We are only 3 viewers short of reaching 200,000 hits on our ClaimSmentor Blog

January 4, 2011

A special thank you to our viewers as we will cross the 200,000 viewers mark today on our blog here at www.dimechimes.wordpress.com!

Thank you for supporting our mission to education independent adjusters on their down time between assignments when they lack the opportunity to learn about current events and trends in the claims industry as a whole since insurance companies do not keep them in the loop when they are not on a current assignment.

We look forward to working with you again this year and talking to the many we hear from each week via email and phone calls to discuss events and hot topics adjusters want to know!

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FEMA considering use of Foreclosed homes for large catastrophe in Florida

June 3, 2009

Now here is an option that sure would work well when looking for Additional Living Expense housing for insureds as well if they would be available for short term rentals for storm victims:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/03/fema-considers-placing-florida-storm-victims-foreclosed-homes/

In another update on FEMA housing, the Obama Administration is considering a Katrina Fema housing transition and sale of Katrina trailers for $1.00 to $5.00 per trailer. Read about that here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/02/AR2009060203897.html?g=0

 

Here is also an update on the sale of FEMA Trailers in another move


We’ve crossed the 100,000 mark on this blog! Thank you to our readers!

May 21, 2009

WordPress keeps statistics on our blogs which are most informative such as the number of hits on your blog each day, the search engine topics that lead folks to your site, the number of clicks on various blog posts and links within the blog that we check daily. I love viewing them as it helps me know what information those in the claims industry are out there searching for which often leads to topics we post.

We crossed the 100,000 mark on hits for this blog on Tuesday for views  since we started publishing this in July of 2007!

Thank you to our followers! As time goes by we hope to have more folks commenting directly here on the blog versus the behind the scenes emails we constantly receive as a result of our posts here on the blog as well as in our forums at ClaimSmentor. We look forward to many more years of information sharing in our continued efforts to mentor independent adjusters searching for career information.

If your a stats person like I am, you can follow our total hits count in the upper right hand corner of the blog.


Effects of Twitter, Facebook, Social Media effecting court jurors? Great Article!

