Overhead and Profit Claim Settlement Issues Under Attack in 3 ongoing cases?

April 10, 2008

Today I received a google alert on yet a 3rd overhead and profit suit file. This case, Chivers v. State Farm. Case No: 2004-294-3 in TX ,dates back to 2004 but in an April 9, 2008 news article, apparently the case is still pending and three insurance carriers -State Farm, Foremost, and Farmers are seeking to have the Judge removed from this case.

Without more details, it’s hard to know what all of the current activity is about other than I was able to locate a few recent news stories on the case that provide a summary of the allegations against the carriers (without seeing the Complaint and other documents, I don’t know how many carriers or others are named in the suit). Unbelievably, according to one of the news articles, the judge was requiring Foremost produce copies of 600,000 files which they indicate would cost them approximately 45 MILLION dollars to produce.

Here is a link to the most current news article on the case about State Farm filing a motion to recuse the judge saying that Foremost and Farmers join in the motion:

http://www.setexasrecord.com/news/210665-insurance-companies-ask-arkansas-judge-to-remove-himself-from-litigation

This link above says in part:

“The original lawsuit, filed Sept. 8, 2004, alleges claims of civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment, fraud, and constructive fraud by accusing the insurance companies of not disclosing or paying to the insured’s the general contractors’ overhead and profit, whenever the repair of an insured’s loss required the services of at least three trades. ”

The article mentions that Farmers and  Foremost have joined  State Farm in the motion.

This article below says the case was heading to the Arksansas Supreme Court over the judges instruction they had to copy all 600,000 files.

http://www.setexasrecord.com/news/201741-45-m-discovery-dispute-heading-to-the-arkansas-supreme-court

If you follow our blog, you will recall two other recent blogs we’ve done on some other recent activity regarding overhead and profit lawsuits. You can click here  for the Sher case in LA where the judge allowed 25% overhead and profit and a 20% contingency fee for unspecified and unforeseen/unknown damage and here to find the blog on the OK class action case on overhead and profit.

In summary- it looks like we have three (and possibly more as there could be others I just haven’t seen anything about in the news recently) cases with three different issues on the overhead and profit:

1) Chivers v. State Farm. Case No: 2004-294-3– issue overhead and profit when three trades involved- Arkansas case 

2) Sher case v. Layfayette Insurance– LA case- issue was flood definition and levee breaks but on page 25 of judge’s decision he allowed 25% overhead and profit PLUS a 20% contractors contingency fee as the plaintiff’s expert witness testimony was unopposed. Make sure to read the link above for a discussion on that as the expert used info from a Lousiana State Office Volume on state facilities. By the way- since I wrote the blog on Sher yesterday, I’ve run across and insurance article stating that the American Insurance Association president has praised the new decision on the case based on the flood provisions being upheld. AIA represents 350 insurance carriers. I wonder if he even realized the info on the overhead and profit on page 25 of the judges decision doesn’t follow insurance claim settlement normal procedures?

3)  Burgess et al. v. Farmers Insurance Company, Inc. et al.-Class action case in OK on standard 20% overhead and profit and here is a brief summary from some of the links in the blog we did on that:

This is the website for the Burgess et al. v. Farmers Insurance Company, Inc. et al. class action lawsuit.  Homeowners have sued Farmers saying that they improperly withheld payments for general contractor’s overhead and profit (“O&P”) from amounts paid on claims under homeowner’s insurance policies to citizens of Oklahoma.   The Court has not decided if the Defendants did anything wrong. You need to decide whether to stay in the Class or exclude yourself, and you need to decide this by May 16, 2008.

It will be interesting to watch these 3 cases and see if we can find out how they are resolved. Hopefully, someone with access to PACER will provide pdf’s on these cases so we can read more detail and understand where exactly these cases stand at this point and how they end up getting resolved.

I’d recommend sharing this information with your claim managers in case they are not aware this overhead and profit issues are under attack. They may want to seek clarification from carriers on their current expectations on your estimates before you begin submitting closed files only to find out your estimates require revision to comply with any possibly new carrier expections on overhead and profit entries on your estimates.


National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters Membership Drive to 3/15/08

March 6, 2008

The National Association of Catastrophe adjusters has changed their membership drive deadline to a new deadline of March 15, 2008 for new and experienced adjusters as well as adjusting firms wishing to join (prior deadline was this past November).

I’ve written about this organization before after becoming quite impressed with them while attending the 2006 yearly convention. I was quite pleased to find such a professional organization holding a meeting that was equal in value to annual carrier claim conventions with their professionalism, opportunities to obtain CE credits for adjusters and I note this coming year (Jan 09) they will offer the National Flood NFIP certification classes as well as the California Earthquake certification.

