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

February 27, 2009

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

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

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

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

**Update 2/27 4 pm CST:

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

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


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

February 26, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

********

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

February 24, 2009

 

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

LinkedIn Profile:

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

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

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

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

 

 


Branch Consultants Whistleblower Case Reinstated- Appeal Court Decision February 2009/Also links to info on the Rigsby Whistleblower cases

February 23, 2009

We had previously written on this blog about the Branch Consultants case being dismissed in this prior blog entry on 10/17/07:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/10/17/branch-consultants-vs-multiple-insurers-whistleblower-case-thrown-out-by-judge-today/

Here is another blog  on 3/28/08 we wrote about the appeal filed with links to many other blogs and news articles:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/branch-consultants-whistleblower-case-appeal-filed-on-the-dismissed-case/

We have now learned the Appeal Court decision of February 09 has reinstated the case.

We have located some news coverage giving many more details to include a news link at State Farm who was now dismissed from the case commenting about the case. Some of these articles do include the names of which companies have been dismissed from the case and which insurance companies, adjusting firms, and software estimating companies are still named in this case.

 Here is a link to the news on State Farm’s Katrina news link:

http://www.statefarm.com/about/hurricane/dismiss_qui_tam.asp

Attorney Kanner who represents Branch Consultants has information up on the Qui Tam section of his website that contains information about numerous news articles that have been published on this case here:

http://www.kanner-law.com/CM/LeadingCases/LeadingCases88.html

For those who remember this case with the 4 unnamed whistleblower cases  (the news says they are PA’ s (public adjusters) filed under “Branch Consultants” who we never could find a website for, the Court of Appeals reopened the case this week. We did locate the name of one of the adjusters in a news article linked to in the first blog above (Max Johnson named in a news article):

Here is a blog post over at http://www.slabbed.wordpress.com with links to the court documents from this week:

http://slabbed.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/allan-kanner-can-just-evermore-kiss-my-ex-rel/

To see lots of blogs Slabbed has posted updating the status on the EA Renfroe/State Farm/Rigsby cases you can also view these- there are so many I don’t even try to post them all but many are interested in these cases:

http://slabbed.wordpress.com/legal-qui-tam/qui-tam/

And here is the news story with a good summary and update on the Branch Consultants RICO suit: (Note this names the carriers, 3 adjusting firms and software firms involved in this whistleblower case):

http://blog.nola.com/tpmoney/2009/02/new_orleans_whistleblower_laws.html

**Update 2/25/09:

http://slabbed.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/adjusting-the-adjuster-defendants-in-katrina-qui-tam-litigation/

***Update 3/1/09

Great article at National Underwriters P & C with information about State Farm and Allstate being dismissed from this case.

http://www.propertyandcasualtyinsurancenews.com/cms/nupc/Breaking%20News/2009/02/23-APPEAL-mr?origin=Auto%20and%20Homeowners


Citizens of FL Board approves selection of 30 adjusting firms for 2009-2012 See website links here

February 19, 2009

 We have posted numerous updates on our blogs about the Citizens of FL Request for Proposal (RFP 08-0016 last rebid in September 08) which was rebid several times in 08 as Citizens of FL cancelled the RFP several times in 08 taking one year from the initial bid process in January 08 to finally announcing the final selections in December 2008 and January 2009.

This caused an impossible situation for the adjusting firms and if you track the rebid posts and claim committee and Board of Governor meetings notes posted on their site, you’ll notice they selected different vendors several times which is quite confusing for independent adjusters as well as the independent adjusting firms who were trying to build rosters of adjusters and plan training sessions. It has been a very rough process and quite expensive for the adjusting firms bidding as well as the RFP documents they had to supply to Citizens changed throughout the year and required many copies of their documents be turned into Citizens to be in compliance with the bidding process. If you follow the document and meeting tracks, with each rebid….less firms applied and you cannot blame them!

 They confirmed with the Citizens Board of  Governors meeting in a January 2009 meeting the selection of 30 adjusting firms selected  to use for  2009- 2012 when workload requires use of independent adjusters.  There were 58 firms that applied on the latest RFP and 30 firms selected. The committee notes post two lists. The first is the 30 firms selected and the second list is called “remaining list” which is the adjusting firms who applied but were not awarded contracts.

You can view the Claim Committee and Board of Governor Meeting notes on these links where this was announced  in a  12/12/08 Claims Committee meeting (see minutes of meeting notes in January 09 and approved by the Board of Governors on 1/29/09 on this  link to all past Board of Governors meetings and Claim Committee meeting notes:

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

You can view the entire RFP to include the evaluation scoring information sheet in their archived RFP information here (just scroll down and look for RFP 08-0016 which includes the fixed fee schedule, the scoring evaluation criteria and other important information independents should know about the expectations of adjusters and adjusting firms processing their claims):

https://www.citizensfla.com/about/purchasing-solicitations.cfm?type=closed

While these meeting notes do list the adjusting firms, they do not list their websites. You will also see the listing here on their Adjuster Resources page:

https://www.citizensfla.com/adjuster/index.cfm

**see link in top right corner to Awarded Competitive Solicitations link which lists the 30 adjusting firms.

You will find the list again in their meeting documents along with the “remaining list” for firms that applied but were not awarded contracts to service their claims on the past meeting link above by looking at the Board of Governors meeting in January- search the documents in  the left column for all lists and the claim committee presentations and info at those meetings.This is public information posted on their website. 

We have located the websites for adjusters to contact these firms about their upcoming Citizens of Florida required carrier certification training. It is our understanding many of the firms are already hosting the daily (non catastrophe) training right now and that the independent catastrophe training will be held beginning April 2009. It is best to check with them as we are not a Citizens vendor but simply provided much needed information for independent adjusters looking for the firms designated to handle their claims.

