Spring Cleaning Time! Dust off that 2011 Resume and Update it for 2012 Assignments!

April 30, 2012

It’s hard to believe we are already at the end of the month of April already.

While doing personal spring cleaning projects this past week, it dawned on my now is a great time to remind adjusters to update their resume with the work completed in 2011 and get it out to the firms you are on their roster for. This would include updates to any additional state adjuster licenses acquired, new assignments completed in 2011, updated references, and more.

When you get your update done, don’t forget to update your resume on ClaimSmentor. It’s simple to do so you will be included in our roster all participating adjusting firms have access to. Just click on the Menu tab in the forums after login then click on the Profile tab and you’ll find the resume field there. If you already have an older resume, just click on Browse and it will over ride the one currently on the roster.

We are still seeing way too many resumes that could use a good revision. While we’ve had a few experiences with adjusters who embellished their resume experience, I find much the opposite where many GREAT candidates leave out important and pertinent details on their resume. It’s only after we’ve discussed an opportunity and I explore their background more that I find out they are selling themselves short in so many cases! Some of the most important elements are missing such as:

1) What is your objective? Are you looking for staff or independent adjusting or claim management positions?

2) Are you looking for catastrophe claim assignments, daily claim assignments (in a fixed territory near home), are you looking to handle property claims only or do you have liability experience as well. Heck some times I don’t even know due to lack of details if the candidate is looking for auto claim assignments, residential claim assignments, or commercial property or liability claims.

3) Often missing are important details on the types of claims you have handled such as mobilehomeowners, flood, residential, retail, small business, churches?

4) What perils are you experienced with? Hail, tornado, hurricane, water, fire, grease fires, theft losses?

These are but a few of the examples and the biggest would be lack of core competencies you have that summarize your skills.

If you need help creating a new and improved resume, we do provide resume services prepared directly by me with over 30 years in claims to include staff and independent claim management so I am well familiar with the key components you need to be considered by an adjusting firm for their “A” list.

Should you wish more information on this resume service or simply want a critique of the one you are using that may not be producing the results you need, then email me at dkmoroy@dimechimes.com for more information.

In case you missed it, here is a link to my published article in Claims Magazine on Catastrophe adjuster resumes as well:

Don’t forget to view our latest published article as the cover story in the August 2007 issue of Claims Magazine (now called www.PropertyCasualty360.com titled a “A Box of Chocolates?”. They did a fantastic job with the cover photo to match the article:

http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2007/08/03/a-box-of-chocolates

Updating this February 2008, here is a link to our newly published article in Claims Education National Underwriter’s quarterly magazine on “Luck- Where Preparation Meets Opportunity”  :

www.claimseducationmagazine.com/pdfs/CEM_Winter_08_v1.pdf

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/luckwhere-preparation-meets-opportunity-published-208-in-claims-education-magazine/

Here is also a link to our first published article from June 2006 on Catastrophe Adjuster resumes published on Claims Magazine(now called PropertyCasualty360.com):

http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2006/05/25/speaking-of–catastrophe-adjusting


Filed Court Documents on Class Action filed against Worley and BP by Adjusters on Overtime Issues/Daily Rate- Part II

February 11, 2011

We previously posted about the information learned about a Class Action lawsuit filed on behalf of BP adjusters working oil spill claims.

Here is a link to the original post if you missed it:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/adjusters-handling-bp-claims-file-a-class-action-lawsuit-on-two-issues-overtime-pay-and-failure-to-receive-65-of-daily-fee-per-contract/

This post now contains the two Complaints filed by the adjuster seeking to represent the Class of adjusters who worked the claims:

Altier v Worley BP et al gov.uscourts.laed.145020.1.0 This is the Complaint filed seeking Class Action on Overtime Pay Issues although they were independent adjusters working on a daily rate

Alteir v Worley only  This is the Complaint filed seeking Class Action on alleged failure to pay BP Adjusters 65% of the daily rate they received per Adjuster

Thank you to the source who provided the copies of the court documents. We will continue to follow this case and post updates as we learn them as we feel this is a significant case that all carriers and adjusting firms as well as adjusters will follow due to the daily rate/ employee vs independent contractor/ and overtime issues involved.


” 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


Sponsor Opportunities Available for 2011 at ClaimSmentor

January 8, 2011

New for 2011 is acceptance of Insurance Claim Recruiters, Temporary Staffing agencies,  Insurance Company HR personnel and claim recruiters as Sponsors at ClaimSmentor www.claimSmentor.com.

Interested claim recruiters, temporary staffing agencies, adjusting firms, claims service organizations, and software vendors should email dkmoroy@dimechimes.com for complete details.

Our Sponsor package includes up to 10 FREE job postings in our Career forum per month, free postings about upcoming seminars your firm is hosting, and special discounts you offer to our ClaimSmentor members. Sponsors also receive 100% access to our roster of adjuster members. Much more ….contact me at above email if interested in helping keep our e-mentoring program active for auto, property, and casualty adjusters.

We will reach our five year anniversary next week and currently have approximately 1,600 members and are very proud of it! Unlike other claim forum sites, we require preapproval for membership to confirm we are all licensed adjusters or claims managers. Members upload their resumes for adjusting firm and insurance recruiters use. Our desire is to enhance the job opportunities available to our members for consideration in 2011 by now accepting insurance claims recruiters for our members who are located nationwide.

Also- all welcome to join our Linkedin group and our Twitter group:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=1820952

www.linkedin.com/in/claimSmentor

www.twitter.com/claimSmentor

You can also follow our blog entries by clicking on the SUBSCRIBE tab in the dark gray area at the top of this blog.


Eternal Father Strong to Save- A prayer for Americans during the BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill Recovery- Open Letter 3 to President Obama and Admiral Thad Allen

June 15, 2010

President Obama is speaking from NAS Pensacola, FL as I write this. It is the most support I have seen him express to the brave men and woman serving in the US Armed Forces  since he began his Presidency. I am taking this particular speech very personally as my father, my brother, and my brother in law are all buried at Barrancas National Cemetary at NAS Pensacola.  I cannot bear the thought of the memories of our childhood being destroyed with the gulf oil tar nor of disturbing the area so others can  grow up with the same wonderful memories our family shares from the area during our youth when my father was stationed there.

I still  have family in the area including my nephew Ryan who is attending college at the University of West Florida  following in the foot steps of my wonderful father and brother who also attended the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL. His degree is going to be in the marine industry. He too is watching his dreams disturbed by the worst environmental disaster in Amercian history as he faces unemployment working part time in the beach restaurant industry as a means of income to help cover his expenses while in college.

President Obama- thank you for doing us proud with your military speech in Pensacola and for finally showing our military of all branches the respect and honor they so much deserve. As a military brat as us military children are known as, we do know the sacrifices having watched our fathers depart on Naval aircraft carriers, departing for war, and the fear and sadness we experience as we support our brothers, sisters, neices, nephews, sons, daughters, and our fathers as they protect Amercians at assignments both at home and have to regularly leave us to go abroad to protect us around the world.

I’ll end this thanks with the words of my very favorite navy hymn heard every Sunday growing up on military bases and attending church at military chapels where our father was stationed.  If you really listen and read the words, I think you will agree this song represents all of our prayers for our military, our national guard members, our claims adjusters who will have to work in these coastal environments during hurricane season, and our BP responders constantly exposed to the oil spill tar and disperants as they clean up our beaches and marshlands and experiencing illness as a result. We also extend this as a prayer to all gulf coast residents suffering from this oil spill :

             Eternal Father Strong to Save – Original Version

             The original words are:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee 
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

For links to the origins and history and other more modern versions of this song, visit this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_Father,_Strong_to_Save#Lyrics

**Note the Episcopal version is also very appropriate and shown on the link above

I find the following musical version very comforting at times like these and hope you will enjoy the music and pictorial vision as well:

http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/e/t/eternalf.htm

Please pass this on in hope it brings a focus to the faith that God will protect us and keep us safe. Especially for the families of the victims killed in this BP Oil explosion. Our prayers are with you every single day. Just click on the title to this blog today and you can then copy and paste it into an email to your friends and family suffering through this disaster or serving in recovery efforts.

