2011 Conference Breakout Sessions

Adjusting Siding, Roofing, and Flooring Claims

This workshop will focus on the basics of siding, roofing, and flooring (including carpet, vinyl, laminate, and wood flooring) materials. The instructor will discuss claim challenges affecting adjusters and contractors with regard to these materials, including discontinued stock, matching issues, finding LKQ, delamination, installation issues, durability, repair options, and pricing.

Faculty: Gail Bartlett, ITEL Inc.

Appraisal, Mediation or Litigation?

This workshop will focus on how claims progress to Appraisal, Mediation, Litigation, or a combination thereof.  Each alternative avenue will be discussed and the benefits and pitfalls of each.

Faculty: Martin Lipneck, Esq., Dispute Resolution Consultants, Inc., Paige Jones, Esq., Phelps Dunbar, L.L.P; Ty Tyler, Esq., Tyler & Hamilton, P.A.; Denise Long, ICAT Boulder Claims

Building Code Updates and Code Required Upgrades

This workshop will provide a brief overview of current Building Codes in force throughout the Gulf and southern Atlantic states, and also provide an overview of how the Building Code and NFIP establish—and building departments regulate—required upgrades. Examples and case studies will be presented for discussion.

Faculty: William C. Bracken, P.E., Bracken Engineering; John Carroll, P.E., Twenty First Century Engineering

Catastrophic Modeling and Reinsurance

Insurance companies utilize catastrophic modeling and reinsurance to predict maximum loss, identify appropriate base rates, and increase property writings in catastrophic-prone territories. Overviewing these tools will expand the knowledge of and benefit adjusters, underwriters, agents, and attorneys.

Faculty: Michelle Shaver, Zurich Small Business; Derek Gullage, Farmers Insurance

Caught in the Middle:  Prosecuting and Defending Claims Against Insurance Agents, Brokers, and Adjusters

When an insurer denies a claim, policyholders may consider suing agents, brokers, and adjusters.  Policyholders may have emotional reasons for suit, and these professionals present the “face” of the insurer. Policyholders may also sue agents, brokers, and adjusters to provide state-court jurisdiction or an additional source of money from an errors-and-omissions policy.  This workshop explores the basis for liability and peculiar issues that the policyholder, the insurer, and the agent, broker, or adjuster need to know about these lawsuits.

Faculty: Heather Kubiak, Esq., Kubiak & Carter, PLLC; David Ward, Jr., Esq., Ward Law Firm; Jay K. Williams, President, Bankers Underwriters, Inc.

Code Upgrades and Their Effect on Business Interruption Claims

This interactive panel will examine how complying with code upgrades and LEED guidelines effects the period of restoration and the resulting business-interruption loss, including examining situations in which courts have found policy coverage for code upgrades, as well as situations in which courts found the policy did not cover code upgrades.

Faculty:  Shannon Rusnak, Matson, Driscoll, & Damico, LLP; Jon Rice, Esq., Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.; Lisa Enloe, Held Enloe & Associates, LLC; Ernest Martin, Jr., Esq., Haynes and Boone, LLP

Examining Examinations Under Oath

Examinations Under Oath can be an effective tool to obtain information from an insured in certain types of claims. This workshop will address how to obtain relevant information from an insured in order to properly evaluate a claim. Also  discussed will be public adjuster involvement in the EUO process, new policy language relating to the requirement of a public adjuster to appear for an EUO, the enforceability of such provision, potential problems, and the effect on the claims process.

Faculty: Lincoln Levarge, Esq., Boehm, Brown, Fischer & Harwood, Kelly & Scheihing P.A.; Robert Reynolds, Esq., Greenspoon Marder, P.A.; Kenneth Lucas, Esq., Martin, Disiere Jefferson & Wisdom, LLP; Ryan K. Haun, Esq., Barton Law Firm

Effective Techniques in Preparing Windstorm Claims for trial

The most effective way to resolve a claim is to prepare it for trial.  For both insurers and policyholders, such preparation helps pinpoint issues that are ripe for compromise and claims that should be resolved.  In the event the parties still disagree, the case is prepared to go forward without delay.

