Now is a good time to repost our Spring Adjuster Safety Concerns post- CDC Shot recommendations, Ladder Safety, and more

June 6, 2011

With our other post today about an adjuster who fell off a roof while working claims, I thought now is a great time to repost a link to our 2009 Adjuster Safety concerns posting with info on CDC recommendations for shots when working in emergency zones as well as ladder safety and other issues:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/spring-has-spr…oncerns-is-due/

If you have other safety advice for claims adjusters, please reply to share with other followers. Thanks.


Posting at the request of adjusting firm Mariposa claims- Fellow adjuster falls from roof Spring 2011- Help from the claims community needed

June 6, 2011

We post news about individual adjusters on ClaimSmentor who have passed away or been injured on an assignment.

Mariposa claims, one of our ClaimSmentor sponsors, has an injured adjuster who fell off a roof while working claims this spring. Like many independent adjusters, he has no health insurance benefits or income during his lengthy recovery period and in dire need of help from the claims community to support his family while he cannot work.

Below is the email request received from Mariposa claims requesting help from anyone whose heart is open to helping this fellow adjuster:

Donation requests for a fellow adjuster

Recently a good friend of the company, an amazing professional adjuster and someone many of you know encountered an accident we all know can be devastating.. Brian Jones was working claims in North Carolina and fell off a roof, landing on both feet crushing the bones of both feet to his knees. He has recently had two surgeries and is now bedridden for three months with no weight on his legs and then goes into a longer period of intense recovery and rehabilitation. Brian lives with his wife Summer and their 6 young children in Kentucky. They have no means of continued support or medical insurance and their bills as you can imagine are mounting daily. Mariposa has created an online Donate to the Brian Jones Assistance Fund through PayPal. If you have been much more fortunate this year, we encourage you to send Brian and his family a little help, any amount of donation will go a long way. If all the adjusters on this mailing list were to send 10.00 this would be over 10,000 for Brian and his family. In addition Mariposa will donate a 25% match on all donations. Based on the example of $10,000 in total donations, Mariposa will kick in another $2500 for the Brian Jones Assistance Fund. At the link you can use a credit card or have the funds deducted right from your checking account. DONATE NOW TO THE BRIAN JONES ASSISTANCE FUND.

 

**Join us on Face Book at the Mariposa Insurance Services GROUP**

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

 


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

May 27, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to follow tomorrow!


Welcome to our two newest sponsors at ClaimSmentor

May 9, 2009

We’d like to welcome Adjusters Now and Emergency Response Training  as our newest sponsors at ClaimSmentor to help support this volunteer project to mentor new adjusters. Both firms come to us based on recommendations by ClaimSmentor members.

Emergency Response Training provides Rope and Harness field safety training classes for Independent Adjusters in the Texas area near Houston. They do provide a 10% discount off the cost  to  register for classes  to our  ClaimSmentor members. In the past there has been quite a shortage of  rope and harness classes available yet just in the past  week,    I’ve been informed of several new programs becoming available and will post more on those as we are notified when their facilities for training are completed. ERT provides training for emergency rescue and other safety courses for Fire Fighters and other reputable organizations and is just extending their program to the independent adjuster community in June 2009. One of our long term participants on ClaimSmentor will be working with the program from the independent adjuster needs aspect. We do hope you will visit their site soon on the link provided above. http://www.ertrescue.com/SteepRoof/SteepRoofIndex.html

Our second new sponsor is Adjusters Now which is an Xactimate training class option hosting classes in FL in the Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach areas. The owner is Robert Valden who has his level three Xactimate 25 certification from Xactware and 5 years of property claims adjusting experience. The class provides extensive CE’s for Florida adjusters. www.Adjustersnow.com To see all of our additional sponsors, you can use this link for information on supporting the ClaimSmentor project through your sponsorship of our ClaimSmentor projects:

http://www.claimsmentor.com/sponsors.php


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

March 23, 2009

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

Safety Equipment/Ladder Safety issues for Adjusters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defusing an Angry Insured:

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

Crisis Intervention while Catastrophe Adjusting-Guest blog by Steve Ebner

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

Please be safe while out there working this season!


Ladder Safety Concerns for Adjusters-Safety Equipment Suggestions

June 18, 2008

 

Here we are in the midst of major hail storm activity thus a timely reminder about adjuster safety when it comes to doing roof inspections. Don’t let the carrier quotas for inspection and closing numbers cause you to lose perspective of the dangers involved in working roof damage claims.

