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Last Post 09/09/2008 11:06 PM by  Roy Estes
IntegraClaim
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Tom Toll
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12/10/2006 3:07 PM
Devin, I certainly agree with the comment on short and narrow mindedness of the upper management. We have been paying royally for a half baked system for about 6 years now. Too bad they could not get the ball rolling on a superior system before now. I will probably be really retired by the time it comes to fruitition. A friend of mine told me about the transition a number of months ago, but he said it would be available in about one year, not three.

I/C cost a lot of adjusters a lot of money in the Katrina fiasco, vendors too. Too bad they cannot be sued, but with their disclaimer, they can write all the junk they want to and we have to put up with it. They should be help accountable for their screw ups. I figure I/C cost Janice and I at least $15,000. during Katrina.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
jlombardo
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12/11/2006 9:17 AM
Gale,
what makes you think that Xactimate will stagnate over the next 3 years???? Just a question???
Do you have some inside track that would indicate same????
Gale Hawkins
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12/11/2006 10:02 AM

Joseph, I do not think that. That was Devin from MSB who was indicating in his post that MDA was going to take out Xactimate and Simsol that I was referring to in my post. It is my position if MDA takes three years to straighten out the pig in a poke (MSB) that Boston Ventures sold them for $340 million that they may be starting out with zero U.S. users in three years. While ISO may make some missteps with Xactware it will not be anything fatal I expect. Xactimate has been eating away at the MSB customer base for the past 5 years and started out as a strong company. Speaking only of the adjusting component that makes up MSB today all three companies were failing to survive in the adjusting software arena in for one reason or another from what I could learn.

 

It is hard to take three losing players (as far as claims handling solutions go) and expect a merger with the main objective to turn a small investment without adding real value into a huge profit in a few short years and make things work long term. The late Friday night post by someone indicating to be a current MSB employee stating MDA is throwing in the towel on MSB (IntegriClaim) and starting over with their own team of developers and cutting the current development team at MSB at some point indicates the stress level is high. It was some time ago in the old forum where one of the MSB support staff stated some strong statements in the MSB thread that was similar in nature to what Devin posted last Friday evening but only without the current state of affairs as Devin reported.

 

I doubt if anyone besides Devin thinks MDA is going to put ISO out of the claims handling industry. I think Devin may need to think that to help him survive what may be a hellish environment today. MSB has followed the predicted path that was expected by some following the 2001 announcement of their creation by Boston Ventures. I expect MDA will continue their focus on the Canadian and UK markets and withdrawal from the US claims handling market and write MSB off as a learning experience to look to see what is in the bag before you pay the seller his price.

 

Maybe the advice, “Don’t buy a pig in a poke” is not well known in Canada as it is in the southern parts of the US.

Ray Hall
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12/11/2006 5:12 PM

The future of  temp. cat adjusters from outside to inside work will eliminate the need for software training schools. One boot up disk- one adjusters computer will also be impacted.

It seems unless the carriers can down load the estimate software into the carriers CMS this will work against the intended goal for the switch. Each keystroke takes time. I would expect many claims would be settled in the carriers log system with the adjusters notes and SOL.

upandover
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12/11/2006 10:21 PM
Tom,

Like many businesses, MDA sought MSB for the right reasons - MSB is a highly profitable company. However, MDA did not know the details of why or how MSB was so profitable. Sounds like they could have simply asked you.

The MSB sales department had already sold and promised new features to our high profile clients before we ever heard a whisper of them. Sales would come down and say, we need the sofware to do this, and we need it in weeks.

MSB did not respect their technical department leaders. As soon as someone would state it would take a year to create designs and implement the features properly, they were intimidated by sublime threats of poor leadership and dismissal. The courageous leaders that were there were either promptly dismissed by the MSB vice presidents in LA or berated to the point of dying to leave.

So the VP's and the sales department got their way, the technical side of the software suffered, and while many of the sofware solutions from MSB work, they tend not to work very reliably - and they certainly do not extend easily for future growth. The end result is hack upon hack which made the sofware increasing more difficult to maintain, extend, and debug with every new development push. The executives never understood that if they just allowed the technical department at the very least one year to make a good design, they would save three man years in future development efforts. But as I said earlier, MSB thought they could just hire more people and  make them work extended hours, push out barely sustainable software, and the whole while charge its customers handsomely for it.

