Update on Worley overtime class action case Altier vs Worley and BP- BP granted dismissal May 2011

May 11, 2011

Doing some research today, I was able to locate a May 9, 2011 court decision granting BP’s motion to be dismissed from this class action lawsuit filed by independent adjusters working BP claims through Worley adjusting firm.  Here is the link.

It is interesting to see several more independent adjuster names on the court document now as plaintiff’s…several of which I recognize from online interactions from several sites.

In another online document from a February 25, 2011 Status Conference held  involving all BP cases, they do list both Alteir vs Worley and Alteir vs Worley and BP as item number 17 on the Agenda. Here’s the link to that pdf document found online.

The website listing the status of the 368 litigation cases against Deep Water Horizen does show these two cases still open here (search alpha order for Alteir vs Worley.

While doing some online research I also came across another case in AL that includes BP and Worley as well as ESIS who BP originally assigned cases to filed with the State of AL as one of two plaintiffshere which also lists it as a RICO case as shown in this document. I will make some contacts to see if I can get more documents if they available to the public. There is a short explanation about the type of case it is in the top right corner of the pdf document. The 2nd plaintiff listed on this AL case is CMCO, LLC and here is the trademark info I found on them but no clue if this is actually the plaintiff listed on this case.

Amazingly (not) is a website which is basically an advertisement from the firm filing the class action speaking to adjusters who may have worked for Worley found here. The website for the law firm is listed on the bottom of that link along with contact information.

As far as what independent adjusters are saying,  here is a lin to a CADO forum topic where a few were discussing this case when it first hit the news.

For links to our prior posts with the original Complaint documents which explains the details of the case if you missed it, here is the link.

As we locate more documents and information we will update the information here on the blog.


2011 Updates to Temporary Housing Links for Claims Adjusters and ALE for Insureds

February 9, 2011

We have previously published two blogs on sources for Temporary Housing for claims adjusters departing for catastrophe duty or long term daily assignments and for adjusters handling additional living expense claims needing housing for insured’s in uninhabitable living situations.

I ran across several new sources to consider for nationwide services you might want to give a try to include:

Temporary Housing Directory ( an exhibitor at the upcoming ACE convention in NOLA) at www.temporaryhousingdirectory.com. I’m expecially impressed that they have both hotel and more long term housing options due to the fact they state they can have an insured relocated with a place within one hour! Now that truly is outstanding service if they meet their mission goal!

I am also becoming a big fan of  www.militarybyowner.com which also lists homes for rent (or sale if you are looking) as they have some great listings for rental property especially in areas near military bases. 

Another site where I’ve been able to locate temporary housing with good results in the http://www.vrbo.com/ site which is a vacation rentals by owner listing firm. Although I initially thought this applied only for vacation short term rentals, after exploring the site, I have found many posters listing more long term options. The great thing from an Additional Living expense claim standpoint is the option to extend the rental to meet the repair completion extensions when that happens but also the ability of the insurance company to avoid having to pay long term leases beyond the reasonable and necessary restoration period since long term leases are not required. This also is a great way to reduce ALE expenses since these rental customarily provide cooking facilities thus discontinuance of the need for meals out while an insured is in a temporary hotel.

Here are links to the prior two blogs on Temporary Housing service firms. Hopefully, I’ll get time soon to combine the now three blogs:

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/


FEMA considering use of Foreclosed homes for large catastrophe in Florida

June 3, 2009

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

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

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

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

 

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


New Source for Temporary Housing in TX and LA area for Adjusters and Insured Additional Living Expense-Temporary Housing Part II-Updated 9/25/08 1PM CST

September 20, 2008

Thanks to a participating Claim Manager on ClaimSmentor, we have a new source for Hurricane Ike territories in and near the Houston, TX area.

We had previously blogged with links to many Corporate Housing vendors who are familiar with insurance housing for additional living expenses and for adjuster housing in this prior blog if you missed it:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/15/temporary-housing-links-for-adjusters-temporary-housing-optionsadditional-living-expense-training/

Here is the newest source highly recommended by a claim manager who recently had the opportunity to work with them in Houston. Please let them know you heard about this from our blog or ClaimSmentor when contacting this group:

Melanie Levy
Owner
Houston Apartment Insiders
832.721.6748 (direct)
1.866.869.9192 (toll free)
melanie@houstonapartmentinsiders.com
www.houstonapartmentinsiders.com

**Update 9/25/08– 2nd new source who contacted us wishing to find adjusters and displaced insureds rental property for additional living expenses and adjuster catastrophe housing:

Kate Sansom
Marketing and Military Contracts Specialist
kate@corporates.com
 
Preferred Corporate Housing
³Your Permanent Solution for Temporary Housing Nationwide!²
(800) 960-0102 ­ Ext. 16
(713) 722-9013 ­ Fax

For Nationwide Furnished Corporate Housing:
http://www.corporates.com
 
To Submit a New Housing Request:
http://web.corporates.com/pch/leads/request.php

DUNS: 838451920
NAICS Codes: 531110, 531190, 531210, 531311, 721110, 721199, 721310
CAGE Code: 3B8H4
SIC Codes: 6513, 6519, 7011, 7021
PSC Codes: V231, V301, V999, X161, X163, X169

Here is a 2nd contact there as well:

 Business Development Director, Stacey Sugg

Cell  (713) 857-8093
Office  (800) 960-0102 

Email at stacey@corporates.com


Preliminary Damage Statistics from Hurricane Gustav/ Updates on Temporary Housing in Gustav damage territories

September 3, 2008

 

Prior Blogs on Temporary Housing for Adjusters- includes temporary rental apartments through corporate housing vendors, RV rental locations and much more: 
https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/15/temporary-housing-links-for-adjusters-temporary-housing-optionsadditional-living-expense-training/
 

Great FEMA website with Housing Portal currently shows 2,310 rental locations available in LA- great resource for adjusters: 

https://asd.fema.gov/inter/hportal/home.htm 

Two other great sources are In Town Suites and Microtel which both are reasonably priced and have locations in MS and or LA: 

http://www.intownsuites.com/  **rates usually about 200.00 per week 

http://www.microtelinn.com/ 

You can always check with the carrier you are being deployed with as well to find out if they have reserved a block of rooms for independent adjusters and/or if they have a corporate discount at near by hotels you can take advantage of. 

