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TomS

USA
32 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2004 :  05:11:54  Show Profile
Lets discuss software such as xactimate. I am under the impression that since 9-01-03, that purchase of xactware would give you "2" installs but only on "one" "1" computer. I was told this was due to "change" in billing. It looks like they are after us again, most all of us have 2 and sometimes 3 computers and the extra install was good to work from car and also home base. A crappy deal. I can see why people are going to other programs and certainly am checking them out myself.
Any one else seem to have a problem with xactware and their pricing.[V][:(][:0]

katadj

USA
315 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2004 :  10:36:53  Show Profile
Not surprizing at all. The software makers want all they can get, especially Mr.Microsoft.

Now Windows XP Pro can be installed one (1) time on one (1) Machine.
While 2000K could be installed many times on as many machines as possible.

Just had a new one built and made the decision to go to the XP Pro, boy was i surprized , (after checking with some software advisors and being told that XP Pro could be used over and over) Sure hope this new monster dont crash.

More money for Gates & Co...........................
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ChuckDeaton

USA
373 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2004 :  10:44:01  Show Profile
Mr. Microsoft is setting up a system that requires us to buy his product over and over again. Not only the newer operating systems, but Office is that way too.

The older operating systems, legacy systems, are no longer supported and the current systems will move into that catagory at some point. Best get set up now and save money later.
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MRichardson1952

USA
24 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2004 :  16:26:35  Show Profile
Cut you're deal with the carrier and make a part of the conditions, that they provide the software for their claims.

I've never had a company or vendor reject that offer, it's pennies to them, and dollars for everyone......never buy the software when they will do it for you and write it off thier bottom line.

For all those who buy it themselves.....shame on you, the vendors and companies will do it if you know what you're doing, and how to say it!

This is what seperates the skilled from the want-to-be's.

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Gale

USA
231 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2004 :  20:24:32  Show Profile
Mark you seem to take a different angle than some :)

Back to the subject of the thread. So if the evil carriers don’t get you have to watch out for the software vendors I see. :)
It is like the deck is stacked against you guys it seems. While I personally think loading on two different computers for only one adjuster to use is a good idea especially for the dying CAT adjuster industry (to hear some of you talk). Having a spare system on site and ready to go would be a personal requirement of mine if I were out there. I even keep an old spare vehicle around the place so when there is that flat tire or dead battery I can go.

While we have always let adjusters have our software on two computers at the same time for their own personal use but not to be shared with other adjusters yet I do think the software industry is in part to blame for the current confusion because of past practices.

From my understanding Xactimate permitted one master user years ago and provided tokens that would legally let the user share Xactimate with a certain number of other adjusters to lower the net cost to adjusters. Some of you that have been in the industry for a few years longer can better explain what I only have heard about but I know only a few months ago a restoration company VP told me Xactimate was like $115 per month but two adjusters could use it legally so if they had 8 estimators in the field it would cost them $115 x 4 per month. Basically since we have been in the business on average Xactimate has been about $600 per year per user according to our research.

On the other hand some CAT adjusters seem more inclined to scam a system then a home based IA or staff adjusters. You will not believe the whining, moaning and groaning over our price of $599 yr, $189 quarter or $75 per month with no future payments required. Get this, one CAT adjuster first got so excited about talking about his new diesel dually with the $4500 optional engine and then turned around and wanted me to spot him for 90 days and I was working without salary at the time just to get to where we are today.

Yes there are problems in the CAT trade and they are not all on the outside.

Another vendor was quoted last year at NACA as to making it clear the CAT market was just too small to address to a large extent and he caught some flack over the statement. The fact of the matter there is some or a lot of truth to his statement. A trade insider told me one fact that help take DDS out of the running was that they were heavy into CAT vendors and light on carrier accounts. Clearly there were other issues but one vendor told me when in 1999 they peaked at about 2500 users on DDS and that peak season in 2000 only saw about 20% of that volume. Software companies have ever-increasing overheads and can’t cut cost as fast as the storms can stop appearing. That was NACA 2001 and was a wake up call to all software vendors but especially to a young vendor like us. NACA 2004 is only days away and we will be teaching a 4-hour class this year.

I do think now is a good time for the CAT industry to look at what is wrong on the inside and when those issues are identified and addressed then a lot of the external issues will vaporize by themselves.

What is the difference between a well-trained army of 1000 men and an army of 1000 Lone Rangers? Which had you prefer to defend you?
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CCarr

Canada
1200 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2004 :  21:12:13  Show Profile
Well said Gale, and I believe there is a lot of truth in your remarks.
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JimF

USA
1014 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2004 :  21:17:59  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Gale


What is the difference between a well-trained army of 1000 men and an army of 1000 Lone Rangers? Which had you prefer to defend you?





