Basic Material Identification Construction Training for New Property Adjusters -Avoid GIGO Estimates-Take Xactware Construction ILX training online

March 31, 2010

Remember the term GIGO- Garbage in / Garbage out?

That term is definitely applicable to property estimating with any estimate software systems such as Xactimate, MSB Integri Claims, SimsolPower Claims, or Symbility.

New adjusters take Xactimate training classes to learn to use the software estimating programs but if they are not familiar with construction, material identification such as carpet grades, counter top material,types of roof shingles, and other building components, as well as the proper construction methods to repair property then it doesn’t matter  how great your estimate software data entry skills are- you’ll still produce garbage in the way of insurance claim estimates necessary to settle claims.

I’d highly recommend the Construction ILX  training through Xactware who produces the Xactimate software program which is the most often  required estimating software required by insurance companies. If you are new to independent adjusting, you need to know it is the insurance company that dictates the estimating software they require the independent adjusting firms must use.

This Construction ILX training is part of Xactware’s e-learning courses and consists of 50 courses on building components and is very comprehensive. It is very similiar to a carrier training I took years ago as required training prior to attendance at  Vale National  for additional training in the field on building estimating at their 3 week construction class. It was an excellent plan to train people like me that were new to adjusting but with no construction background. I spoke with their sales department today and confirmed that you do take tests at the end of each part, a unit test, and a test at the end of the program to show your competency should you wish to obtain their certification. Here is the link to the certificate and CEU options.

The cost of the ILX training on CD  program is $595.00 which is an outstanding price considering you can study from home and at a self paced environment and especially with the CD’s you can take them on the road with you so you can look up something you may have a question about on the applicable CD. You save extensive travel and hotel expenses while training and it allows those working at regular jobs the opportunity to train around their work schedules. Here is the link to purchase the program. According to information I got when calling them and speaking to their sales department, you can take the program online or by cd’s.

 I will be covering other Xactimate software training options in a blog tomorrow. There are so many firms offering Xactimate training in the field but we constantly get complaints from new adjusters that they felt many of them were a waste of hundreds of dollars spent on classes that were overloaded with students and short on instructors so they got little out of attendance to feel confident using the software. Another disadvantage which I personally consider significant is that you are not getting tested at most of those schools so you only get a certificate showing you sat through a class which doesn’t provide alot of comfort to a hiring claims manager. If you take the Xactimate training directly through Xactimate you can obtain your level 1, level 2, and level 3 certification which provides certificate comfort to an adjusting firm or carrier seeking to deploy adjusters as their certification vouches for the fact you have not only taken Xactimate training but that you passed difficult training and passed at an acceptable level to get certified by Xactware themselves. More on that tomorrow when discussing other valuable Xactimate training field class options if your not good at self study.

Wait- it gets better yet! It was beneficial calling their sales department today seeking a discount for all ClaimSmentor participants, they will call back this afternoon to let me know if that is possible due to our extensive network ( 1,150 ClaimSmentor forum members, 658 Twitter followers, almost 300 members of our Linkedin ClaimSmentor group and 180 plus following my individual profile on Linkedin, and we’ve had over 145,000 hits in 1.5 years here on our ClaimSmentor adjuster information blog, and thousands on our staffing firm rosters). I hope to have good news on that today.

The second highlight I learned in my call today is that you can take the course even cheaper doing it online verus buying the CD program and cover the same material. The disadvantage is you wouldn’t have the program to take with you on the road later when you are working on a storm and need to refer back to something but I’d highly recommend the online option as well as it is very affordable to people who can’t afford the $595.00 which is very possible there are many after a slow claim assignment year thus far in 2010. Here are the online options at their self paced training link where they have options to have access to all of the construction training online for 90 days access to all of the training for $205 or if your fast at online training- you can even just buy the cheaper monthly version where you can have 30 days access to a bundle of the courses  for $110 or even train by the course at $35 each!

GIGO estimates will cause huge problems for adjusters, insurance companies, and most importantly for policyholders who can not get repairs don’t off of an inadequate estimate. Here are just a few crazy examples of estimating GIGO I’ve run across over the years managing adjusters who didn’t know about construction materials and especially construction repair techniques- and these are true stories!

1) Field adjuster gets a call from in experienced in office adjuster who has to review and approve the claim- desk adjuster tells experienced field adjuster to remove the crown molding (finish carpentry item) because MOLD is not covered under the policy

2) Working file reviews during a major hurricane, I actually ran across an estimate that the adjuster climbed in the attic and found a broken rafter where the tree hitting the roof had cracked the rafter. The adjuster measured the crack and put to remove and replace one inch of rafter. They did not allow a minimum charge and surely did not consider the repair method for a contractor to access the rafter and make a proper repair.

3) Repair estimates are often wrong even just on roofing repairs when an adjuster does not have the proper training to know when a roof can be repaired or not and no training in hail damage identification. I’ll be blogging about that as well this week.