This workshop will discuss burdens of proof and the evidence insurance companies and policyholders need to succeed in the courtroom.  Adjusters, experts and attorneys alike will gain an understanding of how their role in the claim can play out before a jury.

Faculty: Melissa Sims, Esq., Berk, Merchant & Sims, PLC; Evelyn Merchant, Esq., Berk, Merchant and Sims, PLC; Kristin Demers-Crowell, Esq., Christopher N. Ligori & Associates

An In-Depth Look at Garment Restoration

Studies show that the average costs per claim are increasing and that garments are the largest cumulative item in an insurance claim.  Unfortunately, garment restoration is generally an afterthought and often a problem area for many adjusters. This workshop will provide a detailed overview of the basics of garment restoration and how adjusters can provide superior service to policyholders while keeping lowering claim costs.

Faculty: John Palms, FRSTeam

Florida Property Insurance Law Update: 

Wind and Related Cases

This workshop is an opportunity to discuss recent cases affecting every windstorm claim.  The workshop presenters, who are leading authorities on the law in Florida, will discuss the most significant cases, with their comments and observations.

Faculty: Andrew Rock, The Rock Law Group, P.A.; Lee D. Gunn, IV, Gunn Law Group

Green Building Claims Evaluation and Why It Is Coined as the Next Industrial Revolution

The Green movement and high energy prices have created a dramatic and rapid re-engineering of virtually all consumer products, building infrastructure, and building mechanical systems. As the sophistication of such “Green” technologies increases, so does the difficulty in their evaluation after property losses. The financial damages associated with windstorm, flood, or fire losses can far exceed past experiences with conventional buildings and equipment. We will provide a general overview of LEED buildings and Green technology, identify the claims- loss ramifications of such technology, and offer mitigation opportunities to prevent and minimize future claims.

Faculty: Curt Freedman, P.E., EFI Global, Inc.; Chris Cheatham, Esq., Cheatham Consulting LLC

Gulf Coast Case Law Update: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

This workshop will discuss and review recent property-insurance case law from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. It will include interpretations of how courts in the various states are ruling on insurance-related issues. Developments in the western Gulf states will become more and more important as the impacts of storms such as Ike, Gustav, and even Rita and Katrina become important on the legal landscape. This panel, composed of a policyholder and a carrier’s attorney, will update you on the latest legal developments and also provide a lively debate on whether the trends are pro-insured or pro-carrier.

Faculty: William “Chip” Merlin, Jr., Esq., Merlin Law Group; Barclay Nicholson, Esq., Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP

Handling Large Commercial Losses: Challenges,  Expectations and Considerations

A review and discussion of unique components, challenges, and practical considerations in organizing, managing, and adjusting major commercial losses. Discussion will include plan of action and supervision, coverage and priorities of the carrier, adjuster, and insured, communications, teams of experts and other “outside influences” on large losses.

Faculty: Dwight Powell, ICAT Boulder Claims; Charles Dale, Jansen International; Thomas Krautner, Jansen International; Wayne Taylor, ICAT Boulder Claims

How to Settle the Claim before Litigation or Appraisal

Effective settlement of claims is quickly becoming a lost art form. Settling the claim prior to litigation or appraisal is the best solution for everyone involved, because it saves time, money, and heartache. This workshop will examine the reasoning, avenues, and tools that can be utilized in claims resolution. We will explore ideas and tools to assist the company representative, independent adjuster, and the public adjuster in reaching resolutions where everyone can be satisfied.