Your question begs the question: defend us from 'what'?
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CCarr

Canada
1200 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2004 :  22:06:22  Show Profile
Considering Gale's other posts recently, it would be my humble understanding of the analogy, that a group of 1000 cat adjusters that are cohesive, with common training and standardized levels of professionalism, are much greater suited to defending the niche of the cat adjuster than 1000 individuals with varying definitions of what is "satisfactory", or 'good" or "acceptable", and more akin to defending their own survival or existence as adjusters than the niche in which they work.

However, if Gale's intent was different, I'd be pleased to hear it.
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MRichardson1952

USA
24 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  00:45:23  Show Profile
With all due respect Gale is trying to sell his product.

I stand by my position and have for over 27 years, how long has Gale been promoting his product, and how many claims has he actually worked? This is where the real adjuster need to jump in and take a stand!
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JimF

USA
1014 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  06:11:21  Show Profile
Gale, thanks for your response.


______________________________________________________________________
"Pursue your values. Accept no contradictions."

Edited by - JimF on 01/04/2004 06:14:49
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Gale

USA
231 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  07:23:43  Show Profile
Jim the question could have been left off. The "what" could be whatever one wanted it to be? Clayton took it in the light I intended.

For the most part I see CAT adjusters as the Lone Range of the Roy Rogers cut. He is always ready to come to the rescue of the helpless and take on the bad guys with great skill yet he is not a team player and by choice. The picture of a well-trained army just meant in action they work as one on one common objective. It is always the "objective" that is at the forefront and not the individual egos of 1000 men. Every one knows what he and the others are doing and are going to do. If want falls the objective still rules the actions of the rest and another man steps into his place thinking only of the objective at that moment. My wording at this morning may not be clear but just reread Clayton’s last post before this one because he read between the lines and nailed it down well.

Mark earlier you wrote, “For all those who buy it themselves.....shame on you, the vendors and companies will do it if you know what you're doing, and how to say it! This is what seperates the skilled from the want-to-be's.”

Do you know that kind of attitude is harmful to the future of the CAT industry? I do not know why you would like to harm it and those coming up in the ranks. You are putting down good men and women that it is just not in their nature to beat up others to get their way. There is no “shame” in a man providing his own tools and unless you are an employee there are in fact good legal reasons for providing your owe tools as far as the IRS is concerned.

Mark you and others like you in the trade are some of the ones dimming the lights the most on the CAT industry the most with an attitude like you have in my view. If people do not act and behave like you then you call them names. Most likely you are trying to hide something but I will know better after I meet and talk with you face to face at some point in the future.

As some of those who have been on CADO four or five years can tell you I can have a mean and vindictive streak when under great stress in case you were not around in those days. Life was hard and we had competitors that were saying we would not be around long because we were selling our software for only about 40% of what they were charging. We even had a couple competitors to send letters from their lawyers saying our marketing efforts where hurting their clients financially. At the time I thought it was a joke even be on their radar screen. The bottom line is being mean and vindictive for whatever the reason is not the best route to travel howbeit an attractive one often.

What I did not know at the time was sometimes when it looks like you are failing on the surface you can be actually succeeding under the surface. Both companies I mentioned had investors that were wanting out and both companies wound up being merged into another company and now it is about the time one of its investors initially stated they would be selling out their ownership. The news of how that is going to play out should be forth coming this year I expect.

Mark we started developing PowerClaim in the fall of 1996 and I started marketing PowerClaim in the fall of 1996 but it was July of 1998 when we sold our first copy of PowerClaim and were puzzled why anyone would buy it. :)

Of course it was more market research than selling for nearly the first two years because we did not have a product. In fact we had actually established the price of PowerClaim 18 months before we sold our first copy or even had a clue what it would cost us to get to market. By staying in close contact from 1997 on with adjusters who personally knew some of the DDS investors we were able to establish how much they had spent so we determined to a degree what they would have to charge and volume of sales they would have to reach to get a decent return on investment. They did not disappoint us on their prices. What we did not know until January of 2001 was an estimate of their volume but we did get a clue in 1999 it was perhaps lower than desired when they agreed to let a competitor sell their product for them under the competitor’s name. Well that should about cover the question of how long Gale has been promoting his product. Since day one was the short answer. :)

Now as to how many claim has he actually worked part, Mark I have openly indicated even in this thread that I am not out there with you guys and along the way made it know that we provide software to the P&C insurance industry. Those on CADO that have meet me know if I were to get on a roof it would be best if it was concave for safety sake and that I have never adjusted.