Here are some very preliminary damage statistics showing while initial damage assessment were between 7 to 10 million that damage assessments are now being decreased to the 2 billion to 5 billion dollar range as of late last night:

Very low numbers of claims thus far reported to carriers as evacuees have yet to return:

http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080903/NEWS0110/809030361/1005/biz

Initial reports were at 10 billion:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/sep2008/gust-s03.shtml

Bloomberg news reports damage estimates reduced to 2 billion to 5 billion dollar range:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aRzidu4U7Owk&refer=news

Updates on Deployed Adjusters:

State Farm deployed 1700 and Allstate 1000 adjusters:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/business/02insure.html?_r=1

Discussion of SF and Allstate Mobile units and satelitte equipment. This takes about the SF Dallas and Jax facility too which are both of their cat claim central in office operations:

http://www.insurancenetworking.com/news/insurance_technology_mobile_claims_hurricane_gustav_CAT_modeling11150-1.html

Carrier Market Share for Residential and Commercial Policies in States with Gustav Damage:

http://www.iii.org/media/facts/statsbyissue/hurricanefactfiles/


Hurricane Dolly Makes Landfall in Texas-Checking Availability for Rosters

July 23, 2008

 

We are receiving numerous inquiries and stand by requests from adjusting firms as I am sure most independent adjusters individually are receiving. We will be contacting adjusters as we receive more definite information on deployment opportunities. If you have not already submitted a resume and would like consideration for any staffing requests received, please view our Opportunities link for a detailed list of information we need contained in your resume for immediate consideration (preference to those with TX resident or non resident license). We have a heavy request list for large loss commerical adjusters and for billingual adjusters as well.

This is the latest NOAA report stating Hurricane Dolly now has sustained winds of 100 mph and currently a category 2 hurricane:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT4+shtml/231457.shtml

WTNT34 KNHC 231457
TCPAT4
BULLETIN
HURRICANE DOLLY ADVISORY NUMBER  13
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL   AL042008
1000 AM CDT WED JUL 23 2008

…DOLLY VERY NEAR THE TEXAS COAST WITH 100 MPH WINDS…EYE SHOULD
CROSS THE COAST IN A FEW HOURS…

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE COAST OF TEXAS FROM
BROWNSVILLE TO CORPUS CHRISTI…AND FOR THE NORTHEASTERN COAST OF
MEXICO FROM RIO SAN FERNANDO NORTHWARD TO THE BORDER BETWEEN MEXICO
AND THE UNITED STATES.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY
SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

AT 10 AM CDT…1500 UTC…THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING NORTH OF PORT
O’CONNOR HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED.  A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN
EFFECT FROM NORTH OF CORPUS CHRISTI TO PORT O’CONNOR.

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE WATCH ARE IN EFFECT FROM LA
PESCA TO SOUTH OF RIO SAN FERNANDO.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA…INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS…PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

AT 1000 AM CDT…1500Z…THE CENTER OF HURRICANE DOLLY WAS LOCATED
BY RADAR AND A RECONNAISSANCE PLANE NEAR LATITUDE 26.0 NORTH…
LONGITUDE 97.0 WEST OR ABOUT 30 MILES…50 KM… EAST-NORTHEAST OF
BROWNSVILLE TEXAS.

DOLLY IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 7 MPH…11 KM/HR.
A WEST-NORTHWESTWARD MOTION WITH A SLIGHT DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED
IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY.  ON THE FORECAST TRACK…THE EYE OF
HURRICANE DOLLY WILL BE CROSSING THE COAST NEAR THE TEXAS/MEXICO
BORDER IN A FEW HOURS. PERSONS ARE ADVISED NOT TO VENTURE OUTDOORS
DURING THE RELATIVE CALM OF THE EYE BECAUSE WINDS WILL SOON
INCREASE QUITE RAPIDLY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 100 MPH…160
KM/HR…WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  DOLLY IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON
THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON SCALE. STRONGER WINDS…ESPECIALLY IN
GUSTS…ARE LIKELY ON HIGH RISE BUILDINGS. SOME ADDITIONAL
STRENGTHENING IS POSSIBLE BEFORE LANDFALL.

HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 25 MILES…35 KM…FROM
THE CENTER…AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 140
MILES…220 KM. PORT ISABEL AIRPORT JUST MEASURED 54 MPH…87 KM/HR
SUSTAINED WINDS WITH GUSTS TO 70 MPH…113 KM/HR. AN UNOFFICIAL
OBSERVER JUST EAST OF MATAMOROS MEXICO REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF
65 MPH…105 KM/HR WITH GUSTS TO 119 MPH…192 KM/HR.  

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE
PLANE WAS IS 964 MB…28.47 INCHES.