Respectfully,

Debbie Moroy, AIC,IIA  ClaimSmentor Founder www.claimSmentor.com

 

 

 


How will the BP Oil Spill damage effect insurance adjusters during hurricane season? Read about reports of locals getting ill performing work in spill zones-CDC Recommendations for Safety in Oil Spill areas

May 27, 2010

I have been regularly following the updates on the BP Oil Spill and what seems like regular updates about claims litigation with BP and others involved in the loss which I’ll report on more tomorrow.

For now, this post concerns the illness local fisherman working the clean up are reporting due to disperal of chemicals to fight the oil spill. This sure concerns me as to what safety measures carriers are planning in their catastrophe planning to keep adjusters safe when working coastal hurricane damage that could spread this chemical as well as the oil into neighborhoods adjusters will be working in. Any of you that worked Katrina remember the talk of the “Katrina cough” many reported getting within weeks of working Katrina losses.

I think these are some must read articles and a video from Fox News on the chemicals being sprayed over the oil spill areas in the gulf as well as the discussions of government health clinics being set up and protective gear recommendations. I don’t know how our claims industry will be addressing these serious health issues. I  also check edCDC to see if they have added information yet on the oil spill safety recommendations and found a wealth of information on safety concerns for those working around oil spills here:

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/oilspillresponse/?s_cid=3ni7d2TW1005042231

Here is also a prior blog done on CDC recommendations for shots for those working in flood zones:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/what-shots-does-cdc-recommend-for-disaster-workers-watch-for-more-flood-adjuster-training-info-this-week/

First here is a short update about the new numbers of claims BP  has received as of 5/26/2010 and BP’s plan to appoint an independent claims mediator:

Business Insurance News Story: BP to appoint independent claims mediator
—————————————————————

Story Link: http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20100526/NEWS01/100529936

Here’s the article about local fishermen getting sick who are trying to help with the clean up:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/25/louisiana-fishermen-reportedly-getting-sick-cleaning-gulf-bp/Biden

Here is a new article out this morning about Louisiana recalling 125 boats out working oil spill clean up due to illness:

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/27/crews-involved-in-oil-recovery-feeling-sick-boats-recalled/

 Here is a Fox news video from yesterday about the toxic nature of this chemical. It makes me wonder what this means for adjusters this hurricane season trying to inspect coastal storm damaged properties:

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4212284/less-toxic-oil-dispersants-unavailable?playlist_id=86856#/v/4212284/less-toxic-oil-dispersants-unavailable/?playlist_id=86856

I checked my favorite career site for Hazwoper jobs yesterday and came up with over 1,455 jobs:
http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=hazwoper

Also- the Twitter posts on BP Oil Claims is unbelievable- just go to www.Twitter.com and enter #BP or enter #hazwoper in search and you will be amazed at the number of firms offering training or job opportunities. Matter of fact, my husband got a call about our boat which is still over in the panhandle saying someone from an agency stopped by and asked if he would be interested in the opportunities for clean up duties in the gulf with his boat which was quite a surprise to hear they are still looking for boat owners to work clean up.

If you haven’t read and seen enough yet, I highly recommend you view this CNN Anderson Cooper video from his trip today on the Louisiana shore- it is just devastating to watch for those coastal lovers like we are:

http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/26/video-ac-its-just-dead-out-there/

More to follow tomorrow!


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.


Universities offering Insurance Degrees-where to get yours for a staff career in claims adjusting or claim management

May 13, 2010

This Business Insurance website is just a wealth of information! Here is a list they have of universities offering Bachelor’s degrees in insurance either as a major or a minor:

http://www.businessinsurance.com/section/directories?djoPage=search_details&djoPid=10776&djoPY=@pJ9IK0YJUZoU

Appalachian State University

(Boone, NC)

Ball State University

(Muncie, IN)

Baylor University

(Waco, TX)

California State University Fullerton

California State University, Sacramento

(Sacramento, CA)

Delta State University

(Cleveland, MS)

Florida State University

(Tallahassee, FL)

Georgia State University

(Atlanta, GA)

Howard University

(Washington, DC)

Illinois State University

(Normal, IL)

Illinois Wesleyan University

(Bloomington, IL)

Indiana State University

(Terre Haute, IN)

La Salle University

(Philadelphia, PA)

Miami of Ohio University

(Oxford, OH)

Middle Tennessee State University

(Murfreesboro, TN)

Mississippi State University

(Mississippi State, MS)

Missouri State University

(Springfield, MO)

Old Dominion University

(Norfolk, VA)

Olivet College

(Olivet, MI)

St. John’s University

(New York, NY)

St. Mary’s University

(San Antonio, TX)

Temple University

(Philadelphia, PA)

Troy University

(Troy, AL)

University of Alabama

(Tuscaloosa, AL)

University of Calgary

(Calgary, Alberta)

University of Central Arkansas

(Conway, AR)

University of Georgia

(Athens, GA)

University of Hartford

(West Hartford, CT)

University of Houston

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

(Lafayette, LA)

University of Louisiana at Monroe

(Monroe, LA)

University of Mississippi

(University, MS)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

(Las Vegas, NV)

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

(Charlotte, NC)

University of North Texas

(Denton, TX)

University of South Carolina

(Columbia, SC)

University of Wisconsin-Madison

(Madison, WI)

Virginia Commonwealth University

(Richmond, VA)

Washington State University

(Pullman, WA)

Appalachian State University

(Boone, NC)

Ball State University

(Muncie, IN)

Baylor University

(Waco, TX)

California State University Fullerton

California State University, Sacramento

(Sacramento, CA)

Delta State University

(Cleveland, MS)

Florida State University

(Tallahassee, FL)

Georgia State University

(Atlanta, GA)

Howard University

(Washington, DC)

Illinois State University

(Normal, IL)

Illinois Wesleyan University

(Bloomington, IL)

Indiana State University

(Terre Haute, IN)

La Salle University

(Philadelphia, PA)

Miami of Ohio University

(Oxford, OH)

Middle Tennessee State University

(Murfreesboro, TN)

Mississippi State University

(Mississippi State, MS)

Missouri State University

(Springfield, MO)

Old Dominion University

(Norfolk, VA)

Olivet College

(Olivet, MI)

St. John’s University

(New York, NY)

St. Mary’s University

(San Antonio, TX)

Temple University

(Philadelphia, PA)

Troy University

(Troy, AL)

University of Alabama

(Tuscaloosa, AL)

University of Calgary

(Calgary, Alberta)

University of Central Arkansas

(Conway, AR)

University of Georgia

(Athens, GA)

University of Hartford

(West Hartford, CT)

University of Houston

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

(Lafayette, LA)

University of Louisiana at Monroe

(Monroe, LA)

University of Mississippi

(University, MS)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

(Las Vegas, NV)

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

(Charlotte, NC)

University of North Texas

(Denton, TX)

University of South Carolina

(Columbia, SC)

University of Wisconsin-Madison

(Madison, WI)

Virginia Commonwealth University

(Richmond, VA)

Washington State University

(Pullman, WA)

I can personally vouch for the great program Troy State University-Florida Region had. They gave me college credit for all of my Associates in Claims courses and for the 9 parts of CPCU (both programs through http://www.aicpcu.org towards my degree in Insurance Resource management.

It is a common complaint of newly licensed adjusters when they realize most carriers will not hire them as claims adjusters without a Bachelor Degree. Well this is the post to provide you the information for those of you willing to incur the cost and the substantial time into obtaining your degree. It will be well worth your effort for staff adjuster and staff claim management job opportunities!


Time for our Annual Adjuster Safety Tips Reminder- CDC Shots, Ladder Safety, Personal Safety and Much More/Guest Blog also by Robby Robinson, Independent

May 6, 2010

Each year I like to post this reminder about adjuster safety issues as work picks up for independent adjusters with hail season, tornado season, and hurricane season soon approaching.

Below is a copy of our annual safety tip reminders which is especially important this year with the BP Oil Spill claims and the Nashville, TN flooding which occurred this past week. Both may lead to alot of denials due to coverage issues and exclusions in policies at a time when homeowners and commercial businesses are suffering major life altering losses and tempers may flair when adjusters are in the field inspecting these losses.

