National Underwriter - Across the river, just miles away, the colossus still smolders, an ever-thinning column of smoke rising from the ruins into a bright, clear September sky weeks after the unspeakable happened. This side of the Hudson, I sit in GAB Robins' suburban headquarters with the loss adjustment company's president and chief executive officer, Joseph M. Zubretsky, a man whose business life, like so many others', is suddenly and utterly riveted on the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. I ask if this even remotely compares with anything else in his long professional experience. "This one stands far apart," he answers, somberly, noting that no other catastrophe has involved injury and loss of life on this scale. Then, too, "it's deliberate and heinous in nature," he says. "It's beyond wind-blown roofs and dented cars. It's personal. It's visceral. That's what makes this different."
Monday, November 19, 2001
Technology Decisions - You can't call it a changing of the guard -- yet. Plenty of well-established industry names produce tried-and-true claims management and administration tools. But companies fresh on the scene are redefining the way claims solutions are conceived and finally implemented by end users. What's the secret to their successes? Collaborative development methods involving customers-carriers-as well as exploring niches such as process automation and automobile lines, and creating products flexible enough to allow IT departments to decide their fates. Even though you won't see 30-second commercials for these companies during the World Series, their products are taking claims solutions in a new direction. Here's a look at the fresh faces and product premieres.
Sunday, November 18, 2001
Insurance Journal - Insurers have started warning thousands of companies that policies will be canceled in 45 days, as Congress remains deadlocked over how to help the industry survive any huge claims resulting from terrorism, according to a Nov. 13 report in The Wall Street Journal. Insurers also are petitioning each of the states to exempt them from offering terrorism coverage after Dec. 31 if lawmakers fail to act promptly. That would pose a conundrum for the states, many of which would have to review the requests before the end of the year, when approximately 70 percent of commercial policies with terrorism provisions expire. Insurance companies and brokers speculate that if a government backstop program isnt in place by early December to protect insurers from terror-related claims, the already-sputtering economy could falter even more.
Thursday, November 15, 2001
Claims Magazine - Recently, a California trial court entered a judgment in favor of the claim adjusters working for the Farmers Insurance Group in Los Angeles, agreeing that they were deprived of the right to overtime pay. The jury awarded the adjusters $91,000,000. The trial verdict followed an appellate decision called Bell v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, 87 Cal.App.4th 805, 105 Cal.Rptr.2d 59 (2001). The court of appeal stated: In short, the record as a whole confirms the accuracy of FIEs own description of the claim representatives responsibilities as being restricted to the routine and unimportant. On matters of relatively greater importance, they are engaged only in conveying information to their supervisors-again primarily a routine and unimportant role. This characterization of their role in the company places the plaintiffs in the sphere of rank and file production workers.
Thursday, November 15, 2001
Claims Magazine - Many claim executives struggle to communicate with their CEOs and CFOs on the performance of their organizations. The problem often is that senior executives, who are well trained in finance, lack a complete understanding of how the claim function impacts overall results. Claim VPs then encounter a dizzying series of short-term directives that they know will fail, while they struggle to explain why the orders from the corner office are not having the desired effect. When this happens to you, its time to fight back with a weapon that works: Financially based claim performance measurement, also known as a Balanced Claim Scorecard. Measurement is a critical component of any claim management system. Most claim managers recognize its vital role in communicating, motivating, and tracking the achievement of an organizations strategy.
Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Claims Magazine - What business issues affect claim operations the most? How does your contact time standard compare with others? What claim practices, processes, and customer service measures are most commonly tracked? How satisfied are claim executives with their companys claim practices and processes? The answers to these questions are contained in this first nationwide study of claim executives, mainly claim vice presidents, of insurance companies, larger independent adjusting firms, or third-party administrators. This study, conducted jointly by the American Institute for CPCU/Insurance Institute of Americas Center for Performance Improvement & Innovation and the Computer Science Corporation cost containment group, represents an important step in assessing industry claim practices, and vital issues affecting claim operations.
Tuesday, November 06, 2001
Claims Magazine - As any claim adjuster would be able to testify, U.S. workers are putting in the longest hours in the industrialized world, according to a recent International Labor Organization study. Nor would it surprise our readers to learn that, on average, U.S. employees spend nearly one week more on the job per year than they did a decade ago. Respondents to our salary survey consistently have cited that as their major job-related grievance, followed closely by the failure of their salaries to compensate for the longer and longer hours. Despite the years of complaints, the situation does not seem to be improving. “Id gladly forgo a raise in exchange for reducing my work week to 40 hours,” said a 29-year old adjuster from Wisconsin. A staff adjuster from Ohio concurred, adding that things are getting worse. “I have never seen so many adjusters so angry,” he said.
Tuesday, November 06, 2001
National Underwriter - Agents can protect their companies against potential fraud by being alert to a number of items that should raise a red flag, according to James Quiggle, director of communications for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud in Washington. • Alarms should sound when an applicant walks into an agency looking for coverage on high-value articles and does not ask about the cost of the premium. • Look for lifestyle indicators. For example, a client looking to insure an expensive house, but driving a very old car or an applicant looking to insure expensive goods who has a job with a low pay scale. • Warning signs should go up for appraisals that are vague, misspelled or lacking photographs. There may also be a problem if the appraiser is not local.
Monday, October 29, 2001
National Underwriter - The president of an independent agents group told his membership yesterday that the Sept. 11 terrorist attack has underscored the insurance industry's importance to the nation, William F. Hofmann III, outgoing president of the Independent Insurance Agents of America, made his observations during the opening general session of the Alexandria, Va.-based group's annual convention here. Mr. Hofmann praised those who had made the trip to the convention despite the grief, anger and anxiety many feel in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the nation. Their determination to attend, he said, "speaks to a quality that is uniquely American; a confidence and stubbornness that defies hardship. It speaks to a rebirth of spirit and a genuine sense of purpose. It speaks to a courage that only free people can ever truly know."
Monday, October 29, 2001
Insurance Journal - On Tuesday The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reversed its previous decision to permit Lloyds to deposit 60 percent, rather than 100 percent, of the amount normally required into its U.S. Reinsurance trust fund based on estimates of its gross liabilities. The NAIC sited the "need to fully evaluate any liquidity problems on a syndicate-by-syndicate basis prior to granting an extension application to the entire Lloyds market," as the reason for its decision. It reiterated, however, that "one hundred percent of funding of gross liabilities has been and continues to be the legal requirement for credit for reinsurance for Lloyds of London Syndicates."
Friday, October 26, 2001