Faculty: James Toukatly, Renaissance Adjusting Inc.; Sonya Clark, AAA NCNU; Jose Palacios, Peninsula Insurance Bureau

Insurance Fraud from All Perspectives

This class will involve an in-depth review of what is and is not insurance fraud, and the large gray area in between, from both the insurance company’s and the policyholder’s perspective.  A detailed analysis of a policyholder’s claim submission, issues when a public adjuster is involved, supplemental claims, and the insurer’s claims-handling practices and procedures in adjusting insurance claims, will be discussed, including when either’s actions, representations, or omissions can legally be considered insurance fraud. A lively open group discussion will be encouraged, with claims-handling examples being presented for comment.

Faculty: David J. Pettinato, Esq., Merlin Law Group; Jerry Albrecht, Esq., Butler Pappas Weihmuller Katz Craig, LLP

Law and Ordinance Coverage: Policy Provisions, 

Application, and Recent Developments and Issues

This workshop will examine law-and-ordinance policy provisions, the application of those provisions in windstorm claims, as well as a discussion of important case law on law-and-ordinance issues from hurricane-prone states.

Faculty: Paul W. Burke, Esq., Drew Eckl & Farnham, LLP; Donna DeVaney, Esq.  Merlin Law Group

Life, Health, and Safety Issues in CAT Claim Adjusting 

A class will look at the issues for field adjusters and others exposed to dangerous and hazardous conditions following a catastrophic loss. This workshop is dedicated to the memory of Katie Froeschle, a field adjuster for Farm Bureau, murdered in the line of duty. Topics to be discussed include private security guards, their cost and needs, as well as coverage issues for this protection; training provided by insurance companies and others to their field personnel exposed to harm in the course of their duties; information on Workman’s Compensation benefits for death and injury; and what we can learn about safety from real estate professionals.

Faculty:  Charles R. “Dick” Tutwiler, Tutwiler & Associates Public Insurance Adjusters; Doug Branham, Colonial Claims Corporation; Jeffery A. Froeschle, Esq. Powell Carney Maller Ramsay & Grove, P.A.

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Adjuster Certification

(NOTE: This is an all-day workshop offered on Thursday, January 27. Please note that the class time is 8:30 am – 5 pm. The regular conference concludes in the morning.  CE credits will be issued and certified by NFIP.)

This multi-session program will update the current status of claim handling of the National Flood Insurance Program policies and provide an opportunity for participants to renew or obtain certification for adjustment of flood claims.

Faculty:  David Serfass and Mark Buntyn, National Insurance Flood Program

Professional Appraisers Designation (PAD)

In order for the appraisal process to operate in a fair and productive manner, it is necessary for the appraisers to adhere to procedures, protocol, ethical and legal standards. WIND has instituted the Professional Appraisers Designation program to educate appraisers and potential appraisers on appraisal basics and the proper manner to navigate the appraisal process.  Those who successfully complete the class will have their names listed on the WIND Professional Appraisers Designation list for a two-year period.

Faculty: Jon Doan, Claims Consultants Group; William Berk, Esq., Berk Merchant & Sims, PLC ; David Hisey, HISI

Scientific Proof of Wind vs. Water in Slabbed Situations

This workshop is designed to take the guess work out of computing percentages of wind and flood forces acting on a structure. The expert participants will explain a patented method that provides a consistent, repeatable process based upon engineering science and mathematics. The attorney participants will update you on recent court decisions in the ongoing wind vs. wave debate.

Faculty: Matt B. Phelps, P.E., Island Enginneering; Robert Wright, P.E., Robert L. Wright & Associates; Jean Niven, Esq., Merlin Law Group; Guy E. Burnette, Jr., Esq,. Guy E. Burnette, Jr., P.A.

Software Training: Xactimate 27:  Sketch Roofing I: Getting Started

Get ready for hail season!  Learn or refresh on creating roofs using Xactimate Sketch!  Learn shortcuts, tips, and methods for creating roofs in Sketch.  This is an is an introductory class to Xactimate Sketch.  No prior knowledge of sketch is needed.  It is recommended that all attendees bring an external mouse.