 So first, here is our annual links to blogs written on adjuster safety concerns followed by a guest blog entry by 6 year independent adjuster Robby Robinson who suffered injuries this past year and wants to warn other adjusters. Robby is the owner of a new site for adjusters called From one Adjuster to Another:

Spring has Sprung- A Timely Reminder about Adjuster Safety Concerns is Due!

March 23, 2009

We’ve previously posted numerous blogs about adjuster safety issues. With spring’s arrival Sunday, now is a great time to bring these old blog entries back up for new reader’s viewing our blog:

Safety Equipment/Ladder Safety issues for Adjusters:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/18/ladder-safety-concerns-for-adjusters-safety-equipment-suggestions/

Center for Disease Control Shot Recommendations for Emergency Workers in Disaster and Flood Zones:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/what-shots-does-cdc-recommend-for-disaster-workers-watch-for-more-flood-adjuster-training-info-this-week/

Adjuster Shot in TN in March 08 while on storm duty:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/adjuster-safety-another-warning-march-08-nationwide-adjuster-shot-in-vehicle-in-tn-while-on-storm-duty/

Field adjuster safety concerns- Remembering Katie Froeschle of Tampa, FL murdered while on a field appoint:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/14/field-adjuster-safety-concerns-be-careful-remembering-katie-froeschle-of-tampa-fl/

Defusing an Angry Insured:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/15/defusing-an-angry-insured-dealing-with-dinosaur-brain-lizard-logic-thinking-co-workers/

Crisis Intervention while Catastrophe Adjusting-Guest blog by Steve Ebner

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/16/crisis-intervention-while-catastrophe-adjusting-by-guest-blogger-steve-ebner/

Please be safe while out there working this season!

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

Printed with permission of Robby Robinson:

 

From: Robby Robinson <catadjusterx@gmail.com>
To: Dimechimes Claim Staffing and Claim Training <debbie@dimechimes.com>
Sent: Wed, April 28, 2010 4:00:34 AM
Subject: Robby Robinson’s ladder accident

Hi guys
I want to tell you about what happens when you get in a hurry out on a
claim and  the consequences that you may have to live with or even
worse ,what your family has to live with from you being DEAD !!

26 October 2009

I was on the very top of a 24 ft extension ladder(not my ladder ,but
someone elses ladder and what happens when you use someone elses
ladder, nothing good !!)

The roof was high and to reach the roof , the ladder was close to
vertical and I threw common sense out the window and made the climb
with one person bracing the ladder at ground level and another from a
2nd floor window, the only thing more ridiculous than that set up was
the fool (me) that made the climb.

I didn’t want to reschedule the claim as it had already been
rescheduled twice and did not want to give the risk to a steep roof
team , so I made the climb and everything that followed was what I
deserved.

Coming off the roof to make the downward climb, the person on the 2nd
floor was not holding the ladder and I tipped the ladder. I don’t
remember the accident , I awoke a day later in the hospital, but the
police report had statements from the homeowner and the Public
Adjuster that was there for the re-inspection with me repping the
Insurance company.

I landed on a 4 ft chain link fence and had a compound fracture
(through the skin) of my left leg, broken pelvis, 4 broken ribs that
separated from my sternum, broken jaw and a fractured skull.

The PA stated that I stopped breathing so he gave me CPR  until the
paramedics got there (I guess all PA’s aren’t all bad : ) He broke my
ribs from the CPR, I have since learned that is a common occurrence in
prolonged CPR.

I had my jaw wired shut for 3 weeks, my pelvis and skull have healed
nicely as they were only fractured. My Ribs took some time but are now
good.

When my leg broke , it tore and severed alot of my leg muscle and I
had some muscle death and was told I’m looking at over a year till it
would fully heal.  As an Independent adjuster I couldn’t afford to
take a year off and I had the option to have a surgery to put rods in
my leg bones for stability and would drastically reduce my recovery,
so I went for it , that was in December and as of today, I have been
out of my wheelchair for over 3 weeks and can walk with a cane
reasonably well.

I had a complication from my skull fracture as an aneurysm developed
under the fracture line (blood clot).  I had surgery to remove the
nasty and I am looking at being able to go back to work around the
middle of May 2010.

I will be looking for a new job as well

because I was fired from the company I was employed by for over 4
years. Don’t misunderstand because I deserved to get fired for my
stupidity and I just want to let not only new adjusters, but even
adjusters with a few years under your belt to know that just one
moment of stupidity , a momentary lapse of judgement can not only cost
you  your job and families security, but could cost you your life !!

Please learn from my stupidity, reschedule or hand it over to a steep
roof team , it’s not worth your job or your life !!

                                          Robby Robinson

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

If not mentioned in my safety blogs above, here are links to two of our ClaimSmentor sponsor sites that offer Rope and Harness field safety courses which I highly recommend as do many of our members who have taken these classes:

Catastrophe Career Specialities( formerly KSQ2) at http://ksq2.homestead.com/Rope_and_Harness.html

ERT Rescue Rope and Harness Class at: http://www.ertrescue.com/SteepRoof/SteepRoofIndex.html

If you also have a story to share about an accident or dangerous situation you have encountered that would help other claims adjusters, please either reply to this topic as a comment which I will approve OR send me an email to Debbie@Dimechimes.com with your story which we’ll publish here as well.

Thanks Robby for providing your guest blog for others benefit!

 

 


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.


Adjuster looks back on Career at 55! The things I still ponder about the Claims Industry

March 19, 2010

Absolutely shocking and still letting it sink in! I turned the big 55 earlier this month and still reeling from the realization that I have spent my entire adult  life in the insurance industry. The days when I would look at my annual benefits statements which showed I could retire in 2010 are now long ago but  I would always laugh it off that March 2010 would never arrive…and here it is!

I entered the insurance business in 1973, newly married and a grand 17 years old! I had no clue that I was embarking on a life in insurance and claims…but I did know it was employment with the only major employer back in Murfreesboro, TN where we moved as my husband was being released after completion of his four years as a navy corpsman and he wanted to attend college in his home town.

What a change life was leaving home in FL, a military brat, a daughter of a Navy Commander and one of eight children to a working adult with no massive family constantly around! The thought of attending college never entered my mind at the time! Work life in the insurance industry was always changing so I never found it boring as I changed positions through promotional opportunities regularly and moved about 7 times to various cities as mobility used to be a fixed requirement to move into management positions.

I spent my first few months as a mail and file clerk at the lowest possible level and quickly got promoted to a Fire company accounts receivable clerk when the carrier got tired of watching me drag a stool around to reach in the top file drawers! They actually began requiring new file clerks be atleast 5 ft tall to avoid their worry I would hit my head on the corner of the top file drawer!

I spent eight years in accounts receivable working my way up the ranks to a team lead. I can’t begin to say what a valuable experience it was coming up through the ranks as I learned to handle complaints from policyholders if premium payments were misapplied (yes we really did open each envelop individually and stamp the back of each check and balance deposits- how ancient is that compared to today’s machinery and PO Boxes!). During the last of my stint in accounting, I handled agency correspondence on premium payment issues, endorsements, and the greatest part was learning to respect agency and the power they held with the executive office! You quickly learn “if the agent ain’t happy” ain’t no one happy which served me well in my later career in claims.

I never thought “gee I want to be a claims rep when I grow up”. I went into claims kicking and screaming due to my fear of  roof climbing but thankful to still have a stable job when they merged the homeowners accounting group with the auto accounting department. I had no idea I would absolutely fall in love with claims where I spent the next 20 years as first an inside adjuster for 2 years, a field adjuster, a reinspector, an in office supervisor, then finally promoted to my first field claim operation managing adjusters and estimators with adjusters scattered throughout 3 cities. I was proud to later be selected to relocate to FL for the first “claim central” operation then later selected as a national catastrophe team manager where I ended my staff career after 4 years traveling nationally following storms. 28 years was amazing and always interesting having climbed through 16 job classes to reach my final position as a Team Manager. Burn out after 4 years on the road over 80% of each year is putting it mildly but it didn’t take me but 2 years to realize I truly missed the excitement of working the next storm and the comraderie that goes along with working with people who enjoyed it too.

