Chip Merlin & Jeff Major

Insurance estimating expert Jeff Major gave one of the best speeches about Xactimate I have ever seen at the First Party Claims Conference West. I have seen Jeff give a number of presentations over the years, even teaching federal judges, magistrates, and mediators following Superstorm Sandy. But his warning about getting an insurance company’s “turkey dinner” Xactimate construction estimate is his latest masterpiece.

Major started this part of his speech by asking, “What would you imagine your turkey dinner would look like if Chip Merlin invited you to his home for Thanksgiving Dinner?” He correctly suggested it would look something like this:

Major then said that when the description of a Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner is given to an insurance company estimator, you can normally expect the insurance company’s Xactimate “turkey dinner” to result in something like this:

Are they both Thanksgiving Turkey Dinners? Technically, “yes.” Are they both the same? The answer is obvious, and that was Major’s point.

Insurance company estimators often say they have estimated to construct a repair or replacement of something just like the policyholder’s estimate and complain about the higher price of the policyholder’s estimate. But, when you look at the details—and especially the descriptions—which are included within Xactimate of what they have estimated to be done, there is a lot missing on the insurer’s side. Pay attention to the details of what is done and the descriptions found within Xactimate.

One practice pointer for policyholders trying to determine the history and accuracy of the insurance company’s estimate based on Xactimate is to always ask for the ESX file. This file will help an expert like Jeff Major to more fully and accurately analyze who is actually doing the estimate, when it was being done and what was being done to the estimate during its drafting.

There were many more important gems to Jeff Major’s speech, and it was a pleasure learning from a master of his craft. Never miss a chance to see Jeff Major in person.

Thought For The Day

The Devil is in the details, but so is salvation.
—Hyman G. Rickover