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Do We or Do We Not Understand?
By John Millrany - February 27, 2001

Satirical political writer Ambrose Bierce had a pretty good handle on how high the stakes can be in the process of learning. The American author of The Devil’s Dictionary, who mysteriously vanished in Mexico in 1913, observed that education "discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding."

With this aphorism in mind, checked out one of the more commonly known insurance teaching establishments, Pennsylvania-based Vale National, which offers an array of courses, operating out of three offices including Vale West in Fresno, CA. Adjuster courses include Workers’ Compensation, Casualty, Liability Loss, Property and Property Insurance Coverage.

The company brochure states, "At Vale, we believe a student learns better by doing. That’s why we use cutaways, visual aids and mock-ups to demonstrate construction techniques, materials and repairs…property students examine interior and exterior property damage at the Vale House, a full-size residence that shows how actual damage in real situations will look. Our adjuster courses also require practice in simulated situations."

The next course on Liability Loss Adjustment takes place May 21-25 at Fresno. It addresses Principles of Law and Legal Liability as they apply to general liability and automobile self-insured risks, focusing on methods of investigating and determining legal liability, evaluation of the damages and settlement practices. Additionally, students are introduced to statement taking and claim file management. Students participate in workshops and case studies to build skills, increase confidence and encourage analytic decision making for self-insured risks.

Vale says those who should attend are self-insured office and field representatives who must know legal liability principles and investigation techniques to handle general liability and auto loss exposures, plus supervisors and managers who require a basic understanding of legal and liability principles and claim handling techniques.

The one-week course is $875.

Courses on Property Insurance Coverage will be held July 16-20 and Nov. 5-9 at Fresno. The course is designed for those who need to know how to analyze and apply coverage on Fire, Dwelling, Homeowners and Commercial insurance policies. Policies are studied, discussed and used. The course covers the same topics as the course syllabus for the Property Adjusting course except for structural estimating and some projects and workshops.

The policy of primary emphasis is the ISO Homeowners (HO-3). It is an in-depth study throughout the entire Section 1 coverage language. Over 25 workshops are involved so that the student can apply coverage skills, which are related to real loss scenarios. The commercial property policy is discussed and studied except for business interruption/time element coverage. According to Vale, the course is essential for field property adjusters, desk adjusters who handle and manage property claims and supervisors who manage property claims units.

Upon successful completion, the student "will have an in-depth knowledge of the HO-3 policy, a working knowledge of other property policies and have the skills to analyze and apply coverage to property losses."

The one-week course is $875.

The two-week Casualty Adjusting course teaches the principles of Law and Legal Liability, Automobile and General Liability principles with emphasis on the Personal Auto Policy and Commercial General Liability. Actual cases are studied to enhance the student’s ability to apply principles to practical applications. "The course takes the student beyond textbook lecture. The many workshops and case studies build confidence and skills and provide for effective, professional quality claims handling.

"Our faculty draws from over 150 years of combined experience in the fields of education, insurance, auto repair, construction and claims. Some are certified craftsmen and journeymen with published technical articles. Others have graduate and post-graduate degrees and insurance industry certifications. Each is highly skilled and dedicated to making learning easy and enjoyable.

Vale says those who should attend include entry-level employees of insurance company claims departments who are assigned casualty losses; supervisors and managers who require a basic understanding of casualty claims handling; current claims adjusters who need more knowledge of casualty claims adjusting; and independent adjusters who need training in casualty claims adjusting techniques.

Special features include pre-course material to familiarize students with insurance, legal and medical terms; statement taking exercises to build interviewing skills; role playing to develop practical techniques; and testing so that students know their progress following each unit of instruction.

Priced at $1,495, it will be held Sept. 25-Oct. 5 at Fresno.

The Workers’ Compensation Adjusting course is not presently available at Vale West. It will be held Aug. 20-24 in Arlington, TX.

Vale National offers approved Licensing and adjuster Continuing Education courses. Enrollment is offered to all, but students must be sponsored by a qualified business of government agency which accepts financial responsibility for tuition and lodging, if applicable. Special room rates at nearby facilities are available through Vale.

The educational enterprise furnishes notebooks, manuals, paper and other materials. Any additional items needed will be listed in the course confirmation letter.

Daily quizzes and weekly tests will be given, graded and discussed. Each student’s final score will be based on quizzes, tests, estimates and a final exam.

Information on registration and other programs can be obtained by calling 1-800-233-7095.

Vale National is owned by Cunningham Lindsey, whose parent company, Lindsey Morden Group Inc., is a subsidiary of Fairfax Holdings Ltd., a publicly traded corporation listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under stock symbol "LM."

Cunningham Lindsey, which manages 500 offices, has five claims and risk management divisions: Cunningham Lindsey Canada Ltd., Cunningham Lindsey U.S., Inc., Cunningham Lindsey Europe BV, Cunningham Lindsey International Ltd., Cunningham Lindsey United Kingdom and Cunningham Lindsey Claims Management Services.


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