Mississippi Adjuster Licensing and Claim Handling Regulations for Hurricane Isaac, News, and More

August 27, 2012

Here are important links claim professionals will need for working Hurricane Isaac claims in Mississippi. We also posted information for Alabama already and will post for Louisiana next:

MS Department of Insurance link for all independent adjuster and independent entity licenses as well as Public adjuster licenses:

http://www.mid.state.ms.us/licensing/adjuster_licensing.aspx

See what Sircon has to say about MS emergency licenses in this post:

http://www.sircon.com/campaigns/emergency-adjusters.html

Mississippi Claim Handling Regulations as posted on PC360.com:

http://publish.sbmcloud.com/media/pdf/pc360/claims-guidelines/Mississippi.pdf

Updated Mississippi Department of Insurance Regulation updates by year to include Arbitration info:

http://www.mid.state.ms.us/pages/laws_bulletins_regulations.aspx

Mississippi’s Biloxi- Gulfport Sun Herald for local news and closures on Isaac:

http://www.sunherald.com/

Mississippi Emergency Management Website:

http://www.msema.org/

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s disaster emergency declaration order for MS as a result of Isaac:

http://www.governorbryant.com/gov-bryant-declares-state-of-emergency-ahead-of-isaac/

Mississippi Windpool Reinsurance info 2012 and info about 41,000 MS Windpool policies:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2012/05/01/245469.htm

Mississippi Windpool Website:

http://www.msplans.com/MWUA/Index.htm


Important information on handling claims in Alabama you may need if working claims in Alabama for Hurricane Isaac

August 27, 2012

Here is important information claim professionals will need if they plan to work claims in Alabama as a result of Isaac to include the Governor emergency declaration, the link for AL emergency adjuster licenses, and claim handling information as well as links to breaking news from the Mobile Press register:

Alabama

Alabama Windpool Info and Links:

https://aiua.org/

Basic AL windpool policy info:

https://aiua.org/pages/basic_coverage

Alabama Emergency Management Website and Contact Numbers:

http://ema.alabama.gov/

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s office issues Declaration of Emergency and Evacuation Orders:

http://www.governor.alabama.gov/news/news_detail.aspx?ID=6894

Alabama Department of Insurance link for Emergency Adjuster licenses now that Emergency Declaration Order has been issued for Isaac:

http://www.aldoi.gov/Licensing/EmergencyAdjusterInfo.aspx

Alabama Claim Handling Regulations as posted on Property360.com:

http://publish.sbmcloud.com/media/pdf/pc360/claims-guidelines/Alabama.pdf

Alabama Department of Insurance Claim Handling Regulations for Property and Casualty Claims:

All of these shown regulations below can be found here:

http://www.alabamaadministrativecode.state.al.us/docs/ins/index.html

CHAPTER 482-1-125 STANDARDS FOR PROPERTY/CASUALTY INSURANCE CLAIMS

http://www.alabamaadministrativecode.state.al.us/docs/ins/index.html

CHAPTER 482-1-135 MEDIATION ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES FOR RESOLUTION OF DISPUTED PERSONAL LINES INSURANCE CLAIMS ARISING FROM HURRICANE, TROPICAL STORM, TORNADOS AND OTHER DISASTERS DAMAGE

CHAPTER 482-1-150

ESTIMATION OF REPLACEMENT COST OF INSURED DWELLINGS

Breaking news link at Alabama Press Register:

http://blog.al.com/live/index.html


Upcoming Claim Committee Teleconference for Citizens Insurance of Florida is today 4/13/12 9:30-to 11:30 ET

April 13, 2012

I know many of you are certified or in the process of certifying to work Citizens of Florida Insurance Corporation- CPIC- catastrophe and non catastrophe claims as independent adjusters.

Here’s your chance to get a current update on their staffing model in the event of a storm and much more information as outlined on today’s teleconference which takes place from 9:30-11:30 ET. As far as I know, all are still welcome to join in the teleconference. I have seen on prior meeting minutes where folks call in even just as citizens of the state of Florida.

The teleconference information for call in as shown on their Board of Governor meeting link is listed as:

Claims Committee Meeting

When: April 13, 2012 9:30 – 11:30am EDT

Where: Teleconference

Teleconference: 866-361-7525 Code: 5219676193

For a complete list of documents and the agenda, here is the current link on Future Meetings link  here:

https://www.citizensfla.com/about/mDetails_boardmtgs.cfm?show=PDF&link=/bnc_meet/docs/445/00A_Claims_Agenda_04_13_2012.pdf&event=445&when=Future

Note that this same information with very informative documents is usually moved to the Past Meetings link  after the meeting so if you are wanting to view this information after today’s meeting, here is the link to Past Meetings here:

https://www.citizensfla.com/about/past_boardmtgs.cfm

I’ll make another post later today with my comments regarding the staffing model of 120 days as proposed in the February meeting minutes that is presented for approval today as well as other things mentioned in the well prepared minutes from February.

The advantage of sitting in on the teleconference is not having to wait more than a month to know what happened at the committee meeting as it takes them quite a while to get the minutes posted in preparation of their next scheduled Claim Committee hearing.


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.


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.

 


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.


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.


8.8 EQ and many after shocks in Chile- Translation services adjusters may need!

February 27, 2010

We are watching all of the news on the Chile 8.8 Earthquake which struck today. News stations are reporting over 25 after shocks already.

We are posting in the Storm Forum on ClaimSmentor news from the adjusting community should any be deploying adjusters for our members. We are also retweeting important posts we come across on Twitter if you’d like to follow at www.twitter.com/ClaimSmentor as well.

This is a great time to bring back up a former blog on translation services insurance adjusters may find useful:

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/17/billingual-adjusters-in-big-demand-please-update-your-resume-if-applicable/


Number One Claims Job Site for Trainee through Claims Management Positions

January 11, 2010

We research claims job opportunities for our members regularly.

If you haven’t used Indeed yet, you are missing great job opportunities! Indeed draws in claims job opportunities from major employers and numerous job sites such as Great Insurance Jobs. It allows you basically one site to search all claims job postings from multiple sources.

www.Indeed.com


Best Job Opportunities for Claims Adjusters found on the web!

July 16, 2009

We highly recommend those searching for staff adjuster and for some independent positions as property adjusters and auto adjusters create a search job alert at www.indeed.com which is the best website we have found for locating claim career job opportunities.

Indeed posts jobs found from many employment opportunity search engines such as Great Insurance Jobs and newspaper ads nationwide combining them into one search engine for you! What a time saver rather than running to Career Builder, Great Insurance Jobs and many other web sites those looking for claim job opportunities when Indeed has already combined those newly posted for you!

Here is an example on the results for a search for Florida Claim job opportunities so you can see the many sites they pull in information from:

http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=claims&l=fl&fromage=last&rq=1

For more information about the career search engine Indeed.com, here is a link to their about us info:

http://www.indeed.com/intl/en/about.html


Colorado Storm Preliminary Storm Damage Stats In from storms beginning 6/7/09

June 17, 2009

Just a ClaimSmentor moment link to Colorado preliminary storm damage statistics and claims for the numerous storms last week beginning 6/7/09:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2009/06/17/101433.htm


There sure are some GREAT staff claim job openings for Auto and Property Adjusters!

May 27, 2009

We posted over 50 new job opportunities for Auto and Property Claims Adjusters in our Career Forum at ClaimSmentor yesterday.

Positions range from claim trainee opportunities right through Claims Consultant and VP of Claims positions for our management members!

Just check out the Career Forum for all new postings! Don’t guess which FL carrier is  hiring for their National Catastrophe Team or which new FL regional carrier is hiring for staff positions……just join us today at ClaimSmentor. If your not  yet a member, you will see a link for information regarding joining our now 1108 members in the last paragraph on our home page.

All contact info on the About Us page here on the blog. Blog restrictions won’t allow us to keep linking to the same site including our own so please get contact info for the site and registration link on our About Us page on this blog.


Look Before You Leap! New classes scheduled online LIVE in April 2009 for Staff Adjusters and Management Considering an Independent Adjuster or Independent Claim Management Career

March 15, 2009

 

              Look Before You Leap! The Grass is NOT always Greener on the other Side!  

                       This class  is designed to improve understanding by Insurance Carrier HR managers considering independent adjusters for staff claim opportunities as well as staff adjusters and Claim managers wishing to make a career move to the Independent Claims Adjuster or Claim Manager fields in the claims industry.       

***Updated 3/21/09: Note this program can also be presented in an individual career coaching order session for those who wish to remain anonymous versus participating in this online class at ClaimSmentor . We will present this to you individually through a career coaching session. Just contact Debbie@Dimechimes.com to schedule your private session.

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This is a new course offering in our Roots and Wings  program  at ClaimSmentor for all of the staff adjusters sending us resumes  as they  consider career moves to the independent claims industry.

You can read more about these classes hosted on Saturday April 4, 2009 and Saturday April 18, 2009 in the following blog topic:

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/new-online-claims-adjuster-and-claim-management-training-class-offerings-for-late-march-and-april-2009-at-claimsmentor/

This link contains a blog link to the registration information for ClaimSmentor. This site is our online e-mentoring program for Independent and Staff adjusters or managers involved in the Property or Auto Claims industry. There is no charge to join our ClaimSmentor forums. You will be able to review more details about this class once you become a member and can view the topic in our forums.

 We also welcome Human Resource managers interested in participating in this class so they better understand the independent adjusters applying to their insurance companies for staff adjuster positions as we would like you to appreciate those that have outstanding experience in are independent industry. We strongly recommend continuing education for newly licensed adjusters participating in our forums at ClaimSmentor and  you will also find valued candidates for your claim trainee job opportunities.

View the About tab for contact information if you are interested in this class.  

 

 


Guest Blog by Dr Michael Birzon, UCF Insurance Department “Tall Tails from Texas” Warning about FL Adjusters false belief TX Licenses waives FL License Exam for Residents

March 10, 2009

I had no idea when I posted the blog on the adjuster license problems in our last blog here:

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/organization-chart-for-the-claims-handling-blame-game-a-humorous-grap-of-where-all-participants-stand-in-this-game-on-claims/

Then Dr Birzon, our regular mentor on Fl licensing issues for ClaimSmentor told me he had also written an article on his warning we told you about in the last blog.  The link above has a link to his bio and insurance website at UCF for FL licensing online.