Well, their poor decisions have finally caught up with them - or more unfortunately, to MDA. Once MDA finally sent its own technical staff to inspect what they had just purchased, they immediately decided they would have to build their own platform and gradually phase out the current software. On the plus side, they now own MSB's data analytics and cost database.

Gail,

There is no doubt in my mind Xactaware is a duck dead in the water. Under the covers, that sofware is very akin to the rag doll sofware MSB has. It usually takes a clean sweep of upper management to decide to incur eight quarters of loss to expense a platform rewrite. Those people simply do not understand long term gain at the expense of short term loss. They fail to trust their technical department on that type of investment. Therefore, the software solutions of both of these companies have been piece mealed together over the years. ISO has vendor visibility and recognition, but as MSB found out with AllState, that doesn't mean a thing once something better comes along. ISO is probably in the same ship as MDA in realizing the piece of dung they have purchased.

As a side note, MDA is not just interested in the UK. MSB does not even conduct business outside of the US and Canada - and their software is not built to handle foreign languages or currencies in any other markets. MDA bought MSB to attain its North American customer base, expansive price databases, and cost analysis tools. MDA bought MSB to dominate the US market, make no mistake about that.

As for me, there has been another classic MSB developer turnover - I am among many who left when faced with the prospect of maintaing poor software until the point it expired.

Gale Hawkins
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12/11/2006 11:08 PM

Devin, while you may be correct about Xactimate/Xactnet yet I would not be surprised if last year they netted more than the IntegriClaim/ComCentral solution has netted in its entire life span. Clearly MDA has not showed in the past any interest in the property claims handling industry and would have possibly have paid even more for MSB had not the IntegriClaim business been part of the deal.

PORTASATGUY
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12/24/2006 2:48 AM

If the Upper level Management of ALL SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS For the Claims Industry would LISTEN to the professional users, or shall we say CUSTOMERS who keep the doors open, then MAYBE  MS&B, and Xacware, would have something. To me Xactimate has Better and a more proficient and timely manner in which to estimate including the sketch programming, Xactcentral, and the macro programming. MS&B has a real sucky diagramming tool, macro system, Com central system, and the Estimates takes TWICE the time it takes for the same items In Xactimate. However MS&B Does have a great report database in many ways.

Id say that Software that incorporates the Sketch programming of XM8, the Macro System of XM8, The Picture Programming of XM8, The Price Database upload system of XM8, and the Report system of MS&B Then that would be a Superior Software program that would warrant the high fees we pay to XM8, MS&B or in my case BOTH.

I can HONESTLY SAY THAT WHOMEVER DOES THIS FIRST, WILL IN FACT GAIN THE UPPER HAND AND HAVE SOMETHING TO MARKET! To me, at this Point, I use MS&B Because I HAVE TO, and Not because I want to, Id MUCH RATHER write in XM8 any Day, Unfortunately it isn't up to me at this point!

Bottom Line I can Write an Estimate in XM8 of around 35,000 Fire loss in 1/4 the time it takes me to write in MS&B, and it because of all the Diagramming issues, Double Dimensioning, Changing the Wording, Like "PAINT PAINT" or "SPECIAL" and if I Build a Nice Macro, and save it Like I want the Line Item Wording to say it doesn't matter because it only remembers the DATABASE Line items, and SO I have TO RE TWEAK the Wording. TIME!

When I Upload Pictures into MS&B I have to Load My Pics into a File on My Puter, Rename them A1, A2, a3, a4, etc, for the dern things to upload in an order consistent with my estimate, SHAME ON ME if I have a Few Pics out of Order, because you cannot manipulate the order of the pictures in MS&B because you can ONLY Preview one Picture at a time, In XM8, at least you can arrange by grabbing and maneuvering them in an order consistent with the estimate!

Loading a DISK when there is another pricing database............ COMMON, I had a SALESMAN tell me, Its because its a large File, When In Fact it is the SMALL SERVERS at MS&B that wont handle multi data loads.

 

Hey and FORGET about uploading a claim to Com Central and Marking it "READY FOR EXAMINER" At Least In XM8 you can Manipulate the Estimate to Re Open the Claim without getting a supervisor involved in the event you get a call from the insured telling you the mitigation contractor found flooring UNDER the Vinyl flooring when they tore it out, a day after you inspected the claim, WHY SUPPLEMENT THIS, Reopen the claim and add the Line items and then Re-upload the claim with Activity notes thereto.

Should not be too hard to fix these problems without re doing the entire Database is it?