We post ALL adjusting firm training classes we learn about on our  site at ClaimSmentor  in our Carrier Certification forum for participants on our site. Before you pay to attend any of these sessions make sure to note that a large number of those hosting the classes are hosting them FREE so  be sure you check around for those classes. There are so many going on, it will not be difficult at all to find one in a location near you. The majority of advertisements we see for these are being held in popular locations in Florida and Texas. Now if we can just get them to hold some of them in the central of the US like here in Nashville, TN!!

If you are an adjusting firm wishing to post information about your classes, please contact Debbie@Dimechimes.com for more information about joining ClaimSmentor or posting your class information here on our Adjuster Information blog.

Here is the list of websites for the 30 selected firms. Be sure to ask the firm before you sign up with them if they are one of the firms that did agree on their response to the RFP to offer Citizens a 5 or 10% discount off of their fixed fee schedule. Citizens used an evaluation criteria where each firm applying got X number of points if they offered Citizens a discount.

 I had significant concerns about this as an inexperienced firm could gain points almost forcing them to offer a discount on the fee schedule to be competitive on the evaluation criteria. Other concerns I had/have are:

1)  How would this work with independent adjusters working side by side and some making 10% more than other independents if they happen to be working for one of the firms offering the discount?

2) Would this reduction in fee schedule cause a poor selection of adjusters sending the more experienced adjusters running to other carriers where they can earn a larger fee since they incur significant travel expenses when they work out of town to begin with during catastrophes?

3) Would this run off  excellent firms who are not interested in working for reduced fees when they can service claims for other carriers at greater fees? (When you look at the remaining list on the link above you’ll wonder too!)

The information I have gathered from some of the adjusting firms participating in the RFP is that even when they did offer the 10% discount to Citizens they did not plan on passing those discounted fees on to the independent adjuster. Instead, they plan to absorb that 10% from their portion of the fee bill. Thus for example if the adjusting firm agrees to a fee split of 60/40 with the independent adjuster, the adjuster would still get their 60% of the fee schedule, the adjusting firm 30%, and adjusting firm absorbs 10% of what they would have gotten had they not agreed to the 10% fee schedule discount. Just check with the adjusting firms you apply to to be sure you are not working at a 10% discount should this concern you. You can check the Fixed Citizens Fee schedule by asking the adjusting firm for the FIXED fee schedule from the RFP or look at it yourself in the RFP documents which are linked to here  on the above links to Closed RFP documents on the Citizens Purchasing link on their home page at www.citizensfla.com ( look for RFP 08-0016 )

Here are the websites for the 30 selected firms where you can apply and register for their Citizens Certification training:

Action Catastrophe Team, Inc.

http://www.actioncatteam.com

Alamo Claim Service

http://www.myalamoclaims.com

Allied American Adjusting Company, LLC

http://www.americanadj.com/contact1.html

Bradley Stinson & Associates, Inc.

http://www.bradleystinson.com/

Burton Claim Service, Inc.

http://www.burtonclaimservice.com/contact.htm

CatManDo, Inc.

http://www.catmandoinc.com/contact-us.aspx

Claims Consultants, LLC

http://www.claimsconsultantsllc.com

CountryWide Adjusting

http://www.cwclaims.com

Florida Claims, a division of Weathers Adjustment Company, Inc.

http://www.floridaclaims.com/contact.asp

G&G Insurance Adjusters, Inc.

http://www.ggadjusters.com/upload/jobs.asp

Global Risk Solutions, Inc. (GRS)

http://www.globalrisksolutions.com

Insurance Servicing & Adjusting Company (ISAC)


http://www.isacclaims.com

Insure-Aid Claims Service

http://www.insure-aid.com/ContactInformation.htm

Integrated Catastrophe Services, Inc.

http://www.iclaimsllc.com 

Interclaim, Inc.

http://www.interclaiminc.com/about.html

Johns Eastern Company, Inc.

http://www.johnseastern.com/career.html

Legacy Claim Services, LLC

  http://www.legacyclaims.net

Lozano Insurance Adjusters, Inc.

http://www.lozanoadjusters.com

Mathias and Company, Inc.

http://www.mathiasinc.com/

Nado Insurance Services

http://www.Nadoclaims.com

National Catastrophe Adjusters, Inc. (NCA)

http://www.ncagroup.com

 

Pilot Catastrophe Services, Inc.

http://www.pilotcat.com

ROL Insurance Consulting

http://yellowpages.aol.com/business/fl/oldsmar/rol-insurance-consulting/0-116929477/?query=Insurance+Adjusters

**I couldn’t find a website for them but found phone number above. Anyone know their website?

S&S Claims Service, Inc.

http://www.SSClaims.com

Team One Adjusting Services, LLC

http://www.teamoneclaims.com

The Littleton Group

http://www.littleton-group.com/catastrophe_services.html

US CAT Adjusters, LLC

http://www.uscatadj.com

 

Walker Group, Inc.

http://www.wgclaims.com

Wardlaw Claims Service

http://www.wardlawclaims.com/contact.cfm

 

York Claims Service, Inc.

http://www.yorkclaims.com/YCS/ContactUs/ExecutiveContacts.aspx

***Before you consider working for any adjusting firm, you might want to check the Vendor Feedback forums over at www.catadjuster.org on this link to see what other adjusters may be discussing about these firms as we do not provide vendor feedback on ClaimSmentor since 50% of our members are trainees. I do always have concern with “vendor feedback” as you never know if it is a disgruntled employee if they post negative comments and/or if there were work performance issues. I can assure you based on my claims management background that some of the worst performers are the loudest complainers but at the same time I can also tell you that there are many non payment issues we need to clean up in the independent adjusting business. Unfortunately, the few firms with these issues give others a bad name for all independent adjusting firms:

http://www.catadjuster.org/Forums/tabid/60/afv/topicsview/aff/40/Default.aspx

**Note you have to register on CADO (www.catadjuster.org) and have a login id to get into this Vendor Feedback in the Adjusters Den there as that forum is not open to the public.