As part of our Fundamentals of Claims Property Adjusting class, we spend 2 nights just reviewing estimates to train you on estimate reconciliation and the common carrier general guidelines on estimating. Repairing a property is entirely different than remodeling work an insured may want done to upgrade their property and you need to know what the carrier guidelines are on many issues such as waste factors, overhead and profit, minimum charges, matching issues and much more.

Run don’t walk to sign up for this construction estimating whether you are independent or a public adjuster if you do not have a construction background. It will help you prepare professional estimates to settle your claims and help you avoid rejections of claim settlement estimate for improper scope.

Watch for more postings in this week and next on estimate training options. Know the basics before you learn to enter estimates in a software program as it will do you NO good to learn data input if what you put in is GIGO!

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Notice- ClaimSmentor Site Undergoing Upgrades this week- Have Patience with Features in Forums/ Banner Ads

March 30, 2010

To :  ALL ClaimSmentor members

Our site administrator, Mat Houchens, is in the process of upgrading the ClaimSmentor site this week.

Some features may not be working as he moves the site to a new server so please have patience and check back again if you are having trouble making a post, logging in, or any other features. The banners from sponsors are also involved in the process and will be back up as soon as the transfer of all forum material is moved.

We hope to have everything done by the end of the week.

We do appreciate your patience while we upgrade. Thank you!


Louisiana Citizens- Does anyone understand this AIA recommendation? Would you work claims as an independent adjuster there?

March 29, 2010

AIA  (American Insurance Association ) who represents approximately 300 insurance companies says proposals to abolish Louisiana Citizens  are misguided in this March 18, 2010 article:

http://www.insuranceheadlines.com/Homeowners/6563.html

AIA’s main argument was the need for available insurance in coastal communities. I find this argument interesting in light of the 100 million incentive Louisiana offered as incentive to induce insurance companies to offer insurance in Louisiana as outlined in many articles. Two of the articles are linked below which explain the details of the incentive:

http://www.insurereinsure.com/BlogHome.aspx?entry=223 and this one posted on the Louisiana Department of Insurance website:

http://www.ldi.state.la.us/InsureIncentiveProgram/index.htm

There were also many post Katrina articles about the carriers taking out policies from Louisiana Citizens such as:

Here is a list of several of the carriers who did take out policies from Louisiana Citizens through the incentive program:

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/business/17179086.html?showAll=y&c=y

40,000 policies removed by six carriers:

http://www.ldi.la.gov/public_affairs/Press_Releases/2008_Press_Releases/10-8-08%2040,000%20Insurance%20Policies%20to%20be%20removed%20from%20Citizens.htm

This seems strange in view of the many articles posted post hurricane Katrina about problems with Louisiana Citizens after Katrina to include but not limited to some of the following issues:

This article just came out March 23, 2010 regarding a former executive pleading guiltyf to theft charges:

http://ifawebnews.com/2010/03/23/former-louisiana-citizens-executive-pleads-guilty-to-theft-charge/

This February 2010 provides more details about the alleged charges against this executive and the trial then upcoming in March 2010:

http://www.autoquotenow.com/auto-insurance-news/state/former-insurance-exec-to-go-on-trial-in-louisiana-2040.php

What about this class action against Louisiana Citizens per this LA Department of Insurance press release on a 17 million dollar settlement for their failure to settle Katrina claims within the statutory deadlines?

http://www.ldi.state.la.us/public_affairs/Press_Releases/2009_Press_Releases/8-19-09%20Citizens%20suit%20press%20conference.htm

This article from April 2009 outlines information about another class action lawsuit against Louisiana Citizens for failure to pay overhead and profit on claims:

http://blog.nola.com/tpmoney/2009/04/a_state_appeals_court_has.html

How about the news the Louisiana Citizens Board approved 35 million to settle yet a different class action lawsuit that involved 30,000 insureds due to poor claim  handling:

http://channels.isp.netscape.com/pf/story.jsp?floc=FF-APO-1333&idq=/ff/story/0001%2F20081114%2F0813395122.htm&sc=1333

This next article discusses a court dismissing a federal case against Louisiana Citizens for  racketeering, money laundering, wire fraud and mail fraud for their own enrichment :

 http://www.nola.com/business/t-p/index.ssf?/base//money-1/1218864023315000.xml&coll=1

In this article regarding disputes between the LA Insurance Dept and the legislative auditor over release of Insurance Dept emails it says:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080204/OPINION/802040302/1014

“Jim Donelon, state insurance commissioner, and Steve Theriot, the legislative auditor, are old friends now engaged in a months-old spat over Theriot’s audit of the Department of Insurance. Along with subpoenas, a lawsuit, the occasional snide remark and accusation of wrongdoing, each man has used public hearings to air his grievances about the other. ”