Here is a link to their membership information! Won’t you consider joining this very worthwhile group? By getting your application in prior to the March 15, 2008 deadline, you will have the opportunity once approved for membership to be in their 2008 directory.

Again we appreciate the 2007 President, Woody Britton, for letting us know about the extension of this year’s registration deadline. We also wish a very successful year to incoming 2008 President, Angelo Cassanese.


Next 40 Hour Fundamental of Claims online LIVE Class begins 1-7-08 at ClaimSmentor

December 28, 2007

We have now set the schedule for the next online 40 hour Fundamentals of Claims Class to begin January 7, 2008 and completed on January 31, 2008. The classes are LIVE ONLINE at  our mentor site at ClaimSmentor and run on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6-9pm CST in our online classroom.

This class is much different than what you will find at vendor seminars where estimatics and scoping are the agenda and high point of all classes. That is a very important aspect of adjusting but there is so much more to claim handling than merely the estimatics. Our course concentrates on other things not often found out in the field. We have had over 100 course completers in 2007. The course consists of 24 hours of online LIVE classroom time where you can ask all of your questions regarding pre-class reading and homework assignments and network with other new adjusters. We often have experienced adjusters and prior class members come in and share experiences they’ve had with the topics being covered. There is 16 hours of pre-class reading and pre-class homework assigned for a total of 40 hours of much needed information covered. In addition, the course cost includes many self study guides to use in the field covering Additional Living Expense handling, Contents Claim handling, Condo Loss handling, and much more!

The course itself includes 2 nights of Additional Living Expense training to include working sample problems with actual ALE worksheets, Complaint resolution handling to include Insurance Dept complaints, dealing with Public Adjusters and Attorneys, Time demand correspondence handling, an evening of estimate reconciliation tips so you have tips to enhance your negotiations with insureds and contractors rather than going item by item so you know the most common problems you’ll run into with estimate comparisons, ethics, carrier standards, file requirements both for paper files and electronic claim submission, expected file order, carrier expectations for adjuster ethics, and much news you need to be aware on claim issues facing our industry in the aftermath of Katrina. One of the highlights of class the adjusters seem to enjoy the most is our mock zoning practice sessions where they enter the world of real life cat assignments where they are assigned over 50 files at a time day 1 and have to set up their inspection agenda for the next 30 days in the proper priority order according to carrier management expectations.

We’ll feel you’ll walk away from the class with a much better understanding of the job detailed requirements as licensing and estimatic classes cannot begin to cover the other much needed information.

Mariposa Claims owner David Swank provides the following endorsement for the class and our online site for mentoring adjusters on his recent blog this week:

http://www.mariposaltd.com/dasblogce/2007/12/27/40HourFundamentalsofClaimsatClaimsMentor.aspx

We’ve had many adjusters who worked Katrina claims take our class and express the wish they’d learned this material prior to the nightmare they experienced working their first catastrophe claims assignments.

Whether you take this class or any others, training is a very hot topic for adjusters. Reading depositions of many adjusting firm owners or staff claim adjusters and managers in the aftermath of Katrina, training is one of the most often covered discussions in depositions as bad faith allegations are made against many in our industry. I cannot stress the importance enough of obtaining necessary claim education outside of just taking estimatic classes. You need your license, your estimatic training, and much more to be a successful member of the claims adjusting community.

To register for the class, you need to register as a member of ClaimSmentor. Once we register you, you’ll receive an email with a login id and password to participate on our site where you can access the Training Sessions- Roots and Wings forums where you can view all available self study course material that is included with the class as well as all class details and cost associated. The course is a mere $80.00 to our members (2 dollars per credit hour….a very reasonable price for the mass amount of material covered but we keep all classes reasonably priced so all members can afford our live online classes). The beauty also of the program is you can work around your present job schedule and family obligations without the need to incur travel expenses.

We hope to see many of you there! We had over 20 new registrants to our site yesterday to include some very impressive adjusters with many insurance designations.

We’re also pleased to announce that Symbility Claims estimatic software had a management member of their firm join ClaimSmentor so we now have an important member or owner of all 5 major estimate software programs as members of ClaimSmentor. We reached 761 members yesterday with our new registrants! This includes now over 50 adjusting firm owners as well as many experienced adjusters. We appreciate all of the help from these experienced folks as we continue our online claim mentoring project to assist new adjusters. We will be entering into our THIRD YEAR of operation mid January and are looking forward to the new year and many new enhancements to our program are planned.