There are so many reputable firms, some who have even serviced their claims for years, on the “remaining”  list that it makes you wonder if the evaluation process was the proper tool for evaluating the professionalism of all adjusting firms. I am not by any means putting down those selected, just concerned about many of the GREAT adjusting firm names on the “remaining” list. I will get the websites up to the firms on the “remaining” list within the next week since there are so many good firms on that list as well.

Note the Citizens Minutes of the Board and Claim Committee meetings usually run about a month behind getting posted on their website so we don’t yet have a link to any details about the finalization of the contracts with these 30 firms which their site says was going to be done once they got the board approval for these firms in late January. (See past Board of Governor and Claim Committee meeting links on the link above to past meetings.

*********

Update 6:35pm CST: If you want to see the history of RFP 08-0016 and what independent adjusters  and independent adjusting firms have been put through on Citizens adjuster training in 07 and 08 (with the majority never getting an assignment) you can look at this list of prior blogs we wrote since we started this blog July 07:

7/26/07:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/hot-topic-for-independent-adjusters-opportunities-to-work-citizens-insurance-of-fl-claims/

 

8/24/07:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/24/enough-is-enough-citizens-fl-claim-reserve-problem-to-the-tune-of-300-million/

 

10/18/07

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/citizens-of-fl-adds-46th-adjusting-firm-tornado-damage-in-pensacola-fl/

 

2/13/08:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/citizens-rfp-for-daily-independent-adjusters-cancelled-the-claims-cheese-is-on-the-move-again/

 

4/23/08:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/citizens-of-fl-releases-new-rfp-for-daily-and-for-catastrophe-claims/

 

5/14/08:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/citizens-of-fl-new-rfp-revised-times-3/

 

5/14/08:

 

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/citizens-of-fl-changes-independent-training-requirements-for-2008/

 

5/19/08:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/concerned-regarding-adjuster-fee-schedules-for-citizens-of-fl/

 

 

 

6/18/08:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/18/breaking-news-citizens-has-posted-30-firms-selected-for-tier-1-on-new-rfp/

 

8/5/08:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/05/citizens-of-fl-cancels-rfp-for-independent-adjusters-yet-another-time-in-2008-rebid-now-times-4/

 

8/18/08:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/08/18/citizens-expects-to-post-rebid-rfp-for-independent-adjusters-on-august-19-2008/

 

9/03/08:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/09/03/citizens-of-fl-now-has-a-new-date-published-for-new-rfp-for-93008/

 

2/19/09:

 

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/citizens-of-fl-board-approves-selection-of-30-selected-adjusting-firms-see-list-here-with-websites/

Note alot of the links have probably moved in these blogs as Citizens moves information to the “Past ” link on the Board of Governors Meeting (there is a future meeting link and a past meeting link you will find on the home page at www.citizensfla.com and the RFP 08-0016 information is moved from the Purchasing documents link to the Closed and Archived documents link which you can still find on the home page linked to a minute ago. 

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

Updated 3/6/09: To help adjusters who keep asking who should they take the classes from, who would I recommend,etc (which I don’t do as I have no control of these firms so if I have not been participating with them for years or deployed adjusters for them and gotten great feedback I must refrain from doing so…..in the same vain, we do not provide vendor feedback in our ClaimSmentor forums since we have not personally worked with these firms)….anyway….try the membership directory at www.naiia.com  and also view their membership criteria to understand why we are suggesting you go there to see which members above are approved members at NAIIA. While you are there, be sure to click on their link to the Code of Conduct form they require members comply with. Search our Archives found in the left column of this blog and read our entire blog about this posted on 3/5/09. You can click on the Calendar on 3/5/09 and it will take you right to it!


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Helpful Claim Resource Links for Adjusters- Software, Magazines, Training, Licenses, Forums..much more

February 19, 2009

 We have updated all of the links on our  Dimechimes ClaimSmentor Adjuster Information Blog and now have seperate links for Adjuster Forums, Claim Career sites, Claim Estimating Software Sites, Claim Blogs of Interest, Insurance News, Claim Conferences, Claim Forums , Claim Magazines,and much much more.

To find all of these links just scroll down all of the entries on the right side of our blog. Just click on a link you are interested in to find resources available  for that topic.

To find blogs related to your training needs, you can also scroll down on the right column and find a drop down menu by Categories or use the Search tool found on the right hand column to find all blogs on the claim topic you are looking for.

We hope this helps all of you who find your way to our Adjuster Information blog through search engines searching for these many topics! Happy Hunting!


Nationwide Insurance, Homewise Insurance, ANPAC Insurance Carrier Certifications Coming Up in March 2009

February 18, 2009

We have previously posted several blogs on independent adjuster requirements to take carrier certification exams. If you missed the post about this, click here:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/insurance-carrier-claim-certifications-where-do-you-test-for-them-much-improvement-needed-in-the-process-of-certifying-independent-adjusters/

Also, don’t miss our independent adjuster/adjusting firm poll on carrier certifications to place your vote about your interest in more online carrier certification exams here:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/independent-adjusters-participant-in-our-poll-on-carrier-certification-exams/

You can check our other carrier certification posts by clicking on the Categories tab on our blog and selecting carrier certifications to see all postings. It is also a good idea to click on the claim training and adjuster training categories as well if you are looking for other training opportunities.