This article from 2007 discussses a major overhaul needed of Louisiana Citizens and citizens outrage over assessements as well as a good explanation about who the members of the Citizens board consists of:

http://blog.nola.com/times-picayune/2007/10/citizens_board_taken_to_task.html

Article discussing Citizens of LA settlement of hundreds of cases of “slabbed” claims from Katrina:

http://fpn.advisen.com/?resource_id=611446981029447447#top

Links to articles about the MAJOR computer glitches and accounting audit nightmares experienced at Louisiana Citizens after Katrina:

http://www.property-casualty.com/News/2007/3/Pages/La–Last-Resort-Insurer-Missing-Audit.aspx

While I don’t know the current status of improvements at Louisiana Citizens, here were a few articles post Katrina showing some good things for adjusters and citizens of Louisiana to include:

Senate Bill No. 183 requiring Lousiana Citizens utilize adjusters and adjusting firms who had been domiciled in the state 5 years or more and was effective in August 2007:

http://legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=436266

Most importantly is that Louisiana did not have adjuster licensing requirements at the time of Katrina’s landfall but did begin requirement adjusters be licensed since then. Resources for adjusters seeking resident, non resident licenses, emergency licenses, and more information on the Claims Adjusters Acts should use this link:

http://www.ldi.state.la.us/Licensing/Producer/index.html

Here is more info on Louisiana adjuster licensing from when they initial announced the licensing requirements:

http://www.ldi.louisiana.gov/documents/licensing/adjuster/AdjusterLicensingInLouisiana.pdf

http://www.ldi.louisiana.gov/documents/licensing/Producer/LAClaimsAdjusterAct.pdf

This article had indicated part of the problems were lack of staffing and resignation of an accounting manager leaving no one to answer the audit questions due to the severe computer glitches and problems with accounting:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2007/04/05/78506.htm?ref=feed

Another article says most of the paperwork could not be produced on over 300,000 in expenses:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2007/06/25/81076.htm

While I don’t have more time today to spend on this blog, a good place to start your research on current trends and activities, here is a link to the Board of Governors meeting minutes for the past several years you might want to review before considering taking claim assignments from them. http://www.lacitizens.com/MeetingAgenda.aspx

It is not only the adjusting firm you need to do due diligence on before accepting work but also the carrier you will be assigned to to protect yourself from the ever increasing possibility of delays and non payment issues on fee bills. I study the state wind pools for members of ClaimSmentor as the wind pools often present the greatest opportunity for independent insurance adjuster assignments during major disasters. Only you can decide if you are comfortable working for an adjusting firm or insurance company. We do hope the links posted above  help you make the best possible decision.

Should you decide you do wish to work assignments for them, we have been able to locate only one adjusting firm thus far offering Louisiana Citizens Adjuster Certification and that is AmCat.  Here is a link to their training site offering not only Louisiana Citizens certification but certification for many other carriers:

http://www.adjusterclasses.com/


Happy Birthday to One Special Mom!

March 28, 2010

We are so fortunate to have the most special mom.

She is my constant inspiration and a shining example to our entire family. She lives her life with kindness and a special peace with grace. How she survived raising eight children with our father out to sea the majority of his naval career we’ll never know. Her inner beauty is something to behold. She has amazed us all the way she has continued on the past ten years since our dad passed away. The way she has remained such a positive person in spite of being alone without him after 52 years of marriage is the best example she  has shown to her children, grandchildren and great great grandchilen. We are all very proud of you mom!

We hope you have a very very happy 82nd birthday! Love all of your kids and families


Federal Flood Insurance Program is Closed for Weeks- Be sure to read this Insurance Journal Article

March 26, 2010

Federal Flood Insurance Program Closed for Weeks ———————————————————— As insurance and real estate agents and homeowners feared, Congress left Washington without extending the federal flood insurance program. Congress adjourned until April 12 after failing to agree on an unemployment benefits bill that included a provision with an extension of the National Flood … This article can be found at:

 http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2010/03/26/108517.htm

Here is a second article about the Flood Insurance program closing giving additional reasons why it lapsed:

http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20100326/NEWS/100329944#


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

March 24, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

March 24, 2010

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

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

Subject: Citizen’s Certification Classes from Action Catastrophe Team


 
 

 

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

 

Quick LinksMore About A.C.T.

More About Citizen’s FL

 

Upcoming Citizen’s Certification Classes from Action Catastrophe Team

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 Tallahassee, Florida

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

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM  (Eastern Time)

2725 Graves Rd. Tallahassee, FL 32303

850-536-2007

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

 

 

 

 Atlanta, Georgia

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

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

Event Info

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM  (Eastern Time)

2155 Riverside Parkway Lawrenceville, GA

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

 

 

 

 Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida

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

Event Info

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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

727-362-0075

 

 

 

 Arlington, Texas

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

Event Info

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM  (Central Time)

825 N. Watson Rd.  Arlington, TX 76011

817-640-4142

 

 

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