May 14, 2009
What an interesting week it has been. We’ve spent the week exploring other possible social networks to work with as well for claim adjusters of every age group. One thing I’m finding with all social network sites is it is much like life- you only get out of it what you put in to it! I am really enjoying exploring all these new found opportunities to learn from others in the industry who willingly give of their time to share information with all kinds of groups across the web.
I had posted earlier this week about the fantastic use of social media that Auto Claims Direct has done using Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and even You Tube. This simply intrigued me as I too have ventured forward into these modern social media venues over the past four years for the claims industry.
We started with the forums at ClaimSmentor in January 2006 where we now have almost 1100 members (that is something considering we dont use posts in anonymous names and all registrants verify id before being registered as members of the independent or staff adjusting community ) then progressed to this blog  you are now viewing and  it should hit the 100,000 views mark on hits this week since starting this back in July of 2007 according to the wordpress dashboard stats they keep (and no your own clicks on your blog don’t count). 
 It is a very time consuming project exploring these social media options and learning first hand the advantages and disadvantages of each. I’ve also learned that the social media preference depends on the reader or the purpose of the post. For instance, ClaimSmentor forums are fantastic for organizing topics such as grouping all carrier certification upcoming classes, policy information,etc. A library if you will of information and resources for new adjusters to study that would take them years to find on their own. They also allow us a private forum for discussing claims industry topics for our members. Since the purpose of ClaimSmentor  was to provide an online e-mentoring group, they wanted a venue to ask their training questions in private since they were new adjusters. As newly licensed independent adjusters without alot of reputable places to just ask questions in a friendly environment, ClaimSmentor works great as a venue for keeping everyone up to date on claims headlines and other claim issues. The biggest hurdle we have had to overcome is the untold hours spent over the past four years searching for information online to train with since we cannot use very good information carriers provide (codes of conduct forms require independents not share private carrier forms and guidelines). It’s been a challenge but one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and believe it or not, my eyes are wide open to many things in the claims industry I had no idea about while working 28 years in a career at a major carrier inspite of the fact that I progressed from mail and file clerk to a claim manager during the course of my employment as a staff employee.
I began this blog because of folks like Lee (yes Lee you know who you are!) and others that just do not learn well in a forum atmosphere digging through thousands of forums. It isn’t that they don’t “get it” but they don’t know how to tie it all together. For instance, we talk about agent and claim relationships…but how does that fit in with the big picture of claim management expectations for handling a claim as a whole? So I’ve presented atleast 3 blogs just on the claims agency relationship for new adjusters like Lee that want it all tied up in a pretty knot like in a class.
We’ve used online software to teach classes in a venue on ClaimSmentor that we tried and as simple a format as it is, it works. Our classes are live and online allowing interaction between me and all participants where they are welcome to ask questions. Picture a coffee shop environment if you will where experienced adjusters and claim managers drop by and check in on us and participate in discussions. It would be so much easier on me to set the classes up now that they are fully developed based on three years of presenting them and knowing what interests them as well as what I have learned that they are NOT getting at many classes available. I just don’t have the heart to move to webinars like online CE classes that take the personal element away. The networking is one of the most valuable things I believe they get out of our classes as I’ve watched many a long term friendship strike up as they get to know their classmates. Many stay in touch with me long after the class to let me know their progress in the claims industry and I just really am not ready to cut the strings on those great relationships I’ve made through our new and experienced members alike. It gives me faith every day in the independent claims industry watching these people develop from newly licensed to experienced adjuster. They are excited and they aren’t the type looking for the big bucks…just real folks with a real interest in claims working very hard to train and do what is right to obtain assignments. They’ve put their heart and soul into learning this industry in a much tougher environment than a staff adjuster ever faces.
About two months ago, I experimented with Linkedin as a venue for independent adjusters and independent adjusting firms and managers to operate and network within the industry. I simply cannot say enough good things about how much value I think Linkedin would bring to any firm. First, from the adjusting firm standpoint, is the vast number of insurance industry personnel participate there. All of the large names from the carrier side seem to have a presence. I’m especially impressed that everyone seems approachable. The number of staff claim VP’s and staff claim management is outstanding. Most of all I am enjoying all of the Claims Industry groups. I have networked with recruiters from carriers, with claim managers from carriers, former associates who have moved on to other carriers who I have renewed talks with today as a result of finding them on linkedin, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I haven’t found fantastic articles or issues being discussed such as the hot topics like chinese drywall claims in the different group discussions, recruiting issues and their uses of social media to check new employee postings, and I learn about meeting opportunities every day through one group I follow or another to share with ClaimSmentor members. From an adjusters standpoint, I highly recommend joining linked in as you can post your resume copy on your profile then use the public profile link which you can personalize, as a link on your business card for all those conferences you attend where they do not want you to drop off your resume at the booths. The job postings for staff positions are awesome. Again, once your profile is built you can join any group that interests you and network to your hearts content while learning about claim issues while meeting other folks in our industry. If you don’t know what to do, just join and click on my linked in profile at www.linkedin.com/in/dimchimesclaimsmentor and look at the groups I’ve joined. Once you are a member of my group, the linked in systems allows you to ask to join other groups I’m a member of. It seems to be professional and definitely a great thing for anyone in business to connect with others.
This week I’ve worked on our newest project over at Twitter at www.twitter.com/dimechimes . It has been an interesting adventure and another week of long hours of volunteer time exploring the Twitter experience to see what advantages and disadvantages I can find with this venue for the claims industry. I have to admit, had I not watched a business associate (yes you Linda) totally addicted to her blackberry one weekend following her “twits” from posts over at Twitter, I never would have tried it. I couldn’t imagine why a professional claims adjuster would be wanting to “tweet”. Well believe me folks, I found out that Twitter is another social media world unto it’s own! I now have a “TweetDeck” on my laptop where I can view any other Tweets (posts) by firms I’m following all in one spot making it quick and easy to keep up with posting there on one deck (like a desk top but it’s just for twitter). Examples of great info I found was an adjusting firm holding a seminar for their independents and two fantastic recruiters making great use of Twitter to post all of their claim jobs free of charge with their Twitter posts. I’ve seen more claim job opportunities for adjusters posted there than you can imagine and even encouraged our ClaimSmentor members to follow them on my Twitter link as I do “retweet” which simple means forwarding it to the people who have “followed” your posts. It saves me half of the time I was spending posting job opportuntity postings for our members in the Career Forum. The only thing I don’t like in my one week experiment thus far is that anyone can click on your Twitter profile to follow you. I’ve had to block about 20 folks out of about 150 requested follower notices as they were from folks with girly girly photos, slick guys promoting their wares (smile) ,etc so to remain a professional business presence on Twitter I highly recommend you view your new followers regularly and block those that are just spamming your site. You could drive off alot of the people you wish to network with if you give the wrong image by having followers presenting the wrong image of your claims group. Oh and by the way – the best use I’ve seen so far is adjusting firms posting their upcoming claim conferences, classses, and having members of their adjusting firm follow them for advance notice of standby! Great job!
I also checked out the insurance companies posting on Twitter by simply viewing the people they follow. It was such an interesting study in insurance company behavior. Are all the individuals they are following employees who twitter or are they customers simply interested in their posts who clicked to follow them? I found sound great resources posted on their sites for emergency sources such as disaster meal kits for adjusters in those first few weeks of storm duty and much much more. The biggest thing I am disappointed in from the insurance company standpoint is that they are not using it more to address claims. One carrier was GREAT about posting their claim damage stats from the MO storms this past week which you can bet I did forward to the claim readers following us. I also learned alot about insurance customers by entering the word “adjuster” on the Tweet Deck search which adds any twitter post that uses that word. I’d have to say customers one frequent post about adjusters is “waiting to hear from my adjuster” which is a bit disturbing when all carriers require 24 hour contact. Adjusters beware…..if you aren’t returning phone calls……you may be the adjuster they are twittering about!
Well enough on my social media explorations….I’ll end this with a great article I came across today in my explorations on social media uses for independent adjusters and adjusting firms. This article is a must read for anyone in claims to consider the effect that these social media networking groups are having on jury pools. I was simply amazed to see the serious cases that were thrown out when one juror did internet research or used Twitter to discuss inside information while on jury duty. It sure gives you alot to think about when considering taking a case to court! In today’s world- I can imagine that it would be extremely hard not to want to do an internet search on a case you were called to jury duty on but I had never given it a thought until I read this very interesting article today. I highly recommend you pass this article on to attorneys you know in the insurance industry as it’s a real eye opener!
http://www.setexasrecord.com/arguments/218993-legally-speaking-when-all-that-twitters-is-not-told-the-dangers-of-the-online-juror-part-1
Have a GREAT weekend everyone!
 Unfortunately, since it is a newspaper article, I’m not sure how long this article will remain up but hopefully the author will read our post and can give permission to publish it in it’s entirety here so we don’t lose the importance of his message. 


