Registration details on our May 2012 ClaimSmentor Roots and Wings Fundamental of Property Claims Adjusting Online live class

April 17, 2012

Yesterday, I posted information about our upcoming May 2012 five week live online training class for newly licensed adjusters in the following blog which also includes a link to our 125 question self-assessment test to see if this course will benefit you.

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/now-accepting-new-registrants-for-our-50-hour-fundamentals-of-claims-course-10-sessions-live-online-take-our-self-assessment-exam-and-see-if-this-is-for-you/

We are overwhelmed with requests for additional information and instructions for registration. We hope the following additional information will help you with your questions and registration information:

2012 ClaimSmentor Roots and Wings Fundamentals of  Property Claims Course Information

Thank you for your inquiry into our upcoming May 2012 Fundamentals of Property Claims Online LIVE class for newly licensed claims adjusters.

We recently wrote about this upcoming course in our social media outlets on Linkedin and in our forums as well as in this post on our Claims Adjuster Information blog  on April 16, 2012 here:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/now-accepting-new-registrants-for-our-50-hour-fundamentals-of-claims-course-10-sessions-live-online-take-our-self-assessment-exam-and-see-if-this-is-for-you/

General Class Information- Dates/Times/ Format

This online LIVE training session will be held beginning the first week of May 2012. It consists of five weeks of training at two sessions per week held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-9:30 PM ET. We will provide the location on the internet to login to access all course material and to log in for classes to paid registrants. All material will be uploaded prior to the first session so class members can read the weekly pre-class reading assignments and class homework session questions at their own convenience to prepare for each upcoming class. All classes are LIVE and we value your input as we discuss the class material for each session to make sure you learn the material and your questions are answered. You will find each class very informative without rose colored glasses giving you the true picture of the property claims industry, carrier expectations, file requirements, employment options as either an independent adjuster or staff adjuster for an insurance carrier.

Please note that Memorial weekend will fall within the class term thus we will not host class Memorial weekend week to allow everyone to enjoy the holiday with family and friends thus we will finish up the course the second week of June 2012.

What is the cost to enroll in the ClaimSmentor Roots and Wings Fundamentals of Claims class?

The class consisting of the ten live sessions is $200.00 plus $25.00 for class material. This is a very reasonable $20.00 per class plus $25.00 for class material.  Divide that
down even further for the 50 class hours and you’ll find this price is unbelievably low.

How do I enroll in the class?

Enrollment is a simple two step process:

1)      Email dkmoroy@dimechimes.com to confirm your intention to enroll. Provide your full name, address,  phone numbers, and adjuster license number so we can begin to complete the registration process to be sure you are included in distribution of class information and emails.

2)      Payment which confirms your enrollment in the class is due no later than April 28, 2012. Payments are accepted through Paypal  at www. Paypal.com.  Paypal accepts payment in the form of credit cards, debit cards, and  electronic checks. Once you login to your Paypal account, you simply click on Send Funds tab at the top of the page. You then send funds to Debbie@Dimechimes.com.  Paypal will send you a receipt for your payment and we will acknowledge your payment and class confirmation.

3)      Refunds are only available for 48 hours after receipt of payment. If for any reason you do need to withdraw from the class at a later date, you will receive credit for any unused portion of your payment to attend any other session held during 2012 or 2013.

4)      Note there is a 20% discount offered to partner/spouses who register at the same time which helps those planning to work with an assistant who may or may not be a licensed adjuster but needs to know the claims protocol to assist you professionally. Just note on your payment in the comments who will be registering with you as an assistant to pay the discount.

Who will be instructing the course?

 

The course is created and hosted primarily by Deborah Moroy, Founder of ClaimSmentor, with over 35 years in the claims
industry with experience progressing through the claims ranks as an in office adjuster, field adjuster, reinspector trainer, claims supervisor, claims superintendent in both field and claim central in office operations, National Catastrophe team management which included supervision of both staff claim representatives and estimators as well as independent adjusters and call center operators and administrative support staff.

Thus the goal is to train you from the perspective of an insurance company claims management perspective so you know the true expectations to excel in the claims business.

