ACM Summer Newsletter

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ACM hunkers down to handle record number of hail claims

Halfway through 2016, ACM has handled 20 catastrophes –the same number as last year –but due to storm severity, claims volume amounted to nearly twice that of 2015.

“A catastrophe is an event that is labeled by ISO* based on the claim volume it is likely to generate. We’ve seen, both this year and last year, a very large increase in volume over what we would normally be handling,” explained Dhara Patel, ACM president.

When the first hail storm struck in March, ACM’s newly hired Claims Manager Sean Merrell saw the damage first-hand. Moving from Dallas to Tampa, Sean called Tim Allen, ACM’s property vice president. “I told Tim we just had the worst hailstorm I have ever been through, and no doubt there would be scores of claims,” Sean recalled. “He told me to hurry up and get here!” Arriving a few days later, Sean immediately pitched in to help, using his extensive claims experience in Texas.

ACM needed all hands on deck this year, but has already closed the majority of the cases. Tim notes ACM’s innovative approach to staffing for these events, which was crucial to their fast response: “Florida is rich with insurance retirees; a lot of them are happy to come in and help us for 30 to 60 days at a time. These ‘Storm Troopers’, as we call them, are very qualified; in fact, many of them were in management when they retired. We now have developed a small network of them that we’ve called upon during the past three years. They’re already trained and know our systems, and they prefer working with us because of our flexibility. The customers also benefit from their wealth of experience and service skills.

“We consider 2016 to be an extraordinary season,” says Tim. “It took a relentless amount of hard work and dedication by our property teams in Carlsbad (California) and Tampa, with many late nights and weekends.”

ACM prepares for catastrophes in a number of ways:

• Bi-annual simulations are held to ensure readiness. This year, a fictional hurricane was forecast to hit the mainland U.S., and then fiction became fact when Tropical Storm Colin recently followed an almost identical path.

• Monthly training. This includes earthquake certification training, conducted by a structural engineer for team members in all locations.

• “CAT offices” are prepped and wired in advance in both Carlsbad and Tampa, with desks, phones and computers ready to go when extra help is needed.

• Business continuity plans are in place. If one of the ACM claims offices temporarily loses power, one of the other offices is ready to step in and assist.

* ISO (now part of Verisk Insurance Solutions) has been the benchmark for data, analytics, and services for the insurance industry for decades. Their Property Claim Services is the internationally recognized authority on insured property losses from U.S. catastrophes.

ACM’s Commercial Department is growing rapidly

ACM is now handling animal medical malpractice claims for Veterinary Centers of America (VCA), a publicly traded provider of pet health care services. ACM’s staff includes adjusters with extensive experience in this niche practice, and we are excited to work with VCA on their nationwide program. Headquartered in Los Angeles, VCA not only operates 680 animal hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, but also a nationwide clinical laboratory system that provides diagnostic services to more than 14,000 independent pet hospitals. ACM is pleased to be able to expand its professional liability services offerings and looks forward to working with the VCA team.

ACM has also been chosen to manage claims arising out of the All Risk Program of Arrowhead General Insurance Agency, Inc., managing hurricane, tornado, hail and earthquake commercial claims in all 50 states. The addition of the All Risk Program has allowed ACM to add to its already established general adjuster and executive general adjuster teams which have grown exponentially over the last few years. ACM will be working with both U.S. and London-based carriers on the new All Risk Program.

ACM Workers’ Compensation welcomes a new carrier partnership

After an extensive and comprehensive vetting process, in early May ACM was awarded the workers’ compensation TPA services for a new program at Accident Fund Group (AF Group) that focuses on agriculture, manufacturing, auto service and hospitality sectors in California. The business will be written through AF Group’s United Wisconsin Insurance Company.

“The AF team is a talented and experienced group of insurance professionals, and we could not be more enthused about our new relationship and all the opportunities it brings to the ACM family of companies,” said Deirdre Gonzalez, ACM’s workers’ compensation president. AF Group carries an “A-” (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best.

ACM on the road

ACM’s CEO Scott Marshall and president of its Property Casualty Division, Dhara Patel, were recently in London visiting existing syndicate clients and meeting with new markets. ACM has invested heavily in IT resources to ensure that all of the new Lloyds Market Association (LMA) reporting requirements are incorporated quickly in a comprehensive and customized reporting package for London clients. We are very much committed to assisting our London clients in complying with the changing reporting requirements in any way we can and have appointed a dedicated resource to focus on this full time.

ACM and its ancillary services will also be attending the following 2016 conferences:

• CWC & Risk Conference (CWCRC), Dana Point, October 5 – 7

• PCEA Fall Meeting , Mission Inn and Spa, Riverside, October 11 – 13

• Target Markets Program Administrators Association, Westin Kierland Resort, Scottsdale, AZ, October 17 – 19

• California Self Insured Group Annual Conf., Sonoma County, November 2 – 3

• National WC & Disability Conference Annual Conf., New Orleans Convention Center, Nov. 30-Dec. 2

ACM serves on the IACP board

ACM is honored to serve on the International Association of Claims Professional’s board of directors. Dhara Patel, ACM’s president of property & casualty, was selected to serve on IACP’s board through 2018 after helping the organization redesign their website and create an interactive event phone app. IACP provides a forum for senior claim leaders from across the globe to build peer relationships and enhance their knowledge of strategic claim issues and trends. Their goal is to improve the development, leadership and professionalism of members and foster better business among insurance organizations worldwide.

Join us at the 13th annual San Diego Golf Classic fundraiser and auction for Rett Syndrome

ACM continues with its tradition of joining our insurance industry friends for another year of fundraising and fairways. July 29 is the 13th Annual Rett Syndrome Charity Golf Classic, held at Cottonwood Golf Club with a shotgun start at 11 a.m.

This year’s event will be given in memory of Alyssa Leigh Spinar, who passed away June 16, 2016. Alyssa was a brave and beautiful 13-year-old who loved her family, her nurses and her animals. ACM continues to hold several fundraisers throughout the year for Rett families, to raise funds for research for a cure. To learn more about Rett Syndrome, go to For more information about this year’s Charity Golf Classic, go to