Talk about Making Great Use of Social Media for Claims! Watch these Auto Claim Direct You Tube Videos!

May 10, 2009

I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently researching all of the various social media options available for claims adjusting firms and for independent claims adjusters and we’ve been discussing it in our ClaimSmentor forums. I’d have to say, from the firms I know, that Auto Claims Direct is the most proactive claims adjusting firm with use of social media! They have blogs, sites at Twitter, Face Book, Linkedin, proactive members of ClaimSmentor, and now today I find some training videos on You Tube as well.

Here is a link to their You Tube profile if you wish to follow their videos in your goal to obtain more auto claim adjusting experience.

http://www.youtube.com/user/autoclaimsdirect

Very  impressive Ernie Bray (President of Auto Claims Direct) ! We appreciate your membership and monitoring of our auto claim training forum over at ClaimSmentor too. I don’t know how you find time for it all after reading on one of the social media sites that you now have 850 independent adjusters. I was also convinced of the value of Twitter the other night when my husband who also follows you on Twitter told me you posted late Friday night that the deployment calls from carriers were coming in for the midwest storms. What an advantage that would be to an adjuster with your firm that is ready to deploy if they saw that “tweet” on Twitter and had the heads up to get a call in to let your firm know they are available!

You definitely have my vote for Best at Social Media in the Claims adjusting field. Very very progressive new world! You are right there on top of it all! Deb

To view all of the other social media outlets I’ve found Auto Claims Direct on as a fantastic example of professional ways to use social media for claim adjusting firms you’ll find them here:

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/autoclaims

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/AutoClaims-Direct/58266381164?v=wall&viewas=780383851

Forums-ClaimSmentor www.claimSmentor.com  login id- AutoClaimsDirect

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/erniebray

Auto Claims Direct Auto Adjuster Blog: http://blog.autoclaimsdirect.com/     

Their  Property Adjusting Claim Firm: http://www.americanpropertyclaims.com/aboutus.php (and this I didn’t even know until writing this blog)

Thanks for the fine example you are setting for the independent claims adjusting community on dealing with change and setting the pathway to use of new tools available for us all to get the best use of these new social media outlets. Now that is being a ClaimSmentor Mentor Adjusting firm at it’s finest!


Are you getting any Chinese Drywall liability or property claims? Is it the new “Mold Gold” as Trader likes to call it?

March 5, 2009

Very interesting. Last night I got a call from a firm owner wanting to know what I knew about Chinese drywall claims. I promised to research it when I had a chance to since I’m still playing catch up.

This morning what do I run across but a Harleysville Construction Litigation Claim Manager posting a discussion question in his Claims group. Here is a link if you can help him out. This would be great training informations for all independents working daily commercial liability claims:

Chinese Drywall Claims- Are you getting these claims?

This is interesting. I got a call yesterday wondering what I knew about Chinese Drywall Claims. Zip…since I’m Training but that also intrigued me. Today I then ran across a Linked in Discussion question by a Claims Manager for Construction defect claims wanting to know if anyone knew about it.

Here is a link to this Claim Managers question. I’ll be very interested to see if anyone from our group can provide more details.

http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussionID=1789072&gid=1808294&trk=EML_anet_qa_ttle-0Pt79xs2RVr6JBpnsJt7dBpSBA

Either reply here as a comment on this topic which we always welcome or reply to his profile on our Dimechimes ClaimSmentor Linkedin Group at: www.linkedin.com/in/dimechimesclaimSmentor.com

We welcome anyone in the claims industry to join our group as long as your profile at Linkedin is completed.

Thanks for helping the Harleysville Claim manager out! 


March 1, 2009 Announcement to ClaimSmentor and Dimechimes Claim Staffing Roster members- Change in Claim Industry Services

March 2, 2009

 

 

To: All ClaimSmentor Participants/Dimechimes Claim Staffing Roster Members by email
Re: Announcement on Claim Community Services

We would like to announce effective on March 1, 2009 that our staffing firm and
training services will be transitioning our services to 100% Claim Education and
Claim Training services through the following website locations:

The following three sites allow you different forms for your claim career professional
development based on your preferred preference for forums or online education
needs:

1) Our main website for our clearing house to our training information on different sites is  Dimechimes Claims Staffing and Claim Training . We offer Claims Education services, support for professional training sources in the claims industry, Claim Career Coaching for new adjusters who wish individual counseling advice, Resume Preparation Services for Adjusters, Mock Interview preparation for adjusters preparing for their first insurance claims interview for staff  adjuster positions or independent daily adjuster opportunities.

This is also our site for contact for claim staffing and claim recruiting needs by Independent adjusting firms and insurance carriers.

Our goal is progressive growth as an information highway to all available professional sources of training both online and in the field.

2 ) Dimechimes ClaimSmentor Adjuster Information Blog open to the public. This was opened in July 2007 for the many in the claims industry who do not enjoy membership in website forums and wish to retain their privacy while at the same time enjoy updates on hot topics in the claims industry while also locating valuable training sources.

