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  • Demand the Best ⟶ Parker Public Adjusting

    I NEED CLAIM HELP NOW WHY WOULD I HIRE YOU? DEMAND the BEST, for YOUR → Townhome/HOA PROPERTY CLAIM Start here LET'S FACE IT: You probably don’t know what your insurance policy actually covers... and what it doesn’t Property policies contain: ​ ✗ Deadlines (yes, that’s plural ) ✗ Exclusions ✗ Limitations ​ If you don’t review your policy at every renewal—how do you know what your current policy covers? Do you know how the claims process works? What happens if you have a claim dispute with your insurance company? ​ We can help. ​ As one of the few, resident Minnesota-licensed public insurance adjusting firms, Parker Public Adjusting can guide, coordinate, and negotiate your claim from start, to finish. We are the only type of adjusters licensed to work directly for policyholders, like you. OK, TELL ME MORE Elevating your claim experience DEDICATED, PROFESSIONAL PROPERTY CLAIM SERVICES “I would recommend Sarah to anyone who is dealing with a large insurance claim.” —LAURA AND DUANE A property insurance policy is a contract. Treat it like one . Know your policy's deadlines, limitations, exclusions, and more, before you ever have to file a claim. Serving Minnesota. Get Informed AND GET PREPARED LET'S TALK Not every property claim is easy. Policyholders can hire an adjuster too . Outsource your claim management and dispute resolution to a licensed professional. Serving Minnesota. Claim Your Settlement EXPERIENCED A LOSS? TELL ME MORE Expert witness services? Speaker, author, or podcast guest? Get in touch, and let us know what you need. Serving nationally. Experts at Work FOR THE PROFESSIONALS LET'S CONNECT Policyholder Resources Have you learned anything about property insurance claims, that didn't come from insurance advertising? We're sure that you can agree: informed consumers can make better insuring choices. Get access to multi-format (including interactive) information, curated from leading policyholder non-profits, government organizations, academics, and more. LEARN NOW Claim Pulse blog We're not entirely sure why we love property insurance so much, but our goal is to share our passion and knowledge with informed consumers, and like-minded professionals. Subscribe today, and read about first-party property insurance industry news, educational resources... All through a fresh, crowd-sourced perspective. READ NOW GET TO KNOW US Meet, our Queen of Claims SARAH PARKER

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Blog Posts (27)

  • 🚗Your Vehicle Could Be Collecting & Selling Your Data to Insurance Companies (or, Recording You Naked in Your Garage)

