Adjuster looks back on Career at 55! The things I still ponder about the Claims Industry

March 19, 2010

Absolutely shocking and still letting it sink in! I turned the big 55 earlier this month and still reeling from the realization that I have spent my entire adult  life in the insurance industry. The days when I would look at my annual benefits statements which showed I could retire in 2010 are now long ago but  I would always laugh it off that March 2010 would never arrive…and here it is!

I entered the insurance business in 1973, newly married and a grand 17 years old! I had no clue that I was embarking on a life in insurance and claims…but I did know it was employment with the only major employer back in Murfreesboro, TN where we moved as my husband was being released after completion of his four years as a navy corpsman and he wanted to attend college in his home town.

What a change life was leaving home in FL, a military brat, a daughter of a Navy Commander and one of eight children to a working adult with no massive family constantly around! The thought of attending college never entered my mind at the time! Work life in the insurance industry was always changing so I never found it boring as I changed positions through promotional opportunities regularly and moved about 7 times to various cities as mobility used to be a fixed requirement to move into management positions.

I spent my first few months as a mail and file clerk at the lowest possible level and quickly got promoted to a Fire company accounts receivable clerk when the carrier got tired of watching me drag a stool around to reach in the top file drawers! They actually began requiring new file clerks be atleast 5 ft tall to avoid their worry I would hit my head on the corner of the top file drawer!

I spent eight years in accounts receivable working my way up the ranks to a team lead. I can’t begin to say what a valuable experience it was coming up through the ranks as I learned to handle complaints from policyholders if premium payments were misapplied (yes we really did open each envelop individually and stamp the back of each check and balance deposits- how ancient is that compared to today’s machinery and PO Boxes!). During the last of my stint in accounting, I handled agency correspondence on premium payment issues, endorsements, and the greatest part was learning to respect agency and the power they held with the executive office! You quickly learn “if the agent ain’t happy” ain’t no one happy which served me well in my later career in claims.

I never thought “gee I want to be a claims rep when I grow up”. I went into claims kicking and screaming due to my fear of  roof climbing but thankful to still have a stable job when they merged the homeowners accounting group with the auto accounting department. I had no idea I would absolutely fall in love with claims where I spent the next 20 years as first an inside adjuster for 2 years, a field adjuster, a reinspector, an in office supervisor, then finally promoted to my first field claim operation managing adjusters and estimators with adjusters scattered throughout 3 cities. I was proud to later be selected to relocate to FL for the first “claim central” operation then later selected as a national catastrophe team manager where I ended my staff career after 4 years traveling nationally following storms. 28 years was amazing and always interesting having climbed through 16 job classes to reach my final position as a Team Manager. Burn out after 4 years on the road over 80% of each year is putting it mildly but it didn’t take me but 2 years to realize I truly missed the excitement of working the next storm and the comraderie that goes along with working with people who enjoyed it too.

Was it easy to stay with one employer? Was it easy to move from the lowest clerical job classification through to a Claims Team Manager? You bet it wasn’t! Did I ever consider leaving? No….sure didn’t. It actually never crossed my mind! I came from a family where my dad joined the Navy as the lowest seaman and worked his way up the ranks to retire 35 or 36 years later as a Commander in the Navy with 8 kids to boot! How he ever did that I’ll never know with 8 children, constant deployments, and attending college for his BS and Masters Degree at night. That is what we knew and I applied the same theory as my dad to my career. I went to college over 15 years at night school, did my IIA and AIC designations through www.aicpcu.org and have completed 9 parts of what was the 10 part course in the CPCU program. Why I can’t force myself to take and finish that last part of CPCU on accounting and statistics to secure the full designation is beyond me but something that escapes my interest at 55!

Would I do it all over again? You bet I would. Claims  has kept me gainfully employed over the years as staff and later in the independent industry. The last 5 years I’ve been caught up in the ClaimSmentor mentoring program I founded where we train independents. It came about due to the struggles I constantly saw with new independent adjusters having no clue what was needed once they were licensed and really no place to turn for some guidance while they were waiting to get their foot in the door with a reputable adjusting firm. We are now approaching 1,200 members which includes 74 adjusting firm owners and head managers so I am very proud of the accomplishment that the synergy of our group has achieved when so many others told us we were wasting our time even trying!

In today’s world, I am just fascinated with the claims industry and the constant changes but the more I learn, the more I do wonder….why we do what we do, the way we do it, and how I can contribute to make the claims industry a better place for those of us who have dedicated our life to the industry and a better place for the policyholders who suffer when we don’t complete our jobs properly.

Here is just of few of my random thoughts as I contemplate the claims industry at 55 after gosh over 37 years now in this industry:

1) Does the fact we tend to call an insurance contract a “policy” lead to some of the confusion for a policyholder that “all” things are covered? I know from a layman’s terms ,for example, if my parents set a policy that I had to be in by 10pm as a teenager that I could easily pry them into letting me stay out later if it was for something special. Had I signed a contract however, I would understand that can’t be changed as I agreed to the written terms. Just a thought….

2) Why don’t carrier employees get discounts on insurance premiums? I always found that strange!

3) The purpose of insurance is indemnity or to restore a person to whole after suffering a loss. I think of that as stability for policyholders. Thus, I have always found it strange that especially since about 1995 a claims career feels anything but stable for employees as carriers reorganize, downsize, move from field to in office claim handling…etc. I rarely have a conversation with any experienced adjusters anymore who are not considering leaving the industry as the pay is reduced, the requirements more stringent, the legal environment overwhelming, and for independent adjusters- ever more licensing and certification requirements but that is another issue all together!

4) I ponder how insurance companies can collect premiums but in some cases be 100% dependent on independent adjusters to handle their catastrophe claims. It is not because they cannot handle it that I wonder but because carrier employees tend to treat independents as the red headed step child of the industry but that is a step above their stereo type for public adjusters. It just does not seem responsible to me. In fact, in any other business, if you took money for a service and did not provide it…well you can figure out the results of that easily enough! So why is this allowed to go on with insurance carriers? It doesn’t matter how many rosters the carrier maintains or how many adjusting firms they have contracts with. The fact is, they have made no committment to independent adjusters all year long so they have no idea which assignment if any that independents will take. They need to improve the relationship for all concerned.

5) I still constantly ponder what the independent adjusters can do to overcome the non payment and delay issues getting paid for claims they handle. I receive calls daily from adjusters individually and in groups who still have fee bills outstanding from Ike. I do not know of any other group of employees who would receive a deployment call and head out to live on the road in catastrophe conditions with no consideration whatsoever for their living provisions when no hotels are to be found (staff adjusters have housing provided/ independent adjusters who serve carriers do not) and asked to go months before they see the first dime in payment for their work. This applies to inside adjusters working on a fixed daily rate as well. A major FL carrier tells even them to expect 6 weeks for their first paycheck even if on a daily rate which makes no sense. Not only should a carrier staff up for storm adjusters but they need to staff appropriately during storms for support help such as payments like expense checks and for independent fee bills so they can survive. Today, independents tell the new folks to plan to have a minimum of $10,000 for living expense quarters, gas, transportation, and office supplies before they will ever see their first storm payment check. Regarding the non payment by unscrupulous adjusting firms ( the few that are that give them all a black eye), how can the state insurance departments not control this issue? We have folks that are turned down regularly by insurance departments and attorney general offices who tell them they can’t  help them (especially if they worked for an out of state adjusting firm). We need to help these folks by having the appropriate authorities regulate the industry much better.

6) Why did carriers begin making pretty files much more important than prompt service to policyholders? It drives me nuts every time I hear the word  “Sketch”. Just check the classifieds on claim adjuster forums and see the hundreds firms are charging for them to learn “sketch”. Listen folks, in my opinion, I just haven’t been able to accept the fact that a computer sketch of a house floor plan and diagram does one thing to help settle a claim. We used hand drawn diagrams with measurements for years. It would actually shock you what these new computer programs are doing to reduce the number of file closures adjusters can close today versus what they were able to before all of  the “pretty” file standards were created. I do more than understand alot of it was generated due to the increase in claims litigation and the discovery of file material but I do not see that many of these things are doing anything to resolve customer service issues.  During Katrina, many extremely experienced contractors who could easily complete an estimate walked out due to the difficulty to adapt to all of the electronic claim systems….and that was beside the fact they couldn’t get power or rooms with high speed internet to even upload the photos to the files. I just wish we would keep the emphasis on the customer not the technical systems. In many claim environments and training sessions, you don’t even hear the customer mentioned anymore because there is just not enough time in the day to cover all the technical system issues.

7) It seems an unusual number of staff and independent adjusters are flipping their license for a public adjuster license. It sure seems strange to me from the standpoint that regulation of public adjusters gets tougher by the day but each time I’ve asked former co-workers who flipped they did because they could no longer tolerate what they were seeing by inexperienced people not only adjusting claims but managing claims at the carriers whether they were independent or staff. People I never thought I’d hear considering it are. I can’t say I didn’t at one point too because I understand what they see, I understand their frustrations with our industry. I just took a different route and formed ClaimSmentor to  help but I can assure you there are many times it is overwhelming when there is so much need for improvement for the independent training and regulations on how they are treated and paid. Just when I get overwhelmed with trying to make a difference, an email pops up from a trainee thanking me for helping them learn about the industry or thanking us for helping them find a reputable adjusting firm they matched up with. ClaimSmentor wasn’t opened because I thought I was smarter than the average bear but because I did think by gathering good folks together who were very proficient in the independent claims industry we could all learn from each other. I learn new things from our members with every post they make whether it be a need for training in an area I didn’t know existed or learn from some great members with construction backgrounds about better estimating techniques. I hope there will be interest one day in the next few years for someone to carry on the mentoring project as my husband and I are looking forward to retiring when we can.

