Sunday, June 15, 2008

#7 of the Top Ten List from Insurance Claim Secrets REVEALED - Dealing With Adjusters

This article is excerpted from the book "Insurance Claim Secrets REVEALED!"

Have you ever thought about what kind of service you should expect from the adjuster when you file a claim?

A professional, intelligent, honest adjuster is a pleasure to work with. He treats you with respect and gives his best effort to complete his investigation as quickly as possible. He is patient, knowing that you are not familiar with the claims process. He understands how upset you might be about your claim. He senses that you have already been frightened by the loss itself, and now may be frightened about the claims process.

He explains the process to you before he begins it, and invites you to be an active participant, not a spectator. He sits down with you and reads your policy with you, and explains it as he goes. He makes sure that you have his contact phone numbers, so you can get your questions answered when he's not there. He answers his phone messages promptly.

The professional claims adjuster must have empathy for people. I'm not sure if that is a skill that can be taught with a book or a class. Some of the empathy must come from a person's upbringing. Compassion for another human being who is hurting or afraid must come from deep within a person. Even having said this, it is not unusual for a person to have his compassion and empathy stretched thin by the things that happen in life.

Haven't you heard a story from a friend or relative about how badly the insurance company treated them when they had an insurance claim? I think most people have.

In today's world, poor customer service is nearly accepted as the norm. Sadly, we are overjoyed and amazed when we get good customer service. We're astounded and tell all our friends when we get great customer service.

Most people I've met who had a loss, and filed a claim, never thought for a minute about what kind of service they would get from the adjuster that the insurance company assigned to handle their claim. But, I'm writing today to make a couple of points that will be CRUCIAL to you collecting all the claims settlement money you're entitled to collect:

1. The pool of qualified, trained adjusters is drying up.

I still read industry magazines. In the latest edition of Claims Magazine, and in the latest edition of Best's Review, there were articles stating that the insurance claims adjusters nationwide, as a group, were marching on toward retirement years. They went on to say that there is a huge concern in the insurance industry that the most capable, most experienced adjusters are leaving the industry, and that there is a growing shortage of experienced adjusters in the North American market today. The articles also said that these days, insurance companies are spending less time and money training adjusters.

If the insurance companies are worried, YOU as a consumer should be DOUBLE WORRIED!!


Because inexperienced adjusters won't be as thorough in the claims process. They won't have years of experience to fall back on. They won't know policy language and the claims process as well as the "old guys."

Have you heard the old saying, "The Devil is in the details?" I've said over and over that the claims process is where the devil hides. Most of my book is about teaching consumers that they must educate THEMSELVES about the claims process. The claims process is NOT in the policy. The insurance companies will not tell you...the consumer...about the process, because if they did, the insurance settlement amounts would skyrocket!

You want a couple examples?

First: You're in a traffic accident, and your car is damaged. The adjuster will likely tell you to go get three estimates from three different repair shops. They'll want to pick the lowest one, or the middle one as the agreed estimate. However, there's NOT ONE WORD in your policy that forces you to get three estimates. That is a waste of YOUR time. You should get an estimate from the repair shop of YOUR choice, not the insurance company's choice. Then, the adjuster should work from your estimate. By the way, if your insurance company has "approved repair facilities," you should know that they work for a huge discount, and regularly use cheap, aftermarket auto parts...which leads me to the next example.

Second: The insurance industry is totally sold on "aftermarket" parts for auto repair. These parts may fit your car, and may work on your car, but they are of inferior quality to the original equipment manufactured parts the automaker used to build your car. You should NEVER allow the insurance company to insist on aftermarket parts to repair your car. There is NOTHING in your policy that gives the insurance company permission to use cheap parts to repair your car. In fact, most policies guarantee you "like kind and quality" repairs. Aftermarket auto parts save the insurance company bunches of money, but only at your expense.

2. Knowing that the talent pool is shrinking, it's more important than EVER to make sure your adjuster is qualified to handle your claim.

In Chapter 7 of my book, "Insurance Claim Secrets REVEALED!" I wrote at length about the qualifications of an adjuster. I also wrote about what level of service you should expect from the insurance adjuster who handles your claim.

You should interview your adjuster and find out his education and claims experience. If you do not believe that your adjuster has the education and experience to handle your claim, you should call his supervisor and request that your claim be transferred to a more experienced adjuster. Further, I say in Chapter 7 that if the adjuster has less than two years' experience, ask for another adjuster. If the insurance company refuses, call your state's Department of Insurance and file a complaint.

Don't allow yourself to be bullied by the insurance companies. But, that will require YOU to take responsibility for YOUR OWN education.

If you take control of your claims, you WILL add hundreds or even thousands more dollars to your claim settlements!

For more information, go to:

Copyright 2008 by Russell D. Longcore

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