DOLLY IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 10
INCHES…WITH ISOLATED AMOUNTS OF 15 INCHES…OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTH
TEXAS AND NORTHEASTERN MEXICO OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS.  THESE RAINS
WILL LIKELY CAUSE WIDESPREAD FLOODING ACROSS PORTIONS OF SOUTH
TEXAS AND NORTHEAST MEXICO.

COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 6 TO 8 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE
LEVELS…ALONG WITH LARGE AND DANGEROUS BATTERING WAVES…CAN BE
EXPECTED NEAR AND TO THE NORTH OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL.

ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTH TEXAS TODAY
AND TONIGHT.

REPEATING THE 1000 AM CDT POSITION…26.0 N…97.0 W.  MOVEMENT
TOWARD…NORTHWEST NEAR 7 MPH.  MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…100 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…964 MB.

INTERMEDIATE ADVISORIES WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER AT 1200 PM CDT AND 200 PM CDT FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE
ADVISORY AT 400 PM CDT.

$$
FORECASTER AVILA

Here is some pertinent information and links you will find useful should you be considering deployment opportunities for  Hurricane Dolly and emergency preparedness information coming out in the news:

Texas Department of Insurance Adjuster License Information:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/licensing/agent/index.html

Texas Department of Insurance Emergency Adjuster License information (for those who do not carry the Resident or Non Resident adjusters license):

http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/IN/content/htm/in.013.00.004101.00.htm#4101.101.00

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/licensing/agent/revagtemeradj.html

Note that an adjuster must apply within 5 days of beginning work and the emergency adjuster license is only valid for 90 days unless that time is extended by the state.

Be sure to read this special memo to catastrophe adjusters and emergency adjusters in Texas for current information as well:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/licensing/agent/agemeradj.html

Here is the link for the emergency adjuster form and other TX license forms:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/webinfo/08qforms.html

It should be noted that the firms we have staffed for have all been requiring either a resident or non resident license versus allowing adjusters to operate on emergency licenses on all storms we have helped staff for this year so I have no doubt the same will apply to those we help deploy to Hurricane Dolly assignments since it is not a major catastrophe although the winds as of 10am have now increased to 100 mph.

Here is an interesting story from July 2008 on TX cracking down on unlicensed contractors you should also view:

http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou080710_tnt_contractors.40e37006.html

This next link is also an interesting June 2008 news article on what financial impact is expected should a major storm hit the TX Coast and information on carriers there as well as impact on the TX Windpool:

http://polfeeds.com/item/Texas-Wind-Pool-Update

Also, in the event you need information to verify a  TX Public Adjuster license information, here are the links on the requirements of Public Adjusters in Texas:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/licensing/agent/agpubadj2.html

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/licensing/agent/revaglityppia.html

http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/IN/content/htm/in.013.00.004102.00.htm#4102.105.00

Texas Windpool Adjuster News Links:

http://www.twia.org/news.html#adjuster_news

Texas Windpool new policy limits and rates info effective 2/2008:

http://www.twia.org/pdf/uw_bulletins/limits_revise_bulletin_Nov2007.pdf

Info from Tx Windpool on changes to Loss of Rents January 2008:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/alert/event/2008/documents/P-0907-13.pdf

The above link explains the proposed changes to Loss of Rents in Tx on secondary wind policies and below you will find the link to the hearing info on 1/29/08:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/alert/event/2008/event20087.html

Link to Texas Windpool Forms and Endorsements:

http://www.twia.org/downloads.html

Here is a link to the Top 40 Homeowner Insurance Companies by market percentage for the State of Texas:

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/company/top40.html

 

 

If you are a newer adjuster and missed many prior blog entries on standby, independent contracts, temporary housing links to find housing for your assignment, you will want to review these prior blog entries providing you still current information:

1) What shots does CDC recommend for disaster workers (be sure to check this out if you are working flood claims):

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

2) Ladder Safety Concerns:

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

3) Claim Adjuster and Agency Relationships- Part I and II:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/08/agents-can-make-you-or-break-you-the-often-overlooked-piece-of-the-claim-service-puzzle/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/06/12/claim-adjuster-and-agent-relationships-part-ii/

4) Standby Calls for Adjusters Part I and II:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/10/the-big-c-commitment-problems-with-independent-adjuster-relationships-advice-by-guest-blogger-rocke-baker/

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/commitment-part-2-standby-calls-what-should-i-do-how-are-cat-codes-determined/

5) Here is the prior blog on working claims in Mexico with links to information you need to know to work claims there:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/hurricane-dean-info-on-adjusting-firms-working-in-mexico-misc-adjuster-needs-in-mexico/

6) Crisis Intervention while working Catastrophe Claims:

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

7) Temporary Housing and RV Park Information for Adjusters and Insured ALE needs:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/15/temporary-housing-links-for-adjusters-temporary-housing-optionsadditional-living-expense-training/

8 ) Understanding Independent Adjusting Firm Contracts:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/12/splish-splash-dont-go-takin-a-bath-understanding-independent-firm-contracts/

9) Understanding Adjuster Fee Schedules:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/adjuster-fees-in-the-news-the-time-is-now-to-educate-the-insurance-media-and-press/

10 ) Disaster Communications- Throw Away Cellphones You Say?

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/08/06/disaster-communication-issues-and-throw-away-phones-you-say/

11) Time Management Skills- Starting a Storm:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/29/time-management-skills-how-to-start-a-storm-by-lenz-with-mariposaltd-claims/

12) Catastrophe Adjuster Resumes Do Differ:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/catastrophe-adjuster-resumes-the-requirements-to-get-noticed-do-differ/

13) How much income can I make as an adjuster?