One of the participating adjusting firms at our mentoring site ,ClaimSmentor,  is hosting a FREE carrier certification class March 10, 2009 and March 11, 2009 in Tampa, FL for the following carriers:

. Nationwide Insurance Carrier Certification

. Homewise Insurance Carrier Certification (they are one of the newer FL carriers)

. Anpac Insurance (American National) information

Here is the information to register for these classes:

Claims Service Professionals (CSP) will be hosting certification classes for Nationwide Insurance & HomeWise Insurance, and an orientation and introduction class to ANPAC Insurance.  Be prepared for the upcoming storm season.  Get certified to handle Nationwide and HomeWise claims and learn more about ANPAC Insurance.  CSP is expanding its current roster of catastrophe adjusters and is seeking experienced property adjusters.  We strongly encourage anyone that has property claims handling experience to attend this meeting and to visit our web site http://www.cspclaims.com and complete an on-line resume.

The free classes will be held in Tampa, FL and will run from 1 PM to 5 PM on Tuesday March 10th and 8 AM to 4 PM on Wednesday March 11th.   You should bring a photo ID, calculator, and either a pen or pencil along with notepaper.  Laptops are not necessary

Please RSVP your notice to attend the Tampa, FL class to:
rsvptampa@cspclaims.com

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

March 10th, 2009 1 PM – 5 PM

March 11th, 2009 8 AM – 4 PM

Holiday Inn Express

8310 Galbraith Road

Tampa, Fl

SHOULD YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE EMAIL THEM TO:

rsvptampa@cspclaims.com

Here is a link to their online resume for adjusters wishing to apply to their firm:

https://www.cspclaims.com/Resume.asp

 

 ***If your adjusting firm is interested in advertising your upcoming seminars, conferences, training classes and job opportunities, email debbie@dimechimes.com.

You will also find  a link to register at ClaimSmentor where we have career forums for posting job opportunities, seminar forums, carrier certification forums, and much much more information for adjusting firms and for adjusterson our About page tab on this blog.

 


Auto Adjuster Claim Training Updates- Blog 4 of 4 on Auto Claim Training

February 17, 2009
It has been a while since we updated information on training options available for new adjusters looking for auto adjuster training for auto independent adjusters.

Here is a link to our prior three blogs from 07 and 08 on Auto claim training options:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/02/auto-adjuster-claim-training-updates/

 

Here is an interesting  Q & A about Auto claim adjusting over at Pilot Catastrophe at www.pilotcat.com  here on this link:

http://www.pilotcat.com/Careers/Auto-Adjuster.aspx

It was very interesting to see in that post that they say most of their carrier clients provide the auto estimating software for the adjusters. When you read the other blogs we’ve done here, you’ll see it is quite an expense to pay the monthly fees for auto estimating software programs required to write the estimates.

We’ll be writing more tomorrow about Crawford and Company training courses but for now let me give you a link to their newer online claim training options and one is for the the auto claims career path for both a class on Auto Physical Damage claims and Auto Liability claims:

http://www.kmcondemand.com/portal/index.php?Page=coursecatelog&country_id=9

The main website for their online classes is www.kmcondemand.com . I am simply amazed at the reasonable price of their courses as well as the fact they are a very well known and respected independent adjusting firm not just a catastrophe vendor!

Pacesetter Claims is often recommended for auto adjusting by members of our ClaimSmentor site and here is the link to their Auto section of their website. You’ll have to contact them for specific details on auto class training schedules they provide:

http://www.pacesetterclaims.com/PCSAuto1.aspx

Here is an online option on a self study course over at Wardlaw Claims on Auto Liability Investigating:

http://www.wardlawtraining.com/wctc_selfstudy.cfm?Course_id=1035

Their auto lab site says it can house up to 15 damaged vehicles used in their lab:

http://www.wardlawtraining.com/wctc_facilities.cfm

Wardlaw also has  four classes available from Basic Auto Adjusting to total loss evaluations at very reasonable costs here:

http://www.wardlawtraining.com/wctc_classroom.cfm?Value1=3

I’ve also recently spoken to Mr Bray with Auto Claims Direct. You can view their current openings for appraisers and auto adjusters with atleast 3 years experience in auto claims or body shop experience:

http://www.autoclaimsdirect.com/careercenter.php

Mr Bray also has an interesting blog up for auto adjusters here:

http://blog.autoclaimsdirect.com/

Watch for more training options for Auto adjusters in the coming months as we hear from new service vendors  at ClaimSmentor!


TWIA- Texas Windpool offers Two Adjuster Certification Workshops in March and April 2009

February 14, 2009

You will find the information about the March and April 2 Adjuster workshops  for the  TX Windpool  (TWIA ) on this link. The registration form says the deadline is 3/10/09 to submit  the registration form and payment of 25.00. It also mentions if there is any room available you can pay 50.00 as a walk in the day of the class but my guess is there sure won’t be space available.

http://www.twia.org/news.html#adjuster_news


Independent Adjusters- Participate in our poll on Carrier Certification Exams

February 13, 2009

 Be sure to click on the comments tab at the end of this post to find the link to the blog post regarding the need for improvement in carrier certification exams for independent adjusters.

I changed the View Results to allow voters to be able to view the results- check back often for updated results! Note the vote poll software program only allows voting 1 time per cookie so adjusters cannot vote multiple times.


Have License Ready To Go! Not So Quick- Take this Self Assessment Test

February 13, 2009

We receive hundreds of emails yearly if not monthly from new adjusters specifying they now have their adjuster’s license and are ready to go as they look for independent adjuster assignments. Many will have great backgrounds in construction, auto repair backgrounds, insurance agency, and other related fields.
 
What they do not have that they do not understand is a grasp on the functional essentials to properly adjust a claim. They may have learned state ethics requirements for adjusters, some basic policy to pass the adjuster’s license exam, but little regarding practical file requirements, carrier claim handling guidelines, forms required, proper communication tools and appropriate forms of communication.
 
If you think you are ready…try taking this self assessment and see how many questions you are comfortable with before you go out on assignments and see if you are ready!

Whether you take our 50 Hour Fundamentals of Claims Class or obtain training elsewhere, please do not go out on assignments without taking much needed training from PROFESSIONAL sources. We post them all in our Seminars Forum, our Training Material Forum, in industry Claim Conference postings all found right  on ClaimSmentor. See About page for all website/contact information.
 