To chase different rabbit for a minute the lack of agreement, unlike in the medical profession (Mark I am the proud owner of an earned O.D. degree from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, TN dated 1986 if you would like to contact them) on what the concepts of adjusting actually are can be applauding. Some of this is due to 50 states and 50 sets of laws. It is not unusual to find branches within one carrier in the same state handling adjusting issues 180 degrees differently. This in turn makes adjusting that much harder. You should try to write software with all the options on handling the wildly different concepts of adjusting in the US alone.

When you state, “This is where the real adjuster need to jump in and take a stand!” I take it you consider yourself a “real” adjuster.

For some reason I do not know much about you but through my work I think I have met many “real” adjusters that may be very different from you. Several have even posted on CADO and a few that come to mind at the moment are Tom Toll, RD Hood, Jim Flynt, Clayton Carr and a host of others. I would venture that most of them are very different from you but never the less are “real” adjusters. To even imply that no “real” had jumped in and taken a stand on this thread would demand a great deal of an arrogant attitude I would think.

Mark I am trying to sell my product but I would say that my post in this thread was more “anti selling” than selling. :) One thing you can take to the bank is that I will never tell you something unless I believe it to be the truth. I do not have the mental energy to track what I have said and to whom I said it.

To end on a positive note I do believe a new era is dawning and adjusters are truly beginning to understand without accountability in their profession they have no profession. The bad is there but the spot light is trained on it and blinding from one’s view all of the great things that are happening in the industry.

Believe it or not adjusting software is helping to bring some standardization of concepts to the industry. While the artificially high price of estimating software initially stalled the implementation of technology in many segments of the adjusting industry we think that situation will correct its self over the next five years. We have reason to believe currently there are over 10,000 staff adjusters still with no estimating software in place and that is the niche that is our main focus today at Hawkins Research, Inc.

2004 is a New Year and every New Year since our country was formed has brought about good changes and 2004 will be no exception. Someone said good luck is “preparedness meeting opportunity”. Opportunity is coming so may we all be prepared.
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JimF

USA
1014 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  08:15:24  Show Profile
Gale, I really meant no disrespect to you in asking the question about what was being defended against. And I agree with much of what you have to say.

My own analogy would be more along the lines that we have a sick mule, and in trying to determine the illness, various veterinarians consulted have suggested several different diagnoses. Since we can't agree on the diagnosis, we're not in a position to agree on a cure.

Some days when we check on our mule, some say our mule is fine and dandy, some say he looks much improved, some say he is getting weaker and worse, and on other days, some would argue it appears that death is at his door. You see, we can't even agree on the condition of our poor mule.

Some would argue that we simply kill the mule and replace it with a new one. Others would embrace the risk management tool of duplication by acquiring a back up mule. Some might argue that a simple change of diet would solve the problem. Others may suggest we limit the number of riders or not allow minors to ride. Some would give the mule an aspirin, some a heart transplant, and some would advocate other treatments somewhere between the two.

The confusion or lack of agreement on diagnosis/cauasation is why I suggested in an earlier post, that a cure of not knowing where we're going will likely allow us to end up someplace else. With the result of having prescribed and administered the wrong cure for the wrong illness for the wrong mule.

______________________________________________________________________
"Pursue your values. Accept no contradictions."

Edited by - JimF on 01/04/2004 08:26:05
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olderthendirt

USA
370 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  08:16:52  Show Profile
Gale. I for one appreciate your comments. Your views are from a slightly different angle and are raise important issues. You are right we are mostly lone wolves. And if you ever worked clean up you would understand the main weakness of this industry. We have "general adjusters" whom I wouldn't want as a file clerk and newby's who can almost walk on water. Most importly you have hit on the mian weakness, there is no accountablity in most of this industry. We need to be able to present a group that is accountable. I like many others have not been able to choose my software for several years. Xactware is part of my life like death and taxes and often as welcome.
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Ghostbuster

476 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  10:32:05  Show Profile
We have wandered way off the Xactimate trail and are now in an entirely different meadow, fraught with pipe smoking, tweed jacket wearing, mental health care specialists as we recline on leather couches. In truth, this self analysis of ourselves and our common interest in storm trooping is an ongoing exercise for me, and it appears, all the rest of my fellow Lone Rangers out there.