8  ) Something that has always seemed strange to me is that contractor licensing is so very well regulated yet we as adjusters with no contractors licensing are the be all end all of estimate creation and decision making when it comes to what it takes to repair a home following a disaster. Sure we can handle the routine estimating on most losses but I know I sure couldn’t get in there and rebuild some of the homes I’ve estimated in my career. Fortunately, my employer did pay for us to attend a 3 week contractors school at Vale Technical where I learned alot as well as continuing education at all levels of my career. I was much more confident in estimating when I did it regularly but looking back I always wonder. The younger adjusters today seem so very confident and have much more access to online training but we all know- there is nothing like working a trade. Fortunately, viewing hundreds of resumes annually, we have so many contractors obtaining adjusters licensing. It is pretty standard thinking these days that it is easier to train them on policy than to train someone with no construction estimating who is good at policy. I’ll be the first to admit when I was in my early twenties I fell through a ceiling or two while climbing in an attic, fell though a mobile home floor when it was soaked by the fire department, and many other war stories due to my lack of knowledge in construction and what effects fire/water do to building components. I think that is why I understand trainee adjusters so well and have so much empathy for their training needs because I was there at one time. I just can’t help but wonder why there is not atleast a minimum training regulation by insurance departments on construction training before one can be deemed a “property” adjuster! The current trend is for experienced adjusters to scope and estimate the damages and work with an inside less experienced adjuster who does the contents and additional living expense and settle the building estimate with the insured. A very funny conversation overhead a few months ago by one of our members was an inside adjuster calling the field adjuster and telling them to take the crown molding out of their estimate as “mold” isn’t covered under the policy. This is just one example of the frustrations experienced adjusters are feeling today with the current claim environments. Imagine how policyholders who might hear such a ridiculous statement must feel with their carrier’s claim service. No wonder PA’s are so successful today in obtaining more recovery dollars if this is widespread in our industry!

I could go on an on but it’s 2 am. I have a moderator on ClaimSmentor who started a discussion this week on why so many folks over 50 are changing careers and becoming newly licensed adjusters. I think much of the reason is the down turn in the construction industry and I am sure they are thankful to make a career transition. The problem is as I show in the 125 question self assessment test on this blog is that there is so much more to handling claims than just knowing construction. Claims is a world of it’s own with it’s own procedures and many coverages beyond the building loss itself. Hopefully, I can get our moderator to do a guest blog for us addressing his concerns which he says go far beyond just the physical demands of entering this field at 50 or above.

Thanks for letting me ponder out loud and looking back at quite a lengthy career in claims. If I could change anything at all it might be taking the route of SIU- Special Investigations unit as I thoroughly enjoyed detailed investigations much more than jumping ladders doing roof inspections ( or crawling under off grade houses looking for signs of long term water damage!) but it’s been quite a ride!

If you missed our prior blog with the 125 question self assessment test, here is the link:

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

If you missed our prior blog  with our published article ” Luck- where preparation meets opportunity”, here is the link:

http://www.claimseducationmagazine.com/pdfs/CEM_Winter_08_v1.pdf  found on page 8


Updated 3/1/09-Dimechimes Claim Staffing and Claim Training-Adjuster Opportunities for 2009/Now Accepting Claim Recruiting and Claim Staffing Requests And Training Opportunities for 2009

September 15, 2008

 

Very Important update to this post with our 3/1/09 announcement here:

http://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/march-1-2009-annoucement-to-claimsmentor-and-dimechimes-claim-staffing-roster-members-change-in-claim-industry-services/

We will continue accepting resumes at our ClaimSmentor site where there will now be many many more job opportunites posted there for new opportunities not just from my firm  Dimechimes Claims Staffing and Claim Training. If you are already on our rosters, you should be receiving an email from us in the next few days. If you will just reply to it with your first and last name and your city and state I will automatically move you to our ClaimSmentor rosters where we have 66 adjusting firms participating who will be presenting job opportunities. We have now opened it up to staffing firms, recruiters, and to carriers so you will see a major increase in the number of assignments and job opportunities you can consider.

We are still looking for people through ClaimSmentor in all opportunities listed below.

For other claim adjuster (staff trainees or independent adjuster) services visit us at Dimechimes Claims Staffing and Claim Training for:

. Adjuster Resume Services

. Private Career Coaching Sessions to prepare for  career opportunities in claims, Setting goals for claim professional development customized to your background, work history, educational background, and your specific interests. There are many different paths in claims which may interest you which we can discuss then set a path for you to achieve your goals based on your continuing education budget available.

. Claim interview preparation services -mock interviews conducted to prepare you for what to expect

. Adjuster Information Forums you will be registered in free of charge.

. Our Career Coaching Classes can be packaged together with our 50 Hour Fundamentals of  Claims Class teaching you the basic essentials of property adjusting claims such as homeowner, rental property, condominium claims, and small business losses. We can then offer you Xactimate, Powerclaim, and other software classes at discounted prices through instructors specifically certified by the software manufacturer.

Please do not spend thousands of dollars before you participate in our forums at ClaimSmentor and see what class options are available for online and field class options through reputable companies that we have researched with direct contacts with their education directors. There is entirely too many problems going on in the claims industry with hundreds of new websites and and training classes being taught without clearance by the state department of insurance for CE  credit which is an outstanding tool to prevent you from wasting hard earned dollars then becoming victim to insufficient training. Watch for the new ClaimSmentor seal of approval coming soon to many training firms you are considering. This will guarantee we have researched the firm and discussed with a panel of  experienced adjusters the course presented before we recommend them in our ClaimSmentor links in an attempt to prevent you from paying for classes that are not presenting  insurance carrier quality standards to better prepare you for assignments.

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We thank the many adjusting firms and adjusters who used our services during 2008.

Due to the overwhelming response received from hundreds of adjusters during hurricanes Ike and Gustav=e, we are still in the process of evaluating incoming resume submissions and will be in contact with you during the coming weeks as we prepare for 2009 claim handling opportunities. We have also been out in recent months due to significant surgery and medical issues for family members and hope to be caught up contacting all applicants by the end of February prior to the March hail storm season.

We are now updating our claim rosters for 2009 and accepting claim recruiting and claim staffing requests from independent adjusting firms and insurance companies.

If you are with an insurance company HR department an independent adjusting firm who has been in business atleast 5 years with carrier references  and have staffing assistance needs for fulltime, part-time, or temporary claim staffing needs, contact Debbie@Dimechimes.com for pricing.

If you are a claims adjuster or claims manager looking for either staff adjusting or independent adjusting opportunities for daily or catastrophe assignments, please submit your resume to Resumes@Dimechimes.com for consideration for future opportunities.

Please see the list below for the types of opportunities available and the independent adjusters and claim managers we are looking for. We continue to receive new requests. . We also continue to frequently receive new requests for daily (non catastrophe) claims. Thus, we continue to accept resumes for the following type of positions for future deployment/employment opportunities for adjusting firms and carriers we receive staffing requests from. It is important you send us your resume in lieu of a phone call first so we are familiar with your qualifications to know if you meet our current qualification needs for various opportunities.

Adjusters and Claim Managers,be sure your resume includes your estimate software experience, the adjusting firms and carriers you have worked claims for, the carriers you have completed certification tests for, information on the types of claims you have successfully completed, and 3 references who can verify your claims experience.

Future Opportunities:

Here are the type of positions we are accepting resumes for:

Opportunity 09-0204 Independent Adjusters with Inside Claim handling experience. Must be familiar with Claim Management System electronic claim file handling and handling claims in a catastrophe or daily claim central operation or as a field adjuster familiar with CMS (Claim Management systems) claim handling.

Job Opportunity- 09-0205- Independent Commercial Adjusters needed with Commercial Claims handling experience. Please be specific when submitting your resume for consideration as to the types of Commercial claims and the range of damage (dollar amount of loss you estimate on the average) as well as any business interruption and business contents and salvage handling you have. Be sure your resume includes any specific carrier certification exams you have completed as well as specific information on the estimate software programs you have used such as Xactimate (and version), MSB, Simsol, Powerclaim, and/or Symbility estimating programs.

Job Opportunity- 09-0206- Independent Residential  Property Adjusters for Catastrophe Loss Adjusting. Please be specific on the adjusting firms and carriers you have handled claims for and the types of damage such as wind, hail, hurricane, fire, theft, etc. Be sure your resume includes any specific carrier certification exams you have completed as well as specific information on the estimate software programs you have used such as Xactimate (and version), MSB, Simsol, Powerclaim, and/or Symbility estimating programs.

Job Opportunity 09-0207- Auto Claim Independent Adjusters for Catastrophe Loss handling. Please be sure your resume includes any auto claim estimating software you are trained/experiencd using and any technical courses completed such as I-CAR, etc. Please be sure your request for consideration includes any specific carrier certification exams you have successfully completed for Auto claim handling as well as adjusting firms and carriers you have handled claims for.

Job Opportunity 09-0208 Daily Property Independent Adjusters and Daily Auto Claim Independent Adjusters- this applies to adjusters interested in working claims from their home base that are definitely NOT interested in dropping everything when a catastrophe hits. These are for branch assist openings for carriers and independent adjusting assignments. Daily (non catastrophe claims) generally require a more extensive background as they are not usually confined to wind, hail, and flood losses and include fire, theft, vandalism, and many other types of daily claims which require more extensive claim reports and much more long term type of assignments such as lawsuit file management. Be very specific on the types of claims you have handled and for which carriers if you are applying for daily claim positions.

Job Opportunity 09-0209- Multi Line Independent Adjusters- for those adjusters interested in daily claims that have both property and liability claims experience for either Property or Auto Claims. Please provide complete details on the type of property AND liability claims you have experience handling as well as information on the carriers and adjusting firms you have handled claims for.