3) We offer ClaimSmentor Forums, Discussion groups, field training study groups, information for trainees to network with experienced adjusters. Links to all opportunities we know about for carrier certification requirements, upcoming adjusting firm seminars,
information about 100% of the online information we can find for online training opportunities for new and experienced adjusters,adjuster licensing information and much more.

Anyone that is a member of our  rosters is welcome to join  us at  ClaimSmentor without the need to provide other registration documents. Is all you need to do is reply to this email with your full name, city, and state and
we will check this information against our rosters and confirm membership by notifying you by email within 10 days of  receipt of your email what your login id and a temporary password to participate there will be.

We  provides opportunities for adjusters, adjusting firms, claim service vendors,  lawyers in the insurance industry, lawyers who handle and understand independent contractor issues , CPA’s that adjuster understand adjuster issues regarding per diem, working out of state and other, and adjusting firm adminstrative members to join us  at ClaimSmentor and network among our members. We are now in our fourth year of operation with just over 1,000 members to include 66 adjusting firm owners and managers, claim industry service vendors, software vendors of a professional nature-direct from the software vendors certified by the software developer themselves, and much more.

Our growth has been progressive and requires verification of id of all members and use of real names as we wish to maintain a postive professional source for those in the claims community. This transition will now allow  career websites with claim job posting advertisement such as www.greatinsurancejobs.com (who by the way has always been mentor friendly notifying us of Claim Career Fairs annually) and claim staffing firms and recruiters to join the ClaimSmentor online e-mentoring group to participate to locate outstanding claim candidates, purchase banner ads to their firm websites, and for a very reasonable annual cost included with the purchase of a banner ad to download resumes from our participants. The same applies to all insurance company HR departments. Contact us at Debbie@Dimechimes.com for information on the cost of banner ads so you can join and utilize our services. There is no charge to join ClaimSmentor for adjusters.

Our closed forum at ClaimSmentor requiring login id allows members to ask questions as trainees hassle free in a major e-mentoring effort to cultivate improved independent adjuster reputations with insurance companies and with policyholders nationwide
as they process claims for those suffering a major crisis in their lives.

* Just do a web search on your name or login id if you participate on blogs or forums open to the public and you would be astonished about the information a potential employer could use against you when you are under consideration for a staff or independent position.

All registrants must register in their real name and claims or bar information is required to verify as well as a work summary or resume to verify your relationship to staff and independent adjusting insurance claims. The site remains closed to public adjusters and public adjusting firms.

There is NO charge to join at this time (exception is Claim Recruiters, Insurance Recruiters, Insurance Staffing Firms, and Insurance Job Posting Sites). They may join our site to post their jobs and to download resumes all included in the cost of their banner ad purchase. The same applies to Insurance Companies who are seeking an excellent  supplemental pool of quality candidates.

 There are minimal charges should you (newly licensed adjusters) wish to participate in our online live claim classes such as our 50 Hour Fundamentals of Property adjusting class which addresses many basic essentials not covered per our participants in basic estimating and scoping classes. 

As we will now have much more time to dedicate our time as an information highway for training opportunities and for hot topics the claim industry faces, we will be actively seeking those with professional credentials to provide Guest
Blog entries for our Adjuster Information blog, to share their job opportunities for trainees and experienced adjusters, and participation in our ClaimSmentor e-mentor program.

Not only will we have this information through our forums live online but beginning April 2009 we will host group networking opportunities available to all adjusting firms and adjusters who are members of ClaimSmentor through volunteer efforts of our members participating in this e-mentor program. Adjusters on our Dimechimes Claim Staffing Rosters who chose to join us will also be able to attend as they would have transitioned to our ClaimSmentor site.

Why are we finalizing this transition?

.First and foremost is our passion for claims education to improve the image of
independent adjusters who service  insurance company claims. Carriers are
limited in understanding our industry by the adjusting firms who service their
claims. We would like to promote information from the adjusters in the claims adjusting community for a better understanding of independent adjuster information needs while at the same time refrainng from a negative environment via public posting sites creating the wrong impression of independent claims members. The public forums do provide a valuable service to our industry providing important industry resource links and articles. I am just not fond of public posting by adjusters in forums as it could create a problem for them when they are under consideration for a job opportunity.

.To enhance professionalism in the independent adjuster/ staff adjuster relationships 

. I can not bear to get one more fearful call from even experienced adjusters hammered for file handling stats while they are living out of their car with no power, showers, housing, cash or food, high speed internet to upload estimates and photos with no empathy from the carriers in many cases for the independent adjuster plight in the first wave of a hurricane. Independent adjusters are not provided housing . The larger adjusting firms may have the resources to reserve an initial block of rooms where their managers are staying but that does not happen for the majority of adjusters deployed. Carrier staff adjusters have housing locations found for them by the carriers with all expenses paid.  The difficulty of this situation is that independent adjusters have no idea how long they will be deployed on an assignment so they really cannot afford to sign rental leases at storm locations. See our posts n Temporary Housing options not only for independent adjusters but for policyholders as well.