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/26/most-commonly-asked-question-is-how-much-income-can-i-make-as-an-adjuster/

14) Carrier Certification Requirements (you may not be able to deploy with them for some major carriers):

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/insurance-carrier-claim-certifications-where-do-you-test-for-them-much-improvement-needed-in-the-process-of-certifying-independent-adjusters/

Note, should you be looking for TX based independent adjusting firms for additional deployment opportunities here are several links which may be of use to you:

National Association of Independent Adjusters (you can search companies by state. This is an excellent link as NAIIA has experience and reputation requirements for member firms which should provide a safety net to adjusters looking for reputable adjusting firms):

http://www.naiia.com/   * See search tool to search state of TX in top left of home page

National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters:

http://www.nacatadj.com/Members08/MDList/Business.aspx

Catadjuster.org Employer listing search by state:

http://www.catadjuster.org/Directory/tabid/64/agentType/ViewType/PropertyTypeID/37/Default.aspx

Catadjuster.org Vendor Ratings (Also be sure to enter Vendor Feedback in search tool to check some available information on Independent firm reputations with adjusters:

http://www.catadjuster.org/Channels/EmployerRatings.aspx

Catadjuster.org Vendor Feedback Forum Archive Information:

http://www.catadjuster.org/Forums/tabid/60/forumid/40/postid/1915/view/topic/Default.aspx

We wish all adjusters reporting very safe travels! We will be contacting those on our rosters as our needs are definite.

Update 1pm CST:

Links to current damage reports at South Padre Island:

http://www.spislandbreeze.com/news.php

Counties involved in Hurricane Dolly landfall area:

Cameron County: Population in 2005- 374,000 plus- see Census reports and links to local hotels,etc:

http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/popInfo.php?locIndex=22606

Links to other Cameron County info such as motels and airports:

http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genInfo.php?locIndex=22606#Cens

Road closure information for Cameron County to check for Road Conditions:

http://apps.dot.state.tx.us/travel/road_conditions2.htm

Willacy County poplulation- approximately 20,000 and other census info:

http://www.city-data.com/county/Willacy_County-TX.html

Willacy County Road closure information:

http://apps.dot.state.tx.us/travel/road_conditions2.htm

This news report states many more in the path of the storm and discusses some of the current damages witnessed:

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/topnews/story/419810.html

Tx Emergency Management Situation reports (latest about 1pm):

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/sitrepindex.htm


Carrier Claim Numbers Coming in from Last Weekend’s Storms in MS

April 9, 2008

 We’ve had inquiries into the need for Independent adjusters hoping for claim assignments after last weekend’s storm in MS. By way of a brief update, here is an article indicating about 8,000 losses expected with the majority 10K or less. With no carrier in this article reporting numbers over about 2,000 mentioned in the article, it is very unlikely this will produce a large demand for independent adjusters as carriers are very well staffed this year to handle a catastrophe of that size with their own staff adjusters. If we see the numbers rolling over to any significant numbers, I’ll update this post.

http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080409/NEWS/804090363

 Updated 4/10/08:

Here are some updated numbers reporting 4,450 total claims thus far reported in MS between the carriers polled with 2,300 the largest by 1 carrier for these Mississippi storms:

http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080410/NEWS/804100377

I’m starting to hear from independent adjusters now being deployed to TX for the Texas hail storms and will update the blog later today with carrier numbers coming in on the other TX and midwest storms from  the last two days.


Branch Consultants Whistleblower Case- Appeal Filed on the Dismissed case

March 28, 2008

We had previously blogged about the Dismissal of the Whistleblower case filed by unknown adjusters under the Branch Consultants group. We have just located info over at FOLO that the Branch Consultant group has now filed an Appeal on the case. Here is a link to our former blog with all the details on this Whistleblower case alleging adjusters improperly filed claim damages under NFIP.

Here is a link to both the FOLO blog updating information on the Appeal and a link to the news article from yesterday over at www.nola.com with updated information on the appeal. We’ll provide a link to any additional news articles and to a pdf of the appeal filed as soon as we locate it.

Thank you all for your patience with the absence of new blogs recently as we finish the marathon of radiation treatments for my daughter’s tumor leading to my absence the past few weeks. We should finish up a week from today and are looking forward to a much improved recovery for her afterwards. We thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers as we deal with this.


What can adjusters learn from the 2003 Cedar Fire regarding litigation and complaints on Claims from CA Wildfires? Blog 4-CA Wildfires

October 25, 2007

Unfortunately, the news media is already reporting on claim issues surrounding the CA wildfires. In order to keep history from repeating itself, we should take a look at just what did happen regarding litigation in CA in the aftermath of the 2003 CA Wildfires so we avoid the same pitfalls in claim handling this 2007 Wildfire season. Here are some issues already in the news:

Public Adjuster Activity– see the reader comments from public adjusters and insurance adjusters going back and forth on this blog found at www.signsonsandiego.com blog:   Click here

CNN Money Article “When Insurers Play Rough- Discussion on 2003 issues on being underinsured: Click here

Note Bob Hunter of the Consumer Federation of America is quoted in the above article

Scams following fires by San Diego District Attorney’s office- make sure to read comments about adjusters: Click here

Great article on CA Insurance Commissioner saying hundreds of lawsuits were filed in aftermath of 2003 for insurance companies underinsuring claims and favorable outcome from insurer standpoint on one of the trials: Click here

