was from Hurricane Wilma. In addition to adjusters working with emergency licenses, hundreds, if not thousands, of resident adjusters handled claims from the 2004/2005 hurricanes. “

Keep in mind that they are talking about emergency adjuster license numbers only. This does not include FL resident independent adjuster licenses, FL non resident independent adjuster licenses, nor staff adjusters (those who work directly for the carrier as employees) so you can just imagine how many more thousands of independents and staff adjusters just FL required in 2004 and 2005. Now add the Katrina claim statistics and number of adjusters also out working in 2005. Louisiana did not have adjuster licensing in 2005 so I’m not sure where I can get the 2005 statistics on Katrina as a comparison.

Emergency adjuster licenses are temporary licenses  that allow a non resident adjuster to work in the issuing state without an adjuster’s license in that state. The other way to work out of state is to obtain a permanent non-resident license. In addition, of course, we have permanent resident licenses. Normally, if your state of residence requires a resident license, FL and other states requiring an adjuster’s license will allow you to work for a short period of time in the disaster zone under an emergency license. These are typically only approved by a state department of insurance once a Governor has Declared a state of emergency. They are normally good for anywhere from 60-120 days and can be renewed if the state licensing department extends the deadline. The limiting factor is an adjuster operating under a temporary emergency license can only work claims for a particular declared disaster. They cannot be utilized to work non disaster related losses.

Recent trends have carriers, thus independent adjusting firms, requiring adjusters obtain a number (usually 7-15 different storm prone states) of non resident licenses. The reason being that the carrier can deploy an out of state adjuster into a state when there is NOT a Disaster Declaration by the state Governor should they have a permanent non resident license. The advantage is they can be deployed out of state to help with the smaller storms like small hail storms and the like. Worley adjusting company who is the firm appointed by ESIS to handle the BP oil spill claims and their site on the home page  shows a typical example of the non resident licenses required of independent adjusters. Each non-resident license requires a fee typically about $65.00 and reporting on CE so this is a large burden and expense for independent adjusters.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners had proposed a Model  Independent Adjusters license back in 2007. While we were all hopeful it would be adopted by state insurance commissioners, the NAIC committee looking in to it later scrapped the proposed recommendation. What a darn shame considering what we are facing today handling BP oil spill claims along multiple gulf coast states. It is needed for more prompt deployment of adjusters during major disasters rather than having delays caused by waiting on emergency adjuster licenses. Adjusters seem to think the issue is the fees acquired by each state are substantial considering the thousands upon thousands of resident, non resident, and emergency licenses each year. However,  it was not to be. The American Association of Independent Claims Professionals, AAICP still has the documents up on their site  to include their letter to NAIC requesting they reconsider passing of this model act. The Winter 2010 newsletter on AAICP’s site  provides an update on adjuster and producer national licensing and where we stand today on this pending model act for a national license. It cannot be passed too soon as far as independent adjusters are concerned. I also wrote about the independent adjuster license issues in this blog in July 2007 when NAIC cancelled further recommendations for the act and here in my “Who Moved my Claims Cheese” blog.

Should time permit,  look back on my blog “ Are Independent Adjusters a Dying Breed or Fungible Billing units ” ? This is definitely applicable SHOULD BP/Esis or others be placing non licensed adjusters in BP or ESIS claims offices. I should definitely hope this is NOT happening. Those I’ve talked to this week that are being deployed atleast by Worley  have all been very seasoned experienced adjusters who have been highly complimentary of  Worley’s induction and training process prior to deploying them to ESIS claims offices (ESIS is the insurance company for BP as explained in other blogs here the past two weeks).

Going back to my open letter to President Obama and Admiral Thad Allen, I still recommend some kind of emergency order be made waiving non resident emergency licenses as long as it can be documented that an adjuster is properly licensed in their home state. In cases where a state does not require an adjuster’s license like Tennesee  and Colorado,(this is unimaginable), most independent adjusters have obtained a Texas or FL non resident license so they can then apply to multiple other states who will accept those non resident licenses to then provide them a reciprocal license in their state.  See info in this blog about Model Independent Adjuster Act recommendations for immediate implementation as a further suggestion to improve the BP Oil Spill claims process.