Note, we are very supportive of all adjusting firm and industry seminars and conferences and post ALL in our Seminars Forum and on our ClaimSmentor Calendar for our participants as well as preparing a yearly Claim Conference and Seminars comparison record so you can compare cost, CE credits offered, and other information such as number of adjusting firms you will have the potential to meet at the exhibit shows providing you more opportunities for exposure to new firms and new potential assignments. We also cover it from the aspect of claim managers and adjusting firm owners from the carrier aspect so you can compare the opportunities to network with important members of the insurance carriers for potential new work.

Our two favorite picks for conferences in January 2008 are:

NACA Convention- Myrtle Beach, SC January 14-17, 2008  – I had the opportunity to attend the 2007 convention in Dallas last year and it was as professional as any carrier yearly claim convention I ever attended and provides lots of opportunities for networking and CE credits as well as your NFIP yearly certification included. http://www.nacatadj.org/Convention08/Conv08TopPage.aspx

Evans Claims- Huntsville, TX – reason- one of the few offering TX Windpool Certification which is harder to come by as well as official NFIP certification and California EQ as well as many other valuable classes. While I haven’t attended their conference before, many of our ClaimSmentor members attended the 2007 session and recommended it. It is most reasonably priced and discounts for early registration prior to 12/31 bring it down even further to $169.00.

http://evansclaims.com/wiki/ECS/WinterConference

Participants on ClaimSmentor often provide feedback on the conferences so other members can consider attending them the next time around. If you know of other conferences or your firm is sponsoring one you wish listed, just email me  for posting on our site.

Best Wishes to all for a safe and enjoyable New Year’s holiday. We will be traveling and back online on January 3, 2008.


NFIP (National Flood) 2008 Adjuster Certification Classes are now posted!

December 12, 2007

***Update 2/5/09- They have changed the link to the 2009 NFIP workshop class list for adjuster- read about it here:

https://dimechimes.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/have-you-registered-for-your-2009-nfip-adjuster-certification-class/

Here is the direct link to the classes being held January-May 2008 at a cost of $10.00. All of the information is available on their site. Here is a copy:

http://www.fema.gov/business/nfip/clmpres_sch.shtm

2008 NFIP Claims Presentation Schedule
REGISTRATION FORM (PDF 13 KB, TXT 1 KB).

PRESENTATION 1
Place: Lanham, MD
Date: Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: GreenTec IV
7700 Hubble Drive
301-794-2220 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, January 2, 2008

PRESENTATION 1a
Place: Lanham, MD
Date: Thursday, January 17, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: GreenTec IV
7700 Hubble Drive
301-794-2220 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, January 3, 2008

PRESENTATION 2
Place: Ontario, CA
Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Ontario Convention Center
2000 Convention Center Way
909-937-3000 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Tuesday, January 15, 2008

PRESENTATION 3
Place: Concord, CA
Date: Thursday, January 31, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Centre Concord
5298 Clayton Road
925-671-3466 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, January 17, 2008

PRESENTATION 4
Place: Lynnwood, WA
Date: Monday, February 4, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Lynnwood Convention Center
3711 196th Street SW
425-778-7155 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Monday, January 21, 2008

PRESENTATION 5
Place: Jacksonville, FL
Date: Thursday, February 7, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Marriott Jacksonville
4670 Salisbury Road
904-296-2222 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, January 24, 2008

PRESENTATION 6
Place: Tampa, FL
Date: Monday, February 11, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: USAA
17200 Commerce Park Blvd.
813-632-4000 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Monday, January 28, 2008
ABSOLUTELY NO WALK-INS & NO SMOKING ALLOWED AT THIS FACILITY!

PRESENTATION 6a
Place: Tampa, FL
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: USAA
17200 Commerce Park Blvd.
813-632-4000 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Tuesday, January 29, 2008
ABSOLUTELY NO WALK-INS & NO SMOKING ALLOWED AT THIS FACILITY!

PRESENTATION 7
Place: Sunrise, FL
Date: Thursday, February 14, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Holiday Inn & Suites
3003 North University Drive
954-748-7000 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, January 31, 2008

PRESENTATION 8
Place: South Barrington, IL
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Allstate Insurance Company
51 West Higgins Road
847-551-2058(for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Tuesday, February 12, 2008

PRESENTATION 9
Place: Carolina, PR
Date: Friday, February 29, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Embassy Suites
8000 Tartak Street
787-791-7776 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Friday, February 15, 2008

PRESENTATION 10
Place: Metairie, LA
Date: Monday, March 3, 20087
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Jefferson Parish Library
4747 West Napoleon Ave.
504-849-8817 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Monday, February 18, 2008

PRESENTATION 10a
Place: Metairie, LA
Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Jefferson Parish Library
4747 West Napoleon Ave.
504-849-8817 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Tuesday, February 19, 2008