Job Opportunity 09-0210- Casualty Adjusters- Auto or Property Only- This opportunity is for applicants who have a liability background only and interested in Casualty assignments as an independent adjuster. Please be very specific on the types of liability claims handled such as premise liability claims, dog bite claims, etc

Job Opportunity 09-0211- Marine Adjusters- for experience personal watercraft adjusters for catastrophe and/or daily claims. Must be familiar with boat and jet ski repair estimates and methods of repair. Please be sure to include information as to any Section II Liaibility or Medical Payments claim experience under your typical pleasure craft boatowners policies.

Job Opportunity 09-0212 Two Story Rope and Harness Team Adjusters- have you completed rope and harness certification safety courses and willing to work on a two story rope and harness team either as the assistant or team leader for the rope and harness team? Submit resumes explaining your experience on rope and harness two or more stories roof assignments with details as to whether the experience covers residential and/or commercial.

Job Opportunity 09-0213- Staff Adjuster positions Auto and Property- Interested ONLY in Staff adjuster positions? If so please use this job code if you are an experienced adjuster. Be specific if you are mobile or do not wish to relocate. Include minimum salary expectations in cover email. We will match you with insurance company job opportunities for staff adjusters. Please note that the majority of insurance companies do require a minimum of a two year degree for consideration for the majority of openings for claims adjusters or claim management opportunites but prefer a Bachelor degree for consideration.

Job Opportunity 09-0214- Claim Management jobs for staff/ carriers only- please be sure you include all educational achievements on continuing education such as AIC Associates in Claims, CPCU courses, SCLA courses, and any other continuing insurance programs as these are often a prerequisite for management positions. Include other details as requested above i.e..adjusting firms and carriers you have managed claims for before, span of control, management duties, as well as any carrier certifications completed. Please be specific when submitting your resume as to whether you are mobile or not.

Job Opportunity 09-0215- Claim Management Opportunities- Field/Inside- Catastrophe Duty- Property- Please provide usual details mentioned above for catastrophe adjusters but include details of prior catastrophe management positions held to include span of control, length of assignments, adjusting firms and carriers involved as well as types of claims you managed. Specify field and/or inside only on your cover email.

Job Opportunity 09-0216- Claim Management Opportunities- Field- Catastrophe-Auto Claims- includes management of auto claim adjusters working in the field through shops, drive through carrier operations, claim offices, and other assigned locations. Please provide complete details on prior auto claims management positions.

Job Opportunity-09-0217- Claim Examiners-Catastrophe-non management-do you have experience examining files worked by adjusters in the field through Claim Management- CMS systems for review prior to submission to the carrier for pre-approval of files to verify file documents comply with carrier file requirements? Please provide all details if you are requesting consideration for these opportunities to include type of claim such as residential, auto, commercial, etc

Job Opportunity 09-0218- Claim Trainee Opportunities- Catastrophe-Auto and Property- if you have successfully completed your state adjusters license exam and are seeking claim adjuster trainee opportunities, please use this job opportunity code when submitting your resume for consideration.

Job Opportunity 09-0219- Claim Trainee Adjusters- Insurance Carrier or Independent Adjusting Firm positions- Non Catastrophe- for those who have successfully completed your state adjusters license exam interested in non catastrophe claim adjuster trainee openings that do not involve travel on storm assignments. Specify on your resume if you are mobile.

It is important that all resumes for adjusters with billingual skills include that information as we have many firms looking for billingual adjusters throughout the year. All resumes for non catastrophe positions do need to specify your Objective (position/s desired) and whether or not you are mobile. If you are mobile, please specify cities you would consider. Read the rest of this entry »


Major Changes in the Way Carriers Recruit and Train adjusters…is there really a lack of available adjusters?

November 20, 2007

This is an excellent article from Risk And Insurance regarding changes afloat in the adjusting world. While I agree that the training aspect has drastically changed since I entered the adjusting ranks in the early 80’s, I do not agree there is a lack of available adjusters. (The article points out that the opinion on this depends on who you talk to!)

Handling our staffing firm and talking to hundreds of adjusters each month, I am very attuned to who is available. In spite of what you may read on many forums that there is a glut of new adjusters, we receive calls from hundreds of very experienced adjusters who are available and looking for assignments. Is what the carrier doesn’t understand is that the lack of available adjusters depends solely on the human resource efforts of different adjusting firms. Some are extremely proactive while others rely on adjusters to come to them to apply. I am always amazed at the high quality of adjusters we hear from who cannot find assignments.

I’d be interested in receiving comments from many of you reading this article and your opinions on the recruiting, the training comments, and the availability based on your findings in the market.

Here is the article “Taking Time to Adjust” by Erin Fogg online on Risk and Insurance:

http://www.riskandinsurance.com/story.jsp?storyId=16725831


Auto Adjuster Claim Training- What options do I have?

October 11, 2007

One of the interesting aspects of owning a website or blog is reading the user statistics on what search terms bring users to your website. One of the most frequently used search phrases we often get on both this blog and my staffing firm website  is “Auto Claim Training” so today we are going to concentrate on that topic.

Adjusters in our ClaimSmentor forums often ask if they should train as auto adjusters in addition to the training they are doing on property claims. If you are looking at it from the aspect of working as an independent and expanding the value you have to bring to the table to adjusting firms and carriers, the answer is a definite YES! I do recommend first you complete your training first on property claims if that is where your primary interest lies as it is of utmost importance you first do a great job in your primary area of expertise such as residential claims. I’ll blog in the next week on my favorite picks on property claim training options for new adjusters with some online options, self study training options, and field classes and schools but for today, let’s concentrate on the auto side of things!

First, why learn auto claim handling? Let’s look at some statistics on recent storms in 2007 to give you an idea on the number of auto claims reported versus property claims so you have a true perspective on the opportunities to work auto claim losses. Click HERE to see a Claims Journal article from August 2007 regarding a major hailstorm in Colorado which says in part:

“The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association says insurance companies expect claims from nearly 5,200 homeowners and 11,000 car owners.”

These are not isolated numbers as it is very common to see these kind of loss statistics on auto versus property claims during a storm. Matter of fact, here are some interesting numbers from the Insurance Information Institute in this article stating that $68.00 of every $100.00 in auto insurance premiums is used to pay claims. This article also attributes 25% of the comprehensive claims on the auto policy are for theft losses. Claims for property damage account for $16 for collision, another $16 for property damage liability, and $7 for the comprehensive claims for a total of about $40.00 of these claim dollars going to property claims when you add in the other expense dollars shown in this report. Unbelievably the attorneys fees are 11% of the $68.00 claim dollars split evenly between plaintiff and defense counsel according to this report linked above.

Claims Magazine ran a very good article in the October 2007 issue regarding a survey with auto repair facilities polling them on their complaints with insurance carriers on auto claims. Here is a link to this article. This article lists “Lack of field staff training” first on the list and then lists the 3 worst carrier offenders according to the shops survey results. Having worked for an excellent carrier, I was surprised to see some of these negative results for carriers such as Progressive listed as the worst offender at training (in the eyes of the repair shops surveyed). Take the time to read the rest of this survey on other topics as the carriers involved might just surprise you! I’d also previously posted a bad faith article on the Merlin Law Group website and carrier training is one of the issues listed in this article as a reason for bad faith claims against carriers. In today’s environment, I’m amazed to see this as even an issue since all carriers should have training as a top priority. As a staff claim employee, we often cross trained between the auto claims department and the property claims division especially in the catastrophe claim divisions when there may not have been enough work to keep auto catastrophe adjusters busy year round. In 1985, all fire adjusters went to auto school and property adjusters to auto school! That effort to switch us around lasted about 1 year when property adjusters wanted to paint cars by the square foot like a wall! (Just kidding but the project ended and we returned to our former positions when they felt it was best to let auto folks do what they knew best and fire adjusters do their residential estimating they did best,etc).

Here is an example of an auto staff adjuster opportunity with Farmers Insurance. You will see that while they prefer a 4 year degree, they will accept those with a 2 year Associates degree and substitute auto body management experience or lead estimator experience for the degree requirements. Just as with staff homeowner positions, each carrier will differ on their requirements. Here is also an article you will find interesting about Nationwide Insurance indicating they were reducing homeowners policies and concentrating on auto…another reason in the “Who moved my Claims Cheese” blog series comments as a reason to consider auto claim training to find an additional source of claim assignments when the property side remains slow. I constantly keep my eye on all job opportunities on the staff side as well as the independent side to post in our Career Forum on ClaimSmentor and recently have seen alot of postings for Auto property and liability adjusters as well as for claim managers. Just two companies that come to mind are Safeco and Farmers with recent postings. I can also tell you from an independent staffing position, I am thrilled to receive resumes from multi line adjusters who can work residential property AND liability AND auto claims as they are most useful for adjusting firms who can utilize them for all operations as needed. It’s definitely something to consider!

Here is a list of some of the auto claim training options we are aware of you may wish to consider if you are an independent requiring training. Today, we’ll limit that training information to property claim training on the auto side. We’ll have further blog information on liability training on the residential and auto side down the road. Just as with property claims, you need your adjuster’s license first and foremost. After that follows policy training and auto estimatic training as well as auto file requirement training. Auto has many sections of the auto policy to learn. I remember years ago attending a 3 week auto claim training school and finding the policy very frustrating to deal with for a homeowner adjuster. We are used to a coverage section and an exclusion section while the auto policy had many subsections each with their own insuring agreement and exclusions. Testing without an open policy was a true nightmare trying to remember which section applied to which test question,etc. The point I am making here is to make sure you don’t make the mistake that some new property adjusters make thinking that estimatics is all you need to know!