5.1 million dollar verdict for insurer, Fidelity lowballing claims in 2003 wildfire- 2006 article- over 120 cases to follow in court (over 200 filed on Replacement cost coverage issues according to article): Click here

2004 Article- Lawsuits  and Class Action against 4 major carriers for renewal premiums charged in after 2003 wildfires on properties that had been a total loss in the 2003 fires(what will they do this year? This was news to me learned while researching this article): click here

Note they site 4 major plaintiff lawfirms in CA  in this article as:

“The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from four of

California’s top plaintiff and insurance bad faith law firms:

Michael Bidart and William Shernoff of Shernoff Bidart & Darras LLP;

Jerry Ramsey of Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack; Tom Girardi of Girardi &

Keese; and Harvey Levine and Richard Huver of Levine, Steinberg, Miller

& Huver, who have been volunteering at fire victim outreaches all

over Southern California to provide highly sought after answers

about insurance policies and coverage.”

*********

Looking up their websites, I’ve listed below any mention of CA Bad Faith lawsuits:

http://www.sbd-law.com/CM/LP/Homeowners-Insurance-Claim-Denial-LP.asp   Not much mentioned on the 2003 cases

http://www.elllaw.com/mercury.htm   Wow! The Engstrom, Lipscomb, & Lack group was the lawfirm handling the famous Erin Brockovich case!  Click here for a list of the bad faith cases stating they handled Northridge Earthquake suits, Class action against Allstate and cases against State Farm and others following the 2003 fires: Click here for the bad faith info

Levine,Steinburg, Miller & Huver: Click here   I didn’t see any case history here on the 2003 fires although they are listed in the above article

Girard and Keese: Click here        See info on cases 200 million against Farmers for Northridge EQ claims

Here’s another very interesting interview between an expert witness on CA insurance cases and a plaintiff attorney in CA on Replacement cost coverage and claims (replacement cost/underinsurance/lowballing claims seem to the the biggest issues I found in numerous articles I read on this): click here

Miscellaneous Wildfire Articles and news:

Great ISO Report-“Trial by Fire” on Insurers use of technology when dealing with wildfire: Click here

Insurance News Network of CA update- projections 1 Billion in insured losses:  Click here

 

 

NY Times Article- 1,500 Insurer losses- 1 Billion: Click here

The Fires have disrupted the flow of legal work as law firms face numbers of disrupted employees and office closures: Click here  

(Which one of you want to work their personal claims……will we have more Dickie Scruggs/Politicians/ Anti Carrier sentiments in those type of lawsuits in CA? Maybe in addition to adding wind to government coverage with the Flood program , the politicians will now try to add wildfires also to the 2007 Multi Peril Act – see prior blog if you aren’t familiar with those House and Senate bills)

San Diego County State Park closures (for Adjusters looking for RV parking spots): Click here

The Blame Game (good blog on fires)-fingerpointing in fire agencies begins before embers die: Click here

National Interactive Fire Agency declares this Santa Ana wind event to be over and provides status on each fire: Click here

Other news on Insurance response to CA wildfires:

Nationwide responds-press release: click here

Property and Casualty news article 10/25 “Claims Pour In” , total count 1,700 plus/up to 1.6 billion in losses: click here

I don’t have time today to complete all of the intended comments on the 2003 lawsuits and will get back to finishing this up as time allows. I just received a call about a hurricane brewing and will update the blog with that shortly. I’ll be travelling back to FL tonight for the weekend and return to TN for next week’s anguishing surgery for my daughter at Vanderbilt for her recently discovered sacrum tumor. I suspect that I will not be available for blog entries next week with the exception of Monday as she will be undergoing operations on Tuesday followed by the major surgery Wednesday. I appreciate the prayers and support many of our readers have sent following the prior blog about this unfortunate discovery and our earlier absence from the blog at the end of September when we learned of her problem.

******

Update 3:40 pm- Chubb at 25, State Farm at 1,579(298 uninhabitable), Farmers at 1,725: click here


Hurricane Felix-Category 5- Info about working claims in the Honduras

September 3, 2007

We had discussed the need for claims adjusters to be flexible in accepting assignments in our “Who Moved my Claims Cheese Blog” and our blog on  “Are  Independent adjusters Fungible Billing Units” due to the ever changing work environment in the insurance claims industry. If adjusters aren’t being flexible in considering new assignments, they are going without work in 06 and 07.

Adjusters are presently considering such options as working in Mexico for Hurricane Dean and now with Hurricane Felix as a Category 5, there will be others considering working in the Honduras and other Central American locations with damages. We previously supplied information on working in Mexico in this blog and had our blog on Billingual translation services here. Below is information needed to consider working in Honduras is provided. It is very interesting exploring some of these rare opportunities to work overseas as adjusters consider doing so due to the lack of claim assignments in the US.  

Here is the latest 8 am report on the projected path of Hurricane Felix- now a Category 5 heading towards the Honduras. I’ve also included many facts and figures an adjuster would need to know before agreeing to accept assignments from an adjusting firm to work claims.