PRESENTATION 10b
Place: Metairie, LA
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Jefferson Parish Library
4747 West Napoleon Ave.
504-849-8817 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, February 20, 2008

PRESENTATION 11
Place: St. Peters, MO
Date: Friday, March 7, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Holiday Inn Select St. Peters/St. Charles
4341 Veterans Memorial Pkwy.
636-928-1500 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Friday, February 22, 2008

PRESENTATION 12
Place: South Haven, MS
Date: Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: DeSoto Civic Center
4560 Venture Drive
888-280-9120 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Tuesday, February 26, 2008

PRESENTATION 13
Place: Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Thursday, March 13, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Radisson Hotel Pittsburgh Green Tree
101 Radisson Drive
412-922-8400 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, February 28, 2008

PRESENTATION 14
Place: San Antonio, TX
Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
200 E. Market St.
877-504-8895 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Tuesday, March 4, 2008

PRESENTATION 15
Place: Humble, TX
Date: Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Humble Civic Center
8233 Will Clayton Pkwy
281-446-4140 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, March 5, 2008

PRESENTATION 16
Place: Ft. Worth, TX
Date: Thursday, March 20, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Tarrant County College
5301 Campus Drive
817-515-4167 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, March 6, 2008

PRESENTATION 17
Place: Randolph, MA
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Holiday Inn Boston Randolph
1374 North Main Street
781-961-1000 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, March 12, 2008

PRESENTATION 18
Place: Lake Success, NY
Date: Thursday, April 3, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Allstate Insurance Company
1111 Marcus Street
516-574-5900 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, March20, 2008

PRESENTATION 19
Place: Branchville, NJ
Date: Monday, April 7, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Selective Insurance
40 Wantage Avenue
3877-348-0552 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Monday, March 24, 2008

PRESENTATION 20
Place: Charleston, WV
Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Charleston Civic Center
200 Civic Center Drive
304-345-1500 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Wednesday, March 27, 2008

PRESENTATION 21
Place: Norfolk, VA
Date: Monday, April 14, 2008
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: USAA
5800 Northampton Blvd.
800-531-8222 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Monday, March 31, 2008
ABSOLUTELY NO WALK-INS & NO SMOKING ALLOWED AT THIS FACILITY!

PRESENTATION 22
Place: Greenville, NC
Date: Thursday, April 17, 2008
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: Greenville Convention Center
303 SW Greenville Blvd.
252-321-7971 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, April 3, 2008

PRESENTATION 22a
Place: Greenville, NC
Date: Friday, April 18, 2008
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: Greenville Convention Center
303 SW Greenville Blvd.
252-321-7971 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Friday, April 4, 2008

PRESENTATION 23
Place: Cayce, SC
Date: Thursday, May 1, 2008
Time: 8:30 am
Location: South Carolina Farm Bureau
754 Knox Abbot Dr.
803-936-4290 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, April 17, 2008

PRESENTATION 23a
Place: Cayce, SC
Date: Friday, May 2, 2008
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: South Carolina Farm Bureau
754 Knox Abbot Dr.
803-936-4290 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Friday, April 18, 2008

PRESENTATION 24
Place: Mobile, AL
Date: Thursday, May 8, 2008
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: Cottage Hill Baptist Church
4255 Cottage Hill Rd.
251-660-2422 (for directions only)
Registration Deadline: Thursday, April 24, 2008

Last Modified: Monday, 03-Dec-2007 14:33:15 EST

**********

http://www.fema.gov/business/nfip/ca1.shtm

2008 NFIP Claims Presentations
How to Register for a Claims Presentation

In 2008, the NFIP Bureau and Statistical Agent will offer 24 Claims Presentations in cities throughout the country. They will be conducted between January 16 and May 8, so that an adequate number of flood-certified adjusters will be available before “hurricane season’ begins on June 1.

Advance registration is required. You must register by mail; you must pay the $10.00 fee with a check or money order made payable to: National Flood Insurance Program. Do not send cash. Your registration and payment must be received by the registration deadline date for the session that you choose. Your registration will not be accepted after that date.

No space will be reserved until payment has been received. Refunds and changes of session cannot be granted. Registrations are nontransferable.

Please do not call the NFIP Bureau and Statistical Agent about the status of your registration. We will mail an acknowledgement of receipt to the address that you provide on the Registration Form (PDF 13 KB, TXT 1 KB).

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

Here’s the registration form:

http://www.fema.gov/pdf/nfip/clmpres_reg.pdf

************
Please submit an updated resume when you have completed your 2008 NFIP Certification as we maintain seperate rosters of NFIP certified adjusters for special requests for flood certified adjusters. Please submit your cert# and information on the certs applicable for personal and or commercial lines.