Was it easy to stay with one employer? Was it easy to move from the lowest clerical job classification through to a Claims Team Manager? You bet it wasn’t! Did I ever consider leaving? No….sure didn’t. It actually never crossed my mind! I came from a family where my dad joined the Navy as the lowest seaman and worked his way up the ranks to retire 35 or 36 years later as a Commander in the Navy with 8 kids to boot! How he ever did that I’ll never know with 8 children, constant deployments, and attending college for his BS and Masters Degree at night. That is what we knew and I applied the same theory as my dad to my career. I went to college over 15 years at night school, did my IIA and AIC designations through www.aicpcu.org and have completed 9 parts of what was the 10 part course in the CPCU program. Why I can’t force myself to take and finish that last part of CPCU on accounting and statistics to secure the full designation is beyond me but something that escapes my interest at 55!

Would I do it all over again? You bet I would. Claims  has kept me gainfully employed over the years as staff and later in the independent industry. The last 5 years I’ve been caught up in the ClaimSmentor mentoring program I founded where we train independents. It came about due to the struggles I constantly saw with new independent adjusters having no clue what was needed once they were licensed and really no place to turn for some guidance while they were waiting to get their foot in the door with a reputable adjusting firm. We are now approaching 1,200 members which includes 74 adjusting firm owners and head managers so I am very proud of the accomplishment that the synergy of our group has achieved when so many others told us we were wasting our time even trying!

In today’s world, I am just fascinated with the claims industry and the constant changes but the more I learn, the more I do wonder….why we do what we do, the way we do it, and how I can contribute to make the claims industry a better place for those of us who have dedicated our life to the industry and a better place for the policyholders who suffer when we don’t complete our jobs properly.

Here is just of few of my random thoughts as I contemplate the claims industry at 55 after gosh over 37 years now in this industry:

1) Does the fact we tend to call an insurance contract a “policy” lead to some of the confusion for a policyholder that “all” things are covered? I know from a layman’s terms ,for example, if my parents set a policy that I had to be in by 10pm as a teenager that I could easily pry them into letting me stay out later if it was for something special. Had I signed a contract however, I would understand that can’t be changed as I agreed to the written terms. Just a thought….

2) Why don’t carrier employees get discounts on insurance premiums? I always found that strange!

3) The purpose of insurance is indemnity or to restore a person to whole after suffering a loss. I think of that as stability for policyholders. Thus, I have always found it strange that especially since about 1995 a claims career feels anything but stable for employees as carriers reorganize, downsize, move from field to in office claim handling…etc. I rarely have a conversation with any experienced adjusters anymore who are not considering leaving the industry as the pay is reduced, the requirements more stringent, the legal environment overwhelming, and for independent adjusters- ever more licensing and certification requirements but that is another issue all together!

4) I ponder how insurance companies can collect premiums but in some cases be 100% dependent on independent adjusters to handle their catastrophe claims. It is not because they cannot handle it that I wonder but because carrier employees tend to treat independents as the red headed step child of the industry but that is a step above their stereo type for public adjusters. It just does not seem responsible to me. In fact, in any other business, if you took money for a service and did not provide it…well you can figure out the results of that easily enough! So why is this allowed to go on with insurance carriers? It doesn’t matter how many rosters the carrier maintains or how many adjusting firms they have contracts with. The fact is, they have made no committment to independent adjusters all year long so they have no idea which assignment if any that independents will take. They need to improve the relationship for all concerned.

5) I still constantly ponder what the independent adjusters can do to overcome the non payment and delay issues getting paid for claims they handle. I receive calls daily from adjusters individually and in groups who still have fee bills outstanding from Ike. I do not know of any other group of employees who would receive a deployment call and head out to live on the road in catastrophe conditions with no consideration whatsoever for their living provisions when no hotels are to be found (staff adjusters have housing provided/ independent adjusters who serve carriers do not) and asked to go months before they see the first dime in payment for their work. This applies to inside adjusters working on a fixed daily rate as well. A major FL carrier tells even them to expect 6 weeks for their first paycheck even if on a daily rate which makes no sense. Not only should a carrier staff up for storm adjusters but they need to staff appropriately during storms for support help such as payments like expense checks and for independent fee bills so they can survive. Today, independents tell the new folks to plan to have a minimum of $10,000 for living expense quarters, gas, transportation, and office supplies before they will ever see their first storm payment check. Regarding the non payment by unscrupulous adjusting firms ( the few that are that give them all a black eye), how can the state insurance departments not control this issue? We have folks that are turned down regularly by insurance departments and attorney general offices who tell them they can’t  help them (especially if they worked for an out of state adjusting firm). We need to help these folks by having the appropriate authorities regulate the industry much better.

6) Why did carriers begin making pretty files much more important than prompt service to policyholders? It drives me nuts every time I hear the word  “Sketch”. Just check the classifieds on claim adjuster forums and see the hundreds firms are charging for them to learn “sketch”. Listen folks, in my opinion, I just haven’t been able to accept the fact that a computer sketch of a house floor plan and diagram does one thing to help settle a claim. We used hand drawn diagrams with measurements for years. It would actually shock you what these new computer programs are doing to reduce the number of file closures adjusters can close today versus what they were able to before all of  the “pretty” file standards were created. I do more than understand alot of it was generated due to the increase in claims litigation and the discovery of file material but I do not see that many of these things are doing anything to resolve customer service issues.  During Katrina, many extremely experienced contractors who could easily complete an estimate walked out due to the difficulty to adapt to all of the electronic claim systems….and that was beside the fact they couldn’t get power or rooms with high speed internet to even upload the photos to the files. I just wish we would keep the emphasis on the customer not the technical systems. In many claim environments and training sessions, you don’t even hear the customer mentioned anymore because there is just not enough time in the day to cover all the technical system issues.

7) It seems an unusual number of staff and independent adjusters are flipping their license for a public adjuster license. It sure seems strange to me from the standpoint that regulation of public adjusters gets tougher by the day but each time I’ve asked former co-workers who flipped they did because they could no longer tolerate what they were seeing by inexperienced people not only adjusting claims but managing claims at the carriers whether they were independent or staff. People I never thought I’d hear considering it are. I can’t say I didn’t at one point too because I understand what they see, I understand their frustrations with our industry. I just took a different route and formed ClaimSmentor to  help but I can assure you there are many times it is overwhelming when there is so much need for improvement for the independent training and regulations on how they are treated and paid. Just when I get overwhelmed with trying to make a difference, an email pops up from a trainee thanking me for helping them learn about the industry or thanking us for helping them find a reputable adjusting firm they matched up with. ClaimSmentor wasn’t opened because I thought I was smarter than the average bear but because I did think by gathering good folks together who were very proficient in the independent claims industry we could all learn from each other. I learn new things from our members with every post they make whether it be a need for training in an area I didn’t know existed or learn from some great members with construction backgrounds about better estimating techniques. I hope there will be interest one day in the next few years for someone to carry on the mentoring project as my husband and I are looking forward to retiring when we can.

8  ) Something that has always seemed strange to me is that contractor licensing is so very well regulated yet we as adjusters with no contractors licensing are the be all end all of estimate creation and decision making when it comes to what it takes to repair a home following a disaster. Sure we can handle the routine estimating on most losses but I know I sure couldn’t get in there and rebuild some of the homes I’ve estimated in my career. Fortunately, my employer did pay for us to attend a 3 week contractors school at Vale Technical where I learned alot as well as continuing education at all levels of my career. I was much more confident in estimating when I did it regularly but looking back I always wonder. The younger adjusters today seem so very confident and have much more access to online training but we all know- there is nothing like working a trade. Fortunately, viewing hundreds of resumes annually, we have so many contractors obtaining adjusters licensing. It is pretty standard thinking these days that it is easier to train them on policy than to train someone with no construction estimating who is good at policy. I’ll be the first to admit when I was in my early twenties I fell through a ceiling or two while climbing in an attic, fell though a mobile home floor when it was soaked by the fire department, and many other war stories due to my lack of knowledge in construction and what effects fire/water do to building components. I think that is why I understand trainee adjusters so well and have so much empathy for their training needs because I was there at one time. I just can’t help but wonder why there is not atleast a minimum training regulation by insurance departments on construction training before one can be deemed a “property” adjuster! The current trend is for experienced adjusters to scope and estimate the damages and work with an inside less experienced adjuster who does the contents and additional living expense and settle the building estimate with the insured. A very funny conversation overhead a few months ago by one of our members was an inside adjuster calling the field adjuster and telling them to take the crown molding out of their estimate as “mold” isn’t covered under the policy. This is just one example of the frustrations experienced adjusters are feeling today with the current claim environments. Imagine how policyholders who might hear such a ridiculous statement must feel with their carrier’s claim service. No wonder PA’s are so successful today in obtaining more recovery dollars if this is widespread in our industry!