You can view my complete profile and background on Linkedin along with recommendations for my work in positions held at:

www.linkedin.com/in/ClaimSmentor

I have taught this program to over 300 participants since 2006 and am amazed at the progress of these class members from the time they took the initial 125 question claim handling assessment test found on our blog to the professional responses to these same questions at the end of the class.

Does the class provide CE adjuster credits?

 

Not at this time. We teach this course for a most reasonable fee and to maintain that expense level, it is virtually impossible to obtain CE Credits from 50 states as we present this material to adjusters registered with ClaimSmentor throughout the USA and Canada. We will be providing CE credits with our extended version of this course in our field five week classes as they will be held in states with a large number of new adjusters making it possible to apply the CE  to the field classes.

Where can I find the class syllabus?

 

All 125 questions in our self assessment test are taught in an organized format to include adjuster resumes, independent fee schedules, independent contracts, agency and claims relationships, file requirements, estimate reconciliations for in office assignments, contents claims handling, additional living expense claims handling, catastrophe operations claim organization and carrier ratio expectations, bad faith claims handling, claim litigation,  working with attorneys and public adjusters, and much much more.

The full syllabus will be included in the class material for registered class members.

Will I obtain a Certificate of Class Completion?

 

Absolutely!

 

The class certificate is provided to all participants in one of two formats:

1)       If you participate in all 10 classes but chose not to submit each class pre-class homework assignment you will receive an Audit Only certificate verifying your attendance and participation in all 10 classes. We will be going over all pre-class assignment questions during each session so you will still acquire the information you need to learn applicable to each session. This option works well for those with a busy schedule which does not allow them time to do the homework questions but please note ALL participants must read all pre-class reading assignments so they can participate in discussions with each class.

2)      If you participate and complete all pre-class assignments, you will receive a full certificate of completion.

3)      NOTE: No certificates can be provided to any participant who does not attend all 10 class sessions without exception as we value the reputation of our classes and want to assure all  registrants receiving our certificates actually grasped the information important to excel in the claims industry.

Thank you again for your interest in learning more about our online classes at ClaimSmentor!

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

August 24, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://wp.me/p5Xno-zc

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


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


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

December 28, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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


BP Claim Information Updates through Sunday June 20, 2010

June 20, 2010

The national news is just full of information regarding the status on BP oil claims so I wanted to take a few minutes tonight to post links to some information independent claims adjusters and adjusting firms will be interested in tonight.

First, Worley Adjusting Company  now has information posted on their website that due to the overwhelming number of applications they received, they are temporarily no longer accepting any new applications. View their complete statement here.

Second, the rumor throughout independent adjusting circles is that a second adjusting company has now been deploying adjusters for BP assignments. Here is a link to the GAB Robins website. We have not been able to confirm this directly over the weekend but have heard  this from numerous adjusters. ***Update Monday 6/21/2010- GAB has now confirmed that they are handling and the contact there is the Columbia, SC office- Mr Hubbard. There is a link on their site to office locations for specific info there.

It is our understanding that both firms are paying independent adjusters ( and others with experience unknown) on a daily rate PLUS per diem on an incurred basis for temporary housing. This is a great thing on the housing allowance as insurance companies make no consideration for temporary housing for independents. They provide temporary housing only for staff adjusters. The long term experienced adjusters say the amount of the daily rate is not enough as far as they are concerned in comparison to billing on catastrophe large losses and commercial claims so they are telling me they would not be interested in these BP assignments. Rumor also has it that GAB is paying on an hourly rate plus per diem. The amount I’ve seen would come to slightly more than the daily rate Worley is paying if the amount I was told is accurate.

We will all see how they feel after a major catastrophe as most independents are very displeased with insurance companies reducing fee schedules while at the same time drastically increasing file requirements which I’m hearing on the average take an experienced independent adjusters on average about two more hours per claim to close a file and get management approval.