To return, albeit briefly, to the Orem Miracle, I view Xactimate in the same light as the American automobile industry. By 1967, they had it all together in a product that was reliable, attractive, easy to use, and easy to live with. Then they tried to improve it, only to annually make it worse. Show of hands now, how many of you would choose a brand new 1967 Chevy Malibu over a new 2004 Chevy Malibu? One-two-seventeen...Ahh-ha! See what I mean? That is the same analogy that applies to Xactimate.

With Xactimate 5.8 or 5.9, they had it right. Then they got a burr up their butt, went to Windows, and from there on out, everything we treasured turned to bovine excrement. On that we all agree.

Unfortunately, they, like the rest of American industry, were only following corporate/human nature to improve apon perfection. (Yeah, I know, it may not have been perfect, but what came afterward was NOT an improvement.) Paradise was paved to put up a parking lot, went the line from the song from the 1960's, that's what happened to Xactimate.

But getting back to the psychiatrists couch in the meadow, in fact, it is the nature of the beast that a true storm trooper marches to the beat of a drum far different than that of the traditional staff employee that has the company car, group health plan, dreams of career advancment, etal. Ours and theirs are different realities in the space/time continuim. We are not necessarily better or worse than them in our individual job skills, it is that we function internally on different mental operating systems. Some people can make the jump from staff to independent to storm trooping, most cannot.

Much of our inner image of ourselves was formulated by watching the westerns and cartoons on TV when we were kids. Lone Ranger, Daffy Duck, Superman, Bugs Bunny, Gene Autry, John Wayne, the Calvary coming over the hill to save the day, the RAF pilots reclining in lawn chairs sipping tea until the klaxson sounds, then it's 'balls to the wall' to shoot down the Hun...all these images provide us with indelible modes of coping with the realities of being the 'Hero' to those swatted down by the Insurable Perils of an insurance contract. Ordinary, 'normal' people cannot cope with our peculiar life/work style. For example, put a staff adjuster and a storm trooper together watching the weather channel. The staff adjuster sees the approaching storm system with a sense of dire forboding. The storm trooper, on the other hand, is postively giddy with excitement! (Whoopee! Omaha is about to get pounded and I know where to stay and Joe Tesh Fish Place is just over the hill where I can eat fried carp!) Big psychological difference here, and all based on diverse viewpoints of the same event. They see doom, we see fun.

This variance extends to our basic core because we are neither leaders or followers. We are closer akin to those called explorers that sought out the wilderness and the unknown by themselves. Names like Boone, Carson, Cody. Did the great technological advances come from the corporate employees? Who got into the air first? The corporatly funded Langley or the independent Orville and Wilbur? In fact, Langley never made it. Was Edison or Bell an employee or were they marching to their drum beat? We share that same sense of independence of thought and mentality. We, as individuals, as Lone Rangers, as Supermen, as the 'Hero' of the day function best when the company staff falter. And, they always will. They, as a group, falter because their internal workings cannot cope the way we do. They exist to work as employees, we work for the fun of it. Theirs is a different mental reality of going along to get along. Ours is one fun adventure after another.

One last thing regarding the effectiveness of a regiment Lone Rangers versus a regiment of staff employees. Recall your history. It was Claire Chennault and his independent Flying Tigers 'storm troopers' that swatted down the Japs while the Douglas MacArthurs U.S. Army Air Corps staff employees were being swatted out of the sky in 1942 using the same airplanes. And, they faced that same loathing from the corporate honchos when they were assimilated in July 1942 to become part of the team that we face from the corporate honchos on every storm where they have to hire us to handle the stuff their own kids cannot.

Edited by - Ghostbuster on 01/04/2004 10:36:05
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katadj

USA
315 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  11:08:56  Show Profile
The only initial thought that comes to mind is "Word-meister"

GB, no matter what, you have struck the 40-penny nail right on the proverbial head and driven it home with one fell swoop.

In all aspects of your post, as in Jim's, is the belying fact that we are, and for the most part, will always be "The Lone Ranger's" of our profession.

We want it that way, and if we go down it will be on our terms, no one else's.

Long live the Queen, Long live the Cat adjuster, and long live CADO.....

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goose

57 Posts

Posted - 01/04/2004 :  13:09:33  Show Profile
Good grief, GB, it scares me to think that we actually have a lot more in common than I realized. Great post. I am hoping for Lubbock this year. I feel the need for some real Mexican food again. This CA stuff is way too mild for my palate. I have been reduced to eating raw fish because at least the green stuff you put in the soy sauce gives the food a little bit of a flavor. As far as the Lone Ranger anolgy, I feel more like Gus in Lonesome Dove. I have been on the road so much, that I am ready to play cards with Miss Lorrie and pistol whip a bartender.
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