Now let’s move to look at the deaths and damage from the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons:

2004: click here 

This says in part:

“The season was notable as one of the deadliest and most costly Atlantic hurricane seasons on record in the last decade, with at least 3,132 deaths and roughly $50 billion (2004 US dollars) in damage.”

2005: click here

The initial sentence outlines the 2005 damage and death statistics as follows:

“The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history, repeatedly shattering numerous records. The impact of the season was widespread and ruinous with an estimated 3,865 deaths and record damages of about $130 billion (2005 USD).”

Also, it is very interesting to look back at this Insurance Journal article on “Lessons learned from the 2004 hurricane season“. In spite of the horrible hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, what we are facing as a nation and as adjusters is unprecedented. This is due to several factors and many potential unknowns as this oil spreads along our coastal communities:

1  )  Hurricanes, for the majority of claims, are first party claims meaning they are claims to an insured’s property. The insured has signed an insurance contract with an insurance company while the oil spill cases are considered third party liability claims meaning that one party is responsible for the damages to another if their actions are the proximate cause of the third party (non contract) has suffered as a result of their negligent actions.  Adjusters from the BP side of claims do not have policy terms in the contract to fall back on such as “An Insured’s Duties after a Loss” in the Conditions section of a first party policy. We will be at the mercy of following directions for handling these liability claims from the instructions of ESIS and I guess BP. In addition, Admiral Thad Allen and President Obama have their hands necessarily involved in this national disaster so we just do not know how the claims handling will proceed or these claims will be settled. There are many acts such as pollution acts, EPA clean water acts, and many more that control what type of damage BP is responsible for. We’ll expand on that information in a later blog. Many of these requirements are far outside the typical experience adjusters have so leadership direction is crucial for training adjusters unfamiliar with handling oil spill damage and losses.

2) Hurricane losses may take a very long time to settle  depending on the amount of damage to a property and the period it will require to restore the property. These BP claims on the other hand are going to be continuing open claims with a long period of time in pending status. We do not have a known “period of restoration” for the clean up in the gulf coast, we have no definite date as to when the oil will stop entering the ocean, we do not know what hurricane season may bring as far as further moving the oil contamination and disperants inland, it is unknown what illness and bodily injury will be related in the long term to the disperants or for that matter how it will affect properties.  We do not know the ramifications of the oil spill on ripple effects as businesses close, lost income for the gulf coast workers and now the oil rig workers who may be laid off now that off shore drilling is being addressed by President Obama and a six month moratorium on off shore drilling.

3) Even insurance companies may be suffering greatly this hurricane season as massive numbers of independent adjusters may be deployed to handle oil spill claims and not be available as expected for hurricane season (whoa to those carriers 80% or more whose catastrophe plan relied in the majority on independent adjusters).  Unless they become reasonable in their fee schedules and consider paying a daily per diem, they are going to have a very tough time competing for independents getting per diem and a good daily rate on the BP oil spill claims as insurance companies do not normally pay per diem allowances for independent adjusters.  The other consideration independents will have to make are whether they are willing to walk away from a long term BP assignment to go for a month or two of  wind losses for an insurance company especially given that those hurricane losses may require exposure to oil and disperants when inspecting field losses. No amount of pay can make up for exposing yourself to the possiblity of  permanent damage or death from these unknown exposures. The paid statistics on claims for BP claims does not mean these claims are settled. Far from it, from most news sources, claimants are very unhappy that $2,500 and  $5,000 advances is what they have received thus far.

4) In addition, this update on the Deep Water Horizon response site  shows that Admiral Allen has issued instructions for BP claimants unhappy with their BP claim to notify the Coast Guard. What????? Will the coast guard then be just passing these complaints on to the ESIS claims offices handling the BP claims or will they then just pass them on to the Departments of Insurance who normally handles complaints on insurance claims for insureds (yet again we are dealing with claimants here). I haven’t seen any instructions from the insurance company side on how they are going to deal with this but they need to know while they have time in their disaster planning before a hurricane hits.