.We work hard to create reality training by hosting a mock disaster training for new adjusters reviewing carrier reporting requirements, Dept of Ins Complaints, Consumer Complaints, reality training about assignment organization, ethical consideration for proper file documentation and much more. We prefer to educate adjusters rather than have them go out unprepared in so many cases during Katrina and Ike. There are so many current  safety issues with adjusters under those circumstances.s

. There are not alot of great options for independent adjusting firms to post for job opportunities especially on insurance industry job boards when they have catastrophe needs. The prices for advertisement is cost prohibitive when the independent adjusting firms have no guarantee from a carrier they will even get assignments. Secondly, the insurance recruiting industry normally charges up to a 33% first annual salary distribution for their fee per individual. Just check through the closed and archived purchasing documents at Citizens of FL or research this on the web. That does not work for the hundreds of catastrophe adjusting firms. They may only need these adjusters for a very limited time (carrier determines length and number of assignments) and they need a place where they can post one ad at a reasonable price for their nationwide storm assignments. Very few job sites allow for nationwide posting of jobs even though they are a good source by a candidate searching “all jobs”. We do not charge ANYTHING for job postings in the Career Forum to those recruiters and carriers purchasing an annual banner ad which is less than the cost to post 5 jobs on most job posting sites.

.To cultivate prepared claim trainees for insurance carrier staff opportunities
as well as for those newly licensed adjusters who prefer independent adjusting
opportunities and just do not know what is required beyond licensing.

.To encourage adjusting firms and carriers to do what makes sense regarding carrier certifications. I have had to turn down adjusters with 10 and 20 years adjusting both daily (non catastrophe claims) and catastrophe (known as a multi line adjuster) who were prohibited from deploying because the CARRIER was not flexible when their experience certainly could have substituted from nothing much more than an estimating test or property issues. An adjuster with that much time in the field certainly would have references who could verify the quality of their prior claim handling abilities. Look at our recent poll on carrier certifications and see what adjusters had to say that are participating on the poll. I’ll let it continue to run continuously through March.

.Claim litigation appears to be ever increasing post Katrina and post Ike
storms with a major complaint being that there were unfair claim practices in our industry and my belief that those newly licensed adjusters nationwide have no perception of  what additional training is required. I am especially concerned that they do not understand coverage issues, proper handling of insurance department complaints, and complaint resolution issues. Several of the windpools are now requiring the independents provide their own E & O and their contracts require that independent firms and independents respond to complaints without the assistance of the carrier. That was probably the final straw for me regarding staffing. Both the Citizens RFP and TWIA it is my understanding both require this. You can view the Citizens RFP to view the hold harmless agreements and information on lawsuits. You can check with TWIA for information inquiring about this. Most importantly run to an Errors and Omissions carrier and protect yourself as recommended in the Q & A  blog on here where www.CPLIC.net recommended adjusters definitely carry their own policy. Call Michael Hale there who is also a ClaimSmentor member and he can answer your questions.

You say you have E and O coverage through your adjusting firm? That may have been fine in the past and it may still be today but do not rely on that without confirming this with your attorney or their E and O provider.  Don’t take a chance it is better to be safe and protected versus sorry. Make sure to verify first if your policy provides defense costs if you are named in a suit and also if attorney fees reduce the policy limits or if they are even covered. Again refer to our blog you can find in the right hand column the Categories tab and search for information there.

What I have learned through 2 years presenting classes from trainees would amaze you.

I had no idea of the misconceptions they were learning from others even with a staff management background and claim career of 28 years.

We hope to improve their understanding of our industry BEFORE they go out and commit Bad Faith causing all E & O premiums to increase as well as major problems for adjusting firms and adjusters being subject to claims litigation for their poor ability to handle claims by going out as newly licensed adjusters without functional claims handling abilitites or claims training that was totally insufficient to send them out in the field or to handle in office claims when they have no training in claim communication and policyholder and agent relationships.

.Why don’t insurance regulators provide requirements for independents like they are now enforcing for public adjusters in many states that INCLUDE apprentice field training subject to hefty fines if  there is any fraud by the source confirming they trained under their supervision. Leaving training to fly by night pop up firms that are not monitored by the state regulators unless they offer CE is not an option in my mind t0 atleast preapproval of the course material by the state. If a class provides CE credit for your state that means that the state department of insurance has atleast approved the course material and approved a minimum acceptable instructor criteria.
. We have learned during our move to the independent side of claims operations
that there is too much lacking in communication between independent adjusters and carrier communications prior to assignments at the independent adjusting firm and independent adjuster level.

We have major hope that we can enhance the need for improved avenues of discussion unrelated to a specific deployment or assignment. We certainly cannot do it alone. We have not figured out what the appropriate method is at this time because adjusters and adjusting firms must be “yes” guys and gals to get assignments and so they don’t lose their contracts. I would never put them in that situation. I am not associated with a carrier or an adjusting firm directly any longer and there are many other retires or those that have left the adjusting field who I am sure would be glad to help bring these issues to the front line.

There are two good organizations you can get recommendations for training options. The first is your local claims association and I also highly recommend NACA – National Assn of Catastrophe adjusters. You can look at their website for a business member directory and locate adjusting firms there. I was disappointed when moving to independent status to find that NAIIA- National Assn of Independent Adjusters was for independent adjusting firms not for individual independents. They have strict requirements to include financial standards and number of years in operation before an adjusting firm can join. Adjusters check their list of business members and send your applications to those firm. I hope to live to see the day that they start a mentoring program such as NACA’s where independent adjusters can join as apprentice members. 