I could go on an on but it’s 2 am. I have a moderator on ClaimSmentor who started a discussion this week on why so many folks over 50 are changing careers and becoming newly licensed adjusters. I think much of the reason is the down turn in the construction industry and I am sure they are thankful to make a career transition. The problem is as I show in the 125 question self assessment test on this blog is that there is so much more to handling claims than just knowing construction. Claims is a world of it’s own with it’s own procedures and many coverages beyond the building loss itself. Hopefully, I can get our moderator to do a guest blog for us addressing his concerns which he says go far beyond just the physical demands of entering this field at 50 or above.

Thanks for letting me ponder out loud and looking back at quite a lengthy career in claims. If I could change anything at all it might be taking the route of SIU- Special Investigations unit as I thoroughly enjoyed detailed investigations much more than jumping ladders doing roof inspections ( or crawling under off grade houses looking for signs of long term water damage!) but it’s been quite a ride!

If you missed our prior blog with the 125 question self assessment test, here is the link:

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

If you missed our prior blog  with our published article ” Luck- where preparation meets opportunity”, here is the link:

http://www.claimseducationmagazine.com/pdfs/CEM_Winter_08_v1.pdf  found on page 8


Supplemental Info on Geico Auto Adjuster Overtime Issues

February 27, 2010

It is just amazing the great information found while experimenting with Twitter this month for use in the claims industry.

One of the great finds today is a detailed article explaining the overtime issues in the case that Geico recently won by Weil Gotshal  law firm.  Their newsletter with a pdf  link to their article can be found on page 4 using this link.

We recently blogged with a link to the Washington Post articleon Geico’s win on these auto adjuster overtime issues  in this prior blog.


Fenton, et al., v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 07-4864, DC MN, 2009, MN Staff Claims Adjuster Overtime Decision

February 2, 2010

Here’s some information on an over time case involving a Farmer’s case, Fenton, et al., v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 07-4864, DC MN, 2009 .

It sounds like an SIU (Special Investigation Unit arson fraud adjuster) Investigator won a decision in MN on adjuster overtime pay. According to this article, it was based on the fact their supervisor made the final decision if a case was fraud or not. It seems the states are across the board based on alot of other decisions I’ve posted on this blog. This is surprising since a claim supervisor making the decision on a claim file would be applicable on all claim files that exceed an adjuster’s authority, files to be denied,  and normally any coverage issue files as well.

For information on Fenton, et al., v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 07-4864, DC MN, 2009, here is a link I found on today’s email update from a great site for HR that I subscribe to at http://www.thehrspecialist.com  

Here’s the link:

http://www.thehrspecialist.com/article.aspx?articleid=30351&cigx=d.n,stid.7491,sid.374530

This link will take you to all other blogs I’ve posted that included other claims adjuster overtime cases. This does apply to staff adjusters not independent adjusters. I’m curious if the independent adjuster classifications will be questioned as well with the 2010 concentration on employee versus independent classification we’ve been reading about.

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

Doing some additional web search for a link to the court documents on the Fenton vs Farmers case, I came across this link to an entirely different court finding in Farmers favor in 07. It sure is interesting comparing this to the Fenton case:

http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=9595529


Number One Claims Job Site for Trainee through Claims Management Positions

January 11, 2010

We research claims job opportunities for our members regularly.

If you haven’t used Indeed yet, you are missing great job opportunities! Indeed draws in claims job opportunities from major employers and numerous job sites such as Great Insurance Jobs. It allows you basically one site to search all claims job postings from multiple sources.

www.Indeed.com


Geico wins case on overtime issues for auto adjusters view Washington Post article

January 6, 2010

Geico has won a case on overtime issues for staff auto adjusters according to the following article posting on the Washington post here.

We have written several other blogs here on staff adjuster overtime issues if you want to view them here.


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. 


Spring has Sprung- A Timely Reminder about Adjuster Safety Concerns is Due!

March 23, 2009

We’ve previously posted numerous blogs about adjuster safety issues. With spring’s arrival Sunday, now is a great time to bring these old blog entries back up for new reader’s viewing our blog:

Safety Equipment/Ladder Safety issues for Adjusters:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/18/ladder-safety-concerns-for-adjusters-safety-equipment-suggestions/

Center for Disease Control Shot Recommendations for Emergency Workers in Disaster and Flood Zones:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/what-shots-does-cdc-recommend-for-disaster-workers-watch-for-more-flood-adjuster-training-info-this-week/

Adjuster Shot in TN in March 08 while on storm duty:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/adjuster-safety-another-warning-march-08-nationwide-adjuster-shot-in-vehicle-in-tn-while-on-storm-duty/

Field adjuster safety concerns- Remembering Katie Froeschle of Tampa, FL murdered while on a field appoint:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/14/field-adjuster-safety-concerns-be-careful-remembering-katie-froeschle-of-tampa-fl/

Defusing an Angry Insured:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/15/defusing-an-angry-insured-dealing-with-dinosaur-brain-lizard-logic-thinking-co-workers/

Crisis Intervention while Catastrophe Adjusting-Guest blog by Steve Ebner

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/16/crisis-intervention-while-catastrophe-adjusting-by-guest-blogger-steve-ebner/

Please be safe while out there working this season!


Look Before You Leap! New classes scheduled online LIVE in April 2009 for Staff Adjusters and Management Considering an Independent Adjuster or Independent Claim Management Career

March 15, 2009

 

              Look Before You Leap! The Grass is NOT always Greener on the other Side!  

                       This class  is designed to improve understanding by Insurance Carrier HR managers considering independent adjusters for staff claim opportunities as well as staff adjusters and Claim managers wishing to make a career move to the Independent Claims Adjuster or Claim Manager fields in the claims industry.       

***Updated 3/21/09: Note this program can also be presented in an individual career coaching order session for those who wish to remain anonymous versus participating in this online class at ClaimSmentor . We will present this to you individually through a career coaching session. Just contact Debbie@Dimechimes.com to schedule your private session.

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This is a new course offering in our Roots and Wings  program  at ClaimSmentor for all of the staff adjusters sending us resumes  as they  consider career moves to the independent claims industry.

You can read more about these classes hosted on Saturday April 4, 2009 and Saturday April 18, 2009 in the following blog topic:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/new-online-claims-adjuster-and-claim-management-training-class-offerings-for-late-march-and-april-2009-at-claimsmentor/

This link contains a blog link to the registration information for ClaimSmentor. This site is our online e-mentoring program for Independent and Staff adjusters or managers involved in the Property or Auto Claims industry. There is no charge to join our ClaimSmentor forums. You will be able to review more details about this class once you become a member and can view the topic in our forums.

 We also welcome Human Resource managers interested in participating in this class so they better understand the independent adjusters applying to their insurance companies for staff adjuster positions as we would like you to appreciate those that have outstanding experience in are independent industry. We strongly recommend continuing education for newly licensed adjusters participating in our forums at ClaimSmentor and  you will also find valued candidates for your claim trainee job opportunities.

View the About tab for contact information if you are interested in this class.  