Each year we hear of adjusters who have fallen off of a roof. As an independent adjuster, most of these folks are self employed and unfortunately many are without health insurance or long term disability policies to protect them should an injury occur  while out on assignment. Here are a few articles and blogs that discuss these issues:

The Consumer Product Safety alert below says there are over 164,000 visits annually (another consumer report indicates it is 180,000 visits) to emergency rooms resulting from ladder usage:

http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/ladder.html

Here is a link to  OSHA ladder safety information:

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/construction/falls/4ladders.html

Here’s another article on ladder safety by the National AG database not only on ladder placement against buildings but also for safety using ladders in trees:

http://www.cdc.gov/nasd/docs/d000801-d000900/d000826/d000826.html

Our hats off to Worley adjusting firm  as the only adjusting firm I know of which requires adjusters sign off on a ladder safety quiz to be sure they know the  guidelines as part of their new applicant package ( I do know many other adjusting firms do discuss the ladder safety issues at yearly conferences):

http://www.worleyco.com/joinourteam.php **Just scroll down to the ladder safety quiz

Several adjuster forums discuss ladder safety if you view the following links on ladder safety topics and falls many adjusters have experienced:

http://www.catadjuster.org/discus/messages/4079/2802.html

Here’s the link to the Petzel rope harness products mentioned in that discussion:

http://en.petzl.com/petzl/ProProduits?Produit=625

Here’s a link to another blog on adjuster ladder safety after yet another adjuster’s death from falling off a roof:

http://www.catadjuster.org/discus/messages/2893/1516.html

On a more upbeat note, you’ve got to see this Atlas Devices’ new in 2007 Rope Ascender- what a cool tool! Watch both videos on the roof ascender here:

http://www.atlasdevices.com/videos.html

And the product info on these roof ascenders here:

http://www.gizmag.com/go/6837/picture/31224/

http://www.gizmag.com/go/6837/

Have you seen the Ladder EZE Automatic Ladder Level?

http://www.jershon.com/products.php

Another favorite product  are the “Custom Tool Belts” designed for field adjusters. I had a discussion today with Chris Miller, the owner, who is also a member of our adjuster training site,ClaimSmentor, providing information on roof safety issues as well as on siding matching issues as Chris also owns www.sidingmatch.com. Chris was sharing with me that he has attended many adjuster training seminars where ladder safety is discussed and he has noticed that the ladder safety videos never show the common practice of adjusters climbing a roof with camera in hand, tape measure, roof chalk for marking hail hits, and their sketch pad and pencil for diagramming and how very dangerous this is. These belts provide the relief adjusters need to safely handle roof inspections while hands are free for safe access to the ladder. If you haven’t seen these custom tool belts, here’s a link:

www.customtoolbelt.com

Another favorite ladder safety product we tested in our ClaimSmentor Roving Reporter program (firms donate 1 sample of their product for testing or allow us to send a student free of charge to an adjuster training class where an objective evaluation is done by a designated volunteer participant in our forums) is the Guardian Walk Through Ladder attachment. I know without a doubt that I wish I’d had a set of these walk through devices during my years of climbing roofs on storm losses for a much more secure feeling. These walk through ladder extensions received glowing evals from our tester who himself was an experienced contractor/roofer prior to becoming an adjuster. Here is a link of a picture of these walk through devices:

http://ladderinnovations.com/aic_walk.html

We found these today at Rock Supply on sale for $185.00 which is about $100.00 off of the price we’d located last hail season:

http://www.bigrocksupply.com/laddersaccessories-ladder-safety-c-290_313.html

There was a recall on one of the walk through ladder extensions and a fix has been provided as well so ask about the repair attachment if you do order one of these just in case those being sold today still do have these issues:

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml06/06549.html

We also found the rope and harness kits available here:

http://www.guardianfall.com/product.php?id=170

You can also order your rope and harness equipment through KSquared-see below comments for their rope and harness class as well. 

Speaking of Guardian Fall, we did successfully obtain a 20% discount on their Safe_T ladder walk through extensions last year for ClaimSmentor participants so you might want to check  there to see if you can obtain a discount (ask for their National Accounts rep):

www.guardianfall.com

 
K Squared is one of the only firm’s I’m familiar with who offers the Rope and Harness training for adjusters but the owner himself is a field adjuster so we’ve experienced delays trying to get the classes when participants wanted them in groups if the owner was out on assignment. The catastrophe adjuster book sold by this firm has also received an excellent rating by one of our participants who also evaluated the book for us from a new adjuster’s perspective:

http://ksq2.homestead.com/Rope_and_Harness.html

We are working with another group who has developed a rope and harness class and will post more information on that training when it is finalized. If you know of other firms offering this training for independent adjusters, we’d appreciate links to their websites.