REQUIREMENTS: Participants must provide their own laptop, have computer laptop experience, and have Xactimate 27 properly loaded and operational prior to the workshop. A free demo is available for new users.

Go to http://www.TrainWatermark.com <http://www.TrainWatermark.com> and click on the Xactimate Demo link at the bottom of the webpage.  Scroll down to Xactimate 27 demo and register for a free Xactimate Demo. Advanced registration is mandatory for admission and space is limited to the first 50 registrants. Upon check-in at the conference, attendees will be provided with a certificate in the conference materials, which must be presented for entrance to workshop.

Faculty: Sean Burgess, Xactimate Certified Trainer (XCT), Watermark Training

Software Training: Xactimate 27: Sketch Roofing II: Beyond the Gable

Continue building your Sketch Roofing skills by attending Sketch Roofing II: Beyond the Gable! Topics include complex/special issues; multi-unit/multi-level roofs, graphical

Faculty: Sean Burgess, Xactimate Certified Trainer (XCT), Watermark Training

Software Training: IntegriClaim Beginning

This workshop will provide hands-on training and will cover higher-level techniques on MSB software.

Faculty: Shorty Fussel,  MSB 

Software Training: IntegriClaim Advanced

REQUIREMENTS:  Participants must be proficient in the use the particular software to attend the advanced workshops and must provide their own laptop, have computer laptop experience, and have MSB properly loaded and operational. Advanced registration is mandatory for admission and space is limited in each session to the first 40 registrants. Upon check-in at the conference, attendees will be provided with a certificate in the conference materials, which must be presented for entrance to workshop.

Faculty: Shorty Fussel,  MSB 

Software Training: Estimating/Evaluation 

Property Damage by Simsol

Hands-on training and higher-level techniques on Simsol software will be covered in this workshop.

REQUIREMENTS: Participants must be proficient in the use the particular software to attend the advanced workshops and must provide their own laptop, have computer laptop experience, and have Simsol properly loaded and operational. Advanced registration is mandatory for admission and space is limited in each session to the first 40 registrants. Upon check-in at the conference, attendees will be provided with a certificate in the conference materials, which must be presented for entrance to workshop.

Faculty: Danny A. Sutliff, Simsol Software

Storm Damage Evaluation of Stucco and Trusses

This presentation focuses on two components: 1) design, erection, bracing, alteration, and post storm damage related issues to pre-engineered wood trusses and 2) Improper installation and post storm related damage to stucco systems.

Faculty: Byron Anderson, P.E., and Tom Miller, P.E., Structural Engineering & Inspections, Inc.

Texas Discovery for Both Laymen and Lawyers

The course will describe the scope of discovery in Texas for a first-party lawsuit, from both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s perspective. It will focus not only on recent cases, but actual, practical, and understandable discovery issues that arise in Texas courts.

Faculty:  Stephen Pate, Esq., Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP; Rene Sigman, Esq., Mostyn Law Firm

The Lone Star State vs. the Sunshine State: Dueling Bad-Faith Perspectives

A panel of Texas and Florida bad-faith attorneys will compare, contrast, and discuss the latest bad-faith cases and developments in their respective states from both policyholder and insurer perspectives.

Faculty: Riley Burnett, Esq., Clark, Burnette, Love & Lee, G.P.; David Disiere, Esq., Martin Disiere Jefferson & Wisdom, LLP; Susan B. Harwood, Esq., Boehm, Brown, Harwood, Kelly & Scheihing, P.A.; John Lakin, Esq.,  Lakin & Smith, P.A.

The Nitty Gritty of Property Policy Conditions

This course will be presented in panel format and the audience will be encouraged to participate with questions and offers of real-life, on-topic scenarios.  The panel will consider several contentious and commonly litigated policy conditions found on both personal and commercial lines policies.  The panel will also discuss the effect of non-compliance with these conditions and whether various jurisdictions, including Texas, require that the carrier be prejudiced by an insured’s failure to comply with these conditions. Finally, the panel will lead a discussion about what conduct might or might not constitute prejudice using hypotheticals and real outcomes from recently litigated cases.