 

Respectfuly

 

R. Estes
Gale Hawkins
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12/24/2006 4:54 PM

Roy it is clear there is frustration with estimating software packages on the market today. Like you most have a “preferred” package but few seem to have the “ideal” package. Well the “ideal” adjusting software may be more like the “ideal” husband or wife that is sought but most would agree all adjusting software could become closer to “ideal” than it is today.

 

Devin makes some excellent points about software development issues.

 

If it was left up to developers there would never be another release of adjusting software. Never as in NEVER!

 

If it was left up to sales there would be another release of adjusting software after every sales call. Every as in EVERY!

 

In the history of adjusting software I have yet to see one software package stay on the market long term after it was sold and the one with the initial vision has left the scene. Software development is an emotional/thought activity and not a technical activity. If software development was mainly a technical process then you could wire some money to India or China (the next two world superpowers we are told) and say I want accounting, adjusting or any other type of software developed then it would magically appear. Been there and tried that and it does not work that way.

 

Since everything starts out as a thought then the environment Devine describes at MSB today precludes the thought process if developers are just trying to react to sales so as not to get fired. When developers stop thinking and start reacting the results are not what sales demanded to be developed. Been there and tried that and it does not work that way.

Gale Hawkins
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01/01/2007 2:33 AM

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/t...nted=print

 

Devin, when I read the above article about how VC firms with good track records have poured $350 million into start up firms who’s stated goal is to get a chuck of the search engine business from Google I thought about your post concerning MDA buying MSB and ISO buying Xactware. The logic these billionaires give in investing in start up firms going up again Google is because Google is branching into so many other areas that they may loose their edge in the search engine business. Also there is the question in the mind of one if the current Google management team up to running a $141 billion dollar company. That is a valid concern in any company that has doubled in value as many times as Google has in their short history.

 

You stated, “ISO has vendor visibility and recognition, but as MSB found out with AllState, that doesn't mean a thing once something better comes along.” By that statement was you stating from the position of an insider that it is a fact that Allstate is leaving MSB? It was stated (I think back in the old forum) that long term Allstate that committed to moving to Xactimate.

 

If MSB has in fact loss the Allstate account why would MDA who historically has had zero interest in claims adjusting software be willing to build NexGen at the cost of millions to replace IntegriClaim three years from now? If Allstate walks away from MDA/MSB what carrier would seriously look at picking up a vendor that that has lost as many major accounts as MSB has over the past 5 years?

scadjuster5
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01/16/2007 10:18 PM
So, is IntegriClaim starting over from scratch?
Tom Toll
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02/21/2007 4:38 PM
My HP Pavillion zd7000 is taking a nosedive. I have been pricing laptops for the past 3 days and can find nothing with XP on it, they all have Vista. I understood from one adjuster that Vista does not support Integriclaim, so I called MSB technical and was told this: No, Vista will not support Integriclaim at this time. I was told after installing IC that I could call microsoft and they could guide me to where the system would run, yeah, right. I was also informed that the last part of March that IC had a new program coming out and that it  would support Vista. I have heard new program dates before and I am sorry, I don't believe IC. The technician was not sure, so he went to his supervisor to get this information. Now that is what I call an informed technical department. Their technicians don't even know the answer to my question.

Microsoft has had a beta of Vista for months. Why the heck did MSB not download it and make it compatible with Vista, knowing the product was coming out soon. I lost my confidence in MSB during Katrina and am just about through with them. If Cunningham Lindsey were not running their program, I would switch to Simsol or Powerclaim. I do not like Xactware at all. Apparently John and Gayle had the wherewithalls to get it and made sure it was compatible with their systems, hooray for them and good thinking.

steve.fordham@msbinfo.com is the contact I have with MSB. He is the VP of marketing, I believe. I suggest that all users of IC start bombarding him with questions about where MSB is going and why they have not made their program compatible with Vista. Could be they will get tired of our questions and start doing something for the adjuster.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Jgoodman
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02/21/2007 9:00 PM

Dell is still selling desktops with XP since the large corporate clients are still using XP.  I had a client order one yesterday.  It looks as if the entire Latitude line still has XP available.   Just check the Dell website.  I cannot get the link to paste correctly.

But I imagine that all the retail outlets only have Vista machines.  It needs more hardware, which mean more cost.

Good luck in your search.