I knew the problem was very bad, just from what I was receiving on licensing information on adjuster resumes we regularly receive, but his story in the below Ezine article about 60 Allstate Adjusters is even beyond my worst nightmare on how bad the issue was! You can read his entire article on”” Tall Tails from Texas below:

—–Inline Attachment Follows—–

Google Birzon Ezine and you should pull up other articles of interest…thanks!

Dr. Michael Birzon
Florida Insurance University/UCF
(407) 927-1235
(407) 386-6454 FAX

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I am hoping that adjusting firms and adjusters will pass the link to this blog or copy and paste his article link and pass it on to adjusting firms you work with to post the warning on their website. To forward this link- just click on the blog title and it will give you just this blog article you can forward.

We thank everyone for passing this important warning on folks wanting to get licensed to handle claims. Adjusting firms should insist on seeing the license information online for the state where you assigning adjusters as we are seeing


Organization Chart for the Claims Handling Blame Game- A Humorous Graph -A Serious Look at Claim Bad Faith Issues

March 6, 2009

Insurance Company – Adjusting Firms- Claim Staff -Reinspectors -Independents  – Public Adjusters
Claim Litigation  Attorneys
 
→   →   (Everyone to R)       ←     ↓        ↑  →                           ←   ↓   →                                 ← (all 3)  →                                                 ← (all 4)
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What a mess  that makes no sense and it isn’t humorous at all. This is a huge insurance consumer issue. Just check out the Bad Faith organization or NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) for all kinds of information and surveys on claims handling. The link I put to NAIC is their 2009 Report on the Top Complaints by insurance consumers. You can sort by carrier, by type of complaint, by state I think, and much more!
 
When are we also going to get Insurance Departments on board to help improve this by doing the following things I’ve discussed in this blog before:
 
1) Require Insurance companies to report to all state insurance departments consumer links where they provide complaint information for carriers to provide information on adjusting firms that have been dismissed by a carrier for trends of bad faith claim handling issues. Presently, I know of no place when independent adjusters can validly find this information until it is too late. Dismiised firms are not required to be reported (if they are I am not aware of it) so they just move on to solicit new carriers so even more insurance consumers continue to be harmed by firms with bad consumer servicing problems.
 
2) I believe insurance companies require liability and errors and omissions information from adjusting firms before they use them. Are there any reporting requirements by state insurance regulators on claims ratios on E and O policies for adjusting firms or independent or public adjusters so 1) policyholders don’t hire a PA who has a large complaint ratio 2) so adjusting firms have a source to know (other than just checking regulator sites to be sure an adjusters license is still active), and so adjusters can have a valid source to see the complaint ratio of an adjusting firm so they can make a good decision about which adjusting firm they wish to deploy with so they don’t get hooked up with a firm that might be unprofessional?
 
3) Insurance Regulators should require that adjusting firms be required to disclose the name of the owner and the name of any key executives they may have on the payroll and post them on their website.  Often if an adjusting firm develops a bad reputation with adjusters or carriers, they just either a) move to another state so carriers and adjusters cannot find bad information about them at insurance department licensing sites that allow you to research licenses or b) the adjusting firm owners or key executives just change the name of the adjusting firm so adjusters don’t know who they are.
 
4) Another thing that concerns me when trying to find good adjusting firms for newly licensed adjuster recommendations , when asked by ClaimSmentor members , is that so many of the adjusting firms do not list one thing on their ABOUT pages about who the key owners are. I tell them just to go to http://www.whois.net/ but this only tells you when a website domain was open and the contact name and information for the person who opened the site. Sometimes the only results you get there are to the website company they opened the site with but it is one source of information you might try.
 
5) Adjusting firms should be required to post links on all of their websites such as Department of Insurance Consumer Complaint contact information AND information for independent  adjusters as to where they can report violations of adjusting firm contracts with independents and adjuster non- payment of fee bill complaints. If you don’t think there is a need, just check out this site that opened post Katrina and when overloaded by complaints of non payment to adjusters, their system crashed many many times : www.professionalfeecollection.com (site was opened post Katrina and we have no idea what happened to this agency and it’s alliance of attorneys working proactively to collect unpaid independent adjusting firm fees. We know they were overwhelmed by the claim files faxed in to them and the thousands of adjusters attempting to utilize their services. It was run by a Terry Bagsby out of TX. The interesting thing was that these adjusters were all complaining about the same continuous group of adjusting firms based on discussions I had with him in 05/06.
 
6) Adjusting firms should be required by State Insurance Regulators to not only have a contract for independent insurance adjusters but they should be required to have two signed originals so one can be given to the independent adjusting firm and one can be given to the adjuster. I cannot even begin to tell you how many new adjusters have been frankly taken advantage of either not being given a copy of the contract or no contract at all.
 
We wrote in our blog done a few years back called “Splish Splash don’t go taking a bath” on this topic.(See link at bottom of this blog) I always teach new adjusters in our Fundamentals class not to deploy without seeing the contract and making sure they agree to the terms, not to sign blank forms, to watch out for Non-Compete terms, to make sure they know what the fee split is with the adjusting firm (how much they keep of the fee schedule and how much you get based on a percentage fee split) or what your daily rate is if you are getting paid a daily rate how much it is and what your fee split.
 
There is much more information in the blog I wrote linked to above. The very best advice that I would give you is to see your personal attorney about E & O insurance coverage information in the contract to be sure YOU are protected and to be sure that you are not signing something you shouldn’t be signing.
 
7) Insurance regulators need to regulate a) the length of time a carrier has to pay independent adjusting firms and TPA’s who process their claims, the time an adjusting firm has to pay the independents, holdback percentage provisions in contracts and hefty fines for those adjusting firms not paying them within a regulated time).
 
8   ) Insurance Regulators must begin setting regulations for insurance carriers as to what claim handling fines a carrier can pass on and require of  independent adjusting firms and adjusters.
 
They have gotten totally out of control on the RFP requirements I have seen such as Citizens of FL 2007 RFP 08-0016 or 07-0003 with fines as much as 1,000 per vioation. Is what developed after these fines starting being imposed in RFP’s is that independent contracts started transferring these fines on to adjusters in contracts without even specifying what these fines were.
 
9 ) Insurance regulators have got to put a stop to the erroneous information being advertised about the TEXAS adjuster’s license for independent adjusters. Just take a look at the many classifieds telling those interested in a claims career that the TX license with give them licensing in any where from 25-32 states.
 
This is inaccurate as the adjuster still has to fill out applications, finger prints and pay licensing fees for those non resident licenses. Dr Birzon at the University of Central Florida’s Insurance licensing online program has been forced to post a warning such as this on their website link (see News flash column on left of that link) because so many residents of FL had taken TX licensing classes thinking that they were waived from taking the FL Resident adjusters license.
 
I regularly receive resumes from adjusters who are permanent residents of FL that is all that I see in the licensing information of their resume is their TX license info. Dr Birzon has been so helpful answering questions on ClaimSmentor on licensing issues and even helped out a few of our adjusters who were in non compliance on CE’s and had to retake Fl license requirements again so we referred them to his online FL licensing program which the state regulators approved as a means of getting your FL license and bypassing the FL adjusters exam. These adjusters who were working out of a state on a catastrophe assignment could meet the FL Department of Insurance requirement they sit for the exam again by taking Dr Birzon’s online class at night and still service claims assigned to them out of state.
 
10 ) Insurance regulators need to require that any training firm producing adjuster 
training classes be approved by the state department of insurance to meet minimum claims experience requirements ,which I would insist included experience in claims management, as well as professional insurance education requirements that are recognized in the insurance industy such as AIC (Associates in Claims) and/or CPCU course through AICPCU. I have completed IIA, AIC, and 9 sections of CPCU with only one left to go (the much dreaded Accounting session). I cannot tell you strongly enough how much I recommend these courses  for independents as well.
 
11 ) While the insurance regulators do not control which independent firms a carrier uses, they should at minimum require that adjusting firms and TPA’s require some kind of screening. The one I prefer the most is the membership requirements at the National Association of Insurance Adjusters which is an association of independent adjusting firms who have had to go through substantial financial screening and other membership criteria you can view here.
 
12 ) There are good procedures established by the insurance regulators, emergency management, and state governors for adjusters coming in from out of state. They are called emergency adjuster regulations.
 
In a new trend the large adjusting firms are now requiring of independent adjusters, they are requiring that adjusters obtain non-resident licenses in all coastal states and those like Oklahoma  and Minnesota that have regular windstorms. There are valid reasons because carriers and independent firms cannot activate non resident adjusters who do not hold a non resident license in the state of a storm until the governor announces that by his order at the time of an emergency that independent adjusters are allowed in the state to work claims on an emergency license. 
 
If an adjuster secures a non-resident license in all the states a carrier MIGHT deploy them, they can stay longer because emergency licenses are temporary in nature and only allow adjusters to work a storm designated a catastrophe by the governor. Carriers also do not use their national catastrophe teams if there isn’t enough volume in a given state although I’ve read about alot of improvements on this. This is usually do to the fact that they have to bill the region where they deploy the adjusters for their services. Can we do something about this? It appears to me to be the only way carriers and adjusters can deploy adjusters and get around the governors emergency disaster authority. It has created a huge financial burden on independents and on CE reporting requirements when they should be concentrating on servicing insurance consumers. It is also creating a “dumbing down” of independent adjusters that can be used as we often see less experienced independent adjusters deployed because the experienced adjusters tend to leary of jumping through the huge volume of hoops and know that when the big one hits they will be deployed when carriers through out all pre-storm requirements.
 
I regularly refer new independent adjusters to these firms meeting the NAIIA criteria as hopefully a safety net for them when finding reputable firms. See their membership directory here. While I cannot guarantee it will, I would think that it would atleast provide a place to start when considering who is your “A” list of adjusting firms you will work for. How about for carrier independent staffing needs when their core adjusting firms “run out “of  core adjusters (their A team of who they will first deploy based on experience and certifications and licensing”.
 
I do know some excellent firms that might not yet meet all of the NAIIA membership criteria who are trying to do the right thing. Several that come to mind as I have gotten to know their owners through years of membership at ClaimSmentor or through the staffing side of my operation are CSP claims (owners are retired carrier management), Legacy Claims (the one owned by the Ellis’s), and Action Catastrophe Claims. I do not post those here lightly as I have spent almost four years now getting to know them and I listen intently to what experienced adjusters working for them have shared with me, I’ve watched their adjuster training programs, and I’ve heard great reports on their CMS Claim Management systems and payment records with adjusters who complied with file requirements.
 