We’ve had many interesting forum discussions the past few years about the National Flood program requirement that requires four years of experience to receive the certification. My personal opinion is that since the class is so reasonably priced at $10.00 it is worth registering for the class if you are an adjuster with less than four years just so you have a clearer understanding of what the flood policy provides as far as coverages. We have also had many newer adjusters with agency backgrounds and construction backgrounds who were approved by NFIP for their certification with less than four years of experience. Others are of the opinion that newer adjusters should not register as they are taking spots for more   experienced adjusters. I don’t think that is the case at all as NFIP offers certification classes at other locations such as the special classes Pilot held last year as well as the National Association of Catastrophe Adjusters convention holding classes at the 2007 convention.

These classes do fill up quickly so I wouldn’t wait for the after the holidays to get your registration form sent in along with your payment if your interested in obtaining your 2008 flood certification.


Lose the Hammer- 8 Characteristics of an Awesome Adjuster-book review by NU Sam Friedman

October 22, 2007

I enjoy following National Underwriter’s Editor Sam Friedman’s blogs on many insurance issues.

Here is a particularly good blog written recently “Lose the Hammer” where he critiques the book written by an instructor, Carl Van of the International Insurance Institute titled 8 Characteristics of an Awesome Adjuster.

Here is a link to the site map for CE courses they have by state. First, this link here is to the Mediation and Arbitration 14 hour CE class they offer ( next select YOUR state on the map here to see what they have for adjusters)in Florida for example. Here is a link to many other excellent “soft skill” courses offered for adjuster’s on their site and it appears these are offered in the field at the carrier sites also (click on their Training Schedule link). Many other classes are also available so just check out their entire claim training section.

We hope you enjoy the book. If you’ve missed our other blogs which contained recommended reading, you’ll find some of our past posts below:

You can’t win a fight with your Client- click here

Dinosaur Brains-if your dealing with ugly situations on claims- click here 

Neandrathals at Work- getting along with a few crazy co-workers and boss- click here

Who moved my  Cheese- click here   (In our version- who moved my claims cheese?)

While your researching reading material to stay current on claim trends, here is also a link to the Claims Education magazine put out by the Insurance Institute on their summer 2007 latest issue here. Here is also a link to National Underwriter’s Claims Magazine here.

We try to do one book review a week if we run across anything we think would be good to share and try to do so on Sundays if you want to check back.

Thank you again to our many readers for staying in touch with our blog. We are proud to announce we reached our 10,000th blog guest Friday night 10/20/07. WordPress has an awesome stat program and you as a reader can also follow our blog stats if your interested by looking at the blog count on the right hand column of the blog or “About us” tab in right hand column as well on the Blog Stats box.


Auto Adjuster Claim Training- What options do I have?

October 11, 2007

One of the interesting aspects of owning a website or blog is reading the user statistics on what search terms bring users to your website. One of the most frequently used search phrases we often get on both this blog and my staffing firm website  is “Auto Claim Training” so today we are going to concentrate on that topic.

Adjusters in our ClaimSmentor forums often ask if they should train as auto adjusters in addition to the training they are doing on property claims. If you are looking at it from the aspect of working as an independent and expanding the value you have to bring to the table to adjusting firms and carriers, the answer is a definite YES! I do recommend first you complete your training first on property claims if that is where your primary interest lies as it is of utmost importance you first do a great job in your primary area of expertise such as residential claims. I’ll blog in the next week on my favorite picks on property claim training options for new adjusters with some online options, self study training options, and field classes and schools but for today, let’s concentrate on the auto side of things!

First, why learn auto claim handling? Let’s look at some statistics on recent storms in 2007 to give you an idea on the number of auto claims reported versus property claims so you have a true perspective on the opportunities to work auto claim losses. Click HERE to see a Claims Journal article from August 2007 regarding a major hailstorm in Colorado which says in part:

“The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association says insurance companies expect claims from nearly 5,200 homeowners and 11,000 car owners.”

These are not isolated numbers as it is very common to see these kind of loss statistics on auto versus property claims during a storm. Matter of fact, here are some interesting numbers from the Insurance Information Institute in this article stating that $68.00 of every $100.00 in auto insurance premiums is used to pay claims. This article also attributes 25% of the comprehensive claims on the auto policy are for theft losses. Claims for property damage account for $16 for collision, another $16 for property damage liability, and $7 for the comprehensive claims for a total of about $40.00 of these claim dollars going to property claims when you add in the other expense dollars shown in this report. Unbelievably the attorneys fees are 11% of the $68.00 claim dollars split evenly between plaintiff and defense counsel according to this report linked above.