Jeff

Gale Hawkins
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02/22/2007 10:45 PM

Tom thanks for the kind words about Simsol and PowerClaim. While MSB and Xactware may have missed the Vista grand opening and that is causing some stress for adjusters there is the fact that each changed ownership in 2006. Actually the ownership of MSB had changed from Boston Ventures to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd (MDA) before 2006 but Boston Ventures maintained management of MSB through 2005 and as I understand it earned a $90 million bonus for hitting 2005 projections. Perhaps focus can be lost when the dealing is being done.

rickhans
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02/23/2007 12:38 AM
Tom & Gale,

I have not posted in quite a while but had to get in on the comments above about Vista and IntegraClaim. As I have mentioned before on this site, besides adjusting, I have been developing software for about 40 years and have a good guess as to what is happening here, and it is just a guess. Gale, If you know otherwise, please correct me. For the last 20 years I have been developing software using Bourland Pascal. Bourland's Delphi system is an offshoot of the Bourland Pascal that  was created to develop Pascal software under Window's operating systems when Window's 98 came out or possibly earlier. Paradox is a database system by Bourland that will run with Delphi and other software systems.

After installing Integraclaim a few weeks ago, I got some assistance from their technical support and asked them what language they developed it in and was told Bourland Paradox. During a discussion he indicated they do use Borland Pascal which probably means Delphi.

According to documentation on Code Gear's (a division of Borland) web site, Delphi 2007 is out and contains routines to run in Vista. Nothing was mentioned about Paradox. I suspect that the development platform used for Integraclaim has not been updated, or at least not proven to be bug free under Vista. Regardless of what exact version or type of compiler and data base they have developed under, a developer can not just "make it compatible with Vista". The company that produces the compilers and/or platform software to base a software product on, has to first make their software work, beta test it, then give it to the public. This has been a common problem with compilers for years when new operating systems came out. It took quite a few years before Bourland spun off a different version of their software to compile Pascal programs to run them on Linux operating systems. Because of the industry's slow response to new operating systems, it makes it difficult for developers to be ready for new operating systems, and in the case of Linux, has prevented Linux from taking a larger percentage of the customer base from Microsoft. I have not looked at Linux for a couple of years so I may be behind in my knowledge of what is now available.

Even software companies who develop using Microsoft compilers and database systems will quite often have a conversion to go through. For a while, programs were upward compatible. Most Dos programs would run under Win 95 & 98, but then Microsoft changed things up preventing many programs from running under XP. I had systems installed at customer's sites using Lantastic network software, but when XP came out, Lantastic would no longer work. Microsoft also drops earlier products requiring the customers to buy newer versions specifcally programmed to run only on their latest OS. If Vista's internal functions have been changed, the developer could have a substantial job porting their sources to Vista.

I am afraid this might more of an answer than was wanted, but I only know how to give detail explanations when it comes to software.

One additional note: There are many small computer shops around who will sell you a laptop or computer with any OS you want.  Some developers carry laptops with swapout drives to change operating systems as needed.  Look for a mom and pop store that has one or two computer guru's working there and you should be able to XP, Linux, or even 98 if you still want it.  I know of one store in Lakeland, Fl. that I got a quote from for this exact configuration while there in 2004.
Gale Hawkins
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02/23/2007 8:28 AM
 

Rick you raised a valid question and may be on target. We know Borland was in its heyday in the late 80’s and early 90’s with nice market share in several areas and while the Borland name has been brought back into use today the company has a very different focus. My early development days about 38 years ago were with RPG-2 and in the early 90’s we were more on the hardware side of technology and starting in 1995 when we got into software development as a company we decided to be basically a Microsoft shop until their operation system falls into disuse which still is years away I expect. While what you mentioned about perhaps the foundational development technology of IntegriClaim not having evolved over the years had crossed my mind I never gave it any serious thought because our own plate is full because even being a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner developer the technology treadmill to stay current seems to get faster and faster. 

Below is some info on Borland Paradox I read this morning and it does to seem to lend support to your thoughts. We know through others that Ron Pylant was working on DDS during the Northridge earthquake and at that time Borland would have been an attractive option to going the Microsoft route. At NACA in January 2007 some that attended the MSB training class stated they were told in 18 months IC would be replaced with a new system and earlier in this same tread someone by the name Devin Bonaire posted on 12/08/2006 that it would be 36 months and he went into the mindset of MDA today.