It just goes to show even those firms on the independent side aren’t all independent adjuster friendly except for their core adjusters who can belong to such groups. What about the 10’s of thousands of independents who have to take assignments with her ever calls them since they weren’t called out by their “A” list firm (yes we do recommend independents also make good decisions about who they will deploy with first just as adjusting firms do to determine who will go out first based on independent contract terms, fee schedules, fee splits, reputation of the firm., etc). Whatever you do , do NOT accept assignments without a contract spelling out the terms with all blanks filled in. I’ve posted plenty of blogs here about non payment issues independents could not find representation on because they had either no contract or were never given a copy of the one they did sign nor did they ever see a copy of one signed by an authorized individual with the adjusting firm.

. The claims industry has major problems in regulation of independent adjusting
firms concerning payments from adjusting firms to independent adjusters while at
the same time the adjusting firms experience significant delays from carriers who do not have enough staff claim examiners to promptly review and process claims so not only
policyholders can be paid but so that independents can survive while deployed on catastrophe or assisting branch operations for carriers. 

 Many times the adjusting firm’s reputations suffer  due to delayed payments from the carriers. Insurance departments need to establish requirements for turn around time on not only contact and inspected and closings as they do today but on time limits the carriers have to release the payment to adjusting firms so the independent industry can survive.

For example, you can view the latest RFP 08-0016 on the Citizens of FL  Closed Purchasing documents and they have 30 days to pay the adjusting firm after the adjusting firm submits the closed file. This doesn’t account for weeks or months that could pass by before an overwhelmed adjusting firm who insufficiently staffed their office administration staff or hours could process the claims and submit them to carriers.

. To provide an avenue of open communication regarding RFP or request for
proposals for consideration by carrier claim operations who need good firms to represent them during a major storm. We will post any RFP opportunities by carriers now in our forums for carriers who chose to join as sponsors on our site (see banner ad comments above). This will include a mass distribution email to adjusting firms participating on ClaimSmentor linking them to documents on the carriers site announcing RFP’s for consideration by adjusting firms. At BARE minimum, they could post the RFP and bidding process on their site and let independent adjusting firms know when they are up for consideration and who was selected.

.To foster sources for independent adjusting firms wishing to share information
on growing  technology concerns such as electronic discovery issues, claim
management systems, electronic claim files and other important topics specific
to claims.

 In today’s environment, it still surprises me to see firms who email documents in to the carrier with no way for the adjusting firms or independent adjusters to respond to insureds calling in for file status. That is unacceptable claim service when there are valuable CMS Claim Management systems that are available today such as www.Clickclaims.com that not only allow open access to the live data uploaded in a file  24/7 so anyone taking  agents or customers calls on file status can respond professionally to all customer inquiries.

In addition, systems such as www.ClickClaims.com also provide automatic zoning of claim assignments for tighter assignments so adjusters can see more claims without extensive drive time but also to save on high fuel charges thus saving on the cost of claims handling expenses for both independent adjusters but for insurance carriers as well. We all need to be cost conscious in our claim handling so we are not unnecessarily adding to increased insurance premium costs.

Another CMS feature available today is automatic loss notice uploading and automatic creation of the new file and electronic data fields. Did you know they were so progressive today that they have systems that will even place the first notice by automatically calling the numbers on the loss report submitted by the agent to let the insured know that their claim has been received, what the claim number and carrier contact numbers are, as well as the adjusters name and contact phone number. Now that is service! I have personally used the system in 2004 and 2005. I am not showing favorites but relying on a 2006 AMBest award that Clickclaims won for best CMS System. Simsol, Powerclaims, and Xactware all have them. The difference in using an outside system like ClickClaims is that it is not estimate software specific so you can upload estimates from any system.

I am no software estimate guru but the 2 people our industry can count on to answers questions no matter which software program is www.powerclaims.com and www.simsol.com (Gale Hawkins, owner of PC and John Postava with Simsol). Did you know independents are charge 20.00 just to make a call to ask a support help question. Now that is surely not a consumer friendly position when adjusters working out of hotel rooms should be able to count on them for live support good gracious with the cost they have to pay to activate the software while on storm!

. As a survey source to obtain the opinions from independent firms and
adjusters regarding claim handling issues without them fearing loss of contracts
and work assignments by opening the doors to communication by all parties. 

Polls are a good source for evaluating   independent adjuster opinions. How many times do carriers send out polls to independent adjusters or to staff regarding how the ADJUSTERS evaluate the information they received from carriers, the expertise of the temporary independent and staff claim examiners, claim managers, and reinspectors approving or rejecting their files during a storm?

The only surveys I have ever participated were either on our Adjuster Information blog here (and that would be a total of one thus far) OR via carrier surveys on employee opinion surveys evaluating employees opinions on their permanently assigned managers. Doesn’t this leave out evaluation of the entire temporary assignments while out on catastrophe? I can definitely say that we never received one from the carriers state wide in FL in 04 or 05 after processing their losses.

. To enhance adjuster understanding from a CARRIER claim management perspective through our participating carriers and adjusting firm managers assisting in panels and
forum topics both online and through new field ClaimSmentor groups where
professional sources come together for networking purposes similar to claim
association meetings. Watch for our first announcement coming soon!