    Every time you connect your smart phone, or press the gas pedal, your smart vehicle records data like your contacts, text messages, call logs, and driving speed. Every time you speak, your vehicle could be recording your conversations. And cameras? Yes, those too. Read more to find out where the data goes, who profits from it, and how car manufacturers are pushing back against your right to privacy. 🔑 Key Concepts: Every time you connect your smart phone to your vehicle, use your gas or brake pedals, or even speak in your vehicle (with on-board listening AI that you can't turn off), your vehicle records and collects data. And some vehicles' cameras are recording data as well. Purportedly, that data is sold by automakers to data brokers. Data brokers sell that data to anyone that wants to buy it. Insurance companies can buy this information—or get it direct from "safe driving" discount programs—and link it to individual policyholders. This has resulted in rate increases for some policyholders. And lastly, data collection through vehicles are essentially impossible for consumers to opt-out of, so there are massive consumer privacy and protection concerns. While car manufacturers are fighting against consumers' right to privacy, domestic abuse victims (through unsecured and uncontrollable car data, which can offer tracking for an abuser) are the only reason meaningful efforts are underway to change things. With all the uproar about AI and cybersecurity, funny but pervasive memes about the end of the world thanks to a fictitious-but-possible Skynet, Clearview AI selling our facial data scraped from the internet to law enforcement and insurance companies, and so on, the more practical tech and privacy headlines that affect us get lost in the mix. One of those practical headlines that gets missed, is this, from the New York Times: Automakers Are Sharing Consumers' Driving Behavior With Insurance Companies So, what does this mean exactly, why would you care, and what can you do about it? I'll cover all three. First Up: What does this mean? It means: Every time you connect your smart phone to your vehicle, use your gas or brake pedals, or even speak in your vehicle (with on-board listening AI that you can't turn off), your vehicle records and collects data. And some vehicles' cameras are recording data as well. Purportedly, that data is sold by automakers to data brokers. Data brokers sell that data to anyone that wants to buy it. And lastly, it's essentially impossible for consumers to opt-out of. In September 2023, the non profit Mozilla Foundation did a privacy audit of the largest car manufacturers, and published their somber findings to evidence this. Here are some excerpts: It’s Official: Cars Are the Worst Product Category We Have Ever Reviewed for Privacy [...] Ah, the wind in your hair, the open road ahead, and not a care in the world… except all the trackers, cameras, microphones, and sensors capturing your every move. Ugh. Modern cars are a privacy nightmare. And they, go on to expand upon the following points: The car brands we researched are terrible at privacy and security [...] 1. They collect too much personal data (all of them) 2. Most (84%) share or sell your data 3. Most (92%) give drivers little to no control over their personal data 4. We couldn’t confirm whether any of them meet our Minimum Security Standards Why Would You Care? I guess, you don't have to care. However, if you value your privacy (including not being recorded naked in your own home by your car. Yes, I'll cover that), then this article is for you. If a consumer is fully aware of what they are signing up for, in plain language, and has a clear opt-out that's one thing. But, on the tech side, we've already covered that vehicles are currently the worst-scored technology for privacy practices, so we can see that neither of these conditions are being met. If you hook up your phone to your vehicle, it copies texts, contacts, and other data from your device. And much more data is collected, from other sources. Even your vehicle's cameras (outside) could be recording and collecting data. Tesla employees were found to be sharing private images and videos recorded by Tesla vehicles, including a man naked in his garage. Even if data stays within a company, how can you trust how the information is handled within a company? On the insurance side, data brokers have been selling that data to insurance companies. Is that a bad thing? Again: only if the consumer is not fully aware, and can't opt-out. Technically speaking, there are two ways to opt-out, but it will either break your vehicle's ability to be used (covered below), or you can't even buy insurance or receive some critical services or commodities (covered later in the article). So, practically speaking, you cannot opt-out. According to Mozilla Foundation's report, you can opt-out, but it might take away main functionality of your vehicle in some cases: However, “if you no longer wish for us to collect vehicle data or any other data from your Tesla vehicle, please contact us to deactivate connectivity. Please note, certain advanced features such as over-the-air updates, remote services, and interactivity with mobile applications and in-car features such as location search, Internet radio, voice commands, and web browser functionality rely on such connectivity. If you choose to opt out of vehicle data collection (with the exception of in-car Data Sharing preferences), we will not be able to know or notify you of issues applicable to your vehicle in real time. This may result in your vehicle suffering from reduced functionality, serious damage, or inoperability." TESLA'S CUSTOMER PRIVACY NOTICE And with future vehicles needing to have a mandatory Drowsiness Detection System (including mandatory in-car breathalyzers for every new vehicle, starting 2027) as part of an effort to increase road safety, the concern for privacy intrudes even further. In this type of system (or retrofitted device), it's designed to alert you when it detects signs of drowsiness or inattention, will further collect, process, and potentially share sensitive information about your driving patterns and behaviors. This move, while purportedly beneficial for safety, opens up another avenue for data collection and privacy concerns. And, there are issues with accuracy of algorithms used in such technology, including DDS systems thinking people of Asian descent are asleep or drowsy, simply because of the natural shape of their eyes. I will avail you of data collection and privacy, technology dataset bias concerns (no, this does not mean 'bias' as in topics about ethic tensions, but rather scientific dataset bias), and the intricate web of beneficiaries (including insurance companies) of this technology, in another article. What Can You Do About It? At the moment, the options for maintaining privacy while enjoying the benefits of modern automotive technology seem limited. Besides not driving a vehicle manufactured after a certain year and avoiding the use of smartphones entirely, there are a few steps you can take to safeguard your privacy as much as possible: Read the Fine Print. Before using in-car technology, carefully review the privacy policies of both your vehicle and any connected apps to understand what data is being collected and how it will be used. Use Limited Connectivity Options. If possible, use only necessary connectivity options that do not require you to share sensitive information. If your vehicle has an audio jack, you might try that (while obeying your state's regulations for safe use of cell phones while driving, of course). Advocate for Transparency and Control. Support initiatives and legislation that push for greater transparency from automakers about data collection and for laws that allow consumers more control over their data. The most recent legislative wins (not wins yet, but federal legislative bodies are finally looking at it) are related to allowing for control over data, to protect domestic abuse victims from abusers that use tracking ability built into many modern smart vehicles. Opting Out of LexisNexis Reporting Data. This can possibly bar you from being able to purchase insurance, but I will detail this below, either way. LexisNexis Risk Solutions is indeed a data brokerage giant that amasses and sells consumer data for various purposes, including to insurance companies. Opting out of LexisNexis's data collection—except for publicly available data—can be a step toward protecting your privacy. However, it's essential to understand the implications. According to Lexis Nexis: "Please understand that by opting out, you may experience future difficulty using online systems for such things as instant identity and insurance verification." Insurance companies and agents often use products from Lexis Nexis, in many areas of operations, sales, claims, and underwriting. As such, by limiting your information collected, that could affect some aspects of your property insurance. For those looking to dive deeper into what LexisNexis collects and how you can opt out, their Privacy Center provides information. It's an opportunity to understand the scope of their data collection and how it influences various aspects of your life, from insurance premiums to background checks. Here is the Lexis Nexis opt-out form, and additional information. Last Thoughts The intertwining of technology and privacy continues to be a complex issue, especially as vehicles become more advanced. While the benefits of these advancements are undeniable, the cost to personal privacy cannot be overlooked. As consumers, staying informed and advocating for our rights is crucial in navigating this evolving landscape. Remember, your voice matters in the push for a balance between innovation and privacy. ❤️ Be well and stay positive!