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Sep03/0,4670,TropicalWeather,00.html

Honduras has a population of approximately 6.8 million people. Reports linked to below indicates that about 2/3rds of the population there lives in poverty. Please be sure to read the safety warnings for women and others working there as well as the health and safety warnings on water and other food issues linked to below. The last major hurricane in Honduras in 1998, Hurricane Mitch, caused 11,000 deaths and damaged major roads, bridges, and infrastructure as show in this report:

http://www.utexas.edu/opa/news/00newsreleases/nr_200005/nr_mapping000503.html

Here is another report on the damages caused by Hurricane Mitch in 98 with different damage figures showing less deaths, more injuries, and states almost 1/4th of the population suffered damage (1.5 million damaged of 6 million or so in population):

http://www.iadb.org/regions/re2/consultative_group/backgrounder2.htm

Here is also a Honduras blog that shows some flooding there after Dean which will be interesting to watch after Felix goes through to see reports of damage:

http://lagringasblogicito.blogspot.com/2007/08/hurricane-dean-damagenot.html

9/3/07: Hurricane Felix approaching Honduras:

http://www.wunderground.com/tropical/at200706.public.html

Info on working in Honduras:

Honduras Facts-Population,Language,etc-Population 6.8 million people

http://www.internationalliving.com/honduras/fact_file.html

US State Dept-Honduras Info:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/1922.htm

US Embassy in Honduras:

http://honduras.usembassy.gov/english/index_e1.htm

Security warnings for travel in Honduras from US Embassy:

http://honduras.usembassy.gov/english/mission/sections/RSO/index.htm

US Services through Honduras US Embassy:

http://honduras.usembassy.gov/english/mission/sections/con_cit_serv.htm

US Passport info from Honduras:

http://honduras.usembassy.gov/english/mission/sections/con_pass_eng.htm

Travel Document System-US-Honduras relationships and info:

http://www.traveldocs.com/hn/foreign.htm

Minimum wage and Welfare of Workers in Honduras:

http://ftp.iza.org/dp2892.pdf

Info on filing US taxes on info there:

http://honduras.usembassy.gov/english/mission/sections/con_11.htm

Honduras this Week News link:

http://www.marrder.com/htw/

Emergency Financial Services to an American overseas:

http://honduras.usembassy.gov/english/mission/sections/con_08.htm

Two Insurance Law firms in Honduras:

http://www.hierosgamos.org/hg/db_lawfirms.asp?action=page&pcomp=14046&page=1&country=Honduras&SubCategory=Insurance

http://www.hierosgamos.org/hg/db_lawfirms.asp?action=page&pcomp=38394&page=1&country=Honduras&SubCategory=Insurance

Warning to US Buyers about buying real estate in Honduras:

http://honduras.usembassy.gov/english/mission/sections/eco_real_state.htm

MIT Flood Safe Project in Honduras:

http://web.mit.edu/lem/honduras/

Maps of Honduras:

http://hondurastips.honduras.com/index.htm

The People of Honduras:

http://hondurastips.honduras.com/index.htm

Best Airfares to Honduras:

http://sidewalkmystic.com/bestairfare.htm

Honduras currency and discussion on use of ATM’s there:

http://sidewalkmystic.com/honduras_vacation_tips_2.htm

Renting a car/ Car insurance in Honduras:

http://sidewalkmystic.com/Driving.htm

Food/Water/Airlines within Honduras/ Hotels in Honduras:

http://sidewalkmystic.com/honduras_vacation_tips_suggestions_1_travelogue.htm

More Hotel info on islands there:

http://www.tropicalrez.com/

Honduras Bay Island Hotel info:

http://www.roatan.com/catalog/honduras/hframeset.htm

Safety advice for women traveling in Honduras/medical treatment/gang violence

http://sidewalkmystic.com/honduras_vacation_tips_3.htm

2007 Crime and Safety report in the Honduras:

https://www.osac.gov/Reports/report.cfm?contentID=63539

Visas and Shots recommended for going to Honduras:

http://www.internationalliving.com/honduras/visas.html

High Speed Internet Services in Honduras:

http://www.netsys.hn/

Internet and phone service in Honduras:

http://www.aboututila.com/Directory/Listings/Tropico.htm

Info on Cellphone coverage in Honduras:

http://www.howardforums.com/archive/topic/727432-1.html

More info on the GSM 850 MHz phones:

http://www.thetravelinsider.info/roadwarriorcontent/quadbandphones.htm

Here’s an updated report from 9/4/07 5am. Reports on many weather stations say it may regain Cat 5 status just prior to landfall:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/weather/09/04/storm.felix/


Temporary Housing Links for Adjusters- Temporary Housing options/Additional Living Expense training

August 15, 2007

We have been reporting on temporary housing options in our ClaimSmentor forums. We want to share these links on Temporary Housing Agencies extracted from the exhibitor booth lists for the PLRB conferences this year.

Dean is expected to reach Category 3 status within 5 days according to the 5 day hurricane predictions so it isn’t too early to start thinking about YOUR housing needs and possible housing options for policyholders on their additional living expense claims. We hope you will find these links useful. Here is also a good website to check on TS Dean while it’s in the Caribbean: http://www.caribbean360.com/News/Weather/Stories/2007/08/14/NEWS0000004755.html

Just remember, if you are considering apartments or rentals where utilities must be connected by you that you may experience delays. In the FL panhandle during Ivan and Dennis, new utility services took a back seat to restoring utilities to existing customers. It’s always best to locate a furnished unit that has utilities included in the rent so you don’t encounter this problem when possible.

Able Mobile Housing, Inc.
Tom Lackey
11780 Northfall Lane
Suite 303
Alpharetta, GA 30004
800-273-5774;  800-273-5774;  Fax 800-283-3774
http://www.ablehousing.com;   tom@ablehousing.com
Temporary mobile homes, park models, double wides, travel trailers, and mobile offices. We deliver to the insured’s home-site, complete set up. Furnished or unfurnished homes.