Wardlaw Claims- I list this first as one of their instructors, Tim Whiteman, is a member of ClaimSmentor and has been very supportive of our online mentoring program as well as the fact several of our participating adjusters have taken their Auto classes and highly recommended them. I particularly like the fact that they handle property AND liability claim training at their school in Waco,TX and the cost of the programs looks very reasonable. I note there are auto training classes that Tim is teaching listed for October and November on the auto training classes.Here is a link:

Wardlaw Claims
Auto training classes: http://www.wardlawtraining.com/wctc_classroom.cfm?Value1=3
( Maximum cost is $550 for Auto Claim school)
Auto Self Study classes: http://www.wardlawtraining.com/wctc_selfstudy.cfm (Unbelievably priced at less than 24.00 each)

Pacesetter Claims: http://www.pacesetterclaims.com/PCSTech1.aspx

You need to call them for their latest training schedule. I’d ask for Jim Shrewsbury-VP of Claims in the Auto Division who is also a member of ClaimSmentor.

Crawford and Company
Tractor and Trailer Appraisal School- for adjusters with 3 years of auto experience http://www.crawfordandcompany.com/content.aspx?CID=736&SID=2

Vale National School Neil Robertson in the Fresno, CA branch is a ClaimSmentor member if you want a contact there
( Auto Estimatics only) Cost $1,095. There are 3 locations to choose from.
www.valenational.com/

CNC Resources- Mobile, AL Ask for Becky Leckband, Hr Director for class schedule- she is a member of ClaimSmentor
www.cnc-resource.com/

Southern Farm Bureau Tech- Tractor Trailer School
Auto Claim Training- 3 week program http://www.farmbureautech.com/physical%20damage%20estimating.html
2007 Course Schedule http://www.farmbureautech.com/2007_course_schedule.htm

Worley Adjusting Company

While I don’t see a current Auto Basic Claims Class on the current schedule, they did hold one in March 07 so you might want to contact them for more information on the next class

http://www.worleyco.com/trainingdivision.php

Here’s a link to a prior Accident Reconstruction CE course you may want to contact them for the next class since it is 7 hours of TX CE’s:

http://www.marules.com
http://www.claimspages.com/calendar/viewEvent.asp?RecNo=952

While looking into a career in Auto claims, you might also want to check out this Independent Auto Appraisers group at www.iada.org. They held an interesting automotive repair conference in FL in 07 and I see they have the next scheduled for 2008 in Las Vegas. They have some great links on their site for NADA book values and other useful links for Auto Adjusters and Auto Claims Representatives.

There does seem to be advancement opportunity in the Auto Claims field atleast from the staff adjuster standpoint. Here is a link to a recent job with Travelers Insurance for Training managers to train new auto adjusters as just one of many examples.

Fee payments to auto adjusters differs from independent fee schedules we previously blogged about. From the staffing requests we have received, they seem to pay by the vehicle inspected and payment depends on whether you inspect the damage in a carrier drive in or catastrophe operation or if you inspect it at a body shop or other storage facility for non driveable cars. The ranges we are getting are $75.00 per drive in inspection average with the carrier setting the drive in appointments about 30 minutes apart. One such position scheduled 20 appointments per day through the drive in. Remember you will be splitting that fee with the adjusting firm somewhere along the lines of a 60/40 split. The field appointments have averaged about $150.00 per inspection with similar splits. I’ll be interviewing a few Auto Independent Claim managers and blogging about their input on income for auto independent adjusters. I read many forum posts saying there isn’t enough auto work to keep them busy but during 2007 we’ve had as many auto requests for staffing as we have for property so I’m not sure that is true overall in the industry. It is also important to note that normally carrier auto management decisions are made by a seperate group of claim executives on the Auto side so just because the property side may not be using independents does not necessarily mean the auto side will not be. We’ve been working along side an adjusting firm on a consultant standpoint on marketing in recent weeks and it seems our leads are generating more offers for auto independent assignments than property as well. I do believe this in part is due to the fact there are much less adjusting firms willing to take the auto claims versus property as the fee billings are significantly less. We do have several auto associates who also differ with that opinion as they have been fortunate to get multitudes of claims from car dealership carriers for hail damage to vehicles on the lot and to commercial fleets of vehicles. It certainly remains worth exploring these opportunities.

I’ll post a supplement to this blog tomorrow adding additional information. Forgive any format problems as I’m on a Mac today and it’s been difficult going back and forth between websites not being used to the features on this system. I’m counting the days until our computers are set up here!


Independent Adjuster vs Employee?

September 27, 2007

Storm season always brings up the topic “are you an independent adjuster or are you an employee” as independents start receiving new contracts from adjusting firms for the season.

We wrote a blog about the caution new adjusters need to use when signing independent contracts in our blog called Splish Splash don’t go takin’ a bath. Here is a link to it.

While we are still hoping for a great employment attorney to provide an opinion on some of the issues Independent adjusters commonly face, (am I dreaming someone will come forward and volunteer to interpret these things for us as a guest blogger employment attorney or volunteer employment attorney participant)? I’ll post some links to some interesting things we found while researching this topic.

While I’m not sure we entirely understand the issue as it relates to court decisions, we think we’ve come up with a consensus that the issue relates to “independent judgment”  and “control” issues vs whether or not you or your adjusting firm considers you as an independent.

The majority of independent contracts the adjusters have shared with us state the adjuster understands they are a 1099 reporting independent but there are several such as ASU which states on their website here that their adjusting firm is 100% employee owned. I had the opportunity to meet several of their members at the 2007 NACA convention and find this approach most appealing for adjusters to have benefits, educational assistance, 401K plans and many other benefits independents normally don’t have access to with the majority of firms. Do you know of other firms providing employee status vs independent? It would be great to hear about these opportunities via reply to this blog if so!

I found an interesting site called The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Here is a link to their website. They say they are the largest professional organization devoted to Human Resource management.

Their website points out that there are many agencies that have statutory jurisdiction over the “independent vs employee” issue. Here’s an excerpt from their site about this:

“The many statutory jurisdictions that cover classification of independent contractors include the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Internal Revenue Code, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and individual state-by-state unemployment insurance codes” thus the comment above about not being sure we understand all of the issues because there are just too many federal and state laws involved in the classification determination.

An employment law attorney and member of their site addressed the House Labor and Education committee on July 24, 2007 stressing the need for guidance for employers to properly classify employees due to the confusion with all of the programs listed above. Here is a great article about her testimony. I think the following statement in her testimony best addresses the problem independent adjusting firms, carriers, and adjusters face as they create and sign contracts:

“Every new working relationship brings with it the challenge of asking the right questions to ensure the employment situation is being properly classified as an employee or non-employee worker,” said Walters. “In my experience, employers do on occasion unwittingly, misclassify employees as independent contractors,” she said.

Here is a link to the House Committee July 24, 2007 hearing that includes links to the webcast of the testimony at this meeting and to the presentations of several other speakers to include Paul DeCamp, Wage and Hour Administrator from the Department of Labor. Note that the question in the title of the hearing was “What Policies and Practices Best Protect Workers“. 

Chairman Andrew’s  opening statement is found here  and Chairman Woolsey’s opening statement is found on this link. These are worth the read as they outline the reasons employers may misclassify employees…basically to avoid health insurance and workers comp and other benefits such as social security payments they would have to pay or an employee would be due. From information gleaned in Woolsey’s opening statement, CA considers the problem so significant ( see yesterday’s blog too on CA and adjuster overtime issues) that they have State Assembly Bill S.B. 622 that if passed would assess penalties of up to 15K per violation or 25K  per violation if employers have engaged in a pattern of misclassification. This document here says that this bill passed the Assembly 9/10/07 and the Senate on 9/12/07. Those are pretty hefty fines and I hope that adjusting firm owners have been advised of these new provisions by their employment attorneys and have reviewed these issues as they pertain to using independents for each various operation such as carrier daily branch assist on daily claims, inside adjusters in carrier claim central operations, as well as their classifications for catastrophe independent adjusters especially for the types of contracts I’ve seen that require exclusive work with the independent firm or carrier. Would the use of independents as inside adjusters be cause for concern about classifying them as other than 1099 employees? How about daily assist or daily adjusters working under an exclusive contract? I don’t know but I bet a good employment attorney would know the proper classification. I would also want to know about how a bill such as this one passed in CA would apply to an adjusting firm going out to CA to work earthquake claims. There are many firms holding California Earthquake Certification classes in preparation for an inevitable earthquake out there but have they done equally thorough research into classification of adjusters and if those rules would apply to out of state adjusting firms coming in to work catastrophe assignments? I’m not sure how those laws apply when your working out of state as a vendor vs it being the permanent state of your adjusting firm office.

Paul DeCamp’s testimony found here is longer but if I were an adjusting firm owner, I’d certainly take the time to read this and look at the list of 7 items he calls relevant factors to determine if a worker is properly classified. The one I found interesting the most from the independent adjuster standpoint is the relevant question of “Permanency of the relationship”. Page 2 of his testimony also goes into interesting details about “the process” of reviewing these factors and payroll records and how they conduct their inspections. I had no idea that the Wage and Hour Divisions primary responsibility was dealing with complaints as the testimony says 70-78% of their work is addressing workers complaints on these issues. It is  also very important to read the comments further down on page 5 that says that temporary help is often in the most commonly misclassified category. I’d also read the comments  since this is a national program and the testimony states that they are recommending misclassifications  found by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) for many other violations for some of the other agencies(listed at the beginning of this blog) that they find value in sharing that information nationally with other state and federal programs(page 6). Pg 7 indicates that GAO feels that employers should be notified when they make these reports to other agencies to investigate while WHD did not think it was appropriate for them to report them due to the fact they do not know the rules nor administer the programs for the other agencies looking at independent classifications. 

Another point interesting to property and catastrophe adjusters would be the comments on page 4 indicating that construction companies are in the group receiving the largest findings of misclassifications. The findings in Decamps report about this are echoed by Sara Stafford with a construction firm who testified that firms such as hers are often penalized by losing contract bids as they include the cost of employee benefits in their estimating costs (overhead and such) when other construction firms improperly classify employees as independents which costs the complying firms work by abiding by the classifications. I imagine this would be the same for independent adjusting firms who would have to increase fee schedules to cover their overhead for employee benefits if they were required to provide workers comp and benefits. Here is the link to Sara’s testimony. I didn’t have time to get to the testimony of two other speakers you can find on the links above.