 

 


Guest Blog by Dr Michael Birzon, UCF Insurance Department “Tall Tails from Texas” Warning about FL Adjusters false belief TX Licenses waives FL License Exam for Residents

March 10, 2009

I had no idea when I posted the blog on the adjuster license problems in our last blog here:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/organization-chart-for-the-claims-handling-blame-game-a-humorous-grap-of-where-all-participants-stand-in-this-game-on-claims/

Then Dr Birzon, our regular mentor on Fl licensing issues for ClaimSmentor told me he had also written an article on his warning we told you about in the last blog.  The link above has a link to his bio and insurance website at UCF for FL licensing online.

I knew the problem was very bad, just from what I was receiving on licensing information on adjuster resumes we regularly receive, but his story in the below Ezine article about 60 Allstate Adjusters is even beyond my worst nightmare on how bad the issue was! You can read his entire article on”” Tall Tails from Texas below:

—–Inline Attachment Follows—–

Google Birzon Ezine and you should pull up other articles of interest…thanks!

Dr. Michael Birzon
Florida Insurance University/UCF
(407) 927-1235
(407) 386-6454 FAX

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I am hoping that adjusting firms and adjusters will pass the link to this blog or copy and paste his article link and pass it on to adjusting firms you work with to post the warning on their website. To forward this link- just click on the blog title and it will give you just this blog article you can forward.

We thank everyone for passing this important warning on folks wanting to get licensed to handle claims. Adjusting firms should insist on seeing the license information online for the state where you assigning adjusters as we are seeing


Organization Chart for the Claims Handling Blame Game- A Humorous Graph -A Serious Look at Claim Bad Faith Issues

March 6, 2009

Insurance Company – Adjusting Firms- Claim Staff -Reinspectors -Independents  – Public Adjusters
Claim Litigation  Attorneys
 
→   →   (Everyone to R)       ←     ↓        ↑  →                           ←   ↓   →                                 ← (all 3)  →                                                 ← (all 4)
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What a mess  that makes no sense and it isn’t humorous at all. This is a huge insurance consumer issue. Just check out the Bad Faith organization or NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) for all kinds of information and surveys on claims handling. The link I put to NAIC is their 2009 Report on the Top Complaints by insurance consumers. You can sort by carrier, by type of complaint, by state I think, and much more!
 
When are we also going to get Insurance Departments on board to help improve this by doing the following things I’ve discussed in this blog before:
 
1) Require Insurance companies to report to all state insurance departments consumer links where they provide complaint information for carriers to provide information on adjusting firms that have been dismissed by a carrier for trends of bad faith claim handling issues. Presently, I know of no place when independent adjusters can validly find this information until it is too late. Dismiised firms are not required to be reported (if they are I am not aware of it) so they just move on to solicit new carriers so even more insurance consumers continue to be harmed by firms with bad consumer servicing problems.
 
2) I believe insurance companies require liability and errors and omissions information from adjusting firms before they use them. Are there any reporting requirements by state insurance regulators on claims ratios on E and O policies for adjusting firms or independent or public adjusters so 1) policyholders don’t hire a PA who has a large complaint ratio 2) so adjusting firms have a source to know (other than just checking regulator sites to be sure an adjusters license is still active), and so adjusters can have a valid source to see the complaint ratio of an adjusting firm so they can make a good decision about which adjusting firm they wish to deploy with so they don’t get hooked up with a firm that might be unprofessional?
 
3) Insurance Regulators should require that adjusting firms be required to disclose the name of the owner and the name of any key executives they may have on the payroll and post them on their website.  Often if an adjusting firm develops a bad reputation with adjusters or carriers, they just either a) move to another state so carriers and adjusters cannot find bad information about them at insurance department licensing sites that allow you to research licenses or b) the adjusting firm owners or key executives just change the name of the adjusting firm so adjusters don’t know who they are.
 
4) Another thing that concerns me when trying to find good adjusting firms for newly licensed adjuster recommendations , when asked by ClaimSmentor members , is that so many of the adjusting firms do not list one thing on their ABOUT pages about who the key owners are. I tell them just to go to http://www.whois.net/ but this only tells you when a website domain was open and the contact name and information for the person who opened the site. Sometimes the only results you get there are to the website company they opened the site with but it is one source of information you might try.
 
5) Adjusting firms should be required to post links on all of their websites such as Department of Insurance Consumer Complaint contact information AND information for independent  adjusters as to where they can report violations of adjusting firm contracts with independents and adjuster non- payment of fee bill complaints. If you don’t think there is a need, just check out this site that opened post Katrina and when overloaded by complaints of non payment to adjusters, their system crashed many many times : www.professionalfeecollection.com (site was opened post Katrina and we have no idea what happened to this agency and it’s alliance of attorneys working proactively to collect unpaid independent adjusting firm fees. We know they were overwhelmed by the claim files faxed in to them and the thousands of adjusters attempting to utilize their services. It was run by a Terry Bagsby out of TX. The interesting thing was that these adjusters were all complaining about the same continuous group of adjusting firms based on discussions I had with him in 05/06.
 
6) Adjusting firms should be required by State Insurance Regulators to not only have a contract for independent insurance adjusters but they should be required to have two signed originals so one can be given to the independent adjusting firm and one can be given to the adjuster. I cannot even begin to tell you how many new adjusters have been frankly taken advantage of either not being given a copy of the contract or no contract at all.
 
We wrote in our blog done a few years back called “Splish Splash don’t go taking a bath” on this topic.(See link at bottom of this blog) I always teach new adjusters in our Fundamentals class not to deploy without seeing the contract and making sure they agree to the terms, not to sign blank forms, to watch out for Non-Compete terms, to make sure they know what the fee split is with the adjusting firm (how much they keep of the fee schedule and how much you get based on a percentage fee split) or what your daily rate is if you are getting paid a daily rate how much it is and what your fee split.
 
There is much more information in the blog I wrote linked to above. The very best advice that I would give you is to see your personal attorney about E & O insurance coverage information in the contract to be sure YOU are protected and to be sure that you are not signing something you shouldn’t be signing.
 
7) Insurance regulators need to regulate a) the length of time a carrier has to pay independent adjusting firms and TPA’s who process their claims, the time an adjusting firm has to pay the independents, holdback percentage provisions in contracts and hefty fines for those adjusting firms not paying them within a regulated time).
 
8   ) Insurance Regulators must begin setting regulations for insurance carriers as to what claim handling fines a carrier can pass on and require of  independent adjusting firms and adjusters.
 
They have gotten totally out of control on the RFP requirements I have seen such as Citizens of FL 2007 RFP 08-0016 or 07-0003 with fines as much as 1,000 per vioation. Is what developed after these fines starting being imposed in RFP’s is that independent contracts started transferring these fines on to adjusters in contracts without even specifying what these fines were.
 
9 ) Insurance regulators have got to put a stop to the erroneous information being advertised about the TEXAS adjuster’s license for independent adjusters. Just take a look at the many classifieds telling those interested in a claims career that the TX license with give them licensing in any where from 25-32 states.
 
This is inaccurate as the adjuster still has to fill out applications, finger prints and pay licensing fees for those non resident licenses. Dr Birzon at the University of Central Florida’s Insurance licensing online program has been forced to post a warning such as this on their website link (see News flash column on left of that link) because so many residents of FL had taken TX licensing classes thinking that they were waived from taking the FL Resident adjusters license.
 
I regularly receive resumes from adjusters who are permanent residents of FL that is all that I see in the licensing information of their resume is their TX license info. Dr Birzon has been so helpful answering questions on ClaimSmentor on licensing issues and even helped out a few of our adjusters who were in non compliance on CE’s and had to retake Fl license requirements again so we referred them to his online FL licensing program which the state regulators approved as a means of getting your FL license and bypassing the FL adjusters exam. These adjusters who were working out of a state on a catastrophe assignment could meet the FL Department of Insurance requirement they sit for the exam again by taking Dr Birzon’s online class at night and still service claims assigned to them out of state.
 
10 ) Insurance regulators need to require that any training firm producing adjuster 
training classes be approved by the state department of insurance to meet minimum claims experience requirements ,which I would insist included experience in claims management, as well as professional insurance education requirements that are recognized in the insurance industy such as AIC (Associates in Claims) and/or CPCU course through AICPCU. I have completed IIA, AIC, and 9 sections of CPCU with only one left to go (the much dreaded Accounting session). I cannot tell you strongly enough how much I recommend these courses  for independents as well.
 
