Remember the term GIGO- Garbage in / Garbage out?
That term is definitely applicable to property estimating with any estimate software systems such as Xactimate, MSB Integri Claims, Simsol, Power Claims, or Symbility.
New adjusters take Xactimate training classes to learn to use the software estimating programs but if they are not familiar with construction, material identification such as carpet grades, counter top material,types of roof shingles, and other building components, as well as the proper construction methods to repair property then it doesn’t matter how great your estimate software data entry skills are- you’ll still produce garbage in the way of insurance claim estimates necessary to settle claims.
I’d highly recommend the Construction ILX training through Xactware who produces the Xactimate software program which is the most often required estimating software required by insurance companies. If you are new to independent adjusting, you need to know it is the insurance company that dictates the estimating software they require the independent adjusting firms must use.
This Construction ILX training is part of Xactware’s e-learning courses and consists of 50 courses on building components and is very comprehensive. It is very similiar to a carrier training I took years ago as required training prior to attendance at Vale National for additional training in the field on building estimating at their 3 week construction class. It was an excellent plan to train people like me that were new to adjusting but with no construction background. I spoke with their sales department today and confirmed that you do take tests at the end of each part, a unit test, and a test at the end of the program to show your competency should you wish to obtain their certification. Here is the link to the certificate and CEU options.
The cost of the ILX training on CD program is $595.00 which is an outstanding price considering you can study from home and at a self paced environment and especially with the CD’s you can take them on the road with you so you can look up something you may have a question about on the applicable CD. You save extensive travel and hotel expenses while training and it allows those working at regular jobs the opportunity to train around their work schedules. Here is the link to purchase the program. According to information I got when calling them and speaking to their sales department, you can take the program online or by cd’s.
I will be covering other Xactimate software training options in a blog tomorrow. There are so many firms offering Xactimate training in the field but we constantly get complaints from new adjusters that they felt many of them were a waste of hundreds of dollars spent on classes that were overloaded with students and short on instructors so they got little out of attendance to feel confident using the software. Another disadvantage which I personally consider significant is that you are not getting tested at most of those schools so you only get a certificate showing you sat through a class which doesn’t provide alot of comfort to a hiring claims manager. If you take the Xactimate training directly through Xactimate you can obtain your level 1, level 2, and level 3 certification which provides certificate comfort to an adjusting firm or carrier seeking to deploy adjusters as their certification vouches for the fact you have not only taken Xactimate training but that you passed difficult training and passed at an acceptable level to get certified by Xactware themselves. More on that tomorrow when discussing other valuable Xactimate training field class options if your not good at self study.
Wait- it gets better yet! It was beneficial calling their sales department today seeking a discount for all ClaimSmentor participants, they will call back this afternoon to let me know if that is possible due to our extensive network ( 1,150 ClaimSmentor forum members, 658 Twitter followers, almost 300 members of our Linkedin ClaimSmentor group and 180 plus following my individual profile on Linkedin, and we’ve had over 145,000 hits in 1.5 years here on our ClaimSmentor adjuster information blog, and thousands on our staffing firm rosters). I hope to have good news on that today.
The second highlight I learned in my call today is that you can take the course even cheaper doing it online verus buying the CD program and cover the same material. The disadvantage is you wouldn’t have the program to take with you on the road later when you are working on a storm and need to refer back to something but I’d highly recommend the online option as well as it is very affordable to people who can’t afford the $595.00 which is very possible there are many after a slow claim assignment year thus far in 2010. Here are the online options at their self paced training link where they have options to have access to all of the construction training online for 90 days access to all of the training for $205 or if your fast at online training- you can even just buy the cheaper monthly version where you can have 30 days access to a bundle of the courses for $110 or even train by the course at $35 each!
GIGO estimates will cause huge problems for adjusters, insurance companies, and most importantly for policyholders who can not get repairs don’t off of an inadequate estimate. Here are just a few crazy examples of estimating GIGO I’ve run across over the years managing adjusters who didn’t know about construction materials and especially construction repair techniques- and these are true stories!
1) Field adjuster gets a call from in experienced in office adjuster who has to review and approve the claim- desk adjuster tells experienced field adjuster to remove the crown molding (finish carpentry item) because MOLD is not covered under the policy
2) Working file reviews during a major hurricane, I actually ran across an estimate that the adjuster climbed in the attic and found a broken rafter where the tree hitting the roof had cracked the rafter. The adjuster measured the crack and put to remove and replace one inch of rafter. They did not allow a minimum charge and surely did not consider the repair method for a contractor to access the rafter and make a proper repair.
3) Repair estimates are often wrong even just on roofing repairs when an adjuster does not have the proper training to know when a roof can be repaired or not and no training in hail damage identification. I’ll be blogging about that as well this week.
As part of our Fundamentals of Claims Property Adjusting class, we spend 2 nights just reviewing estimates to train you on estimate reconciliation and the common carrier general guidelines on estimating. Repairing a property is entirely different than remodeling work an insured may want done to upgrade their property and you need to know what the carrier guidelines are on many issues such as waste factors, overhead and profit, minimum charges, matching issues and much more.
Run don’t walk to sign up for this construction estimating whether you are independent or a public adjuster if you do not have a construction background. It will help you prepare professional estimates to settle your claims and help you avoid rejections of claim settlement estimate for improper scope.
Watch for more postings in this week and next on estimate training options. Know the basics before you learn to enter estimates in a software program as it will do you NO good to learn data input if what you put in is GIGO!