 Carriers offer the rope and harness training and equipment to their staff adjusters but not generally to independent adjusters. You can add this to the list of Pros of going staff adjuster. As a staff adjuster working regular non storm claims, your unit receives theft losses, liability claims, grease fires, and many other claims that don’t require roof inspections. Members of my unit would always gladly trade me a steep roof loss for one of these losses which required much more work and a much longer tail in closing. As an independent, you don’t have the luxury of file swapping. If you missed our prior blog on the Pros and Cons of Staff vs Independent adjuster…. here’s a link:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2007/07/27/claim-career-information-the-pros-and-cons-of-going-staff-adjuster-versus-independent-adjuster/

I’d make sure to stop by and view the Consumer Safety information found on ladders for many ladder recalls and safety issues by manufacturer before using or purchasing ladders for your adjusting inspection duties:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/tools-power-equipment/ladders/ladders-9-06/overview/0609_ladders_ov.htm

Here’s are 13 ladders they found unacceptable as well:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/tools-power-equipment/ladders/ladders-9-06/not-acceptable-ladders/0609_ladders_not-accept.htm

Carriers often require double pulls with your ladder which has always caused me great concern as a claims manager. Be sure you are properly trained on doing so BEFORE you attempt this. I recall the very limited training I got back in the early 80’s when I first moved to the field from an in office position. It consisted of an experienced adjuster riding with me and showing me how to unfold the Stapleton ladder we were required to use in the quickest manner possible for unfolding it and getting it back in the company car in the most efficient manner. Out on my first storm, a reinspector gave me additional tips to include keeping one key in the car truck so I didn’t have to waste one valuable minute taking keys in and out of the car to get the ladder in and out of the trunk (also a great tip as it’s very common for adjusters to lock the keys in the car in the rush of meeting inspection quota daily requirements).

Here is a cute story about “Closer to God” written by a Home Inspector about his experience on a steep roof loss with great advice to be sure you carry a cellphone ON the roof with you in case you can’t get down:

http://www.allamericanhomeinspections.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=13&Itemid=29

I can assure you that I for one should never have done roof inspections! I had a serious fear of heights and hugged many a chimney in my 11 years in the field before progressing into management. I also was never comfortable with the double pull requirements although I saw female adjusters much more petite than I do it successfully due to their confidence level. The only time I was ever happy climbing up that ladder was when being chased in the yard by an insured’s dog and the ladder looked like a better option than the unavoidable dog bite I might have otherwise incurred. I will never forget a reinspector training me in the early years taking me to a loss for training. He did not have a ladder with us and I was told to climb the roof from the insured’s paint ladder. While it was difficult enough getting up, getting down was virtually impossible for me since I was under 5 ft tall. He simply laid on his stomach and rolled off grabbing the gutters and jumping. I was horrified doing so to say the least.

Today, I just would have said no and waited for a ladder even if it meant waiting 30 minutes for one to arrive no matter how angry he may have become.  Seriously consider the many claim central in office claim positions that are now available should you suffer a similar fear of heights. It is not worth the danger to your life and I should never have put myself through the heartache of doing something I made even more dangerous due to my fear of heights. There are so many more options available for adjusters today to work as contents specialists, additional living expense team members, business interruption claim specialists, and of course as liability adjusters.

A few other thoughts for new adjusters from some of the mentors who taught me during my training years:

1) Always honk your horn before jumping out of your vehicle to see if any loose dogs around. I’ve heard numerous stories of adjusters in the process of removing their ladder or setting it up only to be charged by a dog with vicious movements.

2) Never deny a claim from the roof. It’s not unheard of for insureds to remove an adjuster’s ladder in anger!

3)Watch out for your adjuster buddies in the neighborhood. Pranks are often played taking off with an adjuster’s ladder leaving them stranded (more a staff adjuster prank to destroy quotas of a competitor!)

4) Carriers always require your photos be taken from the ridge. Drive by photos as I’ve seen some try to get by with aren’t going to fly nor photos taken from the eaves. They want your photo to reflect you were on the roof.

This leads to another great tip received to circumvent some insureds who call in alleging you never got on their roof- leave your calling card near the chimney under a shingle. Use the same spot routinely so you can direct someone to where you might have left it. It’s really humorous as an adjuster to go up on a roof and see what adjusters have been up there before you on prior losses when you find their business card as many use this tip in our industry!

5) Don’t ever ever climb a roof you are not comfortable with. It seems that most carriers expect you to climb atleast up to a 7/12 pitch. They also usually have rope and harness certified adjusters to work steep/two story teams where they will send those folks out on the ones you just are not comfortable with. In many cases they will do this for independents as well as staff but check with the carrier or adjusting firm management for specific directions for their procedures.