If IntegriClaim has boxed itself in not being able to move past the Windows XP operating systems it was not a surprise to them I am sure. After Boston Ventures bought DDS in 2001 and rolled it into the new company called MSB and the founder left the company one can see how the direction could go from producing leading edge technology to then making the bottom line look good so someone like MDA would pay $$$. Based on Tom’s post we will know the bottom line per the MSB rep he spoke with that in the next five weeks they are going to be ready for Vista. If by chance they are locked out of the Vista market for the next three years that will be the same as forever in the world of technology.

Rick thank you for your detailed post and the history lesson as well. Woops the technology treadmill did not stop why I was typing this post so I have to now run to catch up. : )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_(database)

Paradox for DOS was a relational database management system originally released by Ansa-Software. In September 1987, Borland purchased Ansa-Software, including their Paradox/DOS 2.0 software. Notable classic versions were 3.5 and 4.5. Versions up to 3.5 were evolutions from 1.0. Version 4.0 and 4.5 were retooled in the Borland C++ windowing toolkit and used a different extended memory access scheme.

Paradox is a relational database management system currently published by Corel Corporation. It was originally designed for DOS but a Windows version was released by Borland in 1992.

rickhans
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02/24/2007 1:31 AM
Gale, I did a little research and it looks like that probably is their problem. IC on my computer contains Borland Data Base which supports Paradox and Delphi, and it appears there are Paradox files being used if I am intrepreting the file extensions correctly. This could slow them down as I guessed. I would like to see them port the software to Linux, but I don't know how big a job that would be. It has been at least 2 years since I researched porting our software to Linux and don't know the status today of the Borland products for Linux. Although I have not used Linux yet, one nice thing about it is that it does not crash like Windows, and is more secure on the internet, and if you have to run a Windows based program, you can crank up Windows as a task running under Linux.

There is a local company (in Plano) that, like us, was developing all of their software in Borland Pascal and I believed used Dos Paradox. The converted to Windows and Delphi but it was a massive effort and if I remember correctly, took them about 2 years to get bug free. They said they hoped they never had to go through such a conversion again. Conversions are never easy, so if these Borland products are not compatible with Vista, they have a big job ahead of them and I wish them success. I would hate to be stuck with such a project.
Gale Hawkins
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02/24/2007 6:15 AM

Rick last fall at a tradeshow a MSB rep told us he had seen mock up screens of NexGen (as he called it) and at that time a team was gathering user input that would be used when they create the new estimating software solution. This may mean they are investing in new technology if they can not go forward due to the old technology no longer being upgradeable if that is actually the case based on what you were told by a MSB tech. This drives home the fact that developing with tools from companies that change course with no way forward is risky business but 15 years ago Paradox was hot. While Xactimate 24 will not run on Vista due to their using the older MSDE database engine at least they can just replace it with the free and better replacement called SQL Server 2005 Express Edition and keep selling their version 24 as long as they wish without rushing the development a new solution to market. Not everyone is in love with Microsoft but they do take steps to preserve one’s assets.

rickhans
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02/25/2007 6:15 PM
You are correct when it comes to developing application software. The software I develop and maintain is DOS based and is a dedicated application for fast food Point of Sale processing and includes real time data capturing over the LAN. I don't have any plans to port it to Windows because of the continuous changes in the operating systems and the loss of ability to contol interrupts and the computer. There are others now producing DOS look alike operating systems and there are quite a few after market products to adapt USB hardware to Dos applications.

As I mentioned before, I wish more companies would put their money in developing applications to run on Linux which is a stable OS and does not change like Windows does.
LG
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07/23/2008 4:21 PM

How much is Integriclaim when activated?

johnpostava
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07/24/2008 10:12 AM
I made a tidy living for the 11 years while I adjusted claims using the DOS version of simsol. Even now, 13 years after we released our first Windows version we still have 50 or so users still using the DOS version. Years ago when simsol was having meetings with Marshall and Swift (before the buy-out) the owners told me estimating software was becoming a commodity and the future was in data analysis. Insurance company execs see estimating software systems as basically all the same. Simsol started as a 100% software development company. Now I would say we are 50% develoment and 50% a service business. I commend MSB for taking on the challenge of building a new system from the ground up. I am sure it cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions. Software development is alot like remodeling your house - it ends up costing you double what you thought and takes twice as long as you planned. I am curious to see the new MSB but they are only re-eventing the wheel and in the current marketplace I seriously doubt they will gain any signifcant additional marketshare or make back their investment.
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