Excellent info provided by Xeneros about Lessons Learned post Isaac on Louisiana Adjuster licensing issues

September 9, 2012

We had posted a blog with information about Louisiana adjuster licensing as Isaac was approaching the Louisiana coast as the rules regarding working claims in Louisiana had totally changed after Katrina hit which was the last time many independent adjusters had worked there. If you missed that blog, here is the link:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/louisiana-claim-licensing-claim-regulations-breaking-news-more-on-hurricane-isaac/

Xeneros who provides nationwide insurance claims adjuster licensing services for all of your needs has written an excellent blog here outlining problems adjusters, independent adjusting firms, and carriers faced post Isaac landfall as they were unaware of the new licensing procedures in Louisiana.

Great and important information we wanted to share with our readers!


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

May 16, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest Blog by Ray Hauser of ClaimSmentor-Ray Shares His Personal Story in our “Luck Where Preparation Meets Opportunity Series”

March 17, 2009

 

 

Claims Education Magazine published my article in 2008   “Luck…where Preparation meets Opportunity”.

To continue with our strong recommendation that newly licensed adjusters seek reputable training opportunities that are recognized in our industry, Ray is a prime example of  what independent trainee adjusters are going through to get a foot in the door for adjusting assignments.

Here is Ray’s story on the long  journey post license to fill in the squares due to  insurance company and adjusting firm requirements before he can receive assignments. Ray, we appreciate your time contributing to this series of articles. I thoroughly enjoyed your participating in our January/February 50 Hour Fundamentals of Property adjusting course. 

This article link will also remain on our Guest Blog page above with all other entries by contributing bloggers. I do think it is important to highlight what those wanting a career in claims can expect  (from the independent side) and we have several interesting blogs by others when they were new in the field. If I asked Ray what he has spent thus far on licensing, rope and harness classes, and all of his other course fees plus transportation and lodging, I would guess he is in the 7,500 to 10K range. I see this regularly thus my push on looking for other sources for this education.

                  Getting Started in Adjusting by Ray Hauser

 

After I completed my 4 day licensing course I became aware very quickly that the process of finding work may be just a little harder than what I had expected. Many of my fellow course-mates fell by the wayside believing the task was next to impossible. Company after company stated on their websites that they required either a  4 year degree, or at least 2 years of experience, neither of which I had. Here I am, just a few months down the line, with a totally different perspective in terms of what it takes to find a job. What’s changed? Knowledge! The claims companies want knowledge, and they need to know you have the ability to settle a claim and leave the insured with a good experience. Knowledge and customer service drive this train! We adjusters have to understand that the claims companies are not going to hand out jobs to people with just a 4 day crash course in insurance and a 3 day course in Xactimate! That kind of knowledge is only the starting point. So the question becomes, “What else do I have to do, and where do I go to get it?” Of course it’s always beneficial if you start with some construction and customer service experience. I’m a new adjuster too, so believe me when I say “I don’t have all the answers”. But here’s my opinion.

 

First, you should register on web sites that offer information that can help you build your resume.

 

There’s no better place to go than to ClaimSmentor.  Here’s a website that’s a source of information not readily found anywhere else. Anything to do with insurance is found right here. The gal that runs it, Debbie Moroy (debbie@dimechimes.com), has dedicated her life to training new people. She started her career in 1973 with State Farm, and started the adjusting aspect of it over 26 years ago. Who better to learn from? Reading her resume is like reading a dictionary:

 

State Farm Basic, Intermediate, Commercial, and Management Schools. Vale Tech Residential Estimatics,Haag Roofing School, Georgia Arson Fraud School, many others too numerous to list. Have all 5 State Farm certifications to include wind, estimatics, commercial, earthquake, etc.. Have completed IIA, AIC, and 9 parts of CPCU.

 

Because of her reputation in the industry and the fact that she’s so well respected, and knows so many people after these many years, it’s my opinion that having her knowledge as your foundation in claims adjusting is absolutely paramount and priceless!