Should this be the case. this is a good indication that possibly many more independent adjusters will be deployed to assist with the now 61,000 claims of which BP is stating they now have while only about 31,000 of these BP claimants have now been issued an advance.  Here is a link to the June 19, 2010 BP report advising they now have 33 claim offices set up with 1,000 people working in the claims offices. I’d like to say they are all licensed adjusters but I can’t verify that and have heard from some of the adjusters who are deployed that there were unlicensed people in their induction meetings. In CEO Tony Haywards prepared testimony to Congress on page 8 he stated as of that date that 700 adjusters had been deployed and states 600 of those were experienced.

  To compare this assigned adjuster response to hurricane season, I wrote a blog the other day showing that over 12,000 emergency adjuster licenses had been issued in 2005 and over 17,000 in 2004 in FL alone. This does not take into account the regular permanent licensed adjusters and the non resident adjusters who worked those 2 hurricane seasons in FL. Here is also a link to an article post Hurricane Ike on the number of claims adjusters assigned in TX.

The same 6.19.2010 BP update above also states BP has received about 84,000 calls into their call center. Now compare this to news coming out of Houston where the BP call center is set up quoting them as having received over 200,000  calls about claims and quoting some of the 100 BP phone operators as saying the call center is just a diversion and the calls go nowhere . See this second article  by Huffington Post with video quoting a BP operator  as well saying the call center is just a diversion.

Florida Insurance Commissioner, Alex Sink, who is currently running for Florida Governor also jumped into the act on BP claims per these articles  here and here coming out of the Pensacola, FL area where she went into the Pensacola, FL BP claims office with a claimant and news camera in tow. The part I surely do not understand about that is that BP is self insured first of all but secondly that the article says the claimant was attorney represented so I am not sure why the claims manager even talked to the claimant if his attorney was not present. She next met with a group of business owners in Pensacola to discuss their problems with the BP claims office. I do in fact hope that the insurance commissioners do get involved and that only licensed independent adjusters are able to handle these claims. It is a disservice to all BP claimants to have to work with “claims processors” as Tony Hayward called them when testifying to Congress yet I am not sure that these “claims processors” must be licensed if  BP is self insured.

According to an article about Katie Couric’s interview with Ken Feinburg, it states that $600M in claims have been filed and $71M has been paid out. Friday he promised legitimate claims would be paid within 30-60 days:

“Kenneth Feinberg was chosen to oversee the $20-billion compensation fund promised Friday to pay all legitimate claims quickly – in 30 to 60 days. He spoke with CBS News anchor Katie Couric from Baton Rouge, La.”

For those of you in the claims industry….wouldn’t that be quite a feat? Lawsuits still are being filed in TX over hurricane IKE weekly and we are just approaching the statute of limitiations ( deadline period to file lawsuits on property damage) in FL from hurricane Wilma. The part especially misunderstood about this is how in the world can claims be settled within 60-90 days as stated when they do not even expect the escaping oil to finally be capped until sometime in August and by all reports that is a BIG if !  

Most importantly is that you see this Katie Couric video interviewing the newly appointed Ken Feinburg  who will oversee the $20B BP escrow account announced last week by President Obama. It is very helpful for understanding their planned claims process between the BP escrow account and the 1990 Pollution Act claims process these claims were originally solely being processed under. Also view this CBS news article outlining important other traumatic disaster cases Ken Feinburg has handled to include settlements with the victims family for 9/11 and the Virginia Tech shooting case settlements.

This next Bloomberg article  gives the case citations which says in part:

“The multidistrict case is In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, MDL-2179, Washington. The dispersants case is Parker v. Nalco Co., 2:10- cv-01749, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).”

CNN tonight was interviewing a gentleman providing warning about BP job scams and other warnings about firms showing up to offer to help you for a fee which is not necessary. I in fact ran across something that really bothered me tonight just researching for this claims update. To see it for yourself, go to www.bp.com/claims which is the official site for BP announcements. Remembering the exact website for this incorrectly, I first entered www.bpclaims.com and to my surprise it is a public adjusting firm website that defaults and moves you seamlessly to www.publicadjuster.com . I didn’t even bother to read the public adjuster site but my thinking was how bad that is that some innocent claimant would think that they were designated to handle BP claims which is not the case or atleast I have not heard that BP has hired any public adjusters to handle their claims.

