have been standing for the past 10 years—
in the unemployment line, looking for
work that no longer exists. Oh, but production is up, and corporations are making a
fortune. No robotic unions, strikes, high
insurance costs, workers’ compensation
premiums, or unemployment insurance
taxes to pay. Robots don’t retire; they get
recycled for their parts. There is no social
security or pension available for robots.
One year for Christmas, I bought my
wife a Robo sweeper. I think its recharge-
able battery died because it won’t hold
a charge any more. It did a pretty good
job of sweeping the carpet. There was an
electronic eye to keep it from falling down
the stairs—otherwise it went from room
to room, back and forth for hours, all
by itself. Occasionally it would get stuck
under the stereo, but otherwise it could
reach spots under the bed that couldn’t be
reached with a hand-held vacuum cleaner.
Push its on button, and it would go “bing-
bong” and take off in a circle, a little wider
each time until it bumped into something
and changed directions until it had covered
the entire room.
The Robotic Adjuster
Back in February, 1981, my Iconoclast
column in Insurance Adjuster (the prede-
cessor of Claims) was entitled “The 21st
Century Adjuster.” ( 32 years? Good gosh,
was it that long ago?) Anyway, the column
described “I. M. Fair, CPU,” a mainframe
computer that did it all. Everything was
computerized, including the taking of
statements, verification of coverages, a
robotic machine that assessed damages to
the auto, and a payment system that trans-
ferred the settlement from the insurer di-
rectly to the bank of the repair shop. Court
disputes were handled by computer—after
all, every type of dispute had already been
resolved somewhere, so the data bank
knew how the case would resolve—and
negotiations were also by computer.
Some of it came true. There was a
computerized negotiation system about a
decade ago. Apparently it didn’t work well,
as we don’t hear about it anymore. Adjust-
ers are still taking recorded statements
and negotiating directly with insureds,
claimants and their attorneys, but coverage
is now pretty much a matter of computer-
ized verification. Who bothers to read the
policy? Adjusters still inspect the damage
and issue settlement checks, but many of
the big bulky mainframe computers are
now just desktops or laptops. Lawsuits
are still heard by juries, and one of the
1981 predictions, that by the 21st century
modern medicine would have eliminated
pain and suffering, unfortunately did not
happen. Aches and agony are still general
damages in an injury claim.
There are still jobs for claims adjusters,
but, as Best’s Reports showed in June, the
numbers of adjusters continues to dwindle,
down .097%, though the number of claim
administrators (whatever that means) had
increased by 4.19% from the previous year.
It’s hard to conceive of a robotic adjuster,
and I hope to never have to deal with one.
What are my predictions for the next
30 years? Will there still be an adjusting
vocation? There will still be an insurance
industry—that has been around for mil-
The Need for Speed
Speed and red light cameras are a type of automated enforcement technology used to
detect and deter speeders and red light runners. Some jurisdictions use similar technology for other traffic violations, such as illegal rail crossings or toll violations. Many
states have enacted legislation either permitting, limiting or prohibiting the use of speed
or red light cameras at the state or local level. Enforcement can be limited to a particular
area or community. Penalties usually are more lenient than those used with traditional
enforcement. For example, the fine may be lower, points may not be assessed, or the
citation may not go on the driver’s record.
Some localities operate speed and/or red light cameras even if the state does not specific permit or prohibit it. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) maintains a list
of all communities operating automated enforcement.
12 states have passed laws that prohibit (with narrow exceptions) the use of speed cameras. 29 states have no law addressing speed cameras. All other states either permit the
use of speed cameras (two plus the District of Columbia) or limit their use by location or
other criteria (seven states and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
Red Light Cameras
21 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have enacted laws permitting some form of red light camera use. 9 states prohibit their use, and 20 states have no
state law concerning red light camera enforcement.
24 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have red light
cameras currently operating at least one location.
SOURCE: GOVERNORS HIGHWAY