It is believed that Loss Adjusting can be traced back to the Great Fire of London in 1666 as a result of which Judges decided on compensation payments to the victims. When the Association of Fire Loss Adjusters was formed in 1941, the founding President, J McMullen-Brooks had the outstanding idea for the coat of arms of the Association. It was the scale of justice upon the sword of truth, elaborated with bundles of rods bound around an axe to symbolise the strength of members uniting together and surmounted by a crest of a lamp to indicate learning.
It has been widely reported that one of the most respected and experienced loss adjusters within the profession has served his notice to quit and is retiring from the loss adjusting industry, which is a substantial loss to the industry as a profession. The amount of loss adjusters within the property claims division with over 10 year’s experience handling claims is dwindling on an on-going basis. There are an avalanche of young adjusters whom in my opinion lack basic expertise and experience and whom quite frankly appear to watch too much CSI Miami. They shouldn’t be requested to complete medium or large sized claims as the mistakes they make often prove costly.
Quite frequently when a claim is notified to an insurer, it is then delegated to a loss adjustment firm. The claim may require prompt attention and experienced claim management as part of the essential keys to take evasive action, mitigate the loss and provide a certain degree of service to the policyholder. However inexperienced loss adjusters often don’t identify either the severity/complexity of the loss and indeed frequently often show a lack of respect to the policyholders needs, in breach of the Consumer Protection Code.
Prompt decisions often need to be made within claims, a loss adjuster that requires their own in-house support and validation can prove time consuming and indeed delay the process of settling the claim. The insurance companies reputation suffer due to these inexperienced loss adjusters frustrating the claims process and the policy holders often suffer the real cost, while this procrastination is on-going.
Insurance companies need to wake up, rigorous audits regarding large loss claims whereby they analysis the micro within the claim rather than the macro are not going to entice high levels of expertise to stay within the industry. Many loss adjusters appear reluctant to make important swift and important decisions due to this internal auditing process, which places them under additional duress.
While loss assessors similarly don’t have an easy task, negotiating a settlement agreement to achieve a fair and reasonable compromise. The loss assessors, at least, do not generally face the prospect of an Audit at the end of the financial year, from their client.
If the insurance industry ignores the current situation, the future for loss adjusters as a profession would appear bleak. If the current trend continues, it would be reasonable to expect that any person with over 10 years claims handling experience will either get burned out and demand a large premium for their services or retire from the industry.
We have seen the negative effects that this has had on several industries, when expertise and experience leaves.