**Additional info added  6/21/2010- I meant to include the following link to a Bloomberg article explaining the 232 class action lawsuits on BP claims will be moved/handled by 1 appointed judge:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601102&sid=aljqY7Nv_AzA

Well, I intended to spend a few minutes updating on the claims status as of 6/20/2010 and now hours later I’ll wrap it up with a  link  to my blog with a prayer and a song to all Gulf Coast residents and recovery workers and adjusters working these claims as promised that I would end every BP blog with this prayer for them:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/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/


Let’s Compare Florida’s 2004 & 2005 Bad Hurricane Seasons with the Current Number of BP claims as of 6/12/2010 and Currently deployed Claims Adjusters- Part II- Open Letter to Obama and Admiral Allen

June 14, 2010

The news as you know is just full of news organizations analyzing BP response to the claims resulting from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill disaster.

It might help, without throwing accusations around,  to just compare a few numbers and several major differences between the disastrous 2004 and 2005 hurricane season in Florida and the Gulf Oil spill numbers as of  yesterday, June 12, 2010.

Let’s look at this  article  dating back August 2008 by the Florida Insurance Council. The article  states in part that:

” The Department’s Bureau of Licensing issued 17,488 Emergency Adjuster licenses for the four-storm 2004 hurricane season and 12,284 Emergency Adjuster licenses during 2005. Florida was again impacted by four hurricanes that year, but most of the damage was from Hurricane Wilma. In addition to adjusters working with emergency licenses, hundreds, if not thousands, of resident adjusters handled claims from the 2004/2005 hurricanes. “

Keep in mind that they are talking about emergency adjuster license numbers only. This does not include FL resident independent adjuster licenses, FL non resident independent adjuster licenses, nor staff adjusters (those who work directly for the carrier as employees) so you can just imagine how many more thousands of independents and staff adjusters just FL required in 2004 and 2005. Now add the Katrina claim statistics and number of adjusters also out working in 2005. Louisiana did not have adjuster licensing in 2005 so I’m not sure where I can get the 2005 statistics on Katrina as a comparison.

Emergency adjuster licenses are temporary licenses  that allow a non resident adjuster to work in the issuing state without an adjuster’s license in that state. The other way to work out of state is to obtain a permanent non-resident license. In addition, of course, we have permanent resident licenses. Normally, if your state of residence requires a resident license, FL and other states requiring an adjuster’s license will allow you to work for a short period of time in the disaster zone under an emergency license. These are typically only approved by a state department of insurance once a Governor has Declared a state of emergency. They are normally good for anywhere from 60-120 days and can be renewed if the state licensing department extends the deadline. The limiting factor is an adjuster operating under a temporary emergency license can only work claims for a particular declared disaster. They cannot be utilized to work non disaster related losses.

Recent trends have carriers, thus independent adjusting firms, requiring adjusters obtain a number (usually 7-15 different storm prone states) of non resident licenses. The reason being that the carrier can deploy an out of state adjuster into a state when there is NOT a Disaster Declaration by the state Governor should they have a permanent non resident license. The advantage is they can be deployed out of state to help with the smaller storms like small hail storms and the like. Worley adjusting company who is the firm appointed by ESIS to handle the BP oil spill claims and their site on the home page  shows a typical example of the non resident licenses required of independent adjusters. Each non-resident license requires a fee typically about $65.00 and reporting on CE so this is a large burden and expense for independent adjusters.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners had proposed a Model  Independent Adjusters license back in 2007. While we were all hopeful it would be adopted by state insurance commissioners, the NAIC committee looking in to it later scrapped the proposed recommendation. What a darn shame considering what we are facing today handling BP oil spill claims along multiple gulf coast states. It is needed for more prompt deployment of adjusters during major disasters rather than having delays caused by waiting on emergency adjuster licenses. Adjusters seem to think the issue is the fees acquired by each state are substantial considering the thousands upon thousands of resident, non resident, and emergency licenses each year. However,  it was not to be. The American Association of Independent Claims Professionals, AAICP still has the documents up on their site  to include their letter to NAIC requesting they reconsider passing of this model act. The Winter 2010 newsletter on AAICP’s site  provides an update on adjuster and producer national licensing and where we stand today on this pending model act for a national license. It cannot be passed too soon as far as independent adjusters are concerned. I also wrote about the independent adjuster license issues in this blog in July 2007 when NAIC cancelled further recommendations for the act and here in my “Who Moved my Claims Cheese” blog.