Other research we found in the past few months includes:

This informational article from the state of Texas on form C-8(0406) found here which contains 20 relevant topics to test your classifications.

Here are some interesting comments on independents here with several more good factors to consider.

I really liked this 20 factor check list for small businesses to determine employee vs independent contractor check list to determine under common law what factors apply found here.

This article here from another law firm discusses NY’s “right to control” factor. It’s an older article from 98 but a good article. This website is full of employment articles at www.ebglaw.com.

Here is a good weblink for IRS information on independent contractors which refers also to links for several publications  you would want to refer to found here on their website.

I found this case from Vermont that the Insurance Journal posted quite interesting from May 2007 where at home workers for a knitting company were determined to be employees versus independent contractors. Here is a link to the article.

It took several days to have time to finish up this blog entry due to weeding out alot of repetitive information and narrow it down to some of the most concise current information you might find useful. The research has been well worth the while as I’ve learned that these issues are not set in stone but very active current topics of discussion, court cases, and federal and state agency hearings and discussions right here and now in 2007. The National Law Journal  at www.NLJ.com on their 9/27/07 article update says this will be a banner year for Supreme court labor and employment cases as they have granted review of many cases in this overview of the article:

September 27, 2007

TODAY’S NEWS

FROM THE UPCOMING ISSUE  |  Supreme Court loads up on employment cases
Besides adding such high-profile issues as the constitutionality of lethal injection executions and voter ID laws to its docket, the Supreme Court ensured, through its latest grants of review, what is likely to be a “banner” year for labor and employment law.

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This appears to be the time for independent adjusting firms to update the opinions from their employment lawyers if they haven’t already done so to verifiy if their current practices meet all of the 2007 regulations with all of these current discussions going on. All Independents are waiting on weather (wow as independents call it) for assignments so while everyone is waiting you might want to take the time to double check the classifications to make sure everyone is compliant with their state and federal 2007 regulations. I am most curious about how the state laws apply when an adjusting firm from one state ventures into other states to handle losses. Are they subject to those other state laws too? This feels like going to college! The more you learn the more questions you have!


Insurance Adjuster Overtime Pay Issues and Complaints in the news

September 24, 2007

I’ve been trying to find time to write about the big ongoing question about adjuster overtime pay and a related issue on the commonly asked question ” am I an independent or am I an employee”.  The new suit brought by two AIG adjusters   in September 2007 again brings this topic to the forefront and we’ll watch this case to see if anything new develops to help us understand these issues. We would appreciate any comments by employment attorneys to help us clarify these issues. Today we will provide information on the overtime issue and tomorrow we’ll blog about the Independent adjuster vs employee questions which we are frequently asked about by adjusters when signing independent adjusting firm contracts.

Here is a link to the news article about the AIG adjusters new suit. Here is also a link to the Bloomberg article on this new suit.It’s not just carrier staff adjusters and employees filing these suits as this article shows adjusting firms are the subject of such suits also in this article saying Pilot Catastrophe  Services  also received a Complaint in 2004. I’d like to know how the adjusting firm case was resolved but could find no information on the web about the outcome of the case.

The AAICP -American Association of Independent Claims Professionals wrote an excellent article on this overtime issue in June 2004 found here. This article in part says:

“Insurance claims adjusters are still exempt from federal overtime requirements under the United States’ Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division’s final version of the controversial changes to the white collar exemption regulations. As requested by the American Association of Independent Claims Professionals (AAICP), an association of independent claims adjusting companies, the Labor Department specifically noted in the new regulations that claims adjusters are generally exempt from overtime pay requirements regardless of what kind of company they may work for – an insurance company or an independent. The new regulations also make some adjustments to exempt salary requirements that may affect claims adjusters, including raising the minimum exempt salary and creating a new pseudo-presumption of exempt status for higher wage-earners.”

Here is more important information in this article:

“As requested by the AAICP, the new regulations specifically use insurance claims adjusters as an example of an exempt administrative employee:

Insurance claims adjusters generally meet the duties requirements for the administrative exemption, whether they work for an insurance company or other type of company , if their duties include activities such as interviewing insureds, witnesses and physicians; inspecting property damage; reviewing factual information to prepare damage estimates; evaluating and making recommendations regarding coverage of claims; determining liability and total value of a claim; negotiating settlements; and making recommendations regarding litigation.  “

Please read the full article for other important details.

Here is another article from the AFL CIO which specifically addresses insurance adjusters and overtime issues which concurs with the article from AAICP stating in part:

“Insurance claims adjusters—Again, court cases on whether insurance claims employees receive overtime pay have gone both ways—some courts have said they are exempt and other have said they should receive overtime pay. This is a very heavily-litigated field, and corporations have not been able to win a blanket victory. The Bush Administration has handed them that victory by changing the nationwide regulation to specify that these employees are generally disqualified from receiving overtime pay. (New Section 541.203(a)) A quarter of insurance claims adjusters make less than $35,000 a year. “

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In a more recent case involving Farmers, White and Case provides this analysis of an overtime case in multiple states in this February 2007 article on Farmers prevailing in a case on the claim adjuster overtime issues. Here is the link to their article.

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One of the most excellent articles I could find (here)is  from Holland and Knight in December 2006 which addresses the duties of adjusters who alleged use of computer estimating systems and claim manual among other things took away their individual judgment thus they were entitled to overtime pay. Some important comments in this article include:

 

 

“The Farmers claims adjusters asserted that they were not exempt from the overtime pay requirements because the work that they performed was part of the “production” side of the business, not the “administrative” side. They also argued that because they had to follow claims manuals and guidelines, and use computer programs to determine loss values, they did not exercise sufficient “discretion” and “independent judgment” to fall within the exemption.The trial court found that all of the claims adjusters were doing “administrative” work; that is, that their role was on the administrative side of the business, not the “production” side. In addition, the trial court found that most of the claims adjusters used a sufficient amount of discretion and independent judgment in their work to qualify for the exemption. However, the trial court found that some claims adjusters, such as automobile adjusters and adjusters who mostly handled claims less than $3,000, had to follow so many guidelines and rules that they did not exercise an adequate amount of discretion and independent judgment to meet the exemption”. 

I found this article addressing the size of the claim particularly interesting in light of all of the claim central operations handling smaller losses.

Here is another good article by the Jackson Lewis firm from November 2006 outlining more duties of adjusters and providing more information on the Ninth Circuit ruling that claims adjusters are exempt from overtime pay while noting that CA courts reached opposite conclusions. This brings us to this September 19, 2007 article  here by National Underwriters discussing some recent CALIFORNIA cases where Allstate, State Farm, and Farmers agreed to pay millions on other cases out there. Is this because they are cases in CA subject to other laws or is it because of overtime regulation interpretations prior to the new overtime rules of the Federal Labor Standards Act?

This MSNBC article here from August 2004 explains what changed with the new overtime regulations when they went into force. I’m not an employment attorney so I am not sure of the answer to this question as to why some carriers were settling these cases but it may be due to the regulations in CA differing as an article  addessing several CA cases settled by carriers in Los Angeles Business Journal explains here. 

 Here is an interesting article from October 2006 by CFO.com indicating the 2004 update to the FLSA has increased the confusion on overtime pay and the number of suits filed. Particularly interesting on page 3 of this article is the list of FLSA auditor “red flags” indicating things they look for to see if a firm is in violation of overtime issues such as having all employees on salary versus some time card employees. Adjusting firms should read this article.

The bottom line in all of these articles seems to verify that adjusters are not entitled to overtime pay with the exception of CA (see this 2nd article here from Holland Knight on CA regs opposed to Federal regs) . I’d make sure your adjusting firm is compliant on these issues especially during catastrophe operations when many firms are working employees at the required carrier hours of 7am-7pm 6 or 7 days per week. Check with your employment attorney to verify you have your firm properly classifying your employees and adjusters. There are many new in office programs adjusting firms are participating in such as running call centers, using an increased number of adjusters in claim central operations at carrier catastrophe centers, running additional living expense and contents claim units from their adjusting firm home offices or field catastrophe centers.

Due to the increased number of suits as a result of the new 2004 FLSA decisions as indicated in these articles, it appears wise to get a legal opinion on your overtime decisions BEFORE your firm is subject to such a complaint. Review of this Department of Labor article found here says it best:

 “The status of an insurance claims adjuster, however, does not rely on the “claims adjuster” job title alone.  There must be a case-by-case assessment to determine whether the employee’s duties meet the requirements for exemption. “

In my earlier years as a staff adjuster, we were never paid overtime pay except when moved to “time card” status while attending claim schools as they advised us training status required overtime pay while normal work did not. We were never paid overtime as claim managers in line field units, claim central operations, or while serving as catastrophe claim managers working 7 days per week 12 hours per day. In more recent years when performing temporary catastrophe management duties with independent adjusting firms, they also paid us on salary with no overtime. I can assure you in both staff and independent positions that adjusters normally work far beyond a 40 hour work week to keep up with carrier performance guidelines and Department of Insurance mandated deadlines during catastrophes. This 28 year carrier career was all prior to 2002 with the independent experiences from 2003 to the  present.

 I am curious what adjusters today (after the 2004 changes) are experiencing on these salary, time card, and overtime issues and hope to hear from many of you in reply to this blog. Please list your position, your state of employment, your carrier or adjusting firm, and your method of pay both for regular 40 hours and overtime. Should you not wish to comment in the blog, you can send emails to us and I can post your input anonymously in reply to this blog. We’ll also post this in our  forums at ClaimSmentor for continuing ongoing discussions with our members.