 

Once you’re registered on her site, you have access to up to the minute information on certification courses, other website links, insurance industry news bulletins, magazine articles, and far too many other items for me to list here. Everyone getting started should take her 50 hr Fundamentals of Property Claims course. In that course you’re taught : Contents Claim Handling Guidelines, Additional Living Expense Claim Handling, Condo Master and Condo Unit-owner Claims , File Documentation Requirements , Carrier Service Standard Expectations,  Insured/Agency Communications, and so much more. “ The class is designed to fill in major gaps of important things you need to know. The course does not cover the estimate software programs and scoping classes but concentrates on the majority of other things that are a must to know before you handle your first claim. You cannot go out in the field and “wing it” and learn as you go when dealing with consumers who have bought a policy expecting “above and beyond” service”.Then, you use the information from that course and on that website to move forward in your search for more certifications and courses.

 

Another very good idea is to get as many licenses from as many different states as you can. That way, if a hail storm hits Georgia, and you have a Non-Resident license for that state, you can be used to work the storm without having to wait for a state declared emergency. You become far more valuable to the claims companies than other adjusters only having one license from their State of Residency. Sircon is a great site for acquiring other licenses for a nominal fee. In most cases, another licensing test is not required.

If possible, pair up with another adjuster you’ve met at your local Claims Association or elsewhere, and mentor with them for a short time. 

 

Immediately after I got my license, Hurricane Ike hit the Gulf coast states. Everyone was in demand. I worked a number of claims for The Mission Group  in Beaumont, Texas. Fortunately, I had a great CEO with a lot of patience. I’d partnered up with somebody who had procured the job, but had about as much experience as I had. Ultimately, the number of mistakes we made was embarrassing. But Mr. Phil Spotts went into the training mode and demonstrated the finest managerial traits I’ve ever witnessed. To this day he’s still a hero of mine! Talk about performing under pressure by training a couple of newbies in the art of adjusting. It was a pleasure to witness, yet embarrassing to be a part of. 

 

Shortly thereafter, I joined a couple of other course-mates and proceeded to take a Two Story/ Steep Roof Rope and Harness course from Kevin Kramer  (k.squared@earthlink.net) in Montgomery, Texas ( great course!). Apparently, for those that have that certification, they’re the first to be called out and the last to leave because they can handle all roofs, not just the easy ones. Kevin also sells an OJT Training Manual that has lots of very good information in it concerning construction, scoping, roof calculations, roof pictorials, estimating interior damage etc etc. It’s a very good manual to have in your library when you’re trying to gain knowledge.

 

Another great manual to have is one published by Richard Beckner . He gives in depth details and step by step instructions in using Xactimate. It truly is geared for the adjuster having problems in using the software. It’s one of the best manuals I have. It can be accessed at: www.learnxactimate.com .

 

After my R & H course we proceeded to Pilot Catastrophe Services Inc. in Grande Prairie, Texas, hoping to acquire a successful evaluation, then 4 days of additional training in Allstate, Integriclaim, and NextGen.

 

 I’ve just completed a Citizens certification class in my search for a job in Daily Adjusting here in Florida, and I have 4 more certifications scheduled.

 

So, in summary, you need to have knowledge that you didn’t pick up on your licensing course. Knowledge like measuring roofs, replacing the shingles with the appropriate amount of waste rounded up to the nearest shingle bundle, replacing or repairing fencing…..depreciated or not depreciated? What are the important things you have to ask the insured when you’re making first contact and arranging an inspection? If you can’t answer these questions, you just need to take the appropriate training. It’s all out there. You just have to access it. 

 

Family members have asked, “Who will I work for?” The answer to me is obvious. I’ll work for anyone wise enough to hire me, because I’m going to be prepared by being ready to go to work, educated enough to do the job, and wise enough to only hand in great claims. I’ll get my local adjuster in town to preview my work if I have to. But my claims will absolutely be as good as anyone’s.  I am not going to be the first one to go home after a storm because of my shoddy work.  And hopefully, I’ll be one of the last ones working the storm!

 

           

Ray Hauser, Port Orange (Daytona Beach), Florida

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To View more information about independent adjuster Ray Hauser, you can view his Linkedin Profile here.

To Join our Claims Industry Group, you can view our Linkedin Profile here.

 

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Ray we thank you for sharing your story and also for your testimonial about the ClaimSmentor online claim mentor group. Deb

 

 


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

March 2, 2009

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why are we finalizing this transition?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.linkedin.com/dimechimesclaimsmentor.com

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

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

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

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