Should time permit,  look back on my blog “ Are Independent Adjusters a Dying Breed or Fungible Billing units ” ? This is definitely applicable SHOULD BP/Esis or others be placing non licensed adjusters in BP or ESIS claims offices. I should definitely hope this is NOT happening. Those I’ve talked to this week that are being deployed atleast by Worley  have all been very seasoned experienced adjusters who have been highly complimentary of  Worley’s induction and training process prior to deploying them to ESIS claims offices (ESIS is the insurance company for BP as explained in other blogs here the past two weeks).

Going back to my open letter to President Obama and Admiral Thad Allen, I still recommend some kind of emergency order be made waiving non resident emergency licenses as long as it can be documented that an adjuster is properly licensed in their home state. In cases where a state does not require an adjuster’s license like Tennesee  and Colorado,(this is unimaginable), most independent adjusters have obtained a Texas or FL non resident license so they can then apply to multiple other states who will accept those non resident licenses to then provide them a reciprocal license in their state.  See info in this blog about Model Independent Adjuster Act recommendations for immediate implementation as a further suggestion to improve the BP Oil Spill claims process.

Now let’s move to look at the deaths and damage from the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons:

2004: click here 

This says in part:

“The season was notable as one of the deadliest and most costly Atlantic hurricane seasons on record in the last decade, with at least 3,132 deaths and roughly $50 billion (2004 US dollars) in damage.”

2005: click here

The initial sentence outlines the 2005 damage and death statistics as follows:

“The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history, repeatedly shattering numerous records. The impact of the season was widespread and ruinous with an estimated 3,865 deaths and record damages of about $130 billion (2005 USD).”

Also, it is very interesting to look back at this Insurance Journal article on “Lessons learned from the 2004 hurricane season“. In spite of the horrible hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, what we are facing as a nation and as adjusters is unprecedented. This is due to several factors and many potential unknowns as this oil spreads along our coastal communities:

1  )  Hurricanes, for the majority of claims, are first party claims meaning they are claims to an insured’s property. The insured has signed an insurance contract with an insurance company while the oil spill cases are considered third party liability claims meaning that one party is responsible for the damages to another if their actions are the proximate cause of the third party (non contract) has suffered as a result of their negligent actions.  Adjusters from the BP side of claims do not have policy terms in the contract to fall back on such as “An Insured’s Duties after a Loss” in the Conditions section of a first party policy. We will be at the mercy of following directions for handling these liability claims from the instructions of ESIS and I guess BP. In addition, Admiral Thad Allen and President Obama have their hands necessarily involved in this national disaster so we just do not know how the claims handling will proceed or these claims will be settled. There are many acts such as pollution acts, EPA clean water acts, and many more that control what type of damage BP is responsible for. We’ll expand on that information in a later blog. Many of these requirements are far outside the typical experience adjusters have so leadership direction is crucial for training adjusters unfamiliar with handling oil spill damage and losses.

2) Hurricane losses may take a very long time to settle  depending on the amount of damage to a property and the period it will require to restore the property. These BP claims on the other hand are going to be continuing open claims with a long period of time in pending status. We do not have a known “period of restoration” for the clean up in the gulf coast, we have no definite date as to when the oil will stop entering the ocean, we do not know what hurricane season may bring as far as further moving the oil contamination and disperants inland, it is unknown what illness and bodily injury will be related in the long term to the disperants or for that matter how it will affect properties.  We do not know the ramifications of the oil spill on ripple effects as businesses close, lost income for the gulf coast workers and now the oil rig workers who may be laid off now that off shore drilling is being addressed by President Obama and a six month moratorium on off shore drilling.