I know of very very few independent adjusting firms run by owners or managers who have these course certfications. One of my clients who feels as strongly about this is Dennis Martin, CPCU  who runs the FL Division and catastrophe division  of William Kramer and Associates. He is a joy to work with since he understands the issues facing our claim industry , the Florida insurance crisis , and knows what happens when an adjusting firm doesn’t properly manage claims and claims adjusters and CONTROL compliance with file requirements. This is especially important with their primary concentration on commercial claims such as very large Condominum Claim Associations.
 
We co -authored an article for Claims Magazine as the featured story titled “ A Box of Chocolates” in 2008 about condo claims handling. We both can’t thank Eric Gilkey, Editor of Claims Magazine for his skills and patience working with us as neither of us had significant experience in writing an article)!
 
                                                                                                    Some Things to Ponder
This is also another thing that inquiring minds want to know!  If a file is approved first by an independent adjusting firm manager and sent on to the carrier management for approval and they approve the file and pay the claim based on their review how can they possibly go back and fine an adjusting firm a year later when their auditors catch the mistake. I know of a few firms this has happened to. Where are the insurance regulations on this?
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Why do carriers always tell our members and my staffing firm that they don’t want to consider very good experienced catastrophe adjusters for staff positions when they meet all other qualifications such as a four year degree, insurance continuing education requirements,etc? I was astonished over the past four years to receive staffing requests from 3 major carriers that said the following ” we need adjusters but we can’t get approval in our budgets to use a staffing firm. Will you send them out free to your rosters? ” You’ve got to be joking! Take the resources I have developed over 4 years of staffing and building contacts and mass emailing for them free? I did post their notices in our Career Forum where we do post jobs such as these that we come across but I sure wasn’t servicing them free. Also, while I can understand that they think cat adjusters will jump as soon as a major storm hits, don’t tell us that your staff adjusters do not do so as well. What is your turn over rate? The only thing that keeps staff adjusters on your employment lists is the fact you often offer benefits such as health but adjusting firms are
getting just as savvy in some cases and they often get employment applications from your staff adjusters just like my firm does.
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Last but not list in the things to ponder list is the failure of carriers to put a stop to “hand me down” claims. Almost every issue of non-payment to new independent adjusters has come through a 2nd or more tier adjusting firm subcontracting claims out to another adjusting firm when they run out of adjusters. Often , I doubt the carriers even know about it. When the unpaid adjusters contact the carrier, they are often told “sorry….we don’t have a contract with that adjusting firm”…well dang….I guess the first tier firm made a sidetrack agreement with the 2nd tier firm leaving the independent adjusters to hang out to dry. I’m referring to adjusters who have a contract with firm 2 or on down the line but they have no contract with the adjusting firm who had the contract with the carrier. During the 04/05 season when the FL Dept of Insurance set deadlines with HUGE fines, I saw many a carriers hurt when the primary adjusting firms couldn’t account for claim file status. I never even knew this went on until I transferred to the independent claims industry. I had one firm call me and say “and we have the 1st tier contract with the carrier” on this one. Maybe I am wrong and this is a regular practice, but I can tell you the majority of calls my staffing firm received on non-payment issues when they were looking for a new assignment because they weren’t getting paid was from 2nd or more  hand me down claim adjusting firms. I simply think the practice should be forbidden.
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There are four ways I can think of to add these regulations which are long overdue. Not being an insurance regulator, but someone with a huge interest in protecting independent adjusting firms and independent adjusters to preserve our important service to the claims industry:
 
1) Click on the link here to all insurance departments and print out a copy of this blog (just click on the blog title and it will open up just this blog versus reviewing a string of our blogs) and send a copy to either your state insurance department or to any insurance departments where you have worked assignments and/or are licensed. If you fear for your career in claims, just print it out and mail it in and don’t sign your name. If they get flooded with enough copies of this blog, maybe they will listen.
 
2) Print and send a copy to the NAIC who is responsible for cancelling the recommendations for National Licensing. Again, don’t sign it if you don’t want to. Volumes of copies of this might help. The link to the blog on this act is included at the bottom of this blog entry.
 
3) Insurance regulators who are responsible for claim handling regulations can add requirements such as these to their Good Faith claim handling regulations and licensing requirements for independent adjusters and adjusting firm licensing requirements.
 
4) How about Insurance Regulators developing a Code of Conduct form for independent adjusting firms (similar to what carriers require independent adjusting firms and adjusters are required to sign). Look at the NAIC Code of Conduct they require their member adjusting firms comply with
 
There are so many possibilities that can be done to improve the industry, reduce insurance consumer complaints, to reduce the number of consumers who have to resort to use of public adjusters thus reducing their insurance indemnification dollars, and to reduce the ever growing field of claim litigation. It is worse now than I have ever seen in over 30 years in the insurance industry.
 
Which claim career field is really responsible for the problems in our industry? Here’s a complex self assessment test. Is all it takes is four questions:
 
1) Who issues an insurance policy with insurance consumers with obligations required of both insurers and insureds? (Key to answer you will find the answer in column 1)
2) Who has to take instructions from who? (Key to answer- see column 2, 3, 4  as they answer to #1)
 
3) Who contributes to the training issues for the claim industry? See columns 5,4,3,2, and 1
 
4) Are public adjusters and consumer advocate attorneys the only driving force behind the increase in claim litigation? Yes in some instances they are but could they be successful in winning claim litigation cases by the hundreds if they weren’t finding examples of bad faith across the board- see 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the graph).  I don’t think  they are the only contributors of these huge costs which are being passed on to insurance consumers when carriers have to consider defense litigation costs when rates are determined by insurance companies.
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So why are we all mixed up and playing the blame game? This is such a goofy game not befitting of an industry that has such an important place in the lives of  every person in America that has been going on as long as I’ve had a career in claims. Here’s how the game works:
 
Step 1 ) Insurance Companies (common to all major insurers) use independent adjusters when a major storm such as Hurricane Katrina and Ike
 
Step 2) Insurance Companies provide training before the storm only to independent adjusters with atleast 2 years experience and to their staff claim departments UNTIL the big one hits
 
Step 3) Carrier Auditing Departments, Claim Examiners and Managers.  and Reinspectors start rejecting files because they don’t provide training or enough information to adjusters. It is provided during a carrier certification class which is usually a one day training session put on by CARRIERS through ADJUSTING FIRMS THEY SELECT or at a one day catastrophe induction center where they do present a good outline of file handling guidelines if you are experienced enough to just make exception to general claim handling instructions you already know
 
Step 4) Newly licensed adjusters are activated to handle claims when carriers lower their 2 and 3 year experience requirements when they THINK they have run out of adjusters based on information from the pre-selected adjusting firms who may service there claims. ***Let me point out here it is like a “where is Waldo” game for independent adjusters entering the industry to find out who is servicing the claims because the majority of CARRIERS provide no information on their website about which firms are handling their claims (God forbid someone might consider them “employees versus independents). See our prior blogs on the cycle
 
Step 5) Don’t overlook the fact that the file requirements and claims guidelines are changed by CARRIERS almost daily when on storm. Even if an adjuster’s file meets file requirements one day, by the time it make’s it through the claims management cycle (Independent or staff adjuster →Claim Examiner or Claim Manager→Insurance Company who approves claim settlement payment and settles claim with insured (often with in office claim trainees who have never handled a field inspection or an inoffice claim operation TEAM so the insured can get bounced around and never talk to the adjuster who actually inspected their claim?
 
Step 6) Who pulls the authority from most independents which takes away great customer service of explaining their itemized estimate to the insured in person while they are out there …see column one. This also applies to carriers who have pulled field adjusters from handling contents claims and additional living expenses so the insured once again has to deal with multiple adjusters (field and in office) rather than having the personal claim service they desire from one adjuster?
 
Step 7) Carriers then blame everyone in column 2, 3, 4, and 5 for causing poor claim survey results and swears to never use much needed independents so experienced independents leave the claim industry as they have no way to support their families.
 
Step 8. ) A major catastrophe such as Ike and Katrina hit and independent adjusting firms are asked to deploy again to assist storm insurance consumers who have no idea what changes have taken place at the carrier’s regarding claim handling standards as the Carriers in Column 1 do not communicate with individual adjusters or hold yearly claim conferences updating them on the hot topics they have been dealing with while independents were at home trying to support their families. Why don’t they have newsletters for independents (refer to comment above on employee/independent issues). No instead they insist they will stop using independents again.
 
Step 9 ) Return to Step 1 and the cycle we regularly experience starts once again.
For two examples of the blame game see the final report of the Citizens  FL Task Force on Claim handling where they submitted their findings to the Citizens Board of Directors blaming both independents and public adjusters for reopen claim issues. I don’t recall seeing where any responsibility was accepted by this now largest insurer in FL except possibly understaffing with field adjusters but they are moving in the right direction training staff and Independents deployed pre-storm and with face to face meeting requirements that they are visiting unannounced to be sure the adjusters are being taught their claim handling expectations and not just glossed over.
 
See also this news article I posted recently where General Manager, Jim Oliver, of the Texas Windpool partially puts the blame on inexperienced adjusters. This is very exasperating to me when I am going on my fourth year of searching for all carrier claim certification classes for members of ClaimSmentor. I can rarely find them except by the few adjusting firms posting in classifieds which are cost prohibitive to most firms when they haven’t gotten many carrier assignments such as in 2006 and 2007. Carriers have staffed up with employed staff adjusters due to their erroneous decisions in the steps above instead of looking SQUARELY in the eyes of their claim training operations, their current trend to leave the responsibility of deployment of independent adjustering firms instead of the carrier maintaining control (again employee vs independent issues).
 
Should anyone question my dedication to keeping independent adjusters informed for the right reasons…it took me 8 hours of volunteer time to produce this one blog entry to provide resources and information for you.  I had no clue as all of our resources were internally generated as claim staff employees.
 
It has been a very long four years studying the independent insurance adjuster industry and learning that while  I had managed them for years that I knew nothing about what went on before they deployed with us. It has been a major eye opener which I openly share with those in our field who need to get caught up to speed immediately in their decisions on entering the independent field and once they confirm that decision learning the professional way to perform their duties. **Update 3/7/09: You can follow this blog through RSS feeds as long as you are not placing it on a site that has banner ad sales or revenue generated through google ads (exception CADO who also spends untold hours volunteering his time for his site). I am getting referrals to this site from Blog Colony which I still have to research which are new this week and have another site copying my links on right column on their website. I am taking proactive action through ICAN  and this wordpress administration who controls websites so be forewarned if you want to remove them if you are using a link to this site to generate revenue for yours. All independent adjusting firms or claim groups are free to put up a blog roll on this such as the one CADO (www.catadjuster.org) has on their blog page in bottom left corner. WordPress does NOT allow banners or search engine ads at this location so I will be proactive with them to shut your feed to this blog if you are using it for such purposes which we can see on our administation dashboard.
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I welcome any volunteers who want to edit my blog entries to correct mistakes made. I was always taught by my mentor , my dad, not to present a problem without a solution….smile. If you have the solution for my lack of social networking editorial skills I welcome your help in this additional e-mentoring project.
 
