ClaimsJournal.com Editor Denise Johnson understands the claims business. She spent the last 14 years examining property/casualty claims for prominent insurance carriers nationwide.
Johnson offered some advice for agents when it comes to claims handling. From her perspective, there are three factors that are important to the claims process, including:
The initial ACORD form submitted to the insurer by the agent.
A common problem for adjusters is that the form was not filled out completely, causing issues to develop as the adjuster tried to make contact with an insured or claimant. The agent and adjuster can benefit from open communication between one another. Obviously, the greatest benefit is to the insured. If an agent has information that is vital to a claim, he/she should share it early on with the adjuster assigned to the claim. Sometimes an agent will refer the adjuster to the insured, who is angry that he/she must retell the facts or provide additional copies of records that he/she had already provided to the agent. That communication goes both ways. Whether the adjuster plans to pay a claim or deny a portion or all of a claim, it’s important to provide a heads up to the agent.
Coverage knowledge. It’s also important for an agent to understand the coverage to some degree. If an insured thought he purchased a type of coverage he doesn’t actually have, this will reflect badly on both the agent and the insurer.
Certificates of insurance (COI). For COIs to be valid the documents must be issued by the insurer. This problem continues to come up time and time again, and is a big issue since it could mean lost business relationships for an insured if COIs are found to be invalid.
From This Issue
Contractors & Builders, Claims and the Independent Agent, Top Personal Lines Retail Agencies