5) On the same link in #4 above,  near the bottom, you will find Admiral Thad Allen’s new Media Access requirements in this Media Access pdf strongly encouraging media access and prohibiting  responders from denying access to the press unless they would be endangered in a prohibited area. Will this change insurance companies Code of Conduct forms adjusting firms and adjusters must abide by to allow media discussions by adjusting firms and adjusters  with the media which are also prohibited as oil spill workers alleged they were prohibited by BP for responding?  Something else to be reviewed by insurance company attorneys before a major hurricane hits this season.

 I cannot even begin to list all of the effects and costs incurred by claimants (third parties) with their loss of property values in areas seriously impacted by oil. This weekend, we saw a new for sale sign up at the beach here in Jacksonville that said “Marshfront” property for sale. I told my husband it might as well have shouted ” swamp land for sale due to looming oil spill expected to make the bend up the east coast of Florida” because I cannot even imagine an interested buyer until we know if oil will or will not make it’s way to the Florida east coast.

The trauma on all Americans, especially those on the gulf coast, are real. Even for those of us far from the current and ever spreading damage, it is traumatic just watching the wildlife covered in oil and tar, the grown men crying outside of their homes, offices, and claim centers. God be with them all and with the adjusters working at the claim offices and also those that are going to be handling hurricane losses should a major hurricane make landfall in any of these zones.

The June 09 2010 update by Huffington post  on BP claims states that  18,000 claims have been paid, and $84 million  has been paid out. It does not provide the total numbers  of claims received thus far. According to this article, only 600 adjusters were currently working in claims offices. No wonder this article quotes a policyholder saying they have called numerous times and get no answer on the phones! Look back and compare this to the 2004 and 2005 numbers just for Florida  where over 10,000 emergency licensed independent adjusters worked both of those years not counting thousands more deployed who were staff adjusters and you decide……..how would you rate the BP claims response on as of  today? This updated article found on the BP website  dated 6/14/10 states a total of 51,000 claims received and about 26,000 payments made totalling $62 million dollars. There is no mention in the current update on the number of currently deployed adjusters since the 6/9/10 stats I had above.

Make sure to read this  this article by www.Money.CNN.com indicating predications are that BP will spend between 3 billion and 40 billion in their response to this disaster while at the same time predicting Florida alone will have a 10.9 billion dollar economic loss along with potential for the loss of 195,000 jobs. The current top prediction at 40 billion is just 10 billion shy of the cost of damages in the 2004 hurricane season and about one third of the damage costs in the 2005 hurricane season thus far. 

Reuters news service is reporting that President Obama will require BP open an Escrow account when they meet June 16, 2010  to meet their obligations on claims. Here’s the link to this story.

God be with us all. Amen.

It is now 2:35 am ET so it will be tomorrow after A.M.  liability classes before I can go back and review this for grammar, etc so bear with me.

 


Special Announcement- KMConDemand in Final Phases of Property Technical Certification Testing for Adjusters- Will we finally get 1 Certification Test?

June 10, 2010

It sure has been tough holding this back from everyone for the past several months.

You all know I have alot of respect for one of  our sponsor ‘s KMConDemand the online training arm of Crawford.  In fact, I had my husband take their package training  program- I think it was called Charter program and it was only$ 135.00 and gave him 5 WC classes, 5 Auto, and 5 property classes and then he sat through my Fundamentals of Property claims which covered other issues on insurance department complaints, agency relationships, claims negotiations and much more on and off since he is a newly licensed adjuster in 2009.

Several months ago,  KMConDemand, brought me in on a committee for the new proposed Property Technical Certification program with our  hopes this will replace all carrier certifications independents are having to take one day. It can’t be one day too soon as far as I am concerned. I understand the important need to certify for a carrier so they know you are competent to handle their claims and for the protection of their policyholder’s. However, what independents currently deal with is traveling to locations nationwide for basically the exact same kind of certification on construction, estimating, with really the only major difference being the carrier specific policy information. I am so hopeful this will change the way this is done- once you’ve tested that you have all the property knowledge on the estimating skills needed- wouldn’t it be so easy if the carrier’s would approve acceptance of this then just a policy quiz and estimating guidelines they want specifically?  To me the present process with carriers seems like someone telling you to sit for the AIC- Associates in Claims program a zillion times. If you have a well carrier / KMC proctored exam ONCE it would be simply heaven.