For other great resource links, articles, and claims news I highly recommend Roy Cupps CADO  site at www.Catadjuster.org which has operated atleast 10 years. His article section, news section, employer rating section, adjuster resume data base, and so much more . The archived forums provide a wealth of information about the independent opinions. We formed ClaimSmentor with Roy Cupps blessing initially in those forums but took quite a bit of harassment from a few bad apples who felt we were taking away their job opportunites so we moved the site to a private site at www.ClaimSmentor.com. I have nothing but the very highest regard for Roy Cupps and the resource links he keeps updating on his site.
 
Here are links to all prior blogs we have written in our archives since we began this service in July 2007 that discuss these issues on emergency licensing, carrier’s deploying adjusters, claim training, insurance regulations, and all other topics we’ve discussed in today’s current blog for a more thorough understanding of the changes needed :
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/just-one-claimsmentor-moment-2-twia-adjusters-blog-on-ike-claim-handling-issues/
 
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/2009/02/26/compare-twia-manager-jim-olivers-comments-about-a-major-galveston-storm-608-to-209-statement-on-ike-claims-part-i-of-ii/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/branch-consultants-whistleblower-case-reinstated-appeal-court-decision-february-2009also-links-to-info-on-the-rigsby-whistleblower-cases/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/citizens-of-fl-board-approves-selection-of-30-selected-adjusting-firms-see-list-here-with-websites/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/citizens-of-fl-board-approves-selection-of-30-selected-adjusting-firms-see-list-here-with-websites/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/twia-texas-windpool-offers-two-adjuster-certification-workshops-in-march-and-april-2009/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/independent-adjusters-participant-in-our-poll-on-carrier-certification-exams/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/have-license-ready-to-go-not-so-quick-take-this-self-assessment-test/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/have-you-registered-for-your-2009-nfip-adjuster-certification-class/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/2509-updates-on-the-state-farm-announcement-in-fl/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/we-are-back-next-50-hour-online-fundamentals-of-claims-class-begins-march-2-2009/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/10/08/2008-claims-magazine-claims-salary-survey-is-up-in-the-october-2008-issue/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/09/20/new-source-for-temporary-housing-in-houston-tx-area-for-adjusters-and-insured-additional-living-expense-temporary-housing-part-ii/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/independent-agents-rank-claim-service-as-top-measurement-of-carrier-performance-part-ii-of-claim-and-agency-relationships-can-make-or-break-an-adjuster/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/preliminary-damage-statistics-from-hurricane-gustav-updates-on-temporary-housing-in-gustav-damage-territories/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/hurricane-gustav-expected-to-be-major-emergency-tx-and-la-license-links-claim-statistics-for-ts-fay-eduardo-dolly/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/fl-emergency-adjuster-regulations-for-tropical-storm-fay/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/hurricane-gustav-expected-to-be-major-emergency-tx-and-la-license-links-claim-statistics-for-ts-fay-eduardo-dolly/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/ms-ag-hood-and-state-farm-reach-agreement-on-katrina-disputes-wednesday-86/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/05/citizens-of-fl-cancels-rfp-for-independent-adjusters-yet-another-time-in-2008-rebid-now-times-4/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/07/23/hurricane-dolly-makes-landfall-in-texas-checking-availability-for-rosters/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/nationwide-insurance-proposes-one-policy-covering-wind-and-flood-coverage/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/auto-adjuster-claim-training-updates/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/what-role-are-rising-gas-prices-going-to-play-in-your-deployment-decisions-for-hurricane-season-2008-carriers-and-adjusting-firms-should-meet-the-need/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/23/colorado-hail-tornado-of-may-22-2008-updated-damage-reports/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/concerned-regarding-adjuster-fee-schedules-for-citizens-of-fl/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/citizens-of-fl-changes-independent-training-requirements-for-2008/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/insurance-carrier-claim-certifications-where-do-you-test-for-them-much-improvement-needed-in-the-process-of-certifying-independent-adjusters/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/va-tornado-damage-the-carrier-claim-numbers-are-coming-in/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/28/top-blogs-of-interest-to-new-adjusters-july-2007-april-2008/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/supplemental-request-41808-for-tx-licensednationwide-certified-adjusters/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/immediate-need-for-experienced-adjusters-tx-license-for-storm-claims/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/overhead-and-profit-claim-settlement-issues-under-attack-in-3-ongoing-cases/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/state-farm-seeks-dismissal-on-rigsby-false-claim-actklg-update-levee-break-sher-decision-including-overhead-and-profit-issues/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/fifth-circuit-appeal-opinion-overturns-punitive-damages-in-broussard-vs-state-farm/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/allstate-releases-mckinsey-documents/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/adjusters-read-about-class-action-lawsuit-in-ok-on-overhead-and-profit-issues/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/29/cori-rigsby-january-2008-deposition-hoped-to-remain-anonymous-lets-compare/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/branch-consultants-whistleblower-case-appeal-filed-on-the-dismissed-case/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/rigsby-whistleblower-rico-case-motion-to-dismiss-3-of-insurance-carriers-to-focus-on-state-farm/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/national-association-of-catastrophe-adjusters-membership-drive-to-31508/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/state-farm-vs-hood-part-iii-an-interesting-news-alert-today/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/21/60-earthquake-rocks-nv-ut-parts-of-ca-22108-adjuster-information/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/errors-and-omissions-coverage-guest-bloggers-dale-moore-client-relations-director-for-cplic/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/storms-in-tn-ky-ak-al-in-mo-ms-of-2508-adjuster-information-on-emergency-licensing-and-damage/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/luckwhere-preparation-meets-opportunity-published-208-in-claims-education-magazine/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/update-on-the-rigsby-ea-renfroe-whistleblower-case-will-the-klg-get-dismissed-on-cases/
 
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http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/01/09/should-your-adjusting-firm-or-carrier-be-blogging/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/renfroes-deposition-in-the-rigsby-whistleblower-case-interesting-look-into-their-thoughts-on-the-case/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/12/13/ok-declares-state-of-emergency-allowing-emergency-adjuster-licenses-link-for-application/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/major-changes-in-the-way-carriers-recruit-and-train-adjustersis-there-really-a-lack-of-available-adjusters/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/11/14/tomorrow-is-postmark-deadline-to-get-applications-in-to-join-naca-national-assn-of-catastrophe-adjusters/
 
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http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/29/claim-career-coachingconsultant-services-for-new-adjusters/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/independent-adjuster-vs-employee/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/insurance-adjuster-overtime-pay-issues-and-complaints-in-the-news/
 
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http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/13/humberto-makes-landfall-as-category-1-hurricane-damage-links-and-stats-and-adjuster-licenses/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/commitment-part-2-standby-calls-what-should-i-do-how-are-cat-codes-determined/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/tropical-depressions-8-and-9-humberto-and-ingrid-standby-discussion-commitment-discussion-continued/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/the-big-c-commitment-problems-with-independent-adjuster-relationships-advice-by-guest-blogger-rocke-baker/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/08/ts-gabrielle-east-coast-windpool-and-emergency-licensing-information/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/adjustin-to-adjusting-guest-blogger-linda-goodson-first-storm-duty-was-katrina/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/23/whistleblower-cases-and-your-e-and-o-coverage-part-2/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/splish-splash-dont-go-takin-a-bath-understanding-independent-firm-contracts/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/31/naic-model-independent-adjusters-licensing-act-cancelledand-changes-in-nm-nc-and-tx-licensing/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/30/who-moved-my-claims-cheesedealing-with-change-in-the-insurance-adjusting-community/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/claim-career-information-the-pros-and-cons-of-going-staff-adjuster-versus-independent-adjuster/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/catastrophe-adjuster-resumes-the-requirements-to-get-noticed-do-differ/
 
http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/most-commonly-asked-question-is-how-much-income-can-i-make-as-an-adjuster/
 
 

March 1, 2009 Announcement to ClaimSmentor and Dimechimes Claim Staffing Roster members- Change in Claim Industry Services

March 2, 2009

 

 

To: All ClaimSmentor Participants/Dimechimes Claim Staffing Roster Members by email
Re: Announcement on Claim Community Services

We would like to announce effective on March 1, 2009 that our staffing firm and
training services will be transitioning our services to 100% Claim Education and
Claim Training services through the following website locations:

The following three sites allow you different forms for your claim career professional
development based on your preferred preference for forums or online education
needs:

1) Our main website for our clearing house to our training information on different sites is  Dimechimes Claims Staffing and Claim Training . We offer Claims Education services, support for professional training sources in the claims industry, Claim Career Coaching for new adjusters who wish individual counseling advice, Resume Preparation Services for Adjusters, Mock Interview preparation for adjusters preparing for their first insurance claims interview for staff  adjuster positions or independent daily adjuster opportunities.

This is also our site for contact for claim staffing and claim recruiting needs by Independent adjusting firms and insurance carriers.

Our goal is progressive growth as an information highway to all available professional sources of training both online and in the field.

2 ) Dimechimes ClaimSmentor Adjuster Information Blog open to the public. This was opened in July 2007 for the many in the claims industry who do not enjoy membership in website forums and wish to retain their privacy while at the same time enjoy updates on hot topics in the claims industry while also locating valuable training sources.

3) We offer ClaimSmentor Forums, Discussion groups, field training study groups, information for trainees to network with experienced adjusters. Links to all opportunities we know about for carrier certification requirements, upcoming adjusting firm seminars,
information about 100% of the online information we can find for online training opportunities for new and experienced adjusters,adjuster licensing information and much more.

Anyone that is a member of our  rosters is welcome to join  us at  ClaimSmentor without the need to provide other registration documents. Is all you need to do is reply to this email with your full name, city, and state and
we will check this information against our rosters and confirm membership by notifying you by email within 10 days of  receipt of your email what your login id and a temporary password to participate there will be.