This is not by any means a complete list of things you should know but just a 125 sample assessment test of SOME of the minimum things you should know before working property residential claims.
 
Career Self Test Questions:
 
1) What are pros and cons of being a staff adjuster versus an independent adjuster?
 
2) What different type of fee schedules are available for independents to work under?
 
3) What are typical fee splits between independent adjuster and adjusting firms?
 
4)  What parts of independent contract do you need to be careful about before signing?
 
5)  What equipment must you provide yourself to perform your required field adjusting duties?
 
6)  What information will you be given at an induction center meeting versus what you are expected to know at arrival?
 
7)  What things are you required to have on an adjuster’s resume? What format should you use if you are new to the field? If you are experienced?
 
8)  What are holdbacks on fee schedule payments?
 
9)  How much money do you need to deploy on a catastrophe assignment?
 
10)  When should you expect to receive your first fee payments once you start processing catastrophe files?
 
11) What are dress codes for adjusters as required by carriers?
 
12) What are expected hours at a catastrophe assignment?
 
13) What is the difference in pay for an inside adjuster versus a field adjuster?
 
14) What is the average annual income for an independent adjuster? For a staff adjuster trainee?
 
15) What career field options are available for you to pursue?
 
16) How much errors and omissions coverage is it recommended you carry? Should you furnish your own even if the independent adjusting firm offers to furnish it for a fee? Does your E and O cover your defense costs if a claim goes to suit and you are named in the lawsuit?
 
Adjuster Ethics Self Test Questions
 
17) Is it ok to take salvage from an insured?
 
18) Is it ok to take gifts from insureds, contractors, attorneys?
 
19) Is it ok to select a contractor for an insured or recommend a contractor?
 
20) Is it ok to meet a contractor over dinner to reconcile differences in your estimate?
 
21) Is it ok to use an assistant with you in the field who is not licensed to assist with the paper work and calls from insureds?
 
22) Is it ok to discourage an insured from filing an insurance department complaint?
 
23) Is it ok to discourage an insured from hiring an attorney or a public adjuster?
 
24 ) Is it ok to inspect a large group of claims and later write them up once you conclude your inspections?
 
25) Is it ok if you are using an assistant like a husband/wife team of independent adjusters for the non file assigned person to write the activity logs for the one assigned the file?
 
Dealing with insureds- Self Assessment Questions
 
26) What is the minimum time frame most carriers expect you to go by for first contact with insured?
 
27) When should insured expect a personal inspection once you have contacted them?
 
28) Can you accept lump sum estimates from insured?
 
29) When is it required you obtain original documents such as repair estimates from an insured vs copies? Why?
 
30) When is the appropriate time to get contents inventory forms to an insured?
 
31) Who are high profile insureds you should give priority treatment during a catastrophe assignment?
 
32) How do you determine who you should see first if you are assigned a large group of files on a catastrophe assignment when you arrive?
 
33) What is the appropriate way to zone your assignments if given this large number of new claims upon arrival at a catastrophe site?
 
34) What form should you review before ever calling the insured and what parts of this form are important?
 
35) If the insured wants to talk to your manager, what is your appropriate way to deal with this?
 
36) In addition to getting contents inventory forms to an insured immediately, what other forms should be given to the insured if the home is uninhabitable?
 
37) If the insured has damage under multiple coverages on a residential claim which one should you discuss with them first?
 
38) Where would you meet with an insured if the home is uninhabitable? How would you determine the amount of an advance they might need? What authorization can you give them for getting a hotel and eating meals out?
 
39) When is proof of ownership required on a contents claim?
 
40) What 4 items should you ask an insured for on each contents item claimed?
 
Carrier File Requirement Self Assessment
 
41) What 3 ratios does the carrier constantly monitor to see if you are meeting their time service requirements?
 
42) Do carriers allow you to use custom made forms such as your own excel contents sheet?
 
43) Do carriers allow you to use email to communicate with an insured?
 
44) Do independent adjusting firms allow you to communicate with the staff carrier claim manager or adjuster?
 
45) Which carriers are going to require you to get a carrier certification exam successfully passed before you can work their claims for an adjusting firm?
 
46) What language is required on all forms a carrier gives to an insured to sign?
 
47) Who keeps copies of all claim file documents and material..you or the carrier or both?
 
48) What do you do if you receive suit papers on a claim?
 
49) What is required if the carrier receives an insurance department complaint? What steps are you required to take?
 
50) How do you close out a claim if the insured withdraws the claim? What paperwork is required?
 
51) What should you do if a severity code is incorrect in the system on a claim? Who sets up the severity code? Why does it matter?
 
52) How do you establish a claim reserve? How often are you required to change the reserve? What coverages require a reserve? What is the appropriate manner to determine a reserve amount?
 
Dealing with Insurance Agents- Self Assessment
 
53) Are you required to keep the agent up to date with the status of the file?
 
54) Should an agent be copied on all letters to an insured?
 
55) If the insured has a complaint, should you inform the agent or is it none of the agent’s business since the claim was assigned to the claims department?
 
56) What contact is recommended with agency offices when you arrive at your assigned catastrophe department?
 
57) What is the appropriate thing to do if an agent tries to get you to inspect all of their storm losses before other claims?
 
58) Do claim payments affect an agents loss ratio for regular claims? For catastrophe claims?
 
59) When should you notify an agent of underwriting concerns such as maintenance issues? Who else should you notify?
 
60 ) What would you say to an insured that alleges “the agent should have told me that” or “the agent didn’t offer me that coverage”? What process would you have to follow to investigate that?
 
Attorney and Public Adjuster (PA) requirements-self assessment
 
61) What file documentation do you need if the insured advises you they have contracted with a PA before you talk to the PA about
the details of the claim?
 