11 ) While the insurance regulators do not control which independent firms a carrier uses, they should at minimum require that adjusting firms and TPA’s require some kind of screening. The one I prefer the most is the membership requirements at the National Association of Insurance Adjusters which is an association of independent adjusting firms who have had to go through substantial financial screening and other membership criteria you can view here.
 
12 ) There are good procedures established by the insurance regulators, emergency management, and state governors for adjusters coming in from out of state. They are called emergency adjuster regulations.
 
In a new trend the large adjusting firms are now requiring of independent adjusters, they are requiring that adjusters obtain non-resident licenses in all coastal states and those like Oklahoma  and Minnesota that have regular windstorms. There are valid reasons because carriers and independent firms cannot activate non resident adjusters who do not hold a non resident license in the state of a storm until the governor announces that by his order at the time of an emergency that independent adjusters are allowed in the state to work claims on an emergency license. 
 
If an adjuster secures a non-resident license in all the states a carrier MIGHT deploy them, they can stay longer because emergency licenses are temporary in nature and only allow adjusters to work a storm designated a catastrophe by the governor. Carriers also do not use their national catastrophe teams if there isn’t enough volume in a given state although I’ve read about alot of improvements on this. This is usually do to the fact that they have to bill the region where they deploy the adjusters for their services. Can we do something about this? It appears to me to be the only way carriers and adjusters can deploy adjusters and get around the governors emergency disaster authority. It has created a huge financial burden on independents and on CE reporting requirements when they should be concentrating on servicing insurance consumers. It is also creating a “dumbing down” of independent adjusters that can be used as we often see less experienced independent adjusters deployed because the experienced adjusters tend to leary of jumping through the huge volume of hoops and know that when the big one hits they will be deployed when carriers through out all pre-storm requirements.
 
I regularly refer new independent adjusters to these firms meeting the NAIIA criteria as hopefully a safety net for them when finding reputable firms. See their membership directory here. While I cannot guarantee it will, I would think that it would atleast provide a place to start when considering who is your “A” list of adjusting firms you will work for. How about for carrier independent staffing needs when their core adjusting firms “run out “of  core adjusters (their A team of who they will first deploy based on experience and certifications and licensing”.
 
I do know some excellent firms that might not yet meet all of the NAIIA membership criteria who are trying to do the right thing. Several that come to mind as I have gotten to know their owners through years of membership at ClaimSmentor or through the staffing side of my operation are CSP claims (owners are retired carrier management), Legacy Claims (the one owned by the Ellis’s), and Action Catastrophe Claims. I do not post those here lightly as I have spent almost four years now getting to know them and I listen intently to what experienced adjusters working for them have shared with me, I’ve watched their adjuster training programs, and I’ve heard great reports on their CMS Claim Management systems and payment records with adjusters who complied with file requirements.
 
I know of very very few independent adjusting firms run by owners or managers who have these course certfications. One of my clients who feels as strongly about this is Dennis Martin, CPCU  who runs the FL Division and catastrophe division  of William Kramer and Associates. He is a joy to work with since he understands the issues facing our claim industry , the Florida insurance crisis , and knows what happens when an adjusting firm doesn’t properly manage claims and claims adjusters and CONTROL compliance with file requirements. This is especially important with their primary concentration on commercial claims such as very large Condominum Claim Associations.
 
We co -authored an article for Claims Magazine as the featured story titled “ A Box of Chocolates” in 2008 about condo claims handling. We both can’t thank Eric Gilkey, Editor of Claims Magazine for his skills and patience working with us as neither of us had significant experience in writing an article)!
 
                                                                                                    Some Things to Ponder
This is also another thing that inquiring minds want to know!  If a file is approved first by an independent adjusting firm manager and sent on to the carrier management for approval and they approve the file and pay the claim based on their review how can they possibly go back and fine an adjusting firm a year later when their auditors catch the mistake. I know of a few firms this has happened to. Where are the insurance regulations on this?
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Why do carriers always tell our members and my staffing firm that they don’t want to consider very good experienced catastrophe adjusters for staff positions when they meet all other qualifications such as a four year degree, insurance continuing education requirements,etc? I was astonished over the past four years to receive staffing requests from 3 major carriers that said the following ” we need adjusters but we can’t get approval in our budgets to use a staffing firm. Will you send them out free to your rosters? ” You’ve got to be joking! Take the resources I have developed over 4 years of staffing and building contacts and mass emailing for them free? I did post their notices in our Career Forum where we do post jobs such as these that we come across but I sure wasn’t servicing them free. Also, while I can understand that they think cat adjusters will jump as soon as a major storm hits, don’t tell us that your staff adjusters do not do so as well. What is your turn over rate? The only thing that keeps staff adjusters on your employment lists is the fact you often offer benefits such as health but adjusting firms are
getting just as savvy in some cases and they often get employment applications from your staff adjusters just like my firm does.
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Last but not list in the things to ponder list is the failure of carriers to put a stop to “hand me down” claims. Almost every issue of non-payment to new independent adjusters has come through a 2nd or more tier adjusting firm subcontracting claims out to another adjusting firm when they run out of adjusters. Often , I doubt the carriers even know about it. When the unpaid adjusters contact the carrier, they are often told “sorry….we don’t have a contract with that adjusting firm”…well dang….I guess the first tier firm made a sidetrack agreement with the 2nd tier firm leaving the independent adjusters to hang out to dry. I’m referring to adjusters who have a contract with firm 2 or on down the line but they have no contract with the adjusting firm who had the contract with the carrier. During the 04/05 season when the FL Dept of Insurance set deadlines with HUGE fines, I saw many a carriers hurt when the primary adjusting firms couldn’t account for claim file status. I never even knew this went on until I transferred to the independent claims industry. I had one firm call me and say “and we have the 1st tier contract with the carrier” on this one. Maybe I am wrong and this is a regular practice, but I can tell you the majority of calls my staffing firm received on non-payment issues when they were looking for a new assignment because they weren’t getting paid was from 2nd or more  hand me down claim adjusting firms. I simply think the practice should be forbidden.
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There are four ways I can think of to add these regulations which are long overdue. Not being an insurance regulator, but someone with a huge interest in protecting independent adjusting firms and independent adjusters to preserve our important service to the claims industry:
 
1) Click on the link here to all insurance departments and print out a copy of this blog (just click on the blog title and it will open up just this blog versus reviewing a string of our blogs) and send a copy to either your state insurance department or to any insurance departments where you have worked assignments and/or are licensed. If you fear for your career in claims, just print it out and mail it in and don’t sign your name. If they get flooded with enough copies of this blog, maybe they will listen.
 
2) Print and send a copy to the NAIC who is responsible for cancelling the recommendations for National Licensing. Again, don’t sign it if you don’t want to. Volumes of copies of this might help. The link to the blog on this act is included at the bottom of this blog entry.
 
3) Insurance regulators who are responsible for claim handling regulations can add requirements such as these to their Good Faith claim handling regulations and licensing requirements for independent adjusters and adjusting firm licensing requirements.
 
4) How about Insurance Regulators developing a Code of Conduct form for independent adjusting firms (similar to what carriers require independent adjusting firms and adjusters are required to sign). Look at the NAIC Code of Conduct they require their member adjusting firms comply with
 
There are so many possibilities that can be done to improve the industry, reduce insurance consumer complaints, to reduce the number of consumers who have to resort to use of public adjusters thus reducing their insurance indemnification dollars, and to reduce the ever growing field of claim litigation. It is worse now than I have ever seen in over 30 years in the insurance industry.
 
