April 1, 2007 by Paul Aquino, Publisher
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Claims Canada magazine! In this issue, and in many more to come, we plan to provide perspective and bring insight to many of the issues facing the loss adjusting profession in Canada. And we hope to put a renewed brand on the official publication of the Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association. As CIAA president Miles Barber puts it, this is a part of the “new skin” of the CIAA.
A bi-monthly magazine (published six times each year), Claims Canada aims to bring together the entire national property and casualty insurance claims market through the sharing of information and insight regarding the profession. In addition, the magazine will feature the activities, opinions and values of the people involved in the business of insurance claims and loss adjusting.
All key claims process stakeholders make up a part of our readership community; that includes both CIAA member and non-member independent claims adjusting firms; insurance and reinsurance company executives, claims management and claims adjusting personnel; corporate risk managers and loss control professionals; insurance brokers; insurance law firms; forensic engineers and accountants; appraisal, restoration, rehabilitation and collision repair professionals; Insurance Institute chapters; insurance associations, regulators and related claims market recipients.
This first issue comes at a time when there is an interesting crossroads in the evolution of the loss adjusting profession. Independent adjusting firms face a host of challenges to their business model, including diminished volume and frequency of smaller routine claims, sharp expense management from insurance companies and the threat of unlicensed adjusting from contractors and service suppliers.
Adjusters have been quick to adapt, whether at the large national company level or within the small regional niche firms. All play an invaluable role in the membership of the CIAA and the provision of professional independent adjusting services in Canada.
National adjusting firms, for example, are investing in state-of-the-art technology to allow client access to claims files. In addition, they are providing tools for remote adjusting from field locations. The ability to handle claims efficiently gives larger firms the ability to process claims quickly.
Smaller adjusters have relied on strong regional relationships to build business, often in specialty areas.
There is no one “right” strategy to address the competitive nature of today’s insurance marketplace.
CIAA represents the diversity of the industry when it covers critical regulation issues such as uniform licensing, standards for continuing education and provincial frameworks for dealing with disasters. Although the disparity in licensing requirements across provinces — and the resultant lack of portability — has been on adjusters’ radar screens for many years, there are distinct signs that regulators are coming to the table. CIAA needs to push ahead with its proposed model to harmonize licensing and enshrine a consistent standard of continuing education for adjusters across jurisdictions. The association is working closely with provincial regulators and emergency management organizations to develop appropriate frameworks for handling the non-insured losses of natural or man-made disasters.
Of course perhaps the most crucial issue facing adjusters is the perpetuation of the profession itself.
Many in the industry have noted a shrinking base of personnel and the imminent retirement of hundreds of senior adjusters. Individual firms and the national association are therefore focusing in the future on recruitment, training and retention. Gone are the days of the junior adjuster coming in to cut his or her teeth on smaller claims. Those claims are gone; in many instances, so are the junior adjusters.
CIAA has a vital role to play in promoting the profession through trade shows, career fairs and educational information events. This profession needs postsecondary graduates who are willing to take dedicated insurance courses, embrace training by seasoned industry veterans and who wish to take part in a long, prosperous and rewarding career in the claims business. This is a process that will take years, not months, and could mean the difference between a vibrant adjusting profession and a dwindling labour force.
Claims Canada will be profiling, describing and discussing the issues, threats and opportunities that face claims adjusting professionals in today’s ever-changing property and casualty insurance marketplace.
Together with the management team of the CIAA, the editorial and publishing staff of this magazine will be putting this “new skin” into the game.
We welcome both your input and feedback.