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Survival Of The Fittest
By Douglas B. Jackson, RPA - February 14, 2001

When I first became an adjuster in the mid 70's, adjuster organizations were a popular and wonderful way to meet other adjusters who shared a common career path with myself. Whether they were staff or independent adjusters was not an issue. We could share learned methods of adjusting or investigation, information about trends and legal decisions, and...of course...war stories about those interesting claims we all have.

During the 80's, it was becoming clear to us that insurers were reluctant to have us attend these meetings. Although it was informed to us that there were anti-trust issues involved, it was the naive adjuster who actually ever believed that claims adjusters could somehow collude to control the insurance marketplace. Did adjusters ever have any knowledge or say about how much premiums were being charged...or did they care? In reality, we all knew that the industry didn't see the need for adjusters to waste time and money for these meetings...that is, the companies' time and money.

Over the years, adjusters have attempted to keep some contact with their peers. Frankly, adjusters are like police, no one really wants to associate with us until we are needed. Most adjusters want to do a professional job. And to prove it, many attend adjuster meetings and functions at their own expense. To get the most value, the adjuster must look to the organization that will enable the best education, in professional stature, and in the ability to keep them from being pulled down by an industry increasingly concerned with adjustment expenses and policyholders demanding looking for lower premiums. Good adjusters and good adjustments, unfortunately, sometimes take the backseat to and industry driving to a plug-in the numbers, fast track, flat rate, one size fits all, and low cost adjustment.

Various organizations have survived over the years. Each has had its ups and downs. The CAIIA has found new energy in their members and refuses to give up on this professional organization. Not only has it grown stronger in members, it has grown into the electronic age with its presence on the internet. The CAIIA has seen fit to promote education...not only within its membership but also to the industry. It was a proud day when this organization decided to promote education and professionalism worldwide. And with that commitment came the birth of the Registered Professional Adjuster Program Like a proud parent of a child, the CAIIA pushed the RPA out of our auspices and into a completely independent group comprised of a varied board and membership under its own control.

Many more adjuster organizations may fail. Yet with the continued support of its members, future members, and industry representatives not afraid to stand up and demand representation in adjuster organizations, groups like the CAIIA will continue to be an important and critical part of the claims adjusting brethren.

Support your local claims organizations. Support professionalism in our industry!


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