That would be exactly what I do on our Fundamentals of Property adjusting course ( 10 lessons on other property topics outside of estimating and scoping) where we teach them carrier requirements in general but always advise them to take the material I’ve trained them on and add notes at each assignment to alter any minor carrier deviations for a particular storm.

This is just in the committee phase and testing  just started on the certification this June. He is also in the process of obtaining CE’s in numerous states which I don’t think you get now on certification tests from any carriers.

As you will see on the committee members link, I am honored to be included. They  allowed me to bring some other ClaimSmentor members who could bring valuable critique of the proposed material as well. Thus  you will also see Woody Britton, twice past President of NACA, Eric Gilkey- head editor of Claims Magazine, and Dr Michael Birzon head of the UCF Insurance school as well as some others  I am not at liberty to disclose yet . I am very thankful these valued members all agreed to serve on the committee as well. Here is a link to all of the other committee members as well:

http://www.Kmcondemand.com/ptc

*Look at the carrier execs on the list as well as major players in the Independent management side

Thankfully, I think some of the 3 day school issues will be history by next year and hopefully the requirements  that you have to take so many individual carrrier certification tests.
 
The new Property Technical Certification program is presently  in  the testing phase  now through August through KMConDemand the online training arm of Crawford and Company. This is to go live in September now that minor questions are resolved on proctor issues and other things.  There are 3 different certfication levels similar to the Xactimate Level 1,2, and three.
 
Just take a look at the committee list with executives from major carriers on the committee as well as major players from large independent firms. I post this link with the permission of the head of KMConDemand since I now have approval to release the information:
 
http://www.kmcondemand.com/ptc              This link has all the info on the current plans consisting of PTC 1, PTC 2, PTC 3  agendas.
http://www.kmcondemand.com/ptc/index.php?Page=dynamic&id=66  * This link has the link to all committee members.
 
The material is outstanding and a far cry from some of the problems adjusters complain of at outside vendor schools.  I am most hopeful the insurance carriers agree to this replacing all of the individual carrier certifications so we anxiously await the testing period results  at the end of August 2010 so this can go live.
 
My husband is a newly licensed adjuster so I got to watch while he did the classes when I had time for the regular series of online classes. They had 15 programs at that time and I think have now added 6 more. For  $135.00, he was able to take 5 classes in WC, 5  in auto and 5 in property. All contained CE’s.
 
I have  been 100% sold on them since. I am also glad they are backed by Crawford who we all know has an outstanding reputation. Colm knows I’m probably his biggest fan and thrilled at what KMC has brought for such a reasonable cost to independents saving their travel costs. In addition, as a claims manager it brings me much comfort or safety net if you will to know they will be tested and the passing standards are high as well as proctored exams.
 
This should take us a long way in helping improve the public perception and carrier perception of independent adjusters. Can you also just imagine how great this will be for independents no longer having travel costs to certify for multiple vendors and do these online. I’m sure keeping my fingers crossed for the independents that this does succeed and hope you will as well.
 
Thankfully, I think some of the 3 day school issues will be history by next year and hopefully the requirements that that you have to take so many individual carrrier certification tests.

 
http://www.kmcondemand.com/ptc This link has all the info on the current plans consisting of PTC 1, PTC 2, PTC 3  agendas.
 
http://www.kmcondemand.com/ptc/index.php?Page=dynamic&id=66  
 * This link has the link to all committee members.
 
The material is outstanding and a far cry from some of the problems adjusters complain of at outside vendor schools.  I am most hopeful the insurance carriers agree to this replacing all of the individual carrier certifications so we anxiously await the testing period results so this can go live.
 
This should take us a long way in helping improve the public perception and carrier perception of independent adjusters. Can you also just imagine how great this will be for independents no longer having travel costs to certify for multiple vendors and do these online. I’m sure keeping my fingers crossed for the independents that this does succeed and hope you will as well.
 
