State Farm has apparently made a significant push in manpower and communications regarding the adjustment of claims in Louisiana and Texas. It takes thousands of adjusters and sufficient communications to get the job done promptly. Delay caused State Farm’s old claims mantra under Frank Haines–"pay neither a penny more nor less"–has no place in the claims process, especially following a catastrophe. Good luck to the company with the "Good Neighbor" slogan. Many of my policyholder colleagues simply hate when I say anything nice about State Farm or any other insurance company. I appreciate that, especially if they feel that they have been wronged by insurance company adjusters or attorneys.
The truth is that most insurers at an executive level kept an open mind regarding initial claims decisions following the 2004 and 2005 storms. Everybody is in a rush following a catastrophe and mistakes happen. Whether the low-balling of hurricane damage claims since 2004 is truly a mistake or a result of studied or inept claims management is a topic of significant debate. The individuals that run major claims organizations are not stupid. Depending on their culture of claims honesty and ethical perspective, many get it right with hardly a trace of litigation or emotional bickering over payments. Even dishonest insurance company management learned from the 2004 and 2005 storms. A rapid and overwhelming manpower response can benefit both ethical and unethical adjustment cultures.
If a company is interested in "controlling a claim" (an adjustment term meaning to keep the policyholder from hiring his own expert, public adjuster or attorney) and documenting evidence for lower amounts owed, getting out there fast with such a mindset can save money. That is how Allstate and others approach their car accident cases. Some property insurance companies do act ethically and most sincerely try. However, trying is not the same as doing, and just about everybody I know thinks they are "trying," and will not publicly confess when they do not. It is easy for me to be a critic after problems arise and attribute wrong decisions and actions to unethical conduct. However, handling insurance claims for policyholders is an endeavor with very high ethical standards, and meeting those standards can be difficult without hard work and zealous dedication to the job. Society should stand for nothing less. So, my hat is off to State Farm. It sounds like they have prepared well. I wish the adjusters God’s speed and a fair heart. Hopefully, all Ike adjusters understand ethical standards and the insurance vendors and alleged experts will take them to heart. Time will tell.