Altier vs Worley Catastrophe Class Action on Overtime issues by BP Adjusters settles under Confidential Terms

February 3, 2012

Thanks to www.law360.com  for posting an update on the Altier vs Worley Catastrophe Claims which confirms rumors that the two Altier cases (Lousiana and Federal Court) have settled which are the class action cases that adjusters working for Worley that worked BP claims filed regarding overtime issues / pay versus contract disputes.

The terms are confidential so don’t be bothering your claims associates for the details. Here is the link found when using their share button to Linkedin post for the full article:

http://www.law360.com/southeast/articles/296901

For further followup or questions- you can contact Worley for comment at www.worleyco.com or contact the law firm who handled the settlement and class action as all contact information can be found in the left hand corner of their website on this class action at www.worleyovertime.com where you will also see a link to the court documents in the left column which show the plaintiff adjusters who opted in as of June 2011. I don’t see the settlement information up on that site most likely due to the confidential terms of settlement.

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Update 3 on Worley Catastrophe Adjusting firm Class Action Lawsuit- Altier vs Worley- Class Action Denied by Judge- see court documents

August 24, 2011

We are getting much interest in posts on the Worley class action lawsuit via internet searches leading folks to our blog thus I did a follow up today to see what new court documents could be located.

It is with much interest that I post this updated court document filed July 26, 2011 showing the federal case moved to Deny the Class Action Certification of the plaintiff adjusters. I find it very disturbing that the basis of the denial is that all of those adjusters working did not have signed employment contracts.

I lecture continually in our Fundamentals of Claims course for new adjusters about not going out without a signed contract due to the fact the contract is needed if there are non payment issues or disputes on fee received.

Here again is an entirely different reason for being sure you work under a signed employment contract with the adjusting firm:

http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/louisiana/laedce/2:2011cv00241/145020/187/

If you missed our original blog on the Altier vs Worley case and Update 2, here is a link to the prior blogs:

http://wp.me/p5Xno-zc

I do have a call in now to the plaintiff’s attorney for an update on the case as to what happens next. Apparently it is ongoing as I was just told all of the attorney’s on the case are out in depositions this week pertaining to the case but they would have someone call me back later today for an update.


” Adjusters ” handling BP Claims file a Class Action lawsuit on two issues- Overtime pay and failure to receive 65% of daily fee per contract

February 9, 2011

Roy Cupps over at CADO posted this link in the forums there regarding a Class Action lawsuit filed by MS Attorney JP Hughes  (I could not locate a website for him but I’m working on it through network connections )on behalf of the adjusters handling the BP claims regarding two issues:

1) Overtime pay- working more than 40 hours per week and not receiving over time pay (they were on daily rate)

2) Alleged failure of adjusting firm to pay adjusters their 65% of the daily rate they were paid by the BP Fund

For complete details, here is the link:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/02/09/34026.htm

This is definitely a case to watch as it is standard for independent adjusters to receive a daily rate of pay for each day worked on a catastrophe or daily assignment where they agree to work for a stipulated daily rate for a given split of the daily rate. The rate these adjusters were paid is on the high end of the daily rate independents normally receive. I have no idea why this alleged adjuster would feel entitled to time and a half for hours worked over 40 hours unless the contract indicated the daily rate was for a given 40 hours which is unheard of in the claims industry for independents working on assignment.

I am very curious if this person was actually one of the actually non claim folks working on BP claims. I have actually been told by several were working in field offices that BP Csar Ken Feinburg changed adjuster job titles to “evaluators” when he took over. If that is true, do you think that the prior findings of the Fair Labor Standards commission would differ on findings on this class action?

If you missed our prior several blogs on overtime issues and adjusters, here are links to prior blogs on the topics and prior decisions on some of these cases:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/?s=Overtime

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/supplemental-info-on-geico-auto-adjuster-overtime-issues/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/fenton-et-al-v-farmers-insurance-exchange-no-07-4864-dc-mn-2009-mn-staff-claims-adjuster-overtime-decision/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/geico-wins-case-on-overtime-issues-for-auto-adjusters-view-washington-post-article/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/adjuster-overtime-issues-supplemental-info-from-none-other-than-attorney-gloria-allreds-current-news-letter/

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

Regarding the second issue of alleged failure of  Worley Adjusting firm to pay the agreed 65% split of the daily rate, I find that very hard to believe as they have such an excellent reputation for paying adjusters fairly in the claim industry which is remarkable considering the number of adjusters who have gone unpaid by unprofessional firms since Katrina. I assume we’ll be able to view the contract when documents are filed during discovery on the case to show first of all the daily fee Worley was receiving per “adjuster” as well as the independent contract terms they were using on this assignment. I’ll keep an eye out for those to make the records in the coming months.

There were many experienced adjusters who would gladly have deployed for the given rate of pay. In addition, adjusters working out of town at BP assignments were given daily per diem while working which is unheard of for independent adjusters working for insurance carriers so those who were lucky enough to be deployed were most thankful for the assignment.

I think this case will be closely watched by all insurance carriers who use independent adjusters on daily rates. I know I will be closely following it. You can as well by subscribing to this blog to watch for updates as we post them.