We  provides opportunities for adjusters, adjusting firms, claim service vendors,  lawyers in the insurance industry, lawyers who handle and understand independent contractor issues , CPA’s that adjuster understand adjuster issues regarding per diem, working out of state and other, and adjusting firm adminstrative members to join us  at ClaimSmentor and network among our members. We are now in our fourth year of operation with just over 1,000 members to include 66 adjusting firm owners and managers, claim industry service vendors, software vendors of a professional nature-direct from the software vendors certified by the software developer themselves, and much more.

Our growth has been progressive and requires verification of id of all members and use of real names as we wish to maintain a postive professional source for those in the claims community. This transition will now allow  career websites with claim job posting advertisement such as www.greatinsurancejobs.com (who by the way has always been mentor friendly notifying us of Claim Career Fairs annually) and claim staffing firms and recruiters to join the ClaimSmentor online e-mentoring group to participate to locate outstanding claim candidates, purchase banner ads to their firm websites, and for a very reasonable annual cost included with the purchase of a banner ad to download resumes from our participants. The same applies to all insurance company HR departments. Contact us at Debbie@Dimechimes.com for information on the cost of banner ads so you can join and utilize our services. There is no charge to join ClaimSmentor for adjusters.

Our closed forum at ClaimSmentor requiring login id allows members to ask questions as trainees hassle free in a major e-mentoring effort to cultivate improved independent adjuster reputations with insurance companies and with policyholders nationwide
as they process claims for those suffering a major crisis in their lives.

* Just do a web search on your name or login id if you participate on blogs or forums open to the public and you would be astonished about the information a potential employer could use against you when you are under consideration for a staff or independent position.

All registrants must register in their real name and claims or bar information is required to verify as well as a work summary or resume to verify your relationship to staff and independent adjusting insurance claims. The site remains closed to public adjusters and public adjusting firms.

There is NO charge to join at this time (exception is Claim Recruiters, Insurance Recruiters, Insurance Staffing Firms, and Insurance Job Posting Sites). They may join our site to post their jobs and to download resumes all included in the cost of their banner ad purchase. The same applies to Insurance Companies who are seeking an excellent  supplemental pool of quality candidates.

 There are minimal charges should you (newly licensed adjusters) wish to participate in our online live claim classes such as our 50 Hour Fundamentals of Property adjusting class which addresses many basic essentials not covered per our participants in basic estimating and scoping classes. 

As we will now have much more time to dedicate our time as an information highway for training opportunities and for hot topics the claim industry faces, we will be actively seeking those with professional credentials to provide Guest
Blog entries for our Adjuster Information blog, to share their job opportunities for trainees and experienced adjusters, and participation in our ClaimSmentor e-mentor program.

Not only will we have this information through our forums live online but beginning April 2009 we will host group networking opportunities available to all adjusting firms and adjusters who are members of ClaimSmentor through volunteer efforts of our members participating in this e-mentor program. Adjusters on our Dimechimes Claim Staffing Rosters who chose to join us will also be able to attend as they would have transitioned to our ClaimSmentor site.

Why are we finalizing this transition?

.First and foremost is our passion for claims education to improve the image of
independent adjusters who service  insurance company claims. Carriers are
limited in understanding our industry by the adjusting firms who service their
claims. We would like to promote information from the adjusters in the claims adjusting community for a better understanding of independent adjuster information needs while at the same time refrainng from a negative environment via public posting sites creating the wrong impression of independent claims members. The public forums do provide a valuable service to our industry providing important industry resource links and articles. I am just not fond of public posting by adjusters in forums as it could create a problem for them when they are under consideration for a job opportunity.

.To enhance professionalism in the independent adjuster/ staff adjuster relationships 

. I can not bear to get one more fearful call from even experienced adjusters hammered for file handling stats while they are living out of their car with no power, showers, housing, cash or food, high speed internet to upload estimates and photos with no empathy from the carriers in many cases for the independent adjuster plight in the first wave of a hurricane. Independent adjusters are not provided housing . The larger adjusting firms may have the resources to reserve an initial block of rooms where their managers are staying but that does not happen for the majority of adjusters deployed. Carrier staff adjusters have housing locations found for them by the carriers with all expenses paid.  The difficulty of this situation is that independent adjusters have no idea how long they will be deployed on an assignment so they really cannot afford to sign rental leases at storm locations. See our posts n Temporary Housing options not only for independent adjusters but for policyholders as well.

.We work hard to create reality training by hosting a mock disaster training for new adjusters reviewing carrier reporting requirements, Dept of Ins Complaints, Consumer Complaints, reality training about assignment organization, ethical consideration for proper file documentation and much more. We prefer to educate adjusters rather than have them go out unprepared in so many cases during Katrina and Ike. There are so many current  safety issues with adjusters under those circumstances.s

. There are not alot of great options for independent adjusting firms to post for job opportunities especially on insurance industry job boards when they have catastrophe needs. The prices for advertisement is cost prohibitive when the independent adjusting firms have no guarantee from a carrier they will even get assignments. Secondly, the insurance recruiting industry normally charges up to a 33% first annual salary distribution for their fee per individual. Just check through the closed and archived purchasing documents at Citizens of FL or research this on the web. That does not work for the hundreds of catastrophe adjusting firms. They may only need these adjusters for a very limited time (carrier determines length and number of assignments) and they need a place where they can post one ad at a reasonable price for their nationwide storm assignments. Very few job sites allow for nationwide posting of jobs even though they are a good source by a candidate searching “all jobs”. We do not charge ANYTHING for job postings in the Career Forum to those recruiters and carriers purchasing an annual banner ad which is less than the cost to post 5 jobs on most job posting sites.

.To cultivate prepared claim trainees for insurance carrier staff opportunities
as well as for those newly licensed adjusters who prefer independent adjusting
opportunities and just do not know what is required beyond licensing.

.To encourage adjusting firms and carriers to do what makes sense regarding carrier certifications. I have had to turn down adjusters with 10 and 20 years adjusting both daily (non catastrophe claims) and catastrophe (known as a multi line adjuster) who were prohibited from deploying because the CARRIER was not flexible when their experience certainly could have substituted from nothing much more than an estimating test or property issues. An adjuster with that much time in the field certainly would have references who could verify the quality of their prior claim handling abilities. Look at our recent poll on carrier certifications and see what adjusters had to say that are participating on the poll. I’ll let it continue to run continuously through March.

.Claim litigation appears to be ever increasing post Katrina and post Ike
storms with a major complaint being that there were unfair claim practices in our industry and my belief that those newly licensed adjusters nationwide have no perception of  what additional training is required. I am especially concerned that they do not understand coverage issues, proper handling of insurance department complaints, and complaint resolution issues. Several of the windpools are now requiring the independents provide their own E & O and their contracts require that independent firms and independents respond to complaints without the assistance of the carrier. That was probably the final straw for me regarding staffing. Both the Citizens RFP and TWIA it is my understanding both require this. You can view the Citizens RFP to view the hold harmless agreements and information on lawsuits. You can check with TWIA for information inquiring about this. Most importantly run to an Errors and Omissions carrier and protect yourself as recommended in the Q & A  blog on here where www.CPLIC.net recommended adjusters definitely carry their own policy. Call Michael Hale there who is also a ClaimSmentor member and he can answer your questions.

You say you have E and O coverage through your adjusting firm? That may have been fine in the past and it may still be today but do not rely on that without confirming this with your attorney or their E and O provider.  Don’t take a chance it is better to be safe and protected versus sorry. Make sure to verify first if your policy provides defense costs if you are named in a suit and also if attorney fees reduce the policy limits or if they are even covered. Again refer to our blog you can find in the right hand column the Categories tab and search for information there.

What I have learned through 2 years presenting classes from trainees would amaze you.

I had no idea of the misconceptions they were learning from others even with a staff management background and claim career of 28 years.

We hope to improve their understanding of our industry BEFORE they go out and commit Bad Faith causing all E & O premiums to increase as well as major problems for adjusting firms and adjusters being subject to claims litigation for their poor ability to handle claims by going out as newly licensed adjusters without functional claims handling abilitites or claims training that was totally insufficient to send them out in the field or to handle in office claims when they have no training in claim communication and policyholder and agent relationships.

.Why don’t insurance regulators provide requirements for independents like they are now enforcing for public adjusters in many states that INCLUDE apprentice field training subject to hefty fines if  there is any fraud by the source confirming they trained under their supervision. Leaving training to fly by night pop up firms that are not monitored by the state regulators unless they offer CE is not an option in my mind t0 atleast preapproval of the course material by the state. If a class provides CE credit for your state that means that the state department of insurance has atleast approved the course material and approved a minimum acceptable instructor criteria.
. We have learned during our move to the independent side of claims operations
that there is too much lacking in communication between independent adjusters and carrier communications prior to assignments at the independent adjusting firm and independent adjuster level.

We have major hope that we can enhance the need for improved avenues of discussion unrelated to a specific deployment or assignment. We certainly cannot do it alone. We have not figured out what the appropriate method is at this time because adjusters and adjusting firms must be “yes” guys and gals to get assignments and so they don’t lose their contracts. I would never put them in that situation. I am not associated with a carrier or an adjusting firm directly any longer and there are many other retires or those that have left the adjusting field who I am sure would be glad to help bring these issues to the front line.

There are two good organizations you can get recommendations for training options. The first is your local claims association and I also highly recommend NACA – National Assn of Catastrophe adjusters. You can look at their website for a business member directory and locate adjusting firms there. I was disappointed when moving to independent status to find that NAIIA- National Assn of Independent Adjusters was for independent adjusting firms not for individual independents. They have strict requirements to include financial standards and number of years in operation before an adjusting firm can join. Adjusters check their list of business members and send your applications to those firm. I hope to live to see the day that they start a mentoring program such as NACA’s where independent adjusters can join as apprentice members. 

It just goes to show even those firms on the independent side aren’t all independent adjuster friendly except for their core adjusters who can belong to such groups. What about the 10’s of thousands of independents who have to take assignments with her ever calls them since they weren’t called out by their “A” list firm (yes we do recommend independents also make good decisions about who they will deploy with first just as adjusting firms do to determine who will go out first based on independent contract terms, fee schedules, fee splits, reputation of the firm., etc). Whatever you do , do NOT accept assignments without a contract spelling out the terms with all blanks filled in. I’ve posted plenty of blogs here about non payment issues independents could not find representation on because they had either no contract or were never given a copy of the one they did sign nor did they ever see a copy of one signed by an authorized individual with the adjusting firm.