Tee off at your own risk, CA court rules…but don’t forget the great contacts you can meet while playing golf

September 3, 2007

Labor day weekend was a great time for many adjusters to enjoy one of their favorite sports…golf.

I thought this was a great time to bring up a few recent articles on the subject. All adjusters know it is rare for a claim conference not to include a golf tournament. Here is a great article by CNN Money titled “Must I play golf to get ahead” that I think provides some great advice!

We talk talk talk about resumes, rosters, deployments and don’t bring up how important informal social network groups are to our careers. I think you’ll find some interesting statistics in this CNN article. You can find so many other opportunities for social networking in the claims adjusting community through activities at your local Claims Association meetings, through forums such as ours at ClaimSmentor, and Claim Conferences such as the annual NACA January convention for catastrophe adjusters.

We came across this recent CA Supreme Court  case involving State Farm which states:

“Being struck by a carelessly hit ball is an inherent risk of the sport,” the justices declared Thursday”

This case was applicable to injuries to other golfers and alludes to coverage to non participants.

I didn’t have time today to locate many internet cases on golf ball accidents to car windshields, home windows knocked out from the course,etc but I know I for one paid many such liability cases or damage to property of other cases (DPO)over the years! Just check the policy provisions for the carrier involved if assigned such a  case.as well as state law applicable to your case. Here is an interesting article on home ownership near a golf course and things to avoid. I never realized how much damage golf balls can cause to a home until a good friend of mine became distressed due to the constant new damage to her home causing her to finally sell it a year or two after purchase. Here is another good article on errant golf balls and also discusses “trespass” issues and golf hazards as well as this article discussing liability for the golf course itself for errant balls. Here is another interesting article about cases in MA for property damage to adjoining residents property.

Hey, we already knew that! Adjusters are very familiar with the damage that “golf ball size hail” creates! If you’ve never reviewed NOAA’s official hail size descriptions, golf ball size hail is described as 1.75 inches in diameter. ( Just some interesting “golf” trivia that has nothing of course to do with the CA case!)

If your new in claims, or an adjuster who happens to be a  new golfer, you might want to read this Rough Notes guide on golf cart liability coverage and exclusions while your thinking about taking up the game. Here is also an example of property damage coverage on golf carts in an ISO 2000 program with options for endorsement ISO HO 0528 for property coverage while other HO package policies may cover the cart itself. Some folks consider a floater policy specifically scheduling their golf equipment as shown in this article.Here is also an interesting article covering what kind of coverage a golf course program must consider to insure the golf course grounds and buildings. There is also a great expense put out by firms hosting the golf tournaments for insurance and awards..just look around this site as one example!

We maintain a running “Comprehensive Equipment” list on ClaimSmentor for new adjusters outlining everything they need to bring with them on their first storm with the input of our participants.We even had an interesting entry from one adjuster that buys hard golf club cases at the local thrift stores for transporting some of his cat adjuster equipment to storm duty using them to store office supplies such as tape, staplers, tape measures, etc. as he can easily move them to hotel rooms from his vehicle. You can never underestimate the mind of a cat adjuster trying to figure out alternative ways to move a mass amount equipment needed into a small truck or car for storm duty!

We hope everyone had a great labor day weekend. If you missed our blog on some interesting info on Labor  day and the 12 hour days/ 7 days a week work hours in the late 1800’s that lead to some of the Labor day unions, read here. Very interesting to note that in 2007 insurance companies are requiring those very hours from catastrophe adjusters!


Have you thanked your adjusters as we enter Labor day weekend?

August 30, 2007

As we enter labor day weekend the next 3 days, we hope that many catastrophe adjusters share time with their families and friends with what may be the last of long weekends for sometime should hurricane season activity actually pick up in September. Here is one of the latest pictures from our new favorite weather site, Ralph’s Tropical Weather,  showing atleast 5 new lows being investigated as we speak!

This week we’ve learned of friends deployed to Midwest flooding, CO storms, and other locations finally getting assignments after the very slow storm season for 2006 for many independent adjusters so they will be unable to share the holiday with their families. We hope the insurance consumers will come to appreciate the many sacrifices adjusters do make to choose the life of a catastrophe adjuster.

How interesting to read here  that the 12 hour/7 days a week American work schedule as we entered the Industrial revolution lead to unions to help the deplorable conditions American employees suffered in the late 1800’s ! Did someone forget to share that with insurers who still require those very hours today for storm adjusters?

Today is a great day for carriers and adjusting firms to take a moment out to thank adjusters who service their claims before labor day weekend begins. We used to recognize adjusters committing to work disasters with storm banquets to thank them for their service as they rotated in and out of assignments back to their regular offices every 30 days. That practice today has basically become extinct now that carriers have dedicated catastrophe operations initially created so an insured would not have to deal with an ever changing group of adjusters for consistent handling of their claim. That was a great concept in it’s time and still is but the beauty of the program is eroded over the past few years due to the current practice of in office claim central units requiring insureds again  to deal with “team” adjusters  who are not familiar with their file. It  also became unpopular for banquet facilities to post signs with a carrier name for such gala events and even for conferences due to a large number of consumer complaints on carriers wasting “premium dollars” on such wasteful spending. Other issues arose regarding the serving of liquor or hosting cash bars as well as sexual harassment issues for jokes in today’s ever increasing world of litigation. It still amazes me today the number of insureds that will call in to a carrier office to complain of adjusters taking a long lunch or telling jokes in a restaurant “when they should be out handling my claim”. Listen folks, adjusters are human also and field adjusters commonly work 15-18 hours 7 days a week. They return from 10-12 hours in the field to their rooms at night to enter claim estimates to meet stringent carrier quotas on inspected and closed files due each and every day while out on assignment. They need a break and they need recognition for their hard work. It’s fighting an uphill battle to even mention things like this with the negative impression of “adjusters” out there. New adjusters need to be most careful in following carrier guidelines not to wear storm clothing after hours and to always be cognizant of the public when out in groups for dinner. You can be over heard discussing private cases and this is not a very good thing in the eyes of the public. Instructions from most carriers require you wear “civilian” clothing when going out to dinner on your way back to your room to work files.

Hmmmm……..I guess we don’t learn from history very well in the claims industry. Our work hours meet time frames from the 1800’s and we have totally done a major turnaround in the current “claim central” operations circumventing the very reason we created catastrophe claim field operations to begin with. An in office adjuster who has never experienced the trenches of disaster does not share the same empathy as they have no understanding of the trauma experienced by insureds during a storm. They have never walked up to a home that looks reasonably repairable from the street only to walk to the back of the structure and see it torn in half. Nor have they marched down the street with a ladder in 100 degree heat to measure roofs when you’ve been dropped off  from a carrier bus on a street corner during an “Andrew”. I have managed in office adjusters, field adjusters, and catastrophe adjusters and there is a major difference in the understanding of urgency and the empathy of these different groups of adjusters if they have never worked in the field on a catastrophe operation- especially during the initial phases of cat operations.

I hope we will all take a few minutes to thank our adjusters in some form or fashion over labor day weekend.

We at Dimechimes Corporation thank the many dedicated adjusters servicing the property insurance industry! We look forward to working with members of our rosters as new staffing requests are received this season. Please be safe on your way to your new assignments.

We’ll see you back on the blog next Tuesday!


Adjustin’ to Adjusting-Guest Blogger Linda Goodson-First Storm Duty was Katrina

August 30, 2007

In our first of a series of new articles by adjusters on their experience the first time out on the road as a catastrophe adjuster, we have  Linda Goodson out of Enterprise, AL sharing her experience as a first time cat adjuster during Katrina.

Linda is a ClaimSmentor Honor Award lifetime member due to her major volunteer contributions on our site assisting with class certificates and preparation of material for exhibit booths we attend at claim conferences. She has spent hours this year attending adjusting firm seminars, obtaining carrier certifications, and also attended our 40 hour Fundamentals class picking up many things she says she wished she had known prior to her first time out on the road. Below you will find a summary of her experience not only on her first cat deployment but in her recent efforts to complete FEMA damage assessor training which many adjusters are doing to supplement their income during non storm assignment periods. Linda also had a short stint with the LA Road2LA program in 2007. Linda’s email is woodnnails3@yahoo.com. We hope new adjusters can learn things to expect from our guest bloggers sharing their experiences. Linda’s bottom line advice to other new adjusters is to accept in office assignments vs field as shown in this following comment from Linda followed by her story:

I worked Katrina and Rita from September 05 to April 06 in the capacity of field adjuster and agent advocate. Volunteered time with adjusters working supplementals and doing some scopes here and there with a small IA firm that belongs to a family member.  If there’s a way to save money, this gal can find it. I lived in a pop up trailer most of that time in the field spending around $200 a month for a place to park it. Honestly, that first year, I think I made more in office than in the field just because of the cost of working field versus working office  still not knowing the cost cuts that I know about now. It was a guaranteed amount every week. During these two particular storms the going pay was around $10,000 a month. No software costs, low gas usage, and when I retired for the evening, I had no phone calls to deal with as it was 12 hour days, 7 days a week. You just have to decide what you can do and no matter what you decide, do it to the best of your ability. The people your there to help deserve that.

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What an Experience-Katrina duty-My First Time Out! By Linda Goodson

 

Okay I admit it. I’m covering all my bases. I decide to up my chances of work by applying for a position with a Federal Agency.

I was told to get my fingerprints done I would have to drive to their nearest facility which was 1.5 hours from where I live. When I asked why I couldn’t get my fingerprints done at my local police dept., they said they felt more comfortable allowing their own staff to do it since they were more efficient and the process was much quicker for them. Made good sense to me that they wanted to use the people they had trained to do this. So I drove to the facility with social security card and drivers license. Everything I needed in order to make this a smooth process.  I didn’t want to slow down this well greased machine they were sending me to.