If you also want to follow this discussion going on over at CADO where Roy Cupps posted this information, here is the link to that topic forum discussion there:

http://www.catadjuster.org/Forums/tabid/60/aft/11695/Default.aspx#22348


January 2011 classes for Property and Casualty Adjusters to begin soon! Register now!

December 28, 2010

We are hosting the following classes in January 2011. Registration information and full class syllabus info is now posted in our ClaimSmentor forums for the following courses:

1) Introduction to Claims Careers for newly licensed independent adjusters:

We will host a two night session on January 4, 2011 and January 6, 2011 live online at ClaimSmentor for those newly licensed adjusters who need to further their knowledge about opportunities in Property and Casualty claim training. We cover salary information for staff adjuster postions and fee schedules types and samples for independent adjusters. We cover resume requirements and how they differ in the claims industry as well as providing resume templates. We cover the differences in staff and independent adjuster careers, the differences in inside adjusting and field adjusting as well as information on catastrophe versus daily adjusting. These will be held from 6-9pm CST on the nights listed above.

For complete details send request to join ClaimSmentor to DkMoroy@Dimechimes.com as you must be a registered member of ClaimSmentor to sign up for the classes and to login to the forums for complete details.

2) Eight session Fundamentals of Property Adjusting course held Monday and Thursday nights beginning January 17, 2011 from 6-9pm CST live online. It is recommended you begin with the Claims Career Introductory courses in #1 above before taking this course. Course covers Additional living expense claim handling, contents claim handling, disaster mass file assignment handling, coverage question handling, all claim forms and samples, night spent with live claim management system to learn how to work with CMS assignments, file requirements and file order, and much much more. Same instructions apply about registering for ClaimSmentor to view complete syllabus and details on this course.

3) Liability claims handling for homeowner policies. Course covers medical bill review, liability claim reporting, recorded statement outlines and instructions, CPT and ICD-9 billing applicable to all medical payment and liability files. This is followed by sessions covering dog bite liability investigations and claim file requirements, premises liability claim handling, and dangerous instrumentality and intentional act claim handling. These liability classes will take place once each week for 5 weeks on Tuesday evenings or Tuesday day sessions. Complete details can be accessed once you follow instructions above to get registered for ClaimSmentor!


Outstanding article by the President of the CA Assn of Independent Adjusters on Fee Schedules Contributing to Independent Adjusters leaving the Industry

May 16, 2010

I ran across this newsletter from December 2008 in the California Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters December 2008 newsletter which is the best written article  I’ve come across discussing a topic of great importance to all Independent adjusters which is the perception/reality that carriers no longer are treating independent adjusters as independents. Specifically, it addresses the change in fee schedules and billing procedures as well as the fact this is driving off the independent adjusters from this business. Great job to the then President -Pete Vaughn- for putting this President’s message together.

I think every conversation I have with a claim manager and/or adjuster these days always turns to the problem with fee schedules. Among the rumors folks have shared with me- some I can confirm- some are rumors at this point as far as my knowledge goes- include a state carrier requiring adjusting firms to offer a 5-10% discount off of the CARRIER fee schedule to be a selectee on an RFP (ludacrist!), rumors about carriers reducing THEIR fee schedule by large percentages in 2010 allegedly due to the glut in numbers of adjusting firms, and probably the largest complaint is that the insurance companies are putting out RFP’s for adjusting firms to bid for their work and agreeing to one price based on one set of terms such as limited assignments and now requiring more file requirements and more be done and expecting it to be done for the reduced fees a firm may have agreed to. In addition, when an insurance company brings on too many firms, this limits the number of assignments one firm may get. This does not give an independent adjuster enough files to even justify the monthly cost of estimate software to work daily (non- catastrophe claims).

On top of the fee schedules being reduced, independent qualification criteria is much more costly for attending the ever growing number of carrier certifications which requires independents incur travel and lodging expenses to attend these tests. The second major change in the past few years is the requirement for independents to acquire and maintain up to 15 non resident licenses which I hear are costing them about 1,000 for the fees if they do obtain them all in the gulf coast states. While it makes sense to obtain the non resident licenses from the standpoint an adjuster can be used for cat and non cat claims even when an emergency has not been declared in a state with a smaller storm yet there is a reason that states have emergency adjuster licenses available once a governor has declared a catastrophe to allow non resident adjusters to come into a state to work storm losses.

Well enough of my comments in response to this great article written by the then President- Pete Vaughn – so here is the link to the December 2008 issue so you can read the article yourself. I hope this generates a comment from the writer of the article on new trends he is seeing in 2009 and 2010 since this article has been written. From what I’m hearing- the fee schedules are much worse if anything. I’d be interested in your thoughts as well as his as to what you are experiencing out in the field.

Here is the link- http://www.caiia.org/sr/1208caiia_sr.pdf

I agree whole heartedly with this article- do the carriers want a cheap price or do they want the quality work which policyholders deserve? At this point, it certainly appears their overriding decisions are based solely on price driving many experienced adjusters to leave this industry based on the lack of work and when their is work, the fee schedules are unreasonably low which do not begin to cover an independent overhead to cover their software expenses, travel and lodging expenses, and their equipment needs and maintenance issues for vehicles, computers, ladders, and annual certifications.