Why Should Policyholders Be Compelled to Accept Engineering Opinions From Firms Owned By Independent Adjusters?

Why Should Policyholders Be Compelled to Accept Engineering Opinions From Firms Owned By Independent Adjusters?

Titles to this blog seem to have more influence than the content. Yesterday’s post, HAAG Celebrates Being in Business 100 Years—And It Remains an Independent Engineering Firm, had numerous private comments asking why I was saying such nice things about HAAG. The primary point of the post was the title to this post, and I tried to make it by asking readers these questions:

Can you imagine a scenario where a public adjusting firm acquires an engineering company and then hires those engineers to determine the cause of a loss? Would any independent adjuster, company adjuster, or insurance company attorney readily accept the expert opinions provided by that engineering company? The answer is clearly ‘no.’

So, why should policyholders be compelled to accept engineering opinions from firms owned, directly or indirectly, by independent adjusters? Surprisingly, there are several larger independent adjusting firms that have purchased engineering companies and subsequently rely on them to produce reports on losses.

Large independent adjusting firms seem to be on a profit motive spree by retaining engineering companies they own rather than obtaining truly independent opinions from independent engineers. Engle Martin & Associates, Inc., a national independent adjusting firm, acquired PT&C Forensic Consulting Services, a leader in forensic engineering. McLarens acquired Vanderwal & Joosten, a Dutch engineering claims company with a team of adjusters and technical engineers. Sedgwick, a large independent adjusting firm, has acquired several engineering firms.

The best claims practice would be the retention of the best independent and non-biased engineering consultants one could find rather than one whom the independent adjusting firm will make more money from the cash cow insurer client. Is the Sedwick independent adjuster really going to harshly criticize the findings and report from its own engineering company? This new financial arrangement between the independent adjusters and the engineers is not good for the insurer client and the insurer’s policyholder.

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Do you think judges, juries, arbitrators, and insurance regulators will not be asking about this arrangement when it comes time for critical judgment about who is right or wrong?

Thought For The Day      

The time is always right to do what is right.

—Martin Luther King Jr.