ALE Solutions, Inc.
Rowena Zimmers
One West Illinois St., #300
St. Charles, IL 60174
630-513-6434;  866-885-9785;  Fax 866-814-6832
http://www.alesolutions.com;   rowena.zimmers@alesolutions.com

The preferred nationwide temporary housing company for displaced policyholders. Our consultative approach helps both the adjuster and the family avoid cost drivers and pitfalls throughout the relocation process
 
 
Assured Relocation
Legia Oswald
50 Woodside Plaza
Suite 441
Redwood City, CA 94061
888-670-9700;  888-670-9700;  Fax 888-233-9752
http://www.assuredrelocation.com;   legia@assuredrelocation.com
Assured Relocation provides fully furnished housing customized to the unique needs of the policyholder and adjuster nationwide. Our phones are answered by trained relocation specialists 24/7.

 
CRS Temporary Housing
Fawn Cheng
10851 N. Black Canyon Highway
Suite 700
Phoenix, AZ 85029
800-968-0848;  800-968-0848;  Fax 800-659-2727
http://www.crstemphousing.com;   fcheng@crstemphousing.com
We are a leader because of our innovative solutions for the industry. Try us for outstanding service, quick response times, and unique management tools.

DMA Insurance Housing Assistants
Ryan Dinsmore
140 Marine View Ave.
Suite 218
Solana Beach, CA 92075
858-350-4660;  800-550-1911;  Fax 858-350-4654
http://www.dmahousing.com;   rdinsmore@dmahousing.com
Temporary housing for the unique needs of the Insurance Industry. Providing National Service for A.L.E / L.O.U Claims.

IHS Housing
Shari Tillotson
P.O. Box 508
Victor, NY 14564
877-500-3590;  877-500-3590;  Fax 877-259-8209
http://www.ihshousing.com;   sharit@ihshousing.com
IHS Housing offers full service temporary housing without the high costs of our competition. Please stop by our booth and ask how we do it!

Klein & Co. Corporate Housing Services Inc.
Karen Schuster
914 Washington Ave.
Suite 230E
Golden, CO 80401
303-796-2100;  800-208-9826;  Fax 303-796-2101
http://www.kleinandcompany.com;   k.schuster@kleinandcompany.com
Klein & Co. is the first choice for your stress free, nationwide, temporary housing needs. We specialize in placing your policyholders in a safe and comfortable environment.

Marriott ExecuStay Ins. Housing Solutions
Kelly Cockrell
3130 Balfour Road
PMB 260
Brentwood, CA 94513
800-990-9292;  800-990-9292;  Fax 800-990-3271
http://www.marriottinsurancehousing.com;   kelly.cockrell@marriott.com
Choose Marriott ExecuStay for a fast and professional solution when disaster strikes. Our experienced team will provide you with a comprehensive solution for your national temporary housing needs.

Oakwood Worldwide
Toni Andell
2222 Corinth Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
310-444-2345;  866-249-9675;  Fax 877-336-2596
http://www.oakwood.com;   insurance@oakwood.com

For 45 years, Oakwood has provided exceptional value in temporary housing for insurance policyholders, catastrophe teams and employees to meet our clients’ global needs.

Oakwood Worldwide
Toni Andell
2222 Corinth Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
310-444-2345;  866-249-9675;  Fax 877-336-2596
http://www.oakwood.com;   insurance@oakwood.com

For 45 years, Oakwood has provided exceptional value in temporary housing for insurance policyholders, catastrophe teams and employees to meet our clients’ global needs.

Relocation Housing Specialists
Travis Sumners
1337 Howe Avenue
Suite #104
Sacramento, CA 95825
916-332-2804;  800-690-0070;  Fax 916-641-0148
http://www.rhstemphousing.com;   travis@rhstemphousing.com
Specialists in customer service, completely itemized billing, flexibile accommodations, free fair rental values, cost savings, online access, customized solutions for policyholders and CAT adjusters, 24/7.

Temporary Accommodations
Keri Dennis
6 Piedmont Center
Suite 411
Atlanta , GA 30305
941-685-3324;  800-548-5196;  Fax 404-264-8557
http://www.TemporaryAccommodations.Net;   kdennis@temporaryaccommodations.net
Temporary Accommodations, is proudly celebrating 10+ years of service to the insurance industry and its displaced policyholders by providing the fastest, most convenient, cost effective, and comfortable temporary housing.

http://www.temporaryhousingdirectory.com;   Teresa@temp-housing.net
Temporary Housing Directory is the first company to bring together the full service solution of nationwide hotel placements (with no added fees) and furnished housing to one point of contact.

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Should you prefer to do your own research, here are some links to nationwide apartment rental guides for longer assignments:

http://www.apartmentsnationwide.com/BrowseState.asp

http://www.forrent.com/

http://www.apartmentguide.com/corporate/

This is an excellent link found on www.Claimspages.com for Temporary housing and the few I looked at included temporary corporate housing and rv rental links too :

http://www.claimspages.com/directories/catfirst2.asp?Search=Category&ct_catName=Temporary+Housing&ct_IDNum=8300

www.Claims-Portal.com has a “Housing-Temporary” category on their vendor directory where you can search by city,zip,etc here:

http://www.claims-portal.com/cdps/

RV Rentals Nationwide

http://www.cruiseamerica.com/

http://www.rvrentalsofamerica.com/

http://www.rvra.org/

RV Park Directories

http://www.myrvsite.com/rvparks.html

http://www.gocampingamerica.com/

http://www.campusa.com/

http://www.militarycampgrounds.us/

To locate housing with other roommates:

http://www.roommates.com/

http://www.roommatenation.com/

http://apartments.about.com/od/roommatefindersources/Roommate_Finder_Websites.htm

Here is a good link for per diem rates for your housing/expense allowances:

http://www.rentalrelocation.com/per_diem_rate_information.php4 

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Feel free to share these links with others in the adjusting community by clicking on the title to this blog entry and forwarding it to them.

