I am OPTIMISTIC….REALLY! I am also a conservative and I believe STRONGLY in free enterprise, competition and everybody making as much money as we all can possibly make. I am sure there were probably Black Smiths, Wagon Wheel builders and steam engine mechanics who were saying the same thing as they were being phased out during the industrial revolution. There have been rumblings among the major carriers for decades that the days of the field adjuster/appraiser were numbered. None the less, most IA’s and individual adjusters have just ignored the premise and said it was so much “bunk”. To get to my point here, I need to share a bit of my pass as well as a recent business encounter below.
I was recruited into this business while working my way through college and managing my Dad’s body shop by Allstate back in 1979. The HMOs/Insurance Carriers helped to run me and 10s of thousands of Psychologist and doctors out of the business in the mid 80s and now they are doing their best to run adjusters off as well. And don’t forget the current administration seeks to not only take over the medical insurance industry but also the auto and housing (they already have the flood portion NFIP) insurance industry as well.
I had a lunch meeting with a friend recently who is a branch manager at one of the big 3 carriers. He had just gotten back from a meeting at their home office. By the way, I was meeting in an attempt to get more back up work which I do because they pay very well. I was told that I shouldn’t expect much more because they were told that their goal was to TOTALLY eliminate the field adjuster/appraiser (both staff and use of independents) by 2015. As such they were already phasing them out.
He went on to say that with increased use of DRP shops and contractors, a camera phone in the hand of every driver, the ability for carriers to lease real time satellites to photo entire neighborhoods following a catastrophe and now the institution of smart phones with all of the major carriers making free downloadable apps available for them, insured’s and even claimants have the ability to write their own estimates, inside adjusters review, correct and have final estimate emailed to the insured and or shop and the payment direct deposited to their accounts. They write supplements via web cams which about 70% of shops already have and Geico, Essurance and Allstate already utilize. Allstate adjusters in SAN ANTONIO are writing estimates from body shops down here (300 miles away) in their office right now. Inside property adjusters write roof and exterior damage estimate from satellites, web cams, utilize Fire Dept. videos which is standard now, insured’s use the camera/smart phones for small interior water, fire or theft claims and well…….we are no longer needed and no longer have a job.
36,000 field adjusters/appraisers were not terminated or released since Jan. 2009 just because the carriers did not have money or AIG collapsed. They were looking for a door or window to open. They found a crack in the window when Katrina hit and they had 25,000 adjusters/appraisers descend and sent all but 5,000 home in less than 2 weeks and started using satellites then to write residential claims and helicopters to assist in writing auto and heavy equipment.
The times, they are truly changing. You and I both know our industry is rapidly changing and ultimately our part in it WILL disappear.
This is not paranoia, nor speculation, it is all fact. So don’t invest too much or you might join the growing list of former Adjuster/appraisers who are now saying, “Welcome to Wal-Mart”.