Claims Magazine ran a very good article in the October 2007 issue regarding a survey with auto repair facilities polling them on their complaints with insurance carriers on auto claims. Here is a link to this article. This article lists “Lack of field staff training” first on the list and then lists the 3 worst carrier offenders according to the shops survey results. Having worked for an excellent carrier, I was surprised to see some of these negative results for carriers such as Progressive listed as the worst offender at training (in the eyes of the repair shops surveyed). Take the time to read the rest of this survey on other topics as the carriers involved might just surprise you! I’d also previously posted a bad faith article on the Merlin Law Group website and carrier training is one of the issues listed in this article as a reason for bad faith claims against carriers. In today’s environment, I’m amazed to see this as even an issue since all carriers should have training as a top priority. As a staff claim employee, we often cross trained between the auto claims department and the property claims division especially in the catastrophe claim divisions when there may not have been enough work to keep auto catastrophe adjusters busy year round. In 1985, all fire adjusters went to auto school and property adjusters to auto school! That effort to switch us around lasted about 1 year when property adjusters wanted to paint cars by the square foot like a wall! (Just kidding but the project ended and we returned to our former positions when they felt it was best to let auto folks do what they knew best and fire adjusters do their residential estimating they did best,etc).

Here is an example of an auto staff adjuster opportunity with Farmers Insurance. You will see that while they prefer a 4 year degree, they will accept those with a 2 year Associates degree and substitute auto body management experience or lead estimator experience for the degree requirements. Just as with staff homeowner positions, each carrier will differ on their requirements. Here is also an article you will find interesting about Nationwide Insurance indicating they were reducing homeowners policies and concentrating on auto…another reason in the “Who moved my Claims Cheese” blog series comments as a reason to consider auto claim training to find an additional source of claim assignments when the property side remains slow. I constantly keep my eye on all job opportunities on the staff side as well as the independent side to post in our Career Forum on ClaimSmentor and recently have seen alot of postings for Auto property and liability adjusters as well as for claim managers. Just two companies that come to mind are Safeco and Farmers with recent postings. I can also tell you from an independent staffing position, I am thrilled to receive resumes from multi line adjusters who can work residential property AND liability AND auto claims as they are most useful for adjusting firms who can utilize them for all operations as needed. It’s definitely something to consider!

Here is a list of some of the auto claim training options we are aware of you may wish to consider if you are an independent requiring training. Today, we’ll limit that training information to property claim training on the auto side. We’ll have further blog information on liability training on the residential and auto side down the road. Just as with property claims, you need your adjuster’s license first and foremost. After that follows policy training and auto estimatic training as well as auto file requirement training. Auto has many sections of the auto policy to learn. I remember years ago attending a 3 week auto claim training school and finding the policy very frustrating to deal with for a homeowner adjuster. We are used to a coverage section and an exclusion section while the auto policy had many subsections each with their own insuring agreement and exclusions. Testing without an open policy was a true nightmare trying to remember which section applied to which test question,etc. The point I am making here is to make sure you don’t make the mistake that some new property adjusters make thinking that estimatics is all you need to know!

Wardlaw Claims- I list this first as one of their instructors, Tim Whiteman, is a member of ClaimSmentor and has been very supportive of our online mentoring program as well as the fact several of our participating adjusters have taken their Auto classes and highly recommended them. I particularly like the fact that they handle property AND liability claim training at their school in Waco,TX and the cost of the programs looks very reasonable. I note there are auto training classes that Tim is teaching listed for October and November on the auto training classes.Here is a link:

Wardlaw Claims
Auto training classes: http://www.wardlawtraining.com/wctc_classroom.cfm?Value1=3
( Maximum cost is $550 for Auto Claim school)
Auto Self Study classes: http://www.wardlawtraining.com/wctc_selfstudy.cfm (Unbelievably priced at less than 24.00 each)

Pacesetter Claims: http://www.pacesetterclaims.com/PCSTech1.aspx

You need to call them for their latest training schedule. I’d ask for Jim Shrewsbury-VP of Claims in the Auto Division who is also a member of ClaimSmentor.