  • 🌱The Growing Field of Cannabis Insurance (Pun Intended)

    Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored, nor prompted. I'm simply sharing of my own volition, to do my part in supporting attracting the best talent to the insurance industry at large, considering the current talent crisis. There’s always something new to learn every day, and withing property insurance, there's certainly no exception! There's a relatively new P&C avenue that is rapidly gaining momentum—cannabis insurance. As more and more state-specific legislation and rulemaking in the United States pave the way for a regulated, commercial cannabis industry, property insurance has followed. Announced earlier in 2023, there is now a certification for professionals interested in this P&C insurance topic. ALM (the parent company of National Underwriter's FC&S, and PropertyCasualty360) released a new designation: CISC (Cannabis Insurance Coverage Specialist). Now, I'm not a cannabis user. However, it's been really neat to see how the insurance industry has responded to each state's common-sense and thoughtful legalization, with offering insuring products that never existed before. With the resulting standardization that has led the way for enforced safety and quality standards for growing and storage of the crop itself, and new opportunities for everyday consumers that may need it for medical reasons (or responsible recreation where lawful), there are now legitimate businesses that need to be insured! Adjusters, appraisers, attorneys, and expert witnesses that handle commercial cannabis losses might consider getting the CISC designation from ALM. Cannabis Insurance Coverage Specialist (CISC) Designation For those looking to take their expertise in cannabis insurance to the next level, there’s exciting news. ALM, the global leader in specialized industry news and information, has now introduced a CISC (Cannabis Insurance Coverage Specialist) designation. Earning the CISC designation demonstrates your proficiency in understanding the specific risks, regulations, and coverage requirements associated with the cannabis industry. It’s a valuable credential that can open doors to new opportunities and establish you as a trusted expert in this emerging market. Another Chapter, in The Fascinating History of Insurance The property and casualty insurance industry has a rich and storied history that spans centuries (well, thousands of years, technically). The emergence of cannabis insurance represents just one more chapter in this captivating narrative. As the cannabis industry continues to evolve and mature, insurance professionals have an opportunity to be part of its growth. By staying informed and leveraging resources like National Underwriter’s FC&S Expert Coverage Interpretation, you can position yourself as a trusted advisor in the exciting world of cannabis insurance. FC&S offers comprehensive insights and knowledge to get you up-to-speed on all things cannabis insurance. To thrive in the (truly, shockingly, excitingly, and frustratingly) dynamic field of property insurance, staying informed, connecting with experts, and pursuing specialized designations like CISC are steps to consider to stay ahead. Enjoy your week,

  • 🔓Digital Illiteracy and Data Privacy Issues Within Property Insurance, Part One: Vendors