 

When I got there, the employee in charge of doing my most efficient and quicker process was stressing that she wasn’t sure what was wanted but she would do her best. It took her approximately 30 minutes to figure out what information her computer wanted. When she couldn’t figure it out she said, “Oh well, whatever doesn’t end up on the fingerprint card, I’ll just write it in”.  While she fumbled with the computer, I asked her if she wanted me to go ahead and complete the paperwork. “Oh no! That will take you a WHILE to complete. In fact, you may want to take it home and fill it out”.

 

Finally, she did enough on the computer to make her feel she had done her job well, and we began the fingerprinting. As a former law enforcement officer, I knew these prints were the worst I had ever seen. I was relieved when she made a mistake of some sort and had to start over. But to my dismay, the second set of prints was just as sloppy. However, she was convinced they were gorgeous and there was no convincing her otherwise.  What took 10 minutes to do the week before at a police department for my FL adjuster’s license, took her 1 hour 20 minutes to do and it was incorrect.  And as I was leaving I realized they were packing up to go home. Hmmmmmm … I looked at the paperwork she handed me on my way out. It would have taken me no more than 10 minutes to fill out.

 

Upon leaving the facility, I called the agency that sent me to them but got no answer. Finally 30 minutes later, I got an answer and I’m put on hold for 12 minutes. I hung up when I realized their office had closed 5 minutes ago and they probably weren’t coming back.

 

When I got home, and began looking over the fingerprint card, I noticed she had switched my birth day and birth month. Once again, I called the agency to hopefully stop this card from being sent to Washington. To my surprise someone answered, allowed me to explain what I was concerned about, politely put me on hold. 15 minutes later, I hung up.

 

Email!! I would email them. Just a brief email explaining my concern of the incorrect information but I’m still waiting for a response.

 

As I sit here, I’m reminded of my first year of storm season employment. It would seem if you were doing everything they wanted done, according to how they wanted it to be done, you would go through some sort of desperate confusion. And it didn’t even have to be a government agency.

 

Really it took me back to my first storm and my first experience with an IA firm. Within 24 hours of being hired, I was expecting that any minute of my training and contract sessions, I would be branded on the butt, or my ear tagged.

 

My first year out felt like I was spun around blindfolded and turned loose at ground zero with a computer in one hand and a measuring tape in the other.

 

The first lesson in adjusting was learning how to adjust to my situations. Let me explain.

 

I passed a training center in my own town, to go to one of their other training centers many hours away, where I had to pay for room, food, gas,GAS, oh my word, gas. Not to mention it took us longer to get where they needed us to be. We spent two days on the road that we could have spent in the class back home. Then our training was cut short. We got three of seven days of training, and we were sent out with a promise that there would be someone there to help us, called a TA. I had seven TA’s in a course of 3 months, and only met one of them. Can I be self-taught? You bet I can. I learned how that year.

 

Very few classes included people that you would feel confident to learn from. People demanding respect by trying to belittle the people they were put in charge of. Talked down to in classes, help rooms, and help lines only to find out that most of these people were moonlighting until their positions were available again at some casino or local bar. If you were fortunate, an adjuster with years of experience headed your class.  As I myself am very talented at many things, I would not be a great teacher. Teaching, in itself, is another gift that I don’t necessarily possess. Trust me, like 7 days of cheese; if you don’t know your software program, your system will lock up. All the knowledge you have is worthless if you can’t correctly get it into that program. It can take you 3 hours to do a scope, and if you don’t know that software, it will take you 6 hours to get it ready to be sent out to the company.

 

One fellow, whom I was told to direct my questions to, was walking around with people following him, grabbing his shoulder with intent in their eyes to get answers they had obviously tried to get elsewhere.

I thought to myself, “If I could only touch the hem of his coat”.  I never could reach him. When there was no one around trying to get life giving information, there was still a wall of conceit, and arrogance. I refused to grovel. There had to be another way.

 

Research was my only tool and I used it daily. Yes, it slowed me down. I wasn’t able to do as many claims as I should have been able to do with good training and support. Atleast what I did was right and I was able to sleep at night knowing that and it helped knowing that I didn’t have to throw my pearls before swine to get it done right for the insured and the carrier I was representing.

 

Borrowed a pop up trailer from a friend. Made sure I got my tetanus and other shots before I got started. I brought my handy dandy first aid kit, rubber gloves, hand sanitizers, and 50 cent face mask. After working 3 months of flooded homes, I found out just how important a GOOD face mask is while spending hours in flooded areas. I ended up hospitalized.

 

I was  discharged two days later from the hospital. I was next  offered a position in office with the same company. As an advocate, I was able to continue helping and that was very important to me. My slight concern of being cooped up inside was diminished when I saw how busy the offices were. Keep me busy and I can handle anything. This gave me the opportunity to see this storm work from a different perspective and I was grateful for the opportunity.

 

After working two offices to completely closing the storm, I was given the okay from the doctors and I began working as an assistant to any adjuster friend who needed help out in the field with supplement claims.

 

In all my dealings, I learned so many things about myself.  I can handle any situation as long as I stay positive, motivated and continue to help others.

 

I can survive a pop up trailer, as long as I stay focused on the people I’m there to help, who lost their home.

 

I can survive pork and beans and Vienna sausage as long as I stay focused on the people I’m there to help who lost  ‘everything’.

 

I can live away from my loved ones during this time, as long as I stay focused on the people I’m there to help who lost loved ones forever.

 

When I look back on the monetary gain, I think about the cost of gas, food, tires, air cards, cell phone coverage, and rent. It takes a lot of money to make a lot of money. The largest reward is in knowing that somewhere each day, I helped someone find hope. A way to get back as much as they deserved, to begin a new life while representing with respect and passion the carrier who believed in me enough to let me be a part of this tiring, challenging, and yet extraordinary line of work of Adjusting.

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We thank Linda Goodson for sharing her story with her reality based view of her experience. We encourage other adjusters to share your story with our readers. If you were a first time adjuster during one of the worst disasters in catastrophe claim history, we’d love to hear your story and share your advice for new adjusters.  You can submit your story to  us through our staffing firm. We will publish a few of these stories each week for others to learn from before they go out on the road the first time.

 

While the majority of carriers require a stated experience level such as 2 or 3 years of experience under normal circumstances, many rules had to be bent during Katrina requiring deployment of many adjusters who had completed training and adjuster licensing but had no practical field experience prior to Katrina.

 

The stories of their struggles to complete their job are heart breaking under the worst of circumstances during Katrina storm duty assignments. I know of MANY who worked and were not paid a dime after incurring over 10K in housing ,office, and travel expenses. We hope to make a difference for new adjusters by sharing some of the warning signs  to look for so they are not taken advantage of by the few firms out their taking advantage of trainee adjusters inexperience. We can tell their stories without naming the adjusting firms involved to avoid libel problems. It’s the key issues such as contract issues, fee bills, warning signs, and other key “red flags” new adjusters need to learn to avoid some of the same problems you will read about as these folks share their stories with our readers.

 

You may read in many adjuster forums snide comments about “3 day wonders” referring to the many new adjusters coming from the influx of 3 day (some maybe 3 hours!) training schools for some courses alleging to teach an adjuster everything they need to know to earn big six figure incomes. That is far from the truth. It takes years of experience and training to properly understand the serious nature of the adjuster position. We hope by following our blog entries on adjuster income and some of the lawsuits costing adjusting firms, carriers, and adjusters that you will learn more about becoming a true professional representing the Independent adjusting community well to preserve all of our jobs in the industry. Take a look around the prior blog entries on income and adjusting and take the advice to heart.  Learn from these “new adjuster” stories and stop the name calling. These folks who went out the first time are people with families to support. We need to learn to work together to help mentor them and to improve the training programs available to new adjusters. They do not know that some of these schools aren’t properly training them until they work with experienced adjusters who point out the error of the training processes some are out their teaching. If you read about “how to overcome the three year requirement by vendors” advice you might consider running to another more reputable training facility. I can’t thank the valued experienced participants of ClaimSmentor enough for their constant sharing of information with others.

 

 

    


Additional Job Opportunities Available for Aviation, Property, Casualty daily adjusters

August 29, 2007

We’ve been out of town and returned to the following additional staffing requests for  daily(non catastrophe) adjusters to work these assignments with Independent adjusting firms. If you are interested AND MEET the qualifications specified below, please view the information requests on our staffing firm website. Please view the requirements for all candidates listed on our opportunities tab.

1) Additional Aviation adjusters needed- nationwide

2) Property and Casualty adjuster needed in Miami,FL. Must be a resident there with a permanent FL license. Minimum 3 years of experience. This is a request for a billingual adjuster with a passport as this position will be handling international claims. This position is for an independent firm but a salaried position with full benefits. Approximate salary is 70K plus expenses.

3) Auto adjuster needed in Wyoming. Must have Wyoming adjusters license. Software is CCC Pathways. Must have experience auto adjusting. Prefer minimum of 2 years of experience.

4) Property/Casualty adjuster needed for Lafayette, LA. Must be a resident and must have the new LA adjuster’s license. Minimum experience 2 years. I’ll have the estimating software requirements later today.


Pros and Cons of working staff adjuster versus independent adjuster positions

July 27, 2007

I find it fascinating that so many new adjusters are entering the catastrophe claim profession based on stories of six digit incomes they hear other independents make during peak storm seasons such as 04/05 with little understanding of the employment options as either a staff adjuster or an independent daily(non catastrophe) or catastrophe adjuster.

I ask new adjusters to give me 5 pros and 5 cons of being a staff adjuster and 5 of each as an independent adjuster. Having taught a Fundamentals of Claims class now to over 100 adjusters in the past year, I have found very few that can answer this question. I have also learned that there are many common misconceptions about the freedom an independent adjuster actually has.