 It is ALWAYS a good idea to take a risk photo to show the steep nature of the roof before requesting a two story team conduct the roof inspection.

These rope and harness teams this year are providing excellent opportunities for new adjusters with construction backgrounds to work as an assistant to the rope and harness team senior partner while also having time to train in the field on file requirements before being let loose on your own. The rates I’m hearing from some of the adjusters doing so is a daily rate between $200-$250 per day while they are an assistant and the daily rate being bumped up to the $500-$550 rates (your portion of this would depend on the fee split you have agreed to with the adjusting firm- usually 60/40 or so) once you are the senior rope and harness adjuster with your own team. I’ve mentioned this before and will do so again here- I would be sure to specify you are rope and harness certified on your resume if you have the training as it is sure to get you additional assignments.

There are many  stories on the internet about tips if you find yourself (escaping a fire..or your ladder falls and the insured is not home) in the position of having to jump off a roof…here is one example:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2106557_jump-off-roof.html

There are also some great articles from firefighters who must access a roof for fire ventilation and many safety tips if you must climb a roof after a fire in firefighter manuals such as this to avoid the roof collapsing beneath you. While these many articles are directed to fire fighters, what great advice for adjusters also working fire losses before climbing these roofs. Consider these same dangers when inspecting a roof that has been compromised with a tree that has punctured the roof structure:

http://www.houstontx.gov/fire/firefighterinfo/ce/2001/August/vertical_ventilation.htm

This next link has some fascinating pictures of how firefighters anchor themselves with the use of axes and other tools from interior walls as a means of escaping if their interior escape route is cut off (I’m sure adjusters have had these same concerns about collapse of structural components while inspecting severely damaged structures from fires, hurricanes, etc).

http://www.firefighterclosecalls.com/downloads/PersonalEscapeSystem.doc

Speaking of ladders- have you seen these great EZ-GLIDE System van ladder racks which lower the ladder to you with the switch of a lever? What a great option for adjusters who must pull their ladder in and out of a vehicle multiple times a day which is exhausting when you are working 7 days a week/ 12 hours daily:

http://sudburyheatingac.com/images/ezglide.pdf

http://www.weatherguard.com/van_storage_equipment/view_products.php?subcat_id=31

Cougar Paws are the favored shoe of many independents for roof climbing safety concerns:

http://www.cougarpaws.com/

If you are an experienced adjuster and have some great advice for new adjusters on roof safety issues, feel free to reply to this post. We’d love to hear from you as you share your helpful advice with others entering this industry. I’ll end this blog with one final link to a great article that sums up the safety issues, double pull conversations and some good comments by others participating on the blog:

http://www.nachi.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-2351.html

Remember, what is safe to one adjuster who is highly skilled and comfortable on steep roofs may not be comfortable with you. Your life is much more important than a fee bill for a roof inspection. Walk away from the assignment without a second thought if you are not comfortable working the loss. Do not be pressured to inspect something unsafe to you.

 I’ve been on the receiving end of pressure from managers who were supervising steep two story teams who had complaints about some files turned in for a steep two story team inspect with comments that my assigned adjuster should have inspected it. I strongly disagree. If you find a trend with an adjuster you are supervising showing they clearly cannot work a territory which consists of steep roofs but other indications are they are a great adjuster, my first course of action would be to see if there is another territory at the storm location with less steep roofs. Charleston, SC was one great example where downtown had horrific roofs to climb yet I could move adjusters to a different residential area easily thus keeping two great adjusters instead of the alternative of sending one home who couldn’t work the downtown area.

We wish you all a very safe storm season and very glad to see so many adjusters out in the field after two very dry years for most independent adjusters.


What shots does CDC recommend for disaster workers? Watch for more flood adjuster training info this week

June 16, 2008

 

I have limited time available to post new blogs this week but wanted to be sure to get this information up today about CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommendations for shots for disaster workers. This is especially important for the many of you deploying to the flood damage in Iowa and other states. Fox news is extensively reporting about the toxic waters, the mold issues, the snakes and other harmful issues that could cause major safety concerns for insurance adjusters.

Here are the CDC recommendations. I would take heed and see your physician for the necessary shots BEFORE you depart:

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/disease/responderimmun.asp

Watch later this week for our posts on claims adjuster/ independent adjuster flood claim training information to include NFIP certification, special estimate software specific to flood claims and much more info you need to know on flood coverage , flood policies, and more issues that differ to work as a flood adjuster versus a property adjuster on wind, hail, fire, and other type of losses as the file requirements and safety concerns differ greatly.