If you are a newer adjuster and need a great Additional Living Expense excel sheet for use on claims and Additional Living expense training, we have an excellent self study guide available.

We offer online LIVE training which includes this self study guide in our classes on ClaimSmentor as part of our 40 hour Fundamentals class and as a stand alone class in two evening sessions. Additional living expense is one component of claims that is often handled inadequately by adjusters. It is far from acceptable to just tell an insured to go get a hotel and save their receipts for hotel and meals. You need to know how to evaluate their circumstances and make the best cost effective decisions for them and for the carrier. You need only to examine  the very limited insuring agreements in homeowner policies to see you will find very limited guidance on handling these losses. You need to understand when it is best to recommend hotels, long term corporate housing, leases, and rental units. There are many other issues such as ALE advances, ALE carrier generally accepted claim handling guidelines, and how to control these expenses. Policies differ on ALE coverage terms such as number of months covered or if they are tied in to a percentage of other policy limits. If you do not understand these procedures, consider registering at ClaimSmentor and taking our course or at minimum purchasing the Additional Living Expense self study guide above. Adjusters taking our class are amazed to learn how quickly they can lose control on ALE expenses had they not trained properly to handle these losses. Some ALE provisions have limits based on time while other provisions allow a fixed dollar limit or percentage of another policy limit.  Many ALE policies do have a dollar limit and you do need to know how to help an insured maximize how  they can  help their family meet those needs within those limits when applicable. Many insureds aren’t aware of the wide variety of options they can use to control expenses given their unique circumstances after a loss.

Staff Claim managers I speak with site poor claim handling on ALE losses and contents claim handling (“we can use our own support staff to add up receipts if that is all that is involved” is the common comment we hear) as a good part of  the reason for the unbelievable growth in staff claim central operations which only allow independents to handle building scopes and damage on limited assignments. Let’s work to improve that negative image!

If you’ve never heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs  motivational management philosophy, you should take a minute to read it. Here is a link to the hierarchy pyramid with a good explanation of man’s need first for their biological and physiological needs to be met before they can proceed to other activities in life. Funny, I really liked the theory and find it applicable to so many issues in life. When taking the Management course as part of  the CPCU program series, I used the theory frequently when asked to state a management theory that applied to a problem stated in a question. Basically, it says you cannot motivate people until you take care of their concerns in a given order or “hierarchy of needs”. Housing and safety concerns are at the top of the list. I’ve never understood why carriers and adjusting firms are not more proactive in helping independents locate housing (some great firms do try to block hotel rooms for independent adjusters on new storms). An adjuster also needs to have their housing taken care of before they can proceed to properly service storm losses. I would love to see communities help fill their needs by allowing use of vacant campus housing, church housing facilities and the other great programs out there to meet emergency housing for other groups such as utility firms and emergency service options. Independents are the “forgotten crowd” when it comes to emergency housing needs. Hopefully, more adjusting firms will be proactive in developing pre disaster housing information for their adjusters. If nothing else, you can click on the title to this article and share it with your adjusters!

 It is not appropriate as an adjuster to march into an insured’s home in your haste to meet quotas and progress through scoping and addressing building damages with the exception of emergency repairs before you provide information regarding their additional living expense needs. Insureds number one concern is additional living expense advances and coverage before they give one darn about what you have to say about their building estimate. Put them at ease and cover this first. They need to know their family is taken care of for temporary housing, meals and other extra expenses covered under ALE provisions on severe losses causing their home to be uninhabitable from a covered loss. We hope our guides will help you if you need  a better understanding of adjusting additional living expense claims. 

Other news in the temporary housing market that might interest you are these articles:

New Lowes “Katrina housing” as an alternative to FEMA trailers. Click here to see the article. Here is also another link for plan Katina cottage plan options. A participating adjuster on ClaimSmentor advised she had the opportunity to view these cottages too while in New Orleans that are put out by Home Depot. She thinks the firm linked to was the exclusive builder of these cottages for Home Depot.

Fema trailers have made the news quite a bit lately with suit recently filed over the toxic issues. Here are a few of the most recent articles:

Fema has “Fire sale auctions”- MSNBC article.

Fema offers to Buy Back Fema trailers –click here for article

Emergency Medical unit buys one at significant price reduction-click here for article

Insurance Journal article with instructions for an insured to buy back a Fema trailer-here

Associated Press article- group suing Fema trailer manufacturers-here

These new suits and policies of FEMA may further increase your need to understand housing options for insureds if there is a decrease in available options for them this season due to these increasing health concerns as problems with Fema trailers come to light.

Be safe out there this season in your travels as hurricane season is ramping up. Plan for your living needs before you depart from home so you don’t encounter many problems adjusters incur when they just “wing it”. Take these few days before TS Dean makes landfall and look into some of these housing options for you and insureds you may be dealing with. Many insureds and adjusters rely on classified ads where everyone else is searching. We hope these options assist you in meeting your needs as well as the insureds you serve. It’s important that you obtain your managers permission before recommending, authorizing, or securing temporary housing for an insured so make it a priority to determine the carrier position on these options before implementation.