New York Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters

On July 11, 1940, at 10:30 A.M. in the New York Board Conference rooms in New York City, Mr. L.C. Dameron, stood up to open a meeting of Independent Insurance Adjusters, whose profession and livelihood were threatened from several sources, and who had talked about the possibility of an organization to assist in the protection and fostering of their common interests. Mr. Prentiss B. Reed, was elected Temporary Chairman, and at that meeting, it was resolved that the Chairman appoint a Temporary Committee, to study the problem of the organization and report to a subsequent meeting, and at that time to offer appropriate articles of association.

Thus was born the New York Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters, now one of the oldest, largest and most effective in the United States.

It was an outstanding group of men who met to organize – almost a roll call of the best the insurance business has produced in the field of loss adjusting. L.C. Dameron, Prentiss B. Reed, William Mortimer, Albert R. Lee, Harold Hyer, R.L. Hoercher, Bernard Warshower, and Edward R. Reilly, Sr. – most of these men have passed on. Fortunate it is for all that they were so dedicated, but fortunate also it is that of the 13 men who met, some lived to serve the business and the Association for many years. Messrs. Dargan, Sneath, Thursby, Tate, Ward, and Mead, were joined by such notables as John J. McAndrews, Donald L. Campbell, Sydney Straton, Harold Daynard and Joseph McShane. We can justly be proud of their part in the organization and progress of the Association.

The Association was also fortunate in being the recipient of able assistance and advice at the time of formation from three distinguished lawyers, namely, Mr. George Gross, Senator Abraham Kaplan, and Norman Rein.

What were the problems confronting these men?

The first and foremost was the effort, at the time, of the Secretary of State, to bring under his office the regulation of their activities and the licensing as private detectives, despite the fact that the activities of independent adjusters extend over more than half a century, and that they were integral and a direct part of the loss adjustment facilities of insurance companies and underwriters and dedicated professionally, solely, to the insurance industry.

Secondly, there was in some states, controversy with the legal profession, which questioned the propriety of settlement activities of independent adjusters, and appeared to be exerting considerable effort to control adjusting work.

Thirdly, was the realization that control and licensing well might benefit the entire insurance industry and independent adjusters, specifically, if properly administered by the Insurance Department. These men were concerned about the profession they practiced and the establishment of high professional and ethical standards, the formation of improved methods of adjusting education, and the promotion of the interests of the independent adjuster, were the objectives which still form a basis of the Code of Ethics of the Association.

What was the success of these men and the Association they organized?

In February 1941, they submitted to the Superintendent of Insurance, a draft of a proposed adjuster’s license law, and subject to some revision, much discussion, deep thought and tireless effort, it formed the basis of the present law which became effective January 1, 1946. Efficient administration by the Insurance Department over the years, has immeasurably improved the position of the independent adjuster. Throughout the country, similar laws became effective. Even now, the Association by cooperative effort with the Insurance Department is seeking to improve the law to further improve the position and quality of the independent adjuster.

The problems with the legal profession were officially solved, with both the passage of the law and conferences which eliminated suspicions and fears by both parties, and today a most cordial relationship exists to the benefit of the insurance industry and the insurance public, which they both serve.

The Association these men formed has grown into a powerful force for good in the insurance business. There are over fifty-six (56) member offices representing approximately one hundred sixty licensed independent adjusters, one of the largest adjusters associations in the United States. Under its constitution, the Executive Committee is comprised of members representing several fields; fire, casualty, inland marine, automobile, etc. Further, under its constitution, there are exacting requirements for membership, and applicants are carefully investigated and subject to individual election to membership after approval by the Membership Committee, and the Executive Committee. Regional meetings within the State are regularly held. The activities of an Education Committee have been held by members, as well as company executives, as being outstanding and an example to be followed by state associations throughout the country. Its Liaison Committees meet regularly throughout the year, and has proved to be most effective, and out of it have come the most constructive and important achievements over the years. Company executives have freely given of their time and effort to make possible a genuine and most beneficial agency for the exchange and distribution of ideas and information among company loss executives and their independent adjusters.

A liaison has been established with the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters, and it is with considerable pride that the Association has had five (5) distinguished members which have held the title of President of the National Association of Independent Adjusters. Those individuals include John C. Ryan, L.B. Hazzard, Edward R. Reilly, Sr., Edward R. Reilly, Jr., and Charles J. Umbach. Over the years, many members of the New York Association have contributed to the activities of the National Association, and have held important Committee Posts.

In the past few years, under dynamic and unselfish leadership, the Association has soared to new and lofty heights. There has been a complete revision of the constitution and by-laws of the Association to meet the needs of a fast growing organization. Panel forum meetings and educational publications have greatly increased interest and have helped to solve the need for exchange and distribution of ideas in these most complex times. In addition, the Association is a regular exhibitor at the Property Loss Research Bureau – Loss Managers Conference, which is the largest conference of its kind in the United States. The officers of the Association regularly attend and distribute the Association’s Annual Roster at various New York State Independent insurance agents’ meetings throughout the state.

No review of the success of the Association would be complete without generous thanks to the list of past presidents who have served the Association and its membership over the years. Thanks also to the friends of the Association who have contributed so much over a period of 74 years toward its success.