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Industry Insights

Moore: Where Have All the Generalists Gone?

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The all-lines claims adjusters have now faded into the mist. I rarely run into these generalists who can adjust all the aspects of a claim or handle auto, workers' comp, liability and the many lines of a personal or business insurance policy.

James Moore

James Moore

I was trained in the horse and carriage days of the mid-1980s to handle any insurance claim put before me. The challenge of handling an auto liability and then switching to another line of insurance such as a business liability policy was immense.

Subrogation suffers

I have written so many times that workers' comp subrogation is sorely missing all-lines claims adjuster-type training. One of the glaring issues in the file reviews J&L performs for clients remains that workers' compensation adjusters are specialists. 

There is nothing wrong with being a specialist. The subrogation is either missed completely or bulk-farmed out to a recovery company that takes a 15%-33% cut of any recoveries from a responsible third party.

In our reviews over the last 10 years, I have seen one workers' comp adjuster understand how the subrogation process works.  The all-lines claims adjuster was based in Arizona.

I myself waded into the WC-only scene but then decided to keep up my training as an all-lines claims adjuster heavily focusing on premium audit. By the way, those two disciplines are interrelated more than one may realize.

Four ways to train like all-lines claims adjusters

I have always recommended (especially post-pandemic) that an adjuster try to obtain his AIC (associate in claims). One cannot pass through those courses without receiving more all-lines training.

Most adjusters have to obtain at least a few hours every year to renew their adjusting licenses. That would be one time to not take workers' comp courses but to look at premises liability, auto liability or even crop insurance. The crop insurance training was difficult.

Finding a mentor who is not in the line of insurance you work in may be one of the more rewarding ways to learn about another line or lines of insurance. I have had two retired attorneys as mentors over the years. They both reminded me that not looking at a claim globally (no blinders on) can cost the file enormous amounts of money.

Attending conferences that are not in your wheelhouse can be overwhelming. The amount of material covered in a small amount of time will turn out to be invaluable —  trust me on that one. Many conferences are priced reasonably for the information provided by the sponsors.

Bottom line

The all-lines claims adjuster may be dying out as a  profession. However, training in all lines can make you more valuable to your employer. That value will pay off for you in the long run — and in your bank account.

This blog post is provided by James Moore, AIC, MBA, ChFC, ARM, and is republished with permission from J&L Risk Management Consultants. Visit the full website at www.cutcompcosts.com.

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