Auto Adjuster Claim Training- What options do I have?

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!

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5 Responses to Auto Adjuster Claim Training- What options do I have?

  1. Dimechimes says:

    While I posted a link above to an article about Nationwide moving to the auto side, here’s one from today about Allstate doing the same thing:

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8S9T3AG0.htm

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