62) Where do you go to check the rules the PA must abide by in a given state?
 
63) Is the contract the insured signs with a PA a contract with the insurer meaning the insurer must comply? Does the contract waive any rights the carrier has?
 
64) Can you still talk to the insured if they have a contract with a PA?
 
65) Can you ask for the insured to be present if they have a PA?
 
66) What duties does insured have with the carrier if they now have a PA involved in their claim?
 
67) Who pays the PA and how much is allowed?
 
68) Can you talk to an insured if they have hired an attorney?
 
69) Can you inspect a claim if the insured has an attorney without the attorney present?
 
70) What documentation do you need from an attorney if they call to say they are representing the insured?
 
71) Can you send a letter to an insured if they have an attorney?
 
72) Are you obligated to notify the agent if the insured has an attorney or a PA?
 
73) What do you do if you get a time demand letter from a PA? From an attorney?
 
Good Faith Claim handling- Self Assessment?
 
74) What are you required to do to be in compliance with good faith claim handling statutes?
 
75) What do you do if an insured, attorney, or PA accuses you of being in bad faith?
 
76) What are the top reasons for bad faith due to adjuster claim handling problems?
 
File requirements self assessments questions
 
77) What 2 things are used if a coverage question or questions becomes known by the adjuster? What is the name of the form? What is the name of the letter? When do you use each? Can you proceed with investigating the claim when there is a coverage issue?
 
78) What is the name of the report used on large losses, daily claims to summarize the details of the claim? When is it due in to carrier?
 
79) What is the name of the form used to summarize all recommended payments broken down by coverage ?
 
80) What are minimum activity log file requirements? What are the “no’s” or do’s and don’ts of creating an activity log? What entries are required to be on the log?
 
81) What is proper file order for building, contents, and additional living expense documents?
 
82) What is the proper name for each of the  electronic file documents required to be uploaded to a carrier claim file if they use a claim management system?
 
83) What do you do if approached in the field by an insured and their claim is NOT assigned to you? What does the carrier expect?
 
84) When is a Sworn Proof of Loss form required? Who completes it? When is it due?
 
85) What do you do if the insured does not want the mortgage company name of the claim payment? What policy provision do you show the insured?
 
86) What forms do you use if the insured requires appraisal? Can you demand appraisal? If so, what steps do you need to follow?
 
87) Are you required to go over the settlement with the insured  in person once you have finished your estimate?
 
88) How should your file be documented when you have items still pending on the claim?
 
89) What things do you have authority to authorize without the carriers permission when discussing claims with an insured?
 
90) How do you document your claim file if you disagree with instructions from your claim manager ?
 
91) What is the best method to approach your manager about questions you have on the claim? What information should you have with you before going to them? How should the file be documented?
 
Policy Coverage Assessment- Self Assessment
 
92) Who is responsible to get the policy to the insured, agent, attorney or pa when a request is received for a copy of the policy? Do you give them a sample policy from the carrier office or who and what kind of policy is sent to them?
 
93) What reference books are recommended to have out in the field with you for policy forms and endorsements?
 
94)  What forms and endorsements and policies should you always have with you in the field?
 
95) Is it necessary to quote policy language exactly when you deny a portion of the claim?
 
96) Are you familiar with state mandated form language? How about state mandated mediation programs and forms required to notify an insured of their rights? What dollar limit applies requiring you give the insured this information?
 
97) What policy language do you refer to if an insured asks for payment for their time completing inventory forms?
 
98) What do you do if an insured claims items not covered? Property for people not covered on their policy? What letters and forms are required? What policy language would you refer the insured to to discuss this?
 
99) What many questions must you ask an insured to determine the appropriate place for them if their home is uninhabitable? Is an apt needed, a rental house, and how do you assess this? Who is responsible to locate temporary living quarters? What are abatements on Additional living expense coverage and how do you apply them? Who covers their security deposits?
 
100 )Settlements- What provision in the policy explains ACV? What process do you follow to calculate ACV and to notify the insured of RC provisons and how they collect them? How long do they have to collect them?
 
101) How long does an insured have to file suit on a claim? What is the Statute called that applies to this time limit? Where do you find it for each state?
 
Estimatic Self Assessment Questions
 
102) What are carrier guidelines on matching issues?
 
103) How does the pair and set clause apply to contents losses? To building losses?
 
104) Is it acceptable to offer the insured an appearance allowance on a damaged building or contents item?
 
105) What are line of site issues when determining how far to scope on building interior damage?
 
106) What are carrier acceptable methods of determining minimum charges?
 
107) What are general guidelines for allowing for overhead and profit on an estimate?
 
108) Can you pay an insured 10% profit if they do the work themselves?
 
109) How do you detemine the appropriate depreciation for building components? For contents items?
 
110) Is it ok to enter contents items in a building estimate as a miscellaneous item? Why or why not?
 
111) What do you do if you are unable to scope a building damaged item? Is it ok to copy the contractors scope and insert it into your estimate?
 
112) What is the best method for reconciling differences in your scope with the contractors scope?
 
113) If the insured’s contractors estimate is lower than your estimate what do you do? Which is used for fee schedule billing purposes?
 
114) IS it ok to recommend contractors to insured? If so, under what circumstances?
 
115) When are you required to review prior losses to avoid duplication on your current damage estimate?
 
116) What do you do if you suspect the damage you are inspecting is intentional versus accidental? (Example- insured uses a hammer to create appearance of hail damage to roof)?
 
117) Is it ok to round up or down on measurements? Is it ok to use the contractors measurements?
 
118) What are the major reasons for scoping issues when reconciling your estimate to a contractors?
 
119) What trades is it generally acceptable to allow overhead and profit and which trades is it considered not acceptable?
 
120) Is it ok to override a price in an estimating program with a manual entry? If so, how should you document your file?
 
