Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Fellow Americans ....Is there an "Adjuster's Candidate"??

Which Presidential candidate stands to improve the lot of claim adjusters? Is one of the am “Adjuster’s Candidate”? Seriously, I don’t pretend to know. Nor should any of the following comments be seen as an endorsement for one candidate over another, not that such imprimatur would sway anyone’s vote. However, we can hazard some projections on how political issues might align with adjusters’ interests.

One issue that engages many claims people is tort reform. Adjusters toil in the vineyards of the tort system every day. For them, it is not some ethereal policy debate. Adjuster have to open their company’s checkbooks regularly because of the tort rules, and often end up feeling – rightly or wrongly – that those rules are stacked against the adjuster and for the claimants and their lawyers.

Historically, Republicans have been more congenial to reforming the liability system. By contrast, Democrats tend to see tort reform as a guise for pro-business interests and a way to shortchange consumers. Plus, the personal injury bar is historically a huge financial contributor to Democratic candidates.

One problem with this stereotype is that, against the backdrop of economic crisis and foreign policy challenges, it is unlikely that either candidate is going to be focused on tort reform as a burning domestic policy issue. Further, Sen. Barack Obama was a supporter of the Class Action Fairness Act. Amidst all the domestic and foreign policy hot potatoes, it is difficult to see any type of tort reform legislation getting much traction. This, coupled with the growing public image of big businesses getting government bailouts, throwing a tort reform “bone” to big business will not win any politician brownie points.

Bottom line: adjusters should not expect any Federal movement on tort reform in the near future.

This may be a good news/bad news situation, though. Should tort reform become a relatively dead issue and liability claims proliferate in a tough economy, more claims might portend a higher demand for claim personnel. View it as a Full Employment Act for Adjusters!

Perhaps that is one silver lining that merits bipartisan support.

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