Faculty: Rhonda J. Thompson, Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons; Tim Molony, AIC, Nomad Adjusting; Scott Hunzicker, Voss Law Firm

The Wild Wild West of Appraisals: Examining Ethical Issues in Appraisals

Appraisal—it is a lawless land where the umpire is the only law. This class will closely examine the law governing ethical issues in appraisals, as well as some rules of conduct that appraisers should follow to help preserve the integrity of the appraisal process and avoid challenges to the appraisal award.

Faculty: Justin Whedbee, Frontier Adjusting; Rebecca O. Leisure, ROL Insurance Consulting, Helen Alford, Esq., Alford, Clausen & McDonald, LLC

Timing Water Damage: Building Material Interpretations

This presentation is based on actual scientific evidence of several different building materials.  Findings have concluded that water damage of certain building materials can be interpreted in relation to time, in order to ultimately determine the length and severity of the damage. This valuable information can be useful when trying to determine how long the damage has occurred for several building materials including gypsum board, ceiling tiles, wall assemblies, and particle board.

Faculty: Ralph Moon, PhD, HSA Engineers & Scientists; Neil B. Hall, PhD, Neil B. Hall & Associates, LLC

Top Ten Mistakes of CAT Adjusters

This workshop will outline common and not-so-common mistakes made by CAT adjusters. It will detail the “Top 10” mistakes made that involve communications, policy knowledge, experience, estimating ability, and most importantly, the money costs incurred by a CAT adjuster versus what the adjuster has the ability to earn.  Finally, the workshop will also provide the tools to make the experience as a CAT adjuster a positive one for the adjuster, the company for which the adjuster is working, and the policyholder.

Faculty: Lori Popkin-Flenniken & Terry Flenniken,TFCC, Inc.; Bryan Scanlon, ICC Group, LLC

Using Experts in Windstorm Claims

This workshop will focus on the use of experts in claim investigation and litigation.  It will assist you in identifying the need for an expert; the type of expert that should be used, and identifying those issues that can or should be addressed by an expert in a wind or related claim investigation.  The presentation will also review existing law regarding discovery and disclosure of an expert’s findings and communications, and the admissibility of expert testimony at trial.

Faculty: Michael Ruskin, Disaster Pro Consulting; Robert Groelle, Esq., Groelle & Salmon, P.A.; David Murray, Esq., Danahy & Murray, P.A.; Randy Howard, P.E., SDII Global Corp.

What Works, What Doesn’t: What Mediators Want You to Know: A View from the Fence

A multi-discipline panel will discuss mediation from the mediator’s perspective. The panel will address a range of topics including the effective use of consultants, dynamics that effect negotiations and settlement, and recommended strategies for both insurer and insured.

Faculty: Kim Sands, Esq., Upchurch Watson White & Max; Art Newman, Belfor USA; Stephanie Luongo, Esq., Powers McNalis Torres & Teebagy; Jon King, Esq., Williams, Birnberg & Andersen LLP

When Is the Claim Really Over: Statues of Limitation and Supplemental Claims

The panel will discuss whether the duty to investigate and pay supplemental claims is limited in time.  Are there contractual deadlines in policy conditions for prompt notice, proof of loss, dispute resolution, or replacement cost claims?  Are the duties prescribed by Texas Insurance Code Chapter 541, 542 or common law “bad faith” subject to statutory or contractual time-bar?  What are the Florida Statutes on these issues?  How have these issues been shaped by case law?