121 ) What estimating program do you need training on? Where is it best to acquire it? Do you need to learn multiple systems? What is the cost involved?
 
122) Should an estimate need to be revised after you’ve given it to the insured what do you do with the original estimate once you have rewritten it?
 
123) If you reject acceptance of a lump sum bid insured provides from a contractor, should you keep a copy in your file?
 
124) Name the company many firms use to send off material samples for flooring such as carpet and tile and the process to follow to submit the sample
 
125) Are you required to agree to a scope with a contractor the insured has NOT signed a contract with to do the work?
 
*********
We cover these topics and much more during our 10 sessions of Fundamentals of Property Adjusting class held online LIVE on Monday and Thursday evenings. We will also hold class during the day should we receive enough registrants requesting the day course.  Our next class starts March 2, 2009.  IF you take the above self assessment and find you need more training, please join us at ClaimSmentor today if you are not already a member to register for our upcoming class. Again this does not begin to cover what you need to know to properly handle claims but gives you a great idea of how much more training you do need in addition to acquiring an adjuster’s state license.

We will also be posting much information in the next week on other sources of training also available as online options as well as the best of the best field training options for those wishing to pursue a career as an independent adjuster.

It is most important you avoid classes held by instructors with little to no experience themselves. It is always utmost important that you learn from experienced personnel and that you ask about the qualifications of the instructor. I personally find it important that adjusters take classes from (at minimum ) folks with both staff and independent experience as they are much more familiar with what goes on from a staff claim management perspective regarding expectations to properly train you in carrier expectations versus possible minimally acceptable file standards that barely meet the muster of carrier file reviews.

I’ve been teaching our Fundamentals of Claims class for several years now with over 200 now processing through our class. I hear their stories and in many cases from adjusters who did go out on their first assignment during Katrina and or Ike who were not given good training and had not known how much there really was to learn only to get sent home and in some cases worse yet to be told they can no longer work claims for a carrier they had worked hard to establish a relationship with. Many assume that if they pass the carrier certification test which is usually on estimatics that they are good to go. Is what these trainees are missing is that the carrier also has high expectations that you already know other basic essentials like proper communication skills, forms, policy language ,etc which definitely is not the case for many sent out.

Is what I don’t like going on in our industry is that many books available and many classes are being hosted by some independent adjusters that have little to no practical experience themselves. It takes years  before one should even consider writing a book, hosting a course or other such classes.

It is really becoming an epidemic in the independent field with classes available if you just check around the classifieds and postings on many sites. We hope to direct you in future blog postings to reputable adjusting firms and classes hosted by some of the more professional vendors our members have found in their training path.

One of the fallouts we are seeing from this inexperience being passed on is that the trainers with little background do not understand the backlash  of some of the poor instructions being given out  and as such I do believe it is leading to the increase in claim litigation  due to  poor decisions and claim handling skills by newer adjusters improperly trained.

The very last thing you should want is to barely be acceptable and only to be assigned deployment opportunities when they’ve run out of adjusters with more professional claim handling skills. The better you are the longer you will be kept out on independent assignments, the less chance you have in being sued for bad faith claim handling activities, the more satisfied insureds will be with their claim handling experience thus reducing Insurance Department complaints,  and the happier the carrier will be with your work product!

 

**Sorry about the smilee faces showing up every time I use the number eight. Every time I use it is shows up when published as a smilee face. If anyone knows how to overcome that issue please let me know!


Have you registered for your 2009 NFIP Adjuster Certification Class?

February 5, 2009

Here is the link to the NFIP- National Flood Insurance Adjuster Certification Workshops:

http://www.nfipbureau.fema.gov/training/index.html

You will see the link for adjusters at the top of the right hand corner. Register asap if you have not already as these classes fill up quickly. We have many members of  ClaimSmentor who are already attending them in Jacksonville, FL today.

Note this is a different link than they used in 2008 for Adjuster classes and that old link which many are trying to use says their are no workshops presently posted so many adjusters may think that they are not yet available.


2/5/09 Updates on the State Farm Announcement in FL

February 5, 2009

January 09 has certainly had interesting moves in the ongoing  “Who Moved my Claims Cheese” we’d blogged about here.

 Flexibility for independent adjusting firms and independents is even more important today with the State Farm announcement as well as with the December 08 announcement by Citizens on independent adjusting firms selected to handle their claims (supplementing their own staff adjusters).

In the early part of January 2009, Attorney Chip Merlin who is the Consumer Advocate member of the newest Citizens Task Force Mission posted articles about upcoming meetings where recommendations were being made to return Citizens FL back to the insurer of last resort it was initially intended to be. Approximately 3 weeks later, BOOM, the big announcement that State Farm would be leaving the FL homeowners market over a dispute on their request for a 47% rate increase after their request was denied.

We’ve been following the news updates and the struggles policyholders are having locating new coverage. There is also alot of news from other points of view to include more from Chip Merlin’s blog and news from the carrier themselves, news from the Polk County Board where the FL HQ for the carrier is, and much more. The most surprising was the request this week from Alex Sink with the FL Department of Financial services that the carrier let their captive agents place these 1.2 million policies with other private insurers. The carrier rejected the request according to some of the following linked news sources.

To read about all of these new developments post State Farm release here are a few samples of these articles and blogs discussing these hot topics:
http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_columnist_mikethomas/2009/02/how-charlie-crist-shot-himself-in-the-foot-on-state-farm.html

This one discusses the unprofessional  comments Gov Crist made about the company departure and the higher rates folks are finding trying to find other coverage:

Here’s another blog with even more entries from policyholders trying to find new coverage:

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_columnist_mikethomas/2009/02/state-farm-exoduswhere-to-go.html

Wall St Journal article carrying the quote Crist made about them leaving and also comments that he is trying to prevent them from cancelling more than 2% of their policies in a single year:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123371173559046209.html

Will the carrier’s move cost them loss of many autos as well?

