Thursday, December 16, 2004

Standards for Adjusters

Maybe it was there all the time; or maybe it just popped up on the web.

Either way, there is on-line at the Citizens Property Insurance web site a document titled the CITIZENS/NFIP COMBINED WIND/FLOOD STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES.

[Web Note: If, like many, you sometimes have trouble viewing successive .pdf documents in your browser, try right-clicking on the link, choose "open in a new window" and in the next screen select "download" to save to your hard drive, then view the document off-line.]

It is a must-read for anyone who's wondering if their adjuster knows what he's doing or is treating them fairly -- although I have some cautions you should read (below) before you assume too much.

Essentially, these "standards and procedures" describe the minimum professional duties an adjuster must perform when adjusting property loss claims for both Wind and Flood. It covers the waterfront, so to speak, from first contact with the insured to how the adjuster submits his receipts to be paid.

More importantly, the manual, in effect, describes minimum standards that Florida insurance adjusters must obey as they inspect property for damage, record their observations, report those observations, calculate the monetary losses, etc. etc. The standards are fairly specific, too. They range from minutae like "Photographs must be mounted, no more than two to a page" when compiling a report -- to hugely important standards of professionalism such as,
"The SAP adjuster is required to make immediate insured contact by phone within 24 hours... ."
and --
"The adjuster will determine what, if any, temporary repairs have been made or are necessary to protect the property from further damage. The reasonable costs of temporary repairs that mitigate damage are a proper item of the claim... ."
Another that may be a favorite for some is --
"A maximum amount of 20% of the building estimate is available to the insured for the overhead and profit of a general contractor [emphasis in original] employed to oversee the repair of the insured’s property."
There are a great many more like that. The practice areas covered are listed in the table of contents. They include such timely subjects for Pensacolians, among others, as --
and so on.

I'm not going to list all of the standards here. The document runs to 23 pages. Instead, you should download and save a copy for yourself by clicking here while the manual is still accessible on the Internet.


Be aware of a three caveats. First, embedded in the document itself is some indication it was last updated on September 9, 2002 -- more than two years ago. That doesn't mean this isn't the most up-to-date "SAP" manual Citizens has produced. But it is possible it has been revised or updated.

Second, after spending a few minutes on the Citizens Property Insurance web site I couldn't find a more current manual. But that doesn't mean there isn't one. Maybe it's buried somewhere in Citizens' Adjuster Training Library and I overlooked it. Or, maybe there is a newer version of the manual and Citizens just doesn't want to publish it on the web.

Third, indications are that the Google robot that scans the web came across this document yesterday, December 15. That doesn't mean a whole lot, except that Google's amazing technology found it there yesterday, I saw it today, and maybe it still will be there tomorrow -- and maybe not.

My guess is that the "Standards and Procedures" for hurricane loss adjusters is not a document Citizens would want hurricane victims to know about or to have access to. It tells us too much.

That's why you should snag a copy while you can.

1 comment:

Beach Blogger said...

I've had a couple of emails from readers who report experiencing problems with the link to the document on the Citizens Insurance Co. web site. This is a chronic problem with all versions of Adobe Acrobat Reader, especially for those using the Windows XP operating system.

The problem usually occurs when you are trying to view a "pdf" document after you've already seen an earlier .pdf document. Generally, there is no problem if this is the first pdf document you've tried to read after turning on your computer. It randomly occurs only when you are trying to read a second, or successive, Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files.

There are a number of work-arounds which you can use, but no easy or reliable "fix." Adobe offers three alternative solutions here. But reports are the newer Adobe Acrobat Reader program in fact does not solve the problem, either.

For semi-advanced users, there is another work-around. You can open "Program Manager" (CNTRL-ALT-DEL) and "end process" for all running "AcroRd32.exe" files. The new file you want to see will then open easily.