. The claims industry has major problems in regulation of independent adjusting
firms concerning payments from adjusting firms to independent adjusters while at
the same time the adjusting firms experience significant delays from carriers who do not have enough staff claim examiners to promptly review and process claims so not only
policyholders can be paid but so that independents can survive while deployed on catastrophe or assisting branch operations for carriers. 

 Many times the adjusting firm’s reputations suffer  due to delayed payments from the carriers. Insurance departments need to establish requirements for turn around time on not only contact and inspected and closings as they do today but on time limits the carriers have to release the payment to adjusting firms so the independent industry can survive.

For example, you can view the latest RFP 08-0016 on the Citizens of FL  Closed Purchasing documents and they have 30 days to pay the adjusting firm after the adjusting firm submits the closed file. This doesn’t account for weeks or months that could pass by before an overwhelmed adjusting firm who insufficiently staffed their office administration staff or hours could process the claims and submit them to carriers.

. To provide an avenue of open communication regarding RFP or request for
proposals for consideration by carrier claim operations who need good firms to represent them during a major storm. We will post any RFP opportunities by carriers now in our forums for carriers who chose to join as sponsors on our site (see banner ad comments above). This will include a mass distribution email to adjusting firms participating on ClaimSmentor linking them to documents on the carriers site announcing RFP’s for consideration by adjusting firms. At BARE minimum, they could post the RFP and bidding process on their site and let independent adjusting firms know when they are up for consideration and who was selected.

.To foster sources for independent adjusting firms wishing to share information
on growing  technology concerns such as electronic discovery issues, claim
management systems, electronic claim files and other important topics specific
to claims.

 In today’s environment, it still surprises me to see firms who email documents in to the carrier with no way for the adjusting firms or independent adjusters to respond to insureds calling in for file status. That is unacceptable claim service when there are valuable CMS Claim Management systems that are available today such as www.Clickclaims.com that not only allow open access to the live data uploaded in a file  24/7 so anyone taking  agents or customers calls on file status can respond professionally to all customer inquiries.

In addition, systems such as www.ClickClaims.com also provide automatic zoning of claim assignments for tighter assignments so adjusters can see more claims without extensive drive time but also to save on high fuel charges thus saving on the cost of claims handling expenses for both independent adjusters but for insurance carriers as well. We all need to be cost conscious in our claim handling so we are not unnecessarily adding to increased insurance premium costs.

Another CMS feature available today is automatic loss notice uploading and automatic creation of the new file and electronic data fields. Did you know they were so progressive today that they have systems that will even place the first notice by automatically calling the numbers on the loss report submitted by the agent to let the insured know that their claim has been received, what the claim number and carrier contact numbers are, as well as the adjusters name and contact phone number. Now that is service! I have personally used the system in 2004 and 2005. I am not showing favorites but relying on a 2006 AMBest award that Clickclaims won for best CMS System. Simsol, Powerclaims, and Xactware all have them. The difference in using an outside system like ClickClaims is that it is not estimate software specific so you can upload estimates from any system.

I am no software estimate guru but the 2 people our industry can count on to answers questions no matter which software program is www.powerclaims.com and www.simsol.com (Gale Hawkins, owner of PC and John Postava with Simsol). Did you know independents are charge 20.00 just to make a call to ask a support help question. Now that is surely not a consumer friendly position when adjusters working out of hotel rooms should be able to count on them for live support good gracious with the cost they have to pay to activate the software while on storm!

. As a survey source to obtain the opinions from independent firms and
adjusters regarding claim handling issues without them fearing loss of contracts
and work assignments by opening the doors to communication by all parties. 

Polls are a good source for evaluating   independent adjuster opinions. How many times do carriers send out polls to independent adjusters or to staff regarding how the ADJUSTERS evaluate the information they received from carriers, the expertise of the temporary independent and staff claim examiners, claim managers, and reinspectors approving or rejecting their files during a storm?

The only surveys I have ever participated were either on our Adjuster Information blog here (and that would be a total of one thus far) OR via carrier surveys on employee opinion surveys evaluating employees opinions on their permanently assigned managers. Doesn’t this leave out evaluation of the entire temporary assignments while out on catastrophe? I can definitely say that we never received one from the carriers state wide in FL in 04 or 05 after processing their losses.

. To enhance adjuster understanding from a CARRIER claim management perspective through our participating carriers and adjusting firm managers assisting in panels and
forum topics both online and through new field ClaimSmentor groups where
professional sources come together for networking purposes similar to claim
association meetings. Watch for our first announcement coming soon!

. To work with carriers directly as a source for claims talent  cultivation through requests directly to enhance information on their websites so the claims adjusting community can find vendors providing required independent carrier certifications and to enhance information adjusters learn at their required training. Survey results
(unscientic on our recent poll on our blog show most adjusters do not feel that
they obtained adequate training on topics other than on than estimating to
properly service claims meeting carrier file requirements.) You see very little advertisements or job postings from the major adjusting firms as they assume everyone knows who they are. I can assure you newly licensed don’t based on information gathered from our class members who have no idea. It should be the CARRIER’s responsibility to openly post the adjusting firm names authorized to handle claims for each storm along with the information such as website and phone numbers so adjusters can apply to service their claims.

It is not enough for carriers to assume we really are out of adjusters just because a particular firm may have run out but check DOI websites. How can this be when there are over 50,000 adjusters just in Texas alone.

. Hopefully to improve carrier requirements for professional  file requirements
that are also policyholder friendly. The adjusting community has developed an
overwhelming opinion that our industry has become more “pretty file”
friendly than insurance consumer friendly. Just one example is the requirement
for “sketch” type diagrams versus allowing an adjuster to prepare a
professional hand written diagram which is adequate. How many times have you had
a file rejected for being off one inch?

While we understand in this age of claim litigation that file standards be consistent, we also understand surveys from sources such as NAIC continue to show time service issues and adjusters feel in many cases it is due to carrier excessive file requirements.

Lets together work to develop tips for carriers so they improve file review standards for their claim managers. We are NOT talking a union here or any of those options bantered about on web forums but professional carrier level panels. This may never happen but possibly the insurance department consumer affairs division can handle meetings for adjusting firms and independent adjusters without the carriers present ( I can hear them now…those dern independents we aren’t using them anymore and the cycle starts all over again instead of creating a positive training environment to mentor independents).

I innocently suggested to a few carrier claim managers and hr personnel that called me about our services to see why they didn’t use newly licensed adjusters as summer interns instead of teachers and college students. Being licensed carriers would have licensed (versus temporarily licensed) people who could be available year around. Don’t get me wrong, teachers that are off for the summer are a great resource but what about the many hurricanes that make landfall September 0 November. We won’t even go where that discussion went. Just check where your insurance carrier dollars are going by turning on the NASCAR races , golf tournaments  or better yet the super bowl.

 Wouldn’t it make sense to offer apprentice temporary independent positions they can staff through adjusting firms or professional organizations such as NACA? If they are available other than scholarships often posted on carrier sites then I have just not been able to find them. Believe me I tried  requesting grants or support from carriers for our e-mentoring program to no avail. “You know carriers don’t sponsor people that don’t work for them”??? I thought that is exactly who independent adjusters serviced. How very disappointing.

. NAIC  (National Assn of Insurnace Commissioner )cancelled the discussion on the Independent Adjuster Model National licensing recommendations in 2007 or 2008. Use the category link to locate that post here. I’ll get the links updated tomorow so you don’t have to search.

Independent adjusters are now being required to obtain non resident licenses in anywhere from 10 to 15( one email and resume this week from a newly licensed adjuster stated they had already completed 18 non resident licenses but had no other training) states versus allowing them to work under emergency adjuster licenses. There are valid reasons for this but this is also a huge added burden financially to independent
adjusters when carrier staff adjusters are not required to obtain them at all as special rules apply to staff adjusters. Some carriers do license those in call centers that handle claims nationally  but that usually does not apply when they have to resort to rotating in daily adjusters temporarily for peak work loads). Check it out on your state department of insurance licensing website).
Can we work together to promote a better way to qualify adjusters who wish to
service catastrophe claim adjusting needs? New adjusters are misinterpreting comments publicly posted on many adjusting firm websites (especially the large adjusting firms because this is what the carriers are requiring I am assuming )about the non resident requirements so rather than obtaining functional training they think non resident license is the only requirement to obtain adjusting firm deployments.

Claims handling is not a game of bingo where you just fill in the dots to win.” B- Fl license”, C- Tx license, diagram- check, photos- check, you get the idea. That seems to be the manner new trainees are being taught which drives me nuts!

. To enhance independent adjusters understanding of professional claim
development through sources such as www.aicpcu.org versus forum training and
attendance at ridiculous prices at the hundreds of new schools or adjuster websites cropping up nationwide put on by some adjusters with little more than 1 or 2 storms under their belt and no true perspective of carrier management expectations from a
management standpoint. We are here to service carriers and minimal claim
handling practices are destroying the independent talent being deployed by
carriers. One such example includes trainees sharing with us that they were taught at a “claim school” they didn’t have to climb roofs and could do “drive by ” photos. Whew- now that brings fear of Bad Faith for sure! A second example is a firm holding classes that has one 30 day assignment to a windpool as his credentials! It is getting pretty dern scary out here without regulations training firms must meet to allowed to teach something so important as claims handling.

.Together the synergy of our group networking together can improve so many
needs not only for the claims industry but for insurance consumers already
facing an insurance coverage crisis as multiple carriers leave the coast.

. To raise awareness for all adjusters on safety concerns while handling claims
in an environment often hostile to the claims industry post Katrina and Ike.  Just search for safety concern posts we have already posted on our blogs about ladder safety and an adjuster murdered while field inspecting a loss near Tampa, FL several years ago.

. To raise awareness of the often overlooked agency / claims relationship that
is being experienced in claims. I find through the 200 plus newly licensed adjusters
taking our class that they were totally unaware of the need to communicate with agents who have worked long and hard to foster clients while at the same time experiencing
underwriting restrictions worse than at any time I recall in over 30 years in claims. We have two or three blogs here on that very topic!

. To foster relationships with insurance departments to enhance information
available to adjusters regarding complaint ratios for adjusting firms while at
the same time requiring insurance companies to notify insurance departments of
adjusting firms dismissed for unethical or poor claim handling issues.

Insurance consumers should not be subject to claim handling by firms showing  trends for providing inferior claim service nor should adjusters who have spent thousands
of dollars training be subject to abuse by the few bad apples in the adjusting
firm community who repeatedly take advantage of adjusters by not paying
 fees  earned to adjusters.