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_columnist_mikethomas/2009/02/state-farms-huge-gamble-dump-my-house-lose-my-car.html

Polk County Board to write Crist since SF Regional office is in their county. Article quotes possible impact on 300 employees there (my guess underwriting and claims in the HO area):

http://www.newschief.com/article/20090205/NEWS/902050323/1022/LIVING?Title=Polk_board_writes_to_Crist_about_State_Farm

This next article contains great marketing info for adjusting firms about what other FL carriers are saying about how many policies that they can assume of  State Farm’s.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-statefarm0509feb05,0,4365661.story

In this next article they discuss the impact this may have forcing insureds into Citizens as well as asking a question if this is a chicken game between the carrier and Crist:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/orl-miket0509feb05,0,5259638.column

This article says Alex Sink- Dept of Ins is trying to talk SF into letting it’s captive agents write for private insurers and contains another list and more info on carriers wanting to take over the policies as well as quoting Citizens of FL saying they do have capacity to take all 1.2 million policies if need be (my insert here…..what happened to the new Citizens task force that is studying the return of Citizens to an insurer of last resort!):*Note I have another link where SF is quoted saying this is not going to happen letting their agents write for private insurers although they can write for Citizens)

http://www.miamiherald.com/business/story/886725.html

This is the link with the info about Sink”s letter to SF’s Jim Thompson and says right now their agents can only write for SF and Citizens:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-statefarm0409feb04,0,3775835.story

Here is an article saying SF will NOT let it’s agents write through the private carriers:

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/feb/03/plenty-insurance-companies-want-state-farms-polici/news-politics/

Here are updated comments where SF says they haven’t given up on getting the 47% rate increase but it was not a ploy announcing it was leaving the FL market but sounds like they are considering an APPEAL on the rate decision:

http://www.jacksonville.com/news/florida/2009-02-03/story/state_farm_hasnt_given_up_on_47_percent_rate_increase

The above linked article is very interesting since major plaintiff attorney Chip Merlin recently posted several blogs on State Farm’s planned departure questioning if it was Propoganda:

This first blog discusses suggested “sham economics” between funds from the FL branch and corporate HQ:

http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2009/02/articles/state-farm/state-farms-freakoutnomics/

Here is the one on Power/Propoganda Play questions:

http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2009/01/articles/insurance/state-farms-power-play-and-propaganda-ploy/

I know this is alot of information to digest but they cover many of the base questions we all have about how this decision will effect us as residents of FL as well as independent adjuster opportunities.

In case your thinking well they will all just be moved to Citizens still…read these two additional entries from Attorney Chip Merlin about an upcoming Task Force meeting about returning Citizens back to an insurer of last resort. These were written at the beginning of January. He is the consumer representative on this Task Force:

http://www.miamiherald.com/business/story/838975.html

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/sfl-flzcitizens0104sbjan04,0,5619118.story

Where does this leave adjusting firms? Where does this leave independent adjusters? As there is two years State Farm indicates to get this worked out this will be major for independent adjusters servicing State Farm catastrophe losses as well as the vendors selected in Citizens latest RFP. It is interesting to note that Citizens FL had just approved the selection of 30 vendors and rejected 28 of them in a December 12, 2008 and many of those firms rejected had experience servicing their claims. More on that in the next blog…….

 

 

 


We are back! Next 50 Hour online Fundamentals of Claims class begins March 2, 2009

February 3, 2009

We apologize for the lengthy delay in blog postings! We’ve had extremely limited time available for blog postings due to major operations my daughter underwent this past month but hope to be back on the blog on a more regular basis now that she is recovering at home.

We have improved our Fundamentals of Property Claim Adjusting course to move it from an 8 session course to a 10 session course all held online live at  ClaimSmentor . We have added a session on Contents claim handling and a session on Condo unitowners and master policy claims handling to our original 8 sessions. All participants completing the 10 sessions to include pre-class reading material and self study guides you can use out in the field as well as pre-class homework questions to assess your understanding of the pre-class reading assignments will receive a 5o hour Fundamentals of Property Adjusting Completion certificate. This includes 30 hours of online class instruction as well as 20 hours of pre-class reading and homework assignments.

If you are a new adjuster you will never make the comment again “have license ready to go to work” after taking this course as you will be simply astonished at the amount of material you need to learn to properly adjust claims.

This course is not an estimating course like many you will find out in the field. It is essential that you learn estimating through those valuable classes.  We address all of the things you need to know  in addition to estimating and the list is just simply way to long to go over in this post but includes communicating with PA’s and Attorneys, time demands, sample letter formats, file requirements, signing independent contracts, fee schedule reviews, electronic claim file processing and CMS systems, insurance department complaint handling, quota ratios you must live by ,samples of all commonly used forms in claims, recorded statement taking and outlines , partner adjusting, current trends and changes in adjusting and much much more.

Many courses available to independent adjusters are taught by other adjusters who have worked in the field. We teach our course from an entirely different perspective. We teach you how a claim manager thinks based on personal experience both as a staff and independent claim manager. You need to know and understand procedures based on the expectations your manager will have of you not based on hit or miss training from acquaintences. We also differ from much of the available training as we are not affiliated with an adjusting firm and this course covers the pros and the cons of the claim industry in a reality based method so you will have a much better perspective on the reality of this career.

If you are not a member of ClaimSmentor and wish to join us, the registration information can be found on our About page on this blog. Once registered you will be able to review the complete agenda.

Another most enjoyable aspect of this class is that it is held ONLINE live so your questions as we cover each session can be asked during class with an immediate response to address your concerns or any material you may not completely understand.

This is a great way to learn the property claim industry from home saving the funds normally required to attend a field class with travel expenses on top of the cost of the course.

Not sure if you need additional training or if this Fundamentals of Claims Adjusting for Property losses is for you? Take this self assessment test and you decide!

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