If your considering a career in claims and do not know which way to go, here are some things you may want to consider:

Staff adjuster Pros

Regular reliable salary

Paid training

Health benefits

Possible company car for field adjusters

Computer equipment and estimating software provided free

Travel expenses paid for or reimburseable on expense account sheets

Temporary housing on catastrophe assignments is located and paid for you

Cellphones provided and charges covered by carrier

Carrier keeps you up to date on claim news

Carrier holds your CE classes for you and makes sure you are up to date

Carrier handles your licensing issues and differences in emergency adjuster licensing rules

Carriers often pay continuing education such as AIC designation, CPCU courses, college courses

Retirement benefits

401K plans

Errors and Omissions coverage

Defense costs of counsel paid by carrier should you be sued for claim file handling

Great seminars for training by attorneys, experts and hot topics provided

Field training mentors provided to you for ride-a-long field training 

Independent Adjuster Pros

Freedom to purchase type of equipment and software you like to use

You have the right of refusal of an assignment to a location you don’t want to go(city,etc)

Possibility of earning more GROSS income than a staff adjuster based on fee schedules on cat

Assignments are temporary so you don’t have to stay long term with boss you don’t enjoy

Freedom to decide which adjusting firm you are better suited to work for

Freedom to choose where you house during a catastrophe assignment

Freedom to choose if and when you have room mates at seminars and conferences

Freedom to decide which carrier you like to work files for

Freedom to decide which firm you will work for based on carrier fee schedules

Freedom to use estimatic software you prefer by aligning yourself with an adjusting firm who uses the one you prefer

More employment options since adjusting firms do not require college degrees but hire you based on adjusting experience and adjuster training levels

Adjusting firms pay on fee splits so you can quickly earn the same fee split as experienced adjusters

Many of the more complicated files are moved to staff to complete such as coverage issues so you can be more productive

Independents generally have more down time for vacations between assignments

So then..what are some of the Cons for these positions?

Staff Adjuster Cons

Often don’t have freedom to reject a catastrophe assignment

Constant reorganizations and possible required relocations to maintain employment

Often assigned room mates at seminars, schools, conferences (non management)

Druggery of yearly performance reviews even good employees dread each year

Politics of corporate environment

Long tail on promotional opportunities- some carriers as long as 3-5 years to progress to claim specialist level

Carriers often require a 4 year degree which many independents may not have

May be deployed to catastrophe assignments if you are on a cat team longer than you prefer

Sometimes hard to transition off a catastrophe team to regular claim positions as departments at home are downsizing and scaling back or moving to claim central environments

May be “on call” for 24/7 customer service claims for field adjusters

Dealing with an unpleasant boss long term

Often required to train new adjusters slowing down your work

Often salary and much overtime required to handle files timely (lots of case law on this issue)

You can’t walk away from the bad files with long tails- they are yours to completion

Short vacation allotted -usually 2 weeks for first few years

Guess who handles the problem files when the cat teams depart?

Independent Adjuster Cons

Costly training for seminars, conferences, seminars

Required carrier certification tests for multiple carriers to work their files

Expensive equipment costs for computers, ladders, miscellaneous equipment and cat logo clothing

Estimatic software expenses since you must provide. Especially difficult if adjusting firm working for multiple  carriers using different software programs

Expensive temporary housing for catastrophe assignments you must pay

Difficulty finding reliable information on the reputation of adjusting firms for payment of adjusting fees, adjuster support in the field, forms and endorsements, and other important details

Navigating Independent contracts to protect yourself before you sign independent firm contracts

Expenses of defense costs should you be sued if your E and O policy does not cover

Errors and Omissions cost to provide your own if the adjusting firm does not provide

No guarantee of work

Transportation and maintenance cost of your own vehicle as well as insurance cost

Handling your own CE requirements- costs of courses

Complying with the non resident emergency adjuster requirements and fees on your own

Obtaining a mentor to help train you in the field is very difficult

Keeping up with important developments in claims if you are not a CORE adjuster with an adjusting firm. This year alone we have about 5 states with new licensing developments as an example.

No clear cut path to recovery of your adjusting fees should a vendor not pay you

Very long tails to receive adjuster payments-not uncommon to be 60-90 days before you see your first payment on a catastrophe if you are working for a firm who pays after the carrier pays

Extra layer of management since you report first to adjusting firm manager who then moves your closed file to staff management for closed file review.

Misconceptions I often see in response to the question about the pros of being an independent adjuster center around the expectations of an independent. We get answers such as less file quota, less paperwork, freedom to turn down files in a territory you don’t want to go to if it’s out of your assigned territory, no management, loose dress codes, bringing in assistants, freedom to turn down adjusting firm assignments for a firm you are considered a core (regularly assigned) adjuster and many other false assumptions.

You need to understand if you accept an assignment as an independent that you are working in a carrier’s world. They have the same high standards set for you as they do for their staff adjusters upon arrival at their cat assignment or acceptance of their files for daily work.

The same time service requirements, timely inspection and closure of files applies. You will be required to use the same report forms, pattern letters, and good faith claim handling standards that a staff adjuster must abide by. Your production numbers and quality of file documentation must still meet carrier directives and matches the same file standards for a staff adjuster. This is in addition to specific guidelines your adjusting firm may have for submitting documents for invoicing the carrier.

We hear many comments from adjusters who know the ropes…… ” how independent are you really” ? If you look at many states case law on determining if you are an independent or are you an employee……you do have to wonder in spite of the fact that most adjusting firms deploy independents on a 1099 basis. There is little room for working on your own once you arrive on assignment. All of your actions are directed by those we serve to include the adjusting firm and the carrier. You do not have the choice of what software you use in most cases, what forms you will use, what closing and inspection requirements are,etc. You do have the same freedom as a staff adjuster to set your inspection appointments and schedules but don’t be naive to think your numbers will not be monitored to be sure you are meeting customer service standards.

These partial lists of pros and cons should help you decide which position best meets your background, preferences, and pocketbook. Feel free to add to the list if you have additional thoughts to add to these pros and cons!


Welcome to Dimechimes Corporation Adjuster Information Blog

July 26, 2007

Welcome to the newer version of our blog! We will post updates to claim data from new significant storms, updates to job opportunities, and updates to information independent adjusters, claim representatives, cat adjusters, and claim managers need to know about developments in the claim adjusting community.

We have moved to a new blog site which allows us to have pre approval on comments posted to maintain the professional intention of our blog for members on our rosters and firms using our services.

We hope you visit us often!

Best Regards,

Deborah K Moroy, AIC,IIA

President/Founder

Dimechimes Corporation Claim Staffing and Recruiting

Proud sponsor of ClaimSmentor


Catastrophe Adjuster resumes- the requirements to get noticed do differ!

July 26, 2007

We are quickly approaching the peak hurricane season. We talk to many adjusters about their resumes when they call to find out how they can get noticed with the thousands of adjusters who have entered this field due to the strong hurricane seasons in 04/05.

Here is a link to our published article in the June 2006 issue of Claims Magazine regarding Catastrophe adjuster resumes with some suggestions for enhancing your resume. Many career websites tell you that your resume will only get a 20 second overview before HR personnel determine if they want to continue reading and considering you as a viable candidate:

http://cms.nationalunderwriter.com/cms/Claims/Monthly%20Issues/Issues/2006/06/rn1?origin=chan
nels-Catastrophe

Here is also a current list shown on our Opportunities page with a list of important information you need to be sure is included as commonly asked for by most adjusting firms looking for quality candidates:

http://www.dimechimes.com/Opportunities.html


How much income can I make as an adjuster?

July 26, 2007

  Web Tag: Insurance Adjuster Pay

We often receive the question from new adjusters about the amount of income a staff adjuster or an independent adjuster or a catastrophe adjuster can make. Many forums say this topic is taboo to speak about it on public forums.

Here are many articles found on public websites for your informational purposes for those of you exploring careers in this profession.

I’ll be posting in this blog later about pros and cons of staff adjusting versus being an independent adjuster. I continue to be amazed teaching online classes on ClaimSmentor how many adjusters have misconceptions about the freedom associated with being an independent because they really have no experience yet with the expectations of carriers for independent adjusters handling their claims….so check back often for updates on many topics!

This first article is by National Underwriter Claims Magazine now managing Editor, Eric Gilkey “Overwork/Underpaid”:

http://www.claimsmag.com/cms/Claims/Monthly%20Issues/Issues/2006/10/Features/…

Here is also the latest Bureau of Labor statistics report on Adjuster pay:http://www.bls.gov/oco/pdf/ocos125.pdf

Here is one more salary link for you:

http://www.umsl.edu/services/govdocs/ooh20022003/ocos125.htm

Here you will find a link to an interesting formula used by an adjusting firm for figuring independent pay! Let us know how accurate you think this could be!

http://www.imsclaims.com/compensation.htm

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**Update 8/14/07- Here’s another site with adjuster income projections:

http://adjusterstraining.com/library/IncomeProjections.pdf

Make sure you also review our 8/14/07 blog on Adjuster fees in the News for deductions from this gross income type of a listing.

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It is very hard to pinpoint an “average” salary or compensation for an independent adjuster. There are many many variables such as the number of files assigned, the tight zoning of assignments in a territory or much travel involved between appointments, the fee schedules of the carriers and the fee split with the adjusting firm. Also, variables exist as to which expense items independent adjusting firms take a fee split on such as mileage, photos, tolls, and other items from the gross fee schedule billings. The net income to an  independent adjuster also varies greatly based on their temporary housing expenses at a cat site, gas expenses depending on travel from home and then site to site,etc..so there is no cut and dry answer but hopefully these well researched articles may give you some indication. Be leary of the ads and rumors you hear about those earning high dollars. While there certainly are those who do earn those figures based on years of expertise, there is no guarantee of such income. All independents can vouch for that after the slow 2006 storm season!


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