the damages. It must go in that precise order. It is a simple formula, yet we spend
billions of dollars in litigation of claims
every year because somebody didn’t do
that “science” correctly.
What is the technology of adjusting?
Like any tool, technology is an aid. Norris, in his review of Professor Weatherall’s
book, says he was reminded of “the adage that if all you have is a hammer, every
problem looks like a nail.” The Iconoclast
once suggested that sellers of medical
technology would like to convince us
that “the scalpel did the surgery,” and
while computerized scalpels now can do
the cutting, there is a well-prepared surgeon behind the controls. (But there is a
growing number of medical malpractice
claims arising out of robotic surgery as
well.) Technology cannot adjust an insurance claim; it would be GIGO (garbage
in, garbage out), but technology can be a
very useful tool.
Are adjusters engineers? No, but we
sure do need engineering to handle
claims correctly. At the same time we
must use the same caution that has con-
trolled engineering for millenniums: test,
try, test again, and keep on testing until it
is perfect. In law “social engineers” are of-
ten employed for jury selection, personal-
ity evaluation, etc. They don’t always get it
right—that’s the beauty of the American
legal system—it is not a science.
Ken Brownlee, CPCU, is a former adjuster
and risk manager based in Atlanta, Ga.
He now authors and edits claim-adjusting