Speaking of that- I hope you will share this blog post as well as the link below with other independents. We are trying to move mountains in getting BP to use more independent firms. Thanks so much to the claims managers and adjusters who have read it and written to let me know they have sent the link to politicians and news connections asking they get the word out that independents are the solution to clean up the BP Oil spill claims process:
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/an-open-letter-to-admiral-thad-allen-president-obama-white-house-news-correspondents-esis-insurance-and-all-involved-in-the-bp-oil-response-we-can-help-address-your-claims-concerns-lead-follow/
 
************

 
Speaking of that- I hope you will share this blog post with other independents. We are trying to move mountains in getting BP to use more independent firms. Thanks so much to the claims managers and adjusters who have read it and written to let me know they have sent the link to politicians and news connections asking they get the word out that independents are the solution to clean up the BP Oil spill claims process:
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/06/07/an-open-letter-to-admiral-thad-allen-president-obama-white-house-news-correspondents-esis-insurance-and-all-involved-in-the-bp-oil-response-we-can-help-address-your-claims-concerns-lead-follow/


Outstanding article by the President of the CA Assn of Independent Adjusters on Fee Schedules Contributing to Independent Adjusters leaving the Industry

May 16, 2010

I ran across this newsletter from December 2008 in the California Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters December 2008 newsletter which is the best written article  I’ve come across discussing a topic of great importance to all Independent adjusters which is the perception/reality that carriers no longer are treating independent adjusters as independents. Specifically, it addresses the change in fee schedules and billing procedures as well as the fact this is driving off the independent adjusters from this business. Great job to the then President -Pete Vaughn- for putting this President’s message together.

I think every conversation I have with a claim manager and/or adjuster these days always turns to the problem with fee schedules. Among the rumors folks have shared with me- some I can confirm- some are rumors at this point as far as my knowledge goes- include a state carrier requiring adjusting firms to offer a 5-10% discount off of the CARRIER fee schedule to be a selectee on an RFP (ludacrist!), rumors about carriers reducing THEIR fee schedule by large percentages in 2010 allegedly due to the glut in numbers of adjusting firms, and probably the largest complaint is that the insurance companies are putting out RFP’s for adjusting firms to bid for their work and agreeing to one price based on one set of terms such as limited assignments and now requiring more file requirements and more be done and expecting it to be done for the reduced fees a firm may have agreed to. In addition, when an insurance company brings on too many firms, this limits the number of assignments one firm may get. This does not give an independent adjuster enough files to even justify the monthly cost of estimate software to work daily (non- catastrophe claims).

On top of the fee schedules being reduced, independent qualification criteria is much more costly for attending the ever growing number of carrier certifications which requires independents incur travel and lodging expenses to attend these tests. The second major change in the past few years is the requirement for independents to acquire and maintain up to 15 non resident licenses which I hear are costing them about 1,000 for the fees if they do obtain them all in the gulf coast states. While it makes sense to obtain the non resident licenses from the standpoint an adjuster can be used for cat and non cat claims even when an emergency has not been declared in a state with a smaller storm yet there is a reason that states have emergency adjuster licenses available once a governor has declared a catastrophe to allow non resident adjusters to come into a state to work storm losses.

Well enough of my comments in response to this great article written by the then President- Pete Vaughn – so here is the link to the December 2008 issue so you can read the article yourself. I hope this generates a comment from the writer of the article on new trends he is seeing in 2009 and 2010 since this article has been written. From what I’m hearing- the fee schedules are much worse if anything. I’d be interested in your thoughts as well as his as to what you are experiencing out in the field.

Here is the link- http://www.caiia.org/sr/1208caiia_sr.pdf

I agree whole heartedly with this article- do the carriers want a cheap price or do they want the quality work which policyholders deserve? At this point, it certainly appears their overriding decisions are based solely on price driving many experienced adjusters to leave this industry based on the lack of work and when their is work, the fee schedules are unreasonably low which do not begin to cover an independent overhead to cover their software expenses, travel and lodging expenses, and their equipment needs and maintenance issues for vehicles, computers, ladders, and annual certifications.