. To work with carriers directly as a source for claims talent  cultivation through requests directly to enhance information on their websites so the claims adjusting community can find vendors providing required independent carrier certifications and to enhance information adjusters learn at their required training. Survey results
(unscientic on our recent poll on our blog show most adjusters do not feel that
they obtained adequate training on topics other than on than estimating to
properly service claims meeting carrier file requirements.) You see very little advertisements or job postings from the major adjusting firms as they assume everyone knows who they are. I can assure you newly licensed don’t based on information gathered from our class members who have no idea. It should be the CARRIER’s responsibility to openly post the adjusting firm names authorized to handle claims for each storm along with the information such as website and phone numbers so adjusters can apply to service their claims.

It is not enough for carriers to assume we really are out of adjusters just because a particular firm may have run out but check DOI websites. How can this be when there are over 50,000 adjusters just in Texas alone.

. Hopefully to improve carrier requirements for professional  file requirements
that are also policyholder friendly. The adjusting community has developed an
overwhelming opinion that our industry has become more “pretty file”
friendly than insurance consumer friendly. Just one example is the requirement
for “sketch” type diagrams versus allowing an adjuster to prepare a
professional hand written diagram which is adequate. How many times have you had
a file rejected for being off one inch?

While we understand in this age of claim litigation that file standards be consistent, we also understand surveys from sources such as NAIC continue to show time service issues and adjusters feel in many cases it is due to carrier excessive file requirements.

Lets together work to develop tips for carriers so they improve file review standards for their claim managers. We are NOT talking a union here or any of those options bantered about on web forums but professional carrier level panels. This may never happen but possibly the insurance department consumer affairs division can handle meetings for adjusting firms and independent adjusters without the carriers present ( I can hear them now…those dern independents we aren’t using them anymore and the cycle starts all over again instead of creating a positive training environment to mentor independents).

I innocently suggested to a few carrier claim managers and hr personnel that called me about our services to see why they didn’t use newly licensed adjusters as summer interns instead of teachers and college students. Being licensed carriers would have licensed (versus temporarily licensed) people who could be available year around. Don’t get me wrong, teachers that are off for the summer are a great resource but what about the many hurricanes that make landfall September 0 November. We won’t even go where that discussion went. Just check where your insurance carrier dollars are going by turning on the NASCAR races , golf tournaments  or better yet the super bowl.

 Wouldn’t it make sense to offer apprentice temporary independent positions they can staff through adjusting firms or professional organizations such as NACA? If they are available other than scholarships often posted on carrier sites then I have just not been able to find them. Believe me I tried  requesting grants or support from carriers for our e-mentoring program to no avail. “You know carriers don’t sponsor people that don’t work for them”??? I thought that is exactly who independent adjusters serviced. How very disappointing.

. NAIC  (National Assn of Insurnace Commissioner )cancelled the discussion on the Independent Adjuster Model National licensing recommendations in 2007 or 2008. Use the category link to locate that post here. I’ll get the links updated tomorow so you don’t have to search.

Independent adjusters are now being required to obtain non resident licenses in anywhere from 10 to 15( one email and resume this week from a newly licensed adjuster stated they had already completed 18 non resident licenses but had no other training) states versus allowing them to work under emergency adjuster licenses. There are valid reasons for this but this is also a huge added burden financially to independent
adjusters when carrier staff adjusters are not required to obtain them at all as special rules apply to staff adjusters. Some carriers do license those in call centers that handle claims nationally  but that usually does not apply when they have to resort to rotating in daily adjusters temporarily for peak work loads). Check it out on your state department of insurance licensing website).
Can we work together to promote a better way to qualify adjusters who wish to
service catastrophe claim adjusting needs? New adjusters are misinterpreting comments publicly posted on many adjusting firm websites (especially the large adjusting firms because this is what the carriers are requiring I am assuming )about the non resident requirements so rather than obtaining functional training they think non resident license is the only requirement to obtain adjusting firm deployments.

Claims handling is not a game of bingo where you just fill in the dots to win.” B- Fl license”, C- Tx license, diagram- check, photos- check, you get the idea. That seems to be the manner new trainees are being taught which drives me nuts!

. To enhance independent adjusters understanding of professional claim
development through sources such as www.aicpcu.org versus forum training and
attendance at ridiculous prices at the hundreds of new schools or adjuster websites cropping up nationwide put on by some adjusters with little more than 1 or 2 storms under their belt and no true perspective of carrier management expectations from a
management standpoint. We are here to service carriers and minimal claim
handling practices are destroying the independent talent being deployed by
carriers. One such example includes trainees sharing with us that they were taught at a “claim school” they didn’t have to climb roofs and could do “drive by ” photos. Whew- now that brings fear of Bad Faith for sure! A second example is a firm holding classes that has one 30 day assignment to a windpool as his credentials! It is getting pretty dern scary out here without regulations training firms must meet to allowed to teach something so important as claims handling.

.Together the synergy of our group networking together can improve so many
needs not only for the claims industry but for insurance consumers already
facing an insurance coverage crisis as multiple carriers leave the coast.

. To raise awareness for all adjusters on safety concerns while handling claims
in an environment often hostile to the claims industry post Katrina and Ike.  Just search for safety concern posts we have already posted on our blogs about ladder safety and an adjuster murdered while field inspecting a loss near Tampa, FL several years ago.

. To raise awareness of the often overlooked agency / claims relationship that
is being experienced in claims. I find through the 200 plus newly licensed adjusters
taking our class that they were totally unaware of the need to communicate with agents who have worked long and hard to foster clients while at the same time experiencing
underwriting restrictions worse than at any time I recall in over 30 years in claims. We have two or three blogs here on that very topic!