We need to stop adjusters from calling policyholders to see if they have been paid as it is their only source of information as to  whether the independent adjusting firm was paid and they should have been paid. Carriers need to include information on contacting them in their carrier certification and/ or induction center classes in the event an adjuster becomes the victim of such efforts.

This is a widespread problem carriers need to be aware of. Independent adjusters are forbidden to discuss things like this with carrier staff. Advice often posted about placing liens on an insured’s property and other advice that has not been researched through expert attorneys would never be tolerated by carrier and could totally destroy an adjusting firm or adjusters association with a carrier. Let’s find out what the legal community advises through volunteer articles and guest blog posts or links to great articles found on the web written by law firms specializing both in claim litigation from a consumer standpoint as well as attorneys representing carriers. There are some great articles on so many topics available through article links on public law firm websites at no charge so there just is not an excuse for us not to learn from these outstanding resources.

How about the poor advice many new independents are given about “throw away” phones..see our communication blog for more details. Thank goodness for independent firms or insurance companies now requiring voice mail for customer messages. My personal preference which I required while managing at independent firms is that ALL messages from policyholders be logged into the activity log by the call centers or administrative help. I then required the admns bring all messages directly to me if the call was over an adjuster’s failure to show up for an appointment or to return calls. Most carriers do have such strict requirements while many of the independent firms do not implement those requirements if the carrier has not specified this requirement.

. Due to increased litigation published in news sources and blogs, carriers and adjusting firms are being served with suit papers in an ever increasing number. Questions are regularly posed regarding an adjuster’s training, and independent adjusting firm or TPA’s training for adjusters, and to the adjusters  and or carrier executives themselves.

I have been weighing these problems since Katrina litigation and have finally made a decision that I in good conscious cannot comfortably send adjusters out to adjusting firms when we have no control over their payment delays, the carriers training requirements and other liability issues.

 I have decided to pursue growth of our training services to field networking opportunities through ClaimSmentor to help improve the problems just partially outlined above.

“Pay it forward”  to thank the mentors you have had in your life by joining our efforts at ClaimSmentor and through our Linkedin contacts, and by comments adding to discussions either in the forums, this blog, or our linkedin site. Together we can make a differencef in claim relationships.

We will continue to accept registrations through ClaimSmentor. Members will
have the opportunity to upload their resumes and adjusting firms, recruiters, and carriers to upload a flyer or brochure on their company just as they do now. They will also be able to access our Rosters and find talent that may just meet their needs by considering our members.

Firms can sort by state and experience levels as we have trainees through managers and
experienced adjusters. 

As we will no longer be staffing with the exception of a very few select
existing clients or carrier staff positions, we will begin a service for
carriers and adjusting firms who desire mass distributiion of their opportunities
rather than waiting on adjusters who might just happen to find them on web
advertisements.

 We will be proactive for you so you are not left without qualified adjusters should you wish to participate in this service. This will give you additional candidates to consider for deployment when you have depleted your roster of qualified candidates.

All participants at ClaimSmentor should go to the “MY Account tab” after
login and change your preference to allow or not allow emails from our mailing
system to your registration email. However, note that this will also prevent you
from receiving notifications on topics you want updates on. All member profiles
are required to have an active valid email address under our Terms of Use posted
in the forums as well as real first and last name and city and state.

Please allow 10 days to receive your login id and password if you are a new
registrant as we are presently overwhelmed with requests for membership as we
transition thousands of adjusters from our claim staffing rosters to members of
ClaimSmentor for those who confirm they would like to participate.

 If you are a  member of our rosters receiving this announcement by email, we will not automatically register you at www.ClaimSmentor.com. You must reply to the email you receive from Debbie@Dimechimes.com requesting specifically to join. We will not upload your resume or profile fields. You can do that upon first login when you join.

Watch for much more information in our forums coming very soon as well as
upgrades on all of our sites to include this blog and our new Dimechimes ClaimSmentor Claims group located under Insurance Claims groups at :

www.linkedin.com/dimechimesclaimsmentor.com

We cannot thank you enough for your continued support and participation in our
ClaimSmentor e-mentoring project to support the claims industry and to those who were members of our deployment/assignment rosters.

We do hope you will be supportive of our ClaimSmentor efforts. The S in
ClaimSmentor has always stood for service to the claims industry and we will now
“major” in those service attempts!

The only change you should see is improvement in our forums, blog posts, and experience and credentials of mentors who join to participate enhancing your membership at ClaimSmentor, and many more claim assignment opportunities for those moving from our rosters at Dimechimes Claim Staffing as we network and register many new members to bring you information. We will be posting many more insurance and claim recruiters and job posting sites information now that I no longer have will have a competitor joining from the recruiting side.

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

You can find all website and contact information at the About page here on our blog.


Adjuster Overtime Issues Supplemental Info from none other than Attorney Gloria Allred’s current news letter!

February 27, 2009

Speaking of reading interesting information found on the internet! I found this information on Gloria Allred’s law firm website. If you are a Greta Vansustern  fan on Fox News (9 pm CST week nights) you will definitely recognize her. This is a post she has on her current newsletter about overtime and wage and hour issues you will find interesting:

http://www.amglaw.com/CM/News/eNewsletter.asp

Here is a link to our prior blogs on Adjuster overtime issues. One of these days we’ll get a great employment attorney to answer adjuster questions on overtime issues. (Gloria…..hint we are a big fan of Foxnews but this is a  volunteer free non income producing volunteer effort blog trying to educate trainee independent adjusters with no ads so we need pro bono-smile! ):

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

**Update 2/27 4 pm CST:

Had I read Gloria Allred’s Bio before making this entry I might have been less likely to have teased her on an open blog. She has a most impressive background. Here is a link:

http://www.gloriaallred.com/CM/Custom/TOCAbout.asp


Compare TWIA Manager Jim Oliver’s comments about a major Galveston storm 6/08 to 2/09 Statement on Ike Claims- Part I of II

February 26, 2009

It is amazing what you can run across on the internet when you just spend some time looking around.  Anyone that follows posts made here knows we certainly do that…if only we could afford a great editor to turn this information into fine editorial posts!

Atleast we plug along the best we can here given very very limited time these days due to my daughter’s medical recovery from tumors discovered in 2008 and subsequent major surgery a few weeks ago to correct damage caused when the tumors shattered nerves and bones as they developed and the radiation damage caused in the aftermath of tumor removal operations. So bear with me  here and take the information and article  links we post here and gather as much information as you can from the articles. Our goal here is very clear to those in the independent claims industry who have a most difficult time when they are not on assignment with carriers gathering hot topic information to educate them on the problems facing our industry. Reporter NOT…Editor NOT..Journalist NOT but interested in helping independent claims adjusters understand our industry…now that is a BIG YES! I sure miss the days with a carrier having a great administrative assistant to take my reports and by magic turn them into professional appearing work product! (Thank you Gail, thank you Cindy and many others!). So set aside your grammar, spelling, and run on sentence checkers and read the professional articles linked within this post.

While researching information today after reading an article from the Galveston news the other day updating the statistics on TWIA (Texas Windpool ) claims from Ike quoting manager Oliver found here, I ran across another article quoting the General Manager at TWIA, Mr Jim Oliver, over at Gene Taylor’s old website/blog here .

I hope you read both- it is almost scary how very dead on he was about the “what if a Category 3 hit Galveston” written in June 08. I have to say that manager had the intuition and knowledge to evaluate the what if’s correctly and what effect it would have on the state of  Texas and the policyholders. He was almost dead on as well about the dollar amount of damage. This is a don’t miss comparison. Do his comments sound familiar about major carriers pulling off the coastal coverage?

A few comments on the first link in the February 09 article found on MS Congressman Gene Taylor’s old blog.

Here we go again about “inexperienced adjusters” quoting from comments by Jim Oliver. I’m sorry but someone has to stand up for those inexperienced adjusters  and independent adjusting firms (whose hands are tied as to who can and cannot attend the carrier training based on experience) who they had working some  of the TX Windpool claims. I am not blaming TWIA .It is a constant problem in the Insurance Company/ Independent Adjusting firm/ Independent Adjuster relationships.

Let me explain why. I feel qualified to do so after founding and supporting our site  at ClaimSmentor where we have over 1,000 partipants with about 50% of them being new independent adjusters. I can tell within 30 days of membership those who are serious about their training and those that thought  it was a “get rich quick scheme” or career because they either 1) walk away and forget the thoughts of a claims career  when they find out how much is really involved BEFORE deploying or 2) they are extremely serious in their pursuit of professional claims development and I see them on the site forums at night and on weekends (you would NEVER find staff doing so if they aren’t on salary or on the clock).

They spend literally thousands  of dollars and time without the benefit of an employers expense account for per diem while attending carrier certification classes, taking required estimate software training classes, adjusting firm conferences, being forced in some cases to pay for training   just to get on rosters in hopes of being deployed on a storm (I’ll post some unbelievable samples for you tomorrow).

Now here is the real kicker that goes on every day in this industry which drives all of us crazy as there is no such thing as a carrier mentoring new independent adjusters. All national carriers and the windpools set a minimum number of years experience  required BEFORE an independent adjuster can sit  in at an independent adjusting firm designated by the  carrier’ to administer  required training for them. The carriers may send one to a few representatives to the adjusting firm selected to present the material but that isn’t always the case either.

It is usually a minimum of two or three years experience required yet the carriers do NOT allow them to take carrier certification exams without the experience….until something major hits and then they often waive the certification requirement if they are licensed. Heck- look at TX emergency adjuster license information  on the TX Ins Dept website and they even allow emergency adjusters to work under an experienced adjuster (unless they changed something recently).

 Also, check around on the majority of carrier websites and you will not even find mention on their claim links  information or links to independent adjusting firms who they can take classes with so independent adjusters  even know who presents them. It is all based on who they  (independent adjusters )  know and what advertisements or forum posts they find as to where they can find an exam to take.

In additon, thousands travel across the country just to find one. I do not know of any carrier yet adminstering them online. Rumor has it one major carrier will be presenting their training on laptops given to the adjusting firm but the independent will still have to travel across the country to watch the laptop presentation and to take the test. We understand the need for a proctor to administer the exam but come on….how about Prometrics or one of the exam centers with national services where adjusters take license exams? How about the fact that an independent has no clue who may call to deploy them from an adjusting firm standpoint so they have to take as many carrier exams as they can complete before each storm season so they can go? What about the fact the carrier’s often think that there are no experienced adjusters available when the reality is there are many many independents who are turned away because they just haven’t taken their exam yet prior to the storm the carrier will not make any common sense exceptions yet they have 20 years in the  claim industry? Believe me this does go on…I hear it from adjusters, adjusting firms, and my claim staffing firm has experienced this many many times.