Announcement- ClaimSmentor forms Strategic Alliance Partnership with Council on Litigation Management group for FREE Law CE’s for adjusters

April 21, 2010

ClaimSmentor was founded with a mission to help improve claims continuing education for independent adjusters since the options were so limited back when we were founded in December of 2005.
 
Towards that goal, I am pleased to announce a major enhancement to independent liability and claims litigation training.
 
We have formed a Strategic Alliance with Council on Litigation Management Group to provide FREE LAW CE’s in all states requiring CE credits for adjusters. Here is the Strategic Alliance information posted on their site:
 
http://www.litmgmt.org/network/StrategicAffiliations.aspx
 
They are offering seminars nationwide at predesignated locations and the best news yet is that your vendor,  adjusting firm , or even insurance companies can schedule to host any of the sessions as well.
 
Think this is good news? The best news is yet to come!
 
Hosting a class couldn’t be easier! Your firm supplies the facility for groups of 25 to 60 claim adjuster attendees and CLM provides all class material and 2 instructors to present the Council on Litigation Management approved course material. In addition, they handle all adjuster CE submission for you. There is absolutely no charge to the adjusting firm or adjuster for hosting these other than providing the meeting space for your group.
 
As adjusters, attendance couldn’t be easier! Simply go to follow these instructions:
 
1)Register as a Fellow membership- totally FREE so you can then register for upcoming training sessions which is also required so they can file your CE’s. Here is the link:
 
http://www.litmgmt.org/FellowRegistration2.aspx
 
2) Then click on this link to find all training sessions and locations scheduled for upcoming FREE classes:
 
http://www.litmgmt.org/Events.aspx
 
 
 
3) We are working with member claims adjusting firms on ClaimSmentor to host these classes. We will handle all email notifications and posting with ClaimSmentor members (now approaching 1200)
 
What an excellent opportunity for meeting opportunities with your adjusters from your firm as well. You can plan and host these along with your roster members at your annual conferences.
 
Independent adjusters are always looking for law CE’s. What a fantastic way to train them to be multi line adjusters for working daily losses.
 
Any firms from ClaimSmentor interested in hosting these classes anywhere nationwide should email CLM@Dimechimes.com to discuss location opportunities and dates you are considering. We’ll do the rest for you with our ClaimSmentor participants to let them know.
 
Please use this topic to ask questions and I will get you the answers you need from CLM. We’ll also use this topic to post notices of which firms are presenting them as well.
 
Adjusters- if you work for an adjusting firm or attend Claims Association meetings, please pass the word and see if they will host a session and we’ll take it from there to get our members to these classes.
 
Special thanks to Adam Potter with CLM for agreeing to this Strategic Alliance to bring free LAW CE’s to our members nationwide!
 
Now- for some absolutely outstanding news! We are going to kick off the ClaimSmentor involvement with the Claims Litigation management group with their May 6, 2010 Dallas, TX sessions which takes place at the Dallas Cowboys stadium! Only 50 seats left available! Not only will you earn law CE’s but you will also get to tour the stadium as well as attend a game- ALL FREE of Charge! Here is the link to get registered:
 
http://www.litmgmt.org/rsvp/TX10/
 
Other upcoming currently scheduled events are:
 
Columbus, OH- May 12, 2010:
 
http://www.litmgmt.org/rsvp/OH10
 
May 13, 2010 in Atlanta, GA:
 
http://www.litmgmt.org/rsvp/GA10
 
June 10, 2010 in Seattle, WA:
 
 
http://www.litmgmt.org/rsvp/WA10
 
I have to tell you, the mock trial in Seattle brings back some of the best claims management training I ever attended as a staff claims manager- it’s training you will never forget.
 
Again, any member of ClaimSmentor interested in hosting these classes, email CLM@Dimechimes.com to schedule. Why not combine some training you need to do with your roster members one day and a second day providing them with these free Law CE classes.
 
Hosts are asked to schedule only 2 of the 18 classes in one day. They prefer to present these in bite size courses so the adjusters will not be overwhelmed with the training so you might even consider scheduling some quarterly- especially during non cat season!