. To foster relationships with insurance departments to enhance information
available to adjusters regarding complaint ratios for adjusting firms while at
the same time requiring insurance companies to notify insurance departments of
adjusting firms dismissed for unethical or poor claim handling issues.

Insurance consumers should not be subject to claim handling by firms showing  trends for providing inferior claim service nor should adjusters who have spent thousands
of dollars training be subject to abuse by the few bad apples in the adjusting
firm community who repeatedly take advantage of adjusters by not paying
 fees  earned to adjusters.

We need to stop adjusters from calling policyholders to see if they have been paid as it is their only source of information as to  whether the independent adjusting firm was paid and they should have been paid. Carriers need to include information on contacting them in their carrier certification and/ or induction center classes in the event an adjuster becomes the victim of such efforts.

This is a widespread problem carriers need to be aware of. Independent adjusters are forbidden to discuss things like this with carrier staff. Advice often posted about placing liens on an insured’s property and other advice that has not been researched through expert attorneys would never be tolerated by carrier and could totally destroy an adjusting firm or adjusters association with a carrier. Let’s find out what the legal community advises through volunteer articles and guest blog posts or links to great articles found on the web written by law firms specializing both in claim litigation from a consumer standpoint as well as attorneys representing carriers. There are some great articles on so many topics available through article links on public law firm websites at no charge so there just is not an excuse for us not to learn from these outstanding resources.

How about the poor advice many new independents are given about “throw away” phones..see our communication blog for more details. Thank goodness for independent firms or insurance companies now requiring voice mail for customer messages. My personal preference which I required while managing at independent firms is that ALL messages from policyholders be logged into the activity log by the call centers or administrative help. I then required the admns bring all messages directly to me if the call was over an adjuster’s failure to show up for an appointment or to return calls. Most carriers do have such strict requirements while many of the independent firms do not implement those requirements if the carrier has not specified this requirement.

. Due to increased litigation published in news sources and blogs, carriers and adjusting firms are being served with suit papers in an ever increasing number. Questions are regularly posed regarding an adjuster’s training, and independent adjusting firm or TPA’s training for adjusters, and to the adjusters  and or carrier executives themselves.

I have been weighing these problems since Katrina litigation and have finally made a decision that I in good conscious cannot comfortably send adjusters out to adjusting firms when we have no control over their payment delays, the carriers training requirements and other liability issues.

 I have decided to pursue growth of our training services to field networking opportunities through ClaimSmentor to help improve the problems just partially outlined above.

“Pay it forward”  to thank the mentors you have had in your life by joining our efforts at ClaimSmentor and through our Linkedin contacts, and by comments adding to discussions either in the forums, this blog, or our linkedin site. Together we can make a differencef in claim relationships.

We will continue to accept registrations through ClaimSmentor. Members will
have the opportunity to upload their resumes and adjusting firms, recruiters, and carriers to upload a flyer or brochure on their company just as they do now. They will also be able to access our Rosters and find talent that may just meet their needs by considering our members.

Firms can sort by state and experience levels as we have trainees through managers and
experienced adjusters. 

As we will no longer be staffing with the exception of a very few select
existing clients or carrier staff positions, we will begin a service for
carriers and adjusting firms who desire mass distributiion of their opportunities
rather than waiting on adjusters who might just happen to find them on web
advertisements.

 We will be proactive for you so you are not left without qualified adjusters should you wish to participate in this service. This will give you additional candidates to consider for deployment when you have depleted your roster of qualified candidates.

All participants at ClaimSmentor should go to the “MY Account tab” after
login and change your preference to allow or not allow emails from our mailing
system to your registration email. However, note that this will also prevent you
from receiving notifications on topics you want updates on. All member profiles
are required to have an active valid email address under our Terms of Use posted
in the forums as well as real first and last name and city and state.

Please allow 10 days to receive your login id and password if you are a new
registrant as we are presently overwhelmed with requests for membership as we
transition thousands of adjusters from our claim staffing rosters to members of
ClaimSmentor for those who confirm they would like to participate.

 If you are a  member of our rosters receiving this announcement by email, we will not automatically register you at www.ClaimSmentor.com. You must reply to the email you receive from Debbie@Dimechimes.com requesting specifically to join. We will not upload your resume or profile fields. You can do that upon first login when you join.

Watch for much more information in our forums coming very soon as well as
upgrades on all of our sites to include this blog and our new Dimechimes ClaimSmentor Claims group located under Insurance Claims groups at :

www.linkedin.com/dimechimesclaimsmentor.com

We cannot thank you enough for your continued support and participation in our
ClaimSmentor e-mentoring project to support the claims industry and to those who were members of our deployment/assignment rosters.

We do hope you will be supportive of our ClaimSmentor efforts. The S in
ClaimSmentor has always stood for service to the claims industry and we will now
“major” in those service attempts!

The only change you should see is improvement in our forums, blog posts, and experience and credentials of mentors who join to participate enhancing your membership at ClaimSmentor, and many more claim assignment opportunities for those moving from our rosters at Dimechimes Claim Staffing as we network and register many new members to bring you information. We will be posting many more insurance and claim recruiters and job posting sites information now that I no longer have will have a competitor joining from the recruiting side.

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