Which claim career field is really responsible for the problems in our industry? Here’s a complex self assessment test. Is all it takes is four questions:
 
1) Who issues an insurance policy with insurance consumers with obligations required of both insurers and insureds? (Key to answer you will find the answer in column 1)
2) Who has to take instructions from who? (Key to answer- see column 2, 3, 4  as they answer to #1)
 
3) Who contributes to the training issues for the claim industry? See columns 5,4,3,2, and 1
 
4) Are public adjusters and consumer advocate attorneys the only driving force behind the increase in claim litigation? Yes in some instances they are but could they be successful in winning claim litigation cases by the hundreds if they weren’t finding examples of bad faith across the board- see 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the graph).  I don’t think  they are the only contributors of these huge costs which are being passed on to insurance consumers when carriers have to consider defense litigation costs when rates are determined by insurance companies.
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So why are we all mixed up and playing the blame game? This is such a goofy game not befitting of an industry that has such an important place in the lives of  every person in America that has been going on as long as I’ve had a career in claims. Here’s how the game works:
 
Step 1 ) Insurance Companies (common to all major insurers) use independent adjusters when a major storm such as Hurricane Katrina and Ike
 
Step 2) Insurance Companies provide training before the storm only to independent adjusters with atleast 2 years experience and to their staff claim departments UNTIL the big one hits
 
Step 3) Carrier Auditing Departments, Claim Examiners and Managers.  and Reinspectors start rejecting files because they don’t provide training or enough information to adjusters. It is provided during a carrier certification class which is usually a one day training session put on by CARRIERS through ADJUSTING FIRMS THEY SELECT or at a one day catastrophe induction center where they do present a good outline of file handling guidelines if you are experienced enough to just make exception to general claim handling instructions you already know
 
Step 4) Newly licensed adjusters are activated to handle claims when carriers lower their 2 and 3 year experience requirements when they THINK they have run out of adjusters based on information from the pre-selected adjusting firms who may service there claims. ***Let me point out here it is like a “where is Waldo” game for independent adjusters entering the industry to find out who is servicing the claims because the majority of CARRIERS provide no information on their website about which firms are handling their claims (God forbid someone might consider them “employees versus independents). See our prior blogs on the cycle
 
Step 5) Don’t overlook the fact that the file requirements and claims guidelines are changed by CARRIERS almost daily when on storm. Even if an adjuster’s file meets file requirements one day, by the time it make’s it through the claims management cycle (Independent or staff adjuster →Claim Examiner or Claim Manager→Insurance Company who approves claim settlement payment and settles claim with insured (often with in office claim trainees who have never handled a field inspection or an inoffice claim operation TEAM so the insured can get bounced around and never talk to the adjuster who actually inspected their claim?
 
Step 6) Who pulls the authority from most independents which takes away great customer service of explaining their itemized estimate to the insured in person while they are out there …see column one. This also applies to carriers who have pulled field adjusters from handling contents claims and additional living expenses so the insured once again has to deal with multiple adjusters (field and in office) rather than having the personal claim service they desire from one adjuster?
 
Step 7) Carriers then blame everyone in column 2, 3, 4, and 5 for causing poor claim survey results and swears to never use much needed independents so experienced independents leave the claim industry as they have no way to support their families.
 
Step 8. ) A major catastrophe such as Ike and Katrina hit and independent adjusting firms are asked to deploy again to assist storm insurance consumers who have no idea what changes have taken place at the carrier’s regarding claim handling standards as the Carriers in Column 1 do not communicate with individual adjusters or hold yearly claim conferences updating them on the hot topics they have been dealing with while independents were at home trying to support their families. Why don’t they have newsletters for independents (refer to comment above on employee/independent issues). No instead they insist they will stop using independents again.
 
Step 9 ) Return to Step 1 and the cycle we regularly experience starts once again.
For two examples of the blame game see the final report of the Citizens  FL Task Force on Claim handling where they submitted their findings to the Citizens Board of Directors blaming both independents and public adjusters for reopen claim issues. I don’t recall seeing where any responsibility was accepted by this now largest insurer in FL except possibly understaffing with field adjusters but they are moving in the right direction training staff and Independents deployed pre-storm and with face to face meeting requirements that they are visiting unannounced to be sure the adjusters are being taught their claim handling expectations and not just glossed over.
 
See also this news article I posted recently where General Manager, Jim Oliver, of the Texas Windpool partially puts the blame on inexperienced adjusters. This is very exasperating to me when I am going on my fourth year of searching for all carrier claim certification classes for members of ClaimSmentor. I can rarely find them except by the few adjusting firms posting in classifieds which are cost prohibitive to most firms when they haven’t gotten many carrier assignments such as in 2006 and 2007. Carriers have staffed up with employed staff adjusters due to their erroneous decisions in the steps above instead of looking SQUARELY in the eyes of their claim training operations, their current trend to leave the responsibility of deployment of independent adjustering firms instead of the carrier maintaining control (again employee vs independent issues).
 
Should anyone question my dedication to keeping independent adjusters informed for the right reasons…it took me 8 hours of volunteer time to produce this one blog entry to provide resources and information for you.  I had no clue as all of our resources were internally generated as claim staff employees.
 
It has been a very long four years studying the independent insurance adjuster industry and learning that while  I had managed them for years that I knew nothing about what went on before they deployed with us. It has been a major eye opener which I openly share with those in our field who need to get caught up to speed immediately in their decisions on entering the independent field and once they confirm that decision learning the professional way to perform their duties. **Update 3/7/09: You can follow this blog through RSS feeds as long as you are not placing it on a site that has banner ad sales or revenue generated through google ads (exception CADO who also spends untold hours volunteering his time for his site). I am getting referrals to this site from Blog Colony which I still have to research which are new this week and have another site copying my links on right column on their website. I am taking proactive action through ICAN  and this wordpress administration who controls websites so be forewarned if you want to remove them if you are using a link to this site to generate revenue for yours. All independent adjusting firms or claim groups are free to put up a blog roll on this such as the one CADO (www.catadjuster.org) has on their blog page in bottom left corner. WordPress does NOT allow banners or search engine ads at this location so I will be proactive with them to shut your feed to this blog if you are using it for such purposes which we can see on our administation dashboard.
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I welcome any volunteers who want to edit my blog entries to correct mistakes made. I was always taught by my mentor , my dad, not to present a problem without a solution….smile. If you have the solution for my lack of social networking editorial skills I welcome your help in this additional e-mentoring project.
 
For other great resource links, articles, and claims news I highly recommend Roy Cupps CADO  site at www.Catadjuster.org which has operated atleast 10 years. His article section, news section, employer rating section, adjuster resume data base, and so much more . The archived forums provide a wealth of information about the independent opinions. We formed ClaimSmentor with Roy Cupps blessing initially in those forums but took quite a bit of harassment from a few bad apples who felt we were taking away their job opportunites so we moved the site to a private site at www.ClaimSmentor.com. I have nothing but the very highest regard for Roy Cupps and the resource links he keeps updating on his site.
 
Here are links to all prior blogs we have written in our archives since we began this service in July 2007 that discuss these issues on emergency licensing, carrier’s deploying adjusters, claim training, insurance regulations, and all other topics we’ve discussed in today’s current blog for a more thorough understanding of the changes needed :
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/just-one-claimsmentor-moment-2-twia-adjusters-blog-on-ike-claim-handling-issues/
 
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/2009/02/26/compare-twia-manager-jim-olivers-comments-about-a-major-galveston-storm-608-to-209-statement-on-ike-claims-part-i-of-ii/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/branch-consultants-whistleblower-case-reinstated-appeal-court-decision-february-2009also-links-to-info-on-the-rigsby-whistleblower-cases/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/citizens-of-fl-board-approves-selection-of-30-selected-adjusting-firms-see-list-here-with-websites/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/citizens-of-fl-board-approves-selection-of-30-selected-adjusting-firms-see-list-here-with-websites/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/14/twia-texas-windpool-offers-two-adjuster-certification-workshops-in-march-and-april-2009/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/independent-adjusters-participant-in-our-poll-on-carrier-certification-exams/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/have-license-ready-to-go-not-so-quick-take-this-self-assessment-test/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/have-you-registered-for-your-2009-nfip-adjuster-certification-class/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/2509-updates-on-the-state-farm-announcement-in-fl/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/we-are-back-next-50-hour-online-fundamentals-of-claims-class-begins-march-2-2009/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/10/08/2008-claims-magazine-claims-salary-survey-is-up-in-the-october-2008-issue/
 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/09/20/new-source-for-temporary-housing-in-houston-tx-area-for-adjusters-and-insured-additional-living-expense-temporary-housing-part-ii/
 
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