Not yet a member of ClaimSmentor? Here is the link to our registration information: www.claimSmentor.com/register.php


Health Care Reform Provisions- Great article outlining how this will effect employers. What about adjusting firms?

March 24, 2010

New Health Care Reform provisions- how are they going to effect independent adjusting firms and carriers?

Excellent article found at Constangy law firm  clearly outlining how the Health care reforms will effect employers is found here:

http://www.constangy.com/communications-275.html

I’m curious how this will effect independent adjusters since some do work as W2 employees versus on a 1099 and are allowed to collect unemployment when they do. Will independent adjusting firms stop allowing it? Will the insurance carriers who require the adjusting firms use them as W2’s either drastically increase fee bills to cover the independent firm thousands of fees they have to pay per employee if they don’t provide their health care?

 This should lead to an interesting discussion and speculation on many of our parts who are involved in the claims industry! We hope to see your comments posted! We do require an email address to approve your comments but you can comment in your first name only so it doesn’t effect your relationships with adjusting firms or carriers!

We do not personally know this law firm and just ran across this through their newsletter. We are not giving legal advice here but recommending you check this out and consider these issues with your own counsel.


Citizens of Florida Independent Adjusting Firm 2010 Training information- Action Catastrophe Team

March 24, 2010

We have received the following training update from Action Catastrophe Team with their training dates and locations for their FREE Citizens of Florida 2010 Claim Certification training for catastrophe and non catastrophe training. Here is a copy of their information posted with their permission.

I have published these in the past for information I could find on all of their approved vendors. For 2010, I have decided to post only those of participating ClaimSmentor adjusting firms as I personally have gotten to know their owners over the past 4.5 years that ClaimSmentor has been in business so I am more comfortable sharing information I know about reputable adjusting firms. Citizens has prequalified all approved vendors so I would think they all would be reputable, it’s just that I do not know them personally and will share information from the ones I do know personally. So….here’s the first opportunity shared for posting with this firms approval:

Subject: Citizen’s Certification Classes from Action Catastrophe Team


 
 

 

Event
Tallahassee, FL
Atlanta, GA
Tampa/St.Petersburg, FL
Arlington, TX

 

Quick LinksMore About A.C.T.

More About Citizen’s FL

 

Upcoming Citizen’s Certification Classes from Action Catastrophe Team

 

Hello Again!!We hope everyone has has an enjoyable start to what we hope is a very healthy and prosperous 2010.  As we enter spring, it’s time for us to start turning our attention to the new, yearly Citizen’s certification classes.

A.C.T. is very fortunate to be a vendor for Citizen’s, handling both Non-Cat (Daily) and Catastrophe claims.  We have adjusting positions available for Residential, Commercial, Sinkhole,  Liability, Team Lead, and Inside Examiners for both Daily and Cat claims.

The early predictions indicate the 2010 Hurricane Season will be more active than normal and there is a high likelihood that Florida will once again be in the bulls-eye.  Don’t let the less than active last couple of years lull you into a false sense of security. 

We could have another 2004 or 2005 season at any time and if you want to participate when it happens, you MUST attend one of the FREE, MANDATORY, Citizen’s Certification Classes we will be offering.

Unlike last year, Citizen’s will be combining the Cat and Non-Cat classes into one session.  Even if you attended a Citizen’s class in the past, you have to be re-certified every year. 

We have scheduled four seperate Certification classses and smaller group sessions in Florida are possible at a later date.

To register, simply reply to this e-mail with the location you wish to reserve a seat in.  You will receive an e-mail confirmation.  Or go to our Website www.actioncatteam.com and visit the “Contact Us” page.  While there, fill out the On-Line Information sheet to ensure we have your current contact information.

Once you are confirmed to attend, we will send specific information as to the materials you will need to bring to these meetings.  You must have a Current Resume’ indicating at least two years experience and a Background Check will be done on all adjusters.

Feel free to forward this to any adjusters you know that would like to join our Team. 