I am not supporting inexperienced adjusters with a license only…just the inexperienced adjusters who have taken classes (not 3 day schools or worse yet a one day class!)  and by that I mean classes approved by state insurance departments who approve  trainers  for CE courses sometimes requiring  at minumum 5 years or more experience in the m industry person and continuing insurance education in insurace such as the AIC or CPCU designation?  It is one thing to have field adjusted claims and an entirely different thing to manage claims and understand all of the reasons there are file requirements due to Bad Faith claims and the current litigation environment.

Today there are many experienced adjuster resumes from adjusters with 10 plus years experience with a vast amount of litigation experience that can run circles around some carrier “claim examiners”, reinspectors, and entry level claim managers. I hear these war stories too from the field. Why is ok for all the blame about what went wrong on a storm squarely on the shoulders of independent adjusting firms and independent adjusters who are required to follow carrier established guidelines. As the saying goes “if they tell you to staple the photos upside down…don’t argue or we will lose our contract to service their claims”.

Now exactly how are they  (independent trainees ) supposed to gather that experience?

Experienced independent’s do not have time to train them as it slows down their productivity and they do not make one dollar until closed files get approved and they receive payment usually weeks and months later. Believe me, the carrier quotas for contact and inspections in  this industry are sometimes impossible for staff or independent adjuster to meet. The carriers are driven by Department of Insurance deadlines for contact, inspected, and closing numbers and atleast in the past they had to report those numbers at minimum to the department of insurance on a weekly basis. The second concern I hear regularly is that they would be concerned about liability issues if a trainee they aren’t responsible for as an independent fell off of a roof or if the adjuster happened to be involved in an accident while handling inspections on their daily agenda? These are valid concerns. That is why we started ClaimSmentor- to see what we could accomplish online to avoid those concerns and I can tell you – it works and they will be much better trainees when they can accompany a field adjuster later during a storm.

I agree with the decision of carriers to best service the policyholders however….when something major such as Ike or Katrina causes massive damage those requirements are thrown out the window and anyone with a license can successfully deploy without any real life training or often given a one day training seminar when they arrive on site.

How about the carriers that cross train  staff claim central adjusters who have NO field experience versus a good percent of independent adjuster trainees that often have fantastic construction general manager experience, insurance agency experience, or other skills much more easy to work with than trying to train someone on construction.

I can vouch for the fact it is easier to teach a contractor who knows construction and estimate programs to complete claim forms and learn policy than it is to teach an in office phone adjuster who has no construction experience to learn that side of adjusting. I know- I started in office and moved to the field after two years in office so I understand the difficulty dealing with construction training while handling an insured in crisis.

Ask anyone who has deployed with merely a license if an adjuster’s license prepared them whatsoever for a carrier’s file requirements, estimate format or estimate scoping guidelines and they will tell you definitely NOT!

What about the carrier staff adjusters who may not even have a non resident license in that state? Check any insurance department website and see what they have to say about waiving non resident licenses for staff adjusters. Is it because the carrier has deep pockets and independent adjusting firms and adjusters do not in the event something goes wrong or do the insurance departments merely assume the carrier’s have trained all in office folks before deploying them on a major disaster?

 How about the carriers that are forced to use auto adjusters to adjust property claims because their executive office forbids use of independents in these poor economic times and worse yet underwriters who definitely have a great grasp on coverage but no clue how to handle a claim or to understand construction  repair concepts?

This is a nationwide problem with most carrier’s which I have never understood.  If we accept premium dollars do we not owe it to policyholders to have the properly trained claims adjusters?

Hail damage experienced adjusters do not necessarily understand total losses for major hurricane damage or major fire loss damage estimates.

There is alot of improvement needed all around in the catastrophe claims industry on the carrier side , the independent side, the insurance department regulations, and the National Assn of Insurance Commissioner’s who cancelled the proposed National Independent Adjusters Model Licensing Act which those who are independents do not understand to this day. I’ve blogged about that in the past and will post a link to that blog in Part II.

Watch later this week for part two….for tonight- enjoy reading the two articles. You will definitely be quite shocked at Jim Oliver’s correct assessment of what would happen in Galveston.

I’ll also leave you with a link for Slabbed’s  interpretation of this article and TWIA from a consumer perspective written today after I shared a link to the Galveston article with them based on an entirelydifferent  blog discussion we had the day before . You’ll find their blog article here.

You may disagree with Slabbed posts but if you follow them regularly you will atleast come to the understanding they are diligent in their efforts to help slabbed  homeowner’s(those who lost entire home but the slab during a storm) in the fight about homeowner policy exclusions that create the non coverage issues . I feel the same way about Attorney Chip Merlin’s blog entries. If you don’t know Chip…and I have never personally met him..he is a force to be dealt with. He has offices in FL, MS, and now Houston as well.You can also find photos of him giving a seminar at the National Public Adjuster Association conference at www.NAPIA.com.  

 In fact, I link to his  blog often as well for training purposes. Yes, I do understand he represents the insured not the insurer but that does not change the fact we can learn from his articles and blogs when you don’t find any insurance attorney’s writing such great blogs (except Rossmiller who hasn’t blogged for almost 6 months). If an independent or staff adjuster read them such as his posts on Bad Faith…he is “shouting from the roof tops “that would prevent adjusters from being sued if they just followed fair claim handling guidelines. You just have to “toughen up” to read both and have a thick skin so you don’t take the negative comments about the insurance industry as a whole personally. By the way…if you are a Fox news  fan or Headline News  fan it might be, he is regularly interviewed on the horrific missing childrens cases in central FL (Caylee and Haleigh) . You shouldn’t let the negative comments keep you from reading some important information and articles on his website and blog. Both Slabbed and Merlin’s blogs post links to court documents on active insurance claim litigation we all rarely ever get an opportuntiy to view since staff nor independents are privy to file documents on a claim not assigned to them.

 Truth be told, adjusters inheriting files from a few bad apples  (experienced and inexperienced it just depends on the adjuster’s ethics and training) make the same comments about some files involving poor file claim handling by a percentage of adjusters. The only difference is staff and independents cannot post publicly for fear of losing their jobs. It still doesn’t mean we can stick our heads in the sand and not study the issues and all work a little bit harder to do the right thing no matter what pressure we are under and we all know how bad that pressure is on storms such as Ike and Katrina.

I’ve been there and have so much empathy for not only the claims industry but for policyholders suffering these losses with no coverage. I’ll post more on the 2009 Multi Peril Act as well later this week.

Speaking of Attorney’s, what happened to one of the rare great blogs with the insurance company perspective many of us followed over at David Rossmiller’s blog? Those of us who follow these forums and blogs miss the point and counterpoint between the insured’s perspective and the carrier’s perspective! If you know if Rossmiller is ok, let us know! I think his last blog was in September of 2008 which is remarkable considering his opinions posted on Scruggs and Scruggs recent appearance in MS court with no comment from Rossmiller.

********

Update 1:24 am CST- Ok- I just had to add one more great article titled “Talent Cultivation” from a February 09 issue of Claims Magazine found here:

http://www.claimsmag.com/cms/Claims/Monthly%20Issues/Issues/2009/02/Features/FEATURE%20cover%20story?origin=channels-Education-Training

**Link will move to archived links there when the March issue comes out.

When will carriers learn if they are going to depend on independents for major catastrophes as they downsize their staff that they need to make carrier certifications more accessible online and that independent adjusters need to be trained when they don’t have an inbox overflowing with new assignments waiting for them after a storm class on scene. They can have an “A” list of experienced certified independents that are activated on regular hail storms and a “B” list of less experienced independent adjusters also trained and ready to go when the major storms like Ike and Katrina! Now that would be talent cultivation and a claims mentor of the finest nature! We have hundreds of very trained adjusters  as well as experienced adjusters. At ClaimSmentor  you can deploy with NO fee as we invite your HR departments to post job opportunities for both experienced and for trainee adjusters  and independent claim managers and claim examiners regularly!

Join us and come in and download their resumes!  You decide if many of them are better than a newly licensed only trainee!

**Update 2/27/09…Just one more link: Here is a Self Assessment Test with 125 questions a newly licensed adjuster can review and see how many of these topics covered in our Fundamentals Class at ClaimSmentor  and this is far from a complete list of basicessential things they need to know before deploying.

You can’t teach this im a 1 day or a 3 day class. They may learn very very basic essentials but many that take my class online after taking many very good field classes advise that much of this material was not covered. Mind you these are new adjusters who have taken and passed adjusters license exams, estimate software classes, and in many cases have passed atleast 1 carrier certification exam. They usually have the 3 basics at minium (license, software, and 1 carrier certification ) and tests that cover basic estimating but not the majority of these other important topics. Is it any wonder we have files often mishandled due to a lack of training?

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/have-license-ready-to-go-not-so-quick-take-this-self-assessment-test/

Carriers should not complain about needing inexperienced independent adjusters not trained on claim file requirements if they are not willing to let them take their training. They pick up the expense as independents. Follow the example of NFIP who allows them to attend their workshops but will not certify them without 4 years experience….but sometimes make exceptions during major disasters IF they took the current year’s workshop.

My many heartfelt thanks go out to the now hundreds of experienced adjusters who participate on ClaimSmentor to help answer trainee questions without any hassle in our forums and even join us sometimes stopping by in our live online classes for trainee adjusters as well as thanks to the claim managers who also do the same. Our site would not be possible without their partipation and willingness to support our e-mentor project.

**Update 2/28/09 10:45 AM: I had not been following the claim statistics that often recently and today ran across an Insurance Journal article form August 08 about the TWIA losses already depleting funds when two other minor hurricanes came in before Ike. Read this link for the information:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2008/08/26/93100.htm


Visit us at LinkedIn and Join our Group for the Claims Industry

February 24, 2009

 

We have just created our LinkedIn Profile and a Group for staff and independent claims industry members. If you want to join us there where you will also be able to view our blogs and network with connections we’ve made on Linked in, here are the links:

LinkedIn Profile:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/dimechimesclaimsmentor

You will find our Linkedin group by looking at the left column  once you get on my profile on the above link.

Here is an  article on Linkedin that might help you decide if you are interested in joining as a great way to network with those in the claims industry in addition to your networking  with us at ClaimSmentor. This  article is on 10 reasons why it’s a good idea for locating job opportunities:

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2009/02/10-ways-to-use.html

 

 


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