Crawford and Company
Tractor and Trailer Appraisal School- for adjusters with 3 years of auto experience http://www.crawfordandcompany.com/content.aspx?CID=736&SID=2

Vale National School Neil Robertson in the Fresno, CA branch is a ClaimSmentor member if you want a contact there
( Auto Estimatics only) Cost $1,095. There are 3 locations to choose from.
www.valenational.com/

CNC Resources– Mobile, AL Ask for Becky Leckband, Hr Director for class schedule- she is a member of ClaimSmentor
www.cnc-resource.com/

Southern Farm Bureau Tech– Tractor Trailer School
Auto Claim Training- 3 week program http://www.farmbureautech.com/physical%20damage%20estimating.html
2007 Course Schedule http://www.farmbureautech.com/2007_course_schedule.htm

Worley Adjusting Company

While I don’t see a current Auto Basic Claims Class on the current schedule, they did hold one in March 07 so you might want to contact them for more information on the next class

http://www.worleyco.com/trainingdivision.php

Here’s a link to a prior Accident Reconstruction CE course you may want to contact them for the next class since it is 7 hours of TX CE’s:

http://www.marules.com
http://www.claimspages.com/calendar/viewEvent.asp?RecNo=952

While looking into a career in Auto claims, you might also want to check out this Independent Auto Appraisers group at www.iada.org. They held an interesting automotive repair conference in FL in 07 and I see they have the next scheduled for 2008 in Las Vegas. They have some great links on their site for NADA book values and other useful links for Auto Adjusters and Auto Claims Representatives.

There does seem to be advancement opportunity in the Auto Claims field atleast from the staff adjuster standpoint. Here is a link to a recent job with Travelers Insurance for Training managers to train new auto adjusters as just one of many examples.

Fee payments to auto adjusters differs from independent fee schedules we previously blogged about. From the staffing requests we have received, they seem to pay by the vehicle inspected and payment depends on whether you inspect the damage in a carrier drive in or catastrophe operation or if you inspect it at a body shop or other storage facility for non driveable cars. The ranges we are getting are $75.00 per drive in inspection average with the carrier setting the drive in appointments about 30 minutes apart. One such position scheduled 20 appointments per day through the drive in. Remember you will be splitting that fee with the adjusting firm somewhere along the lines of a 60/40 split. The field appointments have averaged about $150.00 per inspection with similar splits. I’ll be interviewing a few Auto Independent Claim managers and blogging about their input on income for auto independent adjusters. I read many forum posts saying there isn’t enough auto work to keep them busy but during 2007 we’ve had as many auto requests for staffing as we have for property so I’m not sure that is true overall in the industry. It is also important to note that normally carrier auto management decisions are made by a seperate group of claim executives on the Auto side so just because the property side may not be using independents does not necessarily mean the auto side will not be. We’ve been working along side an adjusting firm on a consultant standpoint on marketing in recent weeks and it seems our leads are generating more offers for auto independent assignments than property as well. I do believe this in part is due to the fact there are much less adjusting firms willing to take the auto claims versus property as the fee billings are significantly less. We do have several auto associates who also differ with that opinion as they have been fortunate to get multitudes of claims from car dealership carriers for hail damage to vehicles on the lot and to commercial fleets of vehicles. It certainly remains worth exploring these opportunities.

I’ll post a supplement to this blog tomorrow adding additional information. Forgive any format problems as I’m on a Mac today and it’s been difficult going back and forth between websites not being used to the features on this system. I’m counting the days until our computers are set up here!


Valued Policy Law case in Florida overturned- Update on Mierwza /Safety Concerns-Part 2/Fl Insurance Crisis update-Go Jeb!

September 21, 2007

I’ve got quite a bit of blogging to catch up on after extending my business trip this week to 5 days versus the 3 we expected to be out for as there were many developments in the claims industry during my trip.

For starters- we were discussing adjuster safety in one of our last blogs here and the fact that insurance carriers do not define a weapon in their Code of Conduct forms although they forbid adjusters to carry them. Well, I’m sure glad they did not define it as FAA regulations do! Flying up for our business meeting, the mascara and lipstick were confiscated and coming back the cigarette lighter was! So- I guess things could be worse if we had to live by those restrictions! (Smile) If your an adjuster reading this, you might want to catch up on numerous reply postings over on the topic we posted on CADO (here)about the next opportunity to view “Muffled Cries” on Forensic files which is 9/22/07 at 6:30 PM EST. This is the show about Tampa adjuster, Katie Froeschle ‘s murder while handling a rental dwelling claim. There have been a significant number of replies from adjusters on the Cado forum topic by experienced adjusters who have also faced some pretty tough situations while working claims indicating this was not an isolated situation with Katie but a situation many of us have faced (yes, I have many of my own war stories from my years in the field). The thing that surprises me the most is that many of these incidents happened to male adjusters contrary to my thought that had a male adjuster gone out on the claim Katie did that a murder may not have happened.

The most important breaking news applicable to settling claims comes out of Florida where the Valued Policy Law settlement guidelines for total losses established in the Mierzwa case were overturned. We wrote about valued policy laws and recent decisions in this blog here. If you read this blog, it contains an explanation of the Mierzwa case and how that applied to the FL Valued policy law so just take a minute to read that blog if your not familiar with the case.