 

 

 

 Tallahassee, Florida

We traditionally make Tallahassee one of our first Certification Class locations.  There are several hotels/motels nearby and this year, they have taken over ownership of the Marie Livingstons Steakhouse that is on the property.  Our Meeting will be held inside the Monroe Street Conference Center that is located inside Marie Livingstons.
Event Info

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM  (Eastern Time)

2725 Graves Rd. Tallahassee, FL 32303

850-536-2007

There are special rates for the Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Days Inn if you say you are attending the Action Cat Team event.

 

 

 

 Atlanta, Georgia

We are happy to provide a location in the Atlanta area for this year’s classes. 

The meeting will be at the Golden Corral restaurant meeting room.  There is no charge for the meeting, but the restaurant has given us use of the meeting room with the understanding that our attendees will eat lunch with them. The lunch is under $8.00. If you aren’t familiar with them, they offer one of the best buffets you can buy.

Event Info

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM  (Eastern Time)

2155 Riverside Parkway Lawrenceville, GA

There are several motels close by if you need one you can Google either Lawrenceville, Suwanee, or Norcross for the motels nearby.

 

 

 

 Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida

Our meeting in the Tampa Bay area is conveniently located not to far off of the main bridge into St. Petersburg.  The Comfort Inn is also offering special rates if you say you are attending our Citizens Training Class.  A single room is $64.99 and 2 Dbl bed room is only $69.99 + tax.  Free Deluxe Continental breakfast is included.

Event Info

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

2260 54th Ave North,  St. Petersburg, FL 33714

727-362-0075

 

 

 

 Arlington, Texas

Arlington is convenient to several major cities around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and our meeting there will be held at the LaQuina Inns and Suites.  They are offering rooms at $85.00  including breakfast and free airport shuttle service. 

Event Info

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM  (Central Time)

825 N. Watson Rd.  Arlington, TX 76011

817-640-4142

 

 

Forward email

USAA and Nationwide Catastrophe Certification Classes 3/11/2010 in Dallas, TX

February 12, 2010

Special thanks to Carey O’Connor with CSP Claims for sharing information with our ClaimSmentor members about the upcoming FREE carrier certification classes in Dallas, TX for adjusters wishing to take the Nationwide and USAA Catastrophe certification classes to work claims for these carriers. Be prepared and attend! These classes are free but there are experience requirements. All details are listed below:

CLAIMS SERVICE PROFESSIONALS

 

USAA and NATIONWIDE Insurance Certification Class

March 11, 2010

Dallas, TX 

Claims Service Professionals (CSP) will be hosting certification classes for USAA and NATIONWIDE Insurance.  Classes will be held in Dallas, TX on March 11, 2010.  CSP is expanding its current roster of Catastrophe, NFIP, and Daily Claims adjusters and is seeking experienced property adjusters.  We strongly encourage anyone that has at least 3 years of property claims handling experience to attend this certification class and to visit our web site at http://www.cspclaims.com and complete an on-line resume. 

The free classes will run from 8 AM to 5 PM on Thursday, March 11, 2010.  For both of the classes you should bring a photo ID, calculator, pen/pencil, and notepaper.   For the USAA class you will be allowed to take in your laptop computer in order to access Xactimate.     

Required dress code is business casual. 

Nationwide Insurance certification will take place from 8 AM to 12 Noon.  3 years of property claims handling experience is required to attend the class. 

USAA certification will be from 1PM to 5 PM.   NFIP certification is highly recommended and 3 years of property claims handling experience is required to attend the class.  

Please RSVP your notice to attend the Dallas, TX class to:

rsvpdallas@cspclaims.com
Location details of this event are listed below.  Seating is limited, so please send in your RSVP as quickly as possible.  

March 11, 2010 8AM – 5 PM

Holiday Inn Express

1521 Inwood Road
Dallas, Texas 75247
(214) 905-1400

SHOULD YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE EMAIL THEM TO:

rsvpdallas@cspclaims.com

***********************************

If your adjusting firm is a member and supporter of ClaimSmentor and you have seminar you wish us to post on this adjuster information blog, please contact Debbie@dimechimes.com to post this on this blog and in our ClaimSmentor forums.
 

 

Carey O’Connor

Claims Service Professionals

719.322.6435 cell

800.710.6782 office


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,452 other followers