    In the first installment of this exploration into digital illiteracy within the property insurance sector, we delve into a subtle yet pervasive issue: the unseen risks of data privacy breaches in outsourcing practices and marketplace platforms. Unfortunately, in researching this article, I found a large batch of Xactimate estimates with policyholder claim data open to the internet. I'll cover this later in the article, and what it has to do with something called digital literacy. As professionals in this field—including public adjusters, contractors, and independent adjusters (IAs)—increasingly turn to 3rd-parties on generalized online platforms like Fiverr, UpWork, or industry-specific vendors for efficiency in tasks such as generating Xactimate estimates, this challenge is quietly surfacing. This challenge is not born from malice or negligence, but rather from a gap in digital literacy. Ok, What Is Digital Literacy? The American Library Association (ALA)'s webpage for digital literacy resources state: "Like information literacy, digital literacy requires skills in locating and using information and in critical thinking. Beyond that, however, digital literacy involves knowing digital tools and using them in communicative, collaborative ways through social engagement. ALA’s Digital Literacy Task Force defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” Digital literacy matters, because some of the most common cybersecurity issues can stem from careless handling of personal data, not knowing how different software and digital solutions work, sharing admin credentials insecurely, and not knowing about how to avoid basic phishing and social engineering attacks. Because navigating the web of different data privacy laws (13+ US states have them now, including some with additional data breach reporting requirements, which I'll cover in another article), the digital realm now requires more than just a cursory understanding. It demands a nuanced, informed approach to handling sensitive information. Data Breaches Only Happen From Brute-Force Hacking... Right? Nope. Not always. A lot of data breaches happen due to human error, and exposed credentials, which can be picked up by basic credential scrapers. And, while Government entities and insurance companies are larger targets for bad actors, small businesses and professionals must take the same care and diligence to protect their clients' information. With data breaches becoming so common that we see headlines almost every day, and cybercriminals armed with new technology, it's clear that no one in the property insurance sector is immune, including state departments of insurance: Insurance companies: and first-party property insurance claim professionals—which we'll focus on in a moment—but first: Are We Resigned to “C’est La Vie”, or, Can We Do Something? The remedy to this situation (for the property insurance industry, at least) lies in enhancing digital literacy among insurance professionals. I know of insurance adjuster colleagues that still use mainly physical files for their operations, which doesn't sound like a such a bad idea at the moment. Maybe they shouldn't change a thing! However, for those of us that are firmly set-in, or easing into digital operations and claim management, we must look closer and address the digital literacy gap. This includes a thorough vetting of third-party service providers and a keen understanding of the privacy settings in online platforms. Digital Illiteracy and Accidental Data Leaks In researching the topic of this article series, I stumbled upon some Xactimate estimates open to the internet, via reviews left on Fiverr, for Xactimate estimating gigs. I found these through regular Google searches. Across multiple listings, I found sensitive information within the reviews, like: claim and policy numbers first and last names loss addresses business names and addresses, EINs phone numbers email addresses and more The Xactimates were for losses across the United States, including Texas, California, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, Montana, Michigan, Washington D.C., Arkansas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maryland, Louisiana, New York, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, and even Ontario, Canada. After investigating to figure out how this may have happened, I believe it's not the fault of the providers of the Xactimate estimating gigs, but rather simply due to a default sharing setting on the platform when leaving reviews. Looking at the Help Center, it appears that when leaving a review, the default setting is to include a copy of the deliverable for other buyers to view. In order to avoid that, these professionals would have to be aware of Fiverr's unique website settings, and uncheck that option before posting their review. This is just one example of digital illiteracy and its role in data breaches. EXAMPLES OF THE EXPOSED XACTIMATES: I blurred the sensitive data from the images in the gallery below for privacy within this article, but they are completely unredacted on Fiverr: If a data breach like this occurs by accident in a public space like a Fiverr review, immediate action is probably a good idea. You can probably contact Fiverr support to remove any sensitive data from the review, while maintaining the integrity of the professional's review. The digital revolution in property insurance is plentiful with opportunities, but also rife with risks that demand our attention and action. Is Outsourcing Bad, or Good? As with most business tools, the concept of outsourcing for businesses is neither good, nor bad. How, when, where, and with whom you outsource to, can determine risks and possible issues with legality (for which, your attorney in your state will certainly be the best person to consult with about topics like this). When it comes to estimating property losses, specifically, many professionals in the first-party property claims space may outsource some or all of their estimating. That is not necessarily a bad thing... At the same time, data privacy must be considered. (An aside: those prices for the estimating gigs in Fiverr were the lowest I've ever seen. I would probably never use Fiverr for that service, but who knows? They could be good at what they do. Just be careful out there!) 🔑KEY CONCEPTS: Vet who you outsource to Know the technology you use Be aware of your regulatory and privacy requirements Resources, for The Concerned First-Party Property Claims Professional: Digital Literacy Basics and Resources, American Library Association Data Breach Response: A Guide for Business, United States Federal Trade Commission The ABA Cybersecurity Handbook: A Resource for Attorneys, Law Firms, and Business Professionals, Third Edition, The American Bar Association (Bonus: Four Tips to Avoid Cyber Insurance Coverage for a Data Breach; sorry ABA members only. Therefore, I'm not allowed access to read it, but the title looks good) For the nerds: 2022's Joint Cybersecurity Advisory, multiple agencies, including the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency I hope this is helpful! Be sure to subscribe to the blog. This is only part one of a series you won't want to miss. ✌🏾Be well,

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