While we were out, this case was overturned. Here is a link to the Supreme Court decision on this Florida Farm Bureau vs Cox case. Rather than reinventing the wheel, I’ll refer our readers to the Insurance Coverage blog entry of 9/21/07 here which explains the new decision. Basically, this was a win for the insurance industry as described here in this news article also which in part states:

“The unanimous opinion written by Justice Charles Wells said Florida’s 108-year-old valued policy law was intended to prevent haggling over the worth of destroyed property, not to be used to cover perils that were not insured”

According to this article, this takes the case for the insured back to court now to decide what damage was attributed to wind vs what is flood damage since this decision would no longer allow them to collect policy limits since the major damage was caused by non covered flood damage. The policy limit was 65K and Florida Farm Bureau had evaluated the building damage at less than 12K. The way the Mierwza case stood, the carrier would have had to pay the limits under Valued Policy laws even though the majority of damage was from a non covered loss (flood ..and note the insured did not have a flood policy which amazes me having handled many flood claims myself back in my days as a Santa Rosa County, FL staff adjuster dealing with repeated flood claims on Blackwater river there).

I’m glad to see these recent court decisions both in LA and FL where the courts are upholding policy provisions and the intended purposes of valued policy laws. I wonder how much has been paid by carriers in FL on the Mierzwa case ruling and what this will do to the many other pending cases on these very type of issues.

Wind and water decisions will continue to be tough for all adjusters to evaluate. The consumer groups are being very active pushing for passage of the 2007 Multiple Peril Act being pushed by MS Gene Taylor. It is unfortunate they do not begin to realize what they are pushing for and the ramifications of having wind handled by the government similiar to the Flood policies. I’m going to try to get a blog entry in next week explaining just some of the horrors in the flood policy exclusions such as the 12 square foot of deck landing coverage,etc. I think if policyholders understood the  coverage available in a flood policy better and the extreme limitations in coverage they might be much more hesitant about moving the wind to the government if the wind coverage would be as restrictive. It is definitely NOT consumer friendly nor is it adjuster friendly to understand the flood policy or the many unnecessary forms and procedures by NFIP to handle those losses. I don’t think many pushing for it even realize the flood policy has had a 250K limit on a residential building. In layman’s terms just ask yourself this question- how many homes on the beach can you buy for 250K? Give me a break! I sure hope the wind policy won’t contain such unrealistic coverage limitations. These consumers probably also do not know anything about the news releases last year when the powers that be ran out of funding on the flood claims? I’ll post some of those articles in next week’s blog. 

I am a proponent of having the coverage by private carriers to end this ridiculous necessity for an adjuster to have to determine what is wind and what is water damage providing the appropriate rates can be charged for this coverage. This would also satisfy the politicians and the insurance consumer. None of us …..adjusters or insureds …….like the current exclusions under the homeowner policies. Just think how much easier the life of an adjuster would be to go in and assess all damage and close the file. Better time service on claims and more income to independent adjusters who can close more files! Chubb insurance is one of the carriers already doing so. See their press release from last spring here about their coverage. Why can’t other carriers do the same? I imagine this is a mute question at the moment with the mass exodus of coverage as they non renew and send out policy cancellations by carriers in coastal communities. I’d imagine the need by insurers for engineer’s who help assess the cause of each type of damage would be greatly reduced, the cost to defend litigation on the wind vs water would be eliminated, less claim managers would be needed to manage the litigation and coverage issues, and reduced claims costs for such huge expenses should lead to greatly reduced policy premiums so it would be a win win for all parties. Think of the reduction in Insurance Department complaints when consumers no longer have to argue over the coverage assessments for wind vs water damages! Makes sense to me!  You can’t blame them(carriers)if they don’t want to write the combined coverage no matter how much the public (myself included as a coastal resident) protests with the recent political developments in LA and MS on litigation for non covered flood losses and actions by MS Congressman Gene Taylor and Senator Trent Lott as well as Charlie Crist  in FL who has been a one man torpedo destroying insurance relationships in FL by his anti carrier policies while at the same time throwing out all rating rules for his big push for the growth of Citizens of FL with his rate freezes on their premiums……don’t even get me started on that but watch for a blog next week on more about this issue! For now I’ll leave you with a referral to another Rossmiller Insurance Coverage blog that addressed Jeb Bush’s recent comments about the insurance crisis in FL which also happened while we were gone this week! I’m very glad to see Jeb Bush speak out as he was so respected while in office here. Oh for a return to those days!