Faculty: Mike Wilson, Esq., Davis & Wilkerson, P.C.; William J. Chriss, Esq., Gravely & Pearson, L.L.P.; Curtis Hutchens, Esq., Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Where Is the Appraisal Provision Heading? Developments in Case Law, Policy Language, and the Implications Thereof

Although the appraisal clause was created with the goal to allow a less costly alternative to litigation, as well as resolving a claim in its entirety, this is frequently not the case. For the insurer, an appraisal may result in exposure to litigation costs, attorneys’ fees, and a basis for supporting a subsequent bad-faith claim. For the insured, an appraisal award may be significantly less than expected or lower than the incurred costs for repairs. This workshop includes an overview of the recent case law, changes in policy language, and the reality of the appraisal process.

Faculty: Evan R. Wolfe, Esq., Evan R. Wolfe, PA; Gina Clausen Lozier, Esq., Groelle & Salmon, P.A.; Chris Martin, Esq., Martin Disiere Jefferson & Wisdom, L.L.P.; William Lundquist, Esq., Clark, Burnette, Love & Lee, G.P.

Windows and Doors: Sorting Out the Problems

A review of wind loadings on windows and doors and the assessment of the potential effects of these loads will be presented. Mechanics of common door and window assemblies and components will be explained, as well as what to look for when examining these components. Means of assessing direct-wind-load damage will be explored.

Faculty: Daniel Heyer, P.E. and Michael Smith, P.E. EFI Global, Inc.; Dr. Anurag Jain, Weidlinger Associates, Inc.,

Windstorm Insurance Coverage 101

This workshop will provide a review of the standard policy forms covering wind damage, typical coverage issues that arise during the adjustment of claims, as well as tips for avoiding legal pitfalls.

Faculty: Stephen Marino, Esq., Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A.; Michael Germain, Esq., Germain Law Group

WIND Umpire Certification

(NOTE: This is a double-session workshop)

This workshop will provide the necessary certification to anyone who wishes to be included in the Windstorm Insurance Network Umpire Directory. The first segment will focus on ethics and professionalism as an umpire in the appraisal process. Case law will be the subject of the second segment. The third portion deals with the how-to of acting as an umpire and will include an open discussion of techniques. The final segment will address forms and awards. Please note: To be included in the 2011 WIND Umpire Directory, a separate 

application process and $450 fee is required. Directory applications will become available in Spring 2011.

REQUIREMENTS: Space is limited to 75 registrants per session and advanced registration is mandatory for admission. Upon check-in at the conference, attendees will be provided with a certificate in the conference materials that must be presented for entrance to workshop.

Faculty: John Voelpel, Voelpel Claim Services; Jim Reichle, Jim Reichle & Associates; Janet Brown, Esq., Boehm, Brown, Fischer, Harwood, Kelly & Scheihing, P.A.; Javier Delgado, Esq., Merlin Law Group; Honorable Joseph J. “Tad” Halbach, Jr., Civil Court Judge, Houston, Texas

WIND Umpire Recertification

(NOTE: This is a double-session workshop)

This workshop is designed to provide an interactive learning experience. Real-life scenarios will be utilized to promote discussion of the duties and responsibilities of the umpire. Common issues and problems that often arise during an appraisal will be addressed, as well as effective methods and techniques to facilitate an appraisal from beginning to conclusion. The workshop will also include a discussion of ethical considerations and changes in case law impacting the appraisal process.

REQUIREMENTS: Space is limited to 75 registrants per session and advanced registration is mandatory for admission. Upon check-in at the conference, attendees will be provided with a certificate in the conference materials, which must be presented for entrance to workshop.

Faculty: Pete Kapas, Onsite Claims Service Inc.; Bob Norton, General Adjusting Services, Inc.; Jon Doan, Claims Consultants Group; Janet Brown, Esq., Boehm, Brown, Fischer, Harwood, Kelly & Scheihing, P.A.; Javier Delgado, Esq., Merlin Law Group; Honorable Joseph J. “Tad” Halbach, Jr., Civil Court Judge, Houston, Texas