3) Even insurance companies may be suffering greatly this hurricane season as massive numbers of independent adjusters may be deployed to handle oil spill claims and not be available as expected for hurricane season (whoa to those carriers 80% or more whose catastrophe plan relied in the majority on independent adjusters).  Unless they become reasonable in their fee schedules and consider paying a daily per diem, they are going to have a very tough time competing for independents getting per diem and a good daily rate on the BP oil spill claims as insurance companies do not normally pay per diem allowances for independent adjusters.  The other consideration independents will have to make are whether they are willing to walk away from a long term BP assignment to go for a month or two of  wind losses for an insurance company especially given that those hurricane losses may require exposure to oil and disperants when inspecting field losses. No amount of pay can make up for exposing yourself to the possiblity of  permanent damage or death from these unknown exposures. The paid statistics on claims for BP claims does not mean these claims are settled. Far from it, from most news sources, claimants are very unhappy that $2,500 and  $5,000 advances is what they have received thus far.

4) In addition, this update on the Deep Water Horizon response site  shows that Admiral Allen has issued instructions for BP claimants unhappy with their BP claim to notify the Coast Guard. What????? Will the coast guard then be just passing these complaints on to the ESIS claims offices handling the BP claims or will they then just pass them on to the Departments of Insurance who normally handles complaints on insurance claims for insureds (yet again we are dealing with claimants here). I haven’t seen any instructions from the insurance company side on how they are going to deal with this but they need to know while they have time in their disaster planning before a hurricane hits.

5) On the same link in #4 above,  near the bottom, you will find Admiral Thad Allen’s new Media Access requirements in this Media Access pdf strongly encouraging media access and prohibiting  responders from denying access to the press unless they would be endangered in a prohibited area. Will this change insurance companies Code of Conduct forms adjusting firms and adjusters must abide by to allow media discussions by adjusting firms and adjusters  with the media which are also prohibited as oil spill workers alleged they were prohibited by BP for responding?  Something else to be reviewed by insurance company attorneys before a major hurricane hits this season.

 I cannot even begin to list all of the effects and costs incurred by claimants (third parties) with their loss of property values in areas seriously impacted by oil. This weekend, we saw a new for sale sign up at the beach here in Jacksonville that said “Marshfront” property for sale. I told my husband it might as well have shouted ” swamp land for sale due to looming oil spill expected to make the bend up the east coast of Florida” because I cannot even imagine an interested buyer until we know if oil will or will not make it’s way to the Florida east coast.

The trauma on all Americans, especially those on the gulf coast, are real. Even for those of us far from the current and ever spreading damage, it is traumatic just watching the wildlife covered in oil and tar, the grown men crying outside of their homes, offices, and claim centers. God be with them all and with the adjusters working at the claim offices and also those that are going to be handling hurricane losses should a major hurricane make landfall in any of these zones.

The June 09 2010 update by Huffington post  on BP claims states that  18,000 claims have been paid, and $84 million  has been paid out. It does not provide the total numbers  of claims received thus far. According to this article, only 600 adjusters were currently working in claims offices. No wonder this article quotes a policyholder saying they have called numerous times and get no answer on the phones! Look back and compare this to the 2004 and 2005 numbers just for Florida  where over 10,000 emergency licensed independent adjusters worked both of those years not counting thousands more deployed who were staff adjusters and you decide……..how would you rate the BP claims response on as of  today? This updated article found on the BP website  dated 6/14/10 states a total of 51,000 claims received and about 26,000 payments made totalling $62 million dollars. There is no mention in the current update on the number of currently deployed adjusters since the 6/9/10 stats I had above.

Make sure to read this  this article by www.Money.CNN.com indicating predications are that BP will spend between 3 billion and 40 billion in their response to this disaster while at the same time predicting Florida alone will have a 10.9 billion dollar economic loss along with potential for the loss of 195,000 jobs. The current top prediction at 40 billion is just 10 billion shy of the cost of damages in the 2004 hurricane season and about one third of the damage costs in the 2005 hurricane season thus far. 

Reuters news service is reporting that President Obama will require BP open an Escrow account when they meet June 16, 2010  to meet their obligations on claims. Here’s the link to this story.

God be with us all. Amen.

It is now 2:35 am ET so it will be tomorrow after A.M.  liability classes before I can go back and review this for grammar, etc so bear with me.