Today, I was at a property claims seminar that described the multiple adjuster problem as a game of “adjuster musical chairs.” Policyholders, contractors, and public adjusters with Hurricane Ian claims will often be faced with multiple insurance company adjusters who will be the primary adjuster before being replaced or going back to their other job. I hate to say this, but I have been involved with catastrophe fee claims since 1985, and this is a much more common problem today than in the past.
How do you deal with this? The lecturers at the claims seminar said to make a notation of every claim adjuster’s actions and words that lead to a timeline. My book, Pay Up!: Preventing A Disaster With Your Own Insurance Company, has similar advice:
Keep a written record of everything that happens. Keeping a running chronology of what you do, whom you speak to, what they say and do, and what you observe to be important. List everything and keep all receipts, invoices, business cards, and anything having to do with the claim. The claims process can be a blur, and keeping a complete chronology of events as they happen can help tremendously.
The recent Colorado wildfires left Colorado’s insurance commissioner upset that policyholders had to re-explain the claims history to multiple adjusters. Unfortunately, this is what is going to happen with Hurricane Ian claims unless there is a significant change within the insurance claims industry. I quoted a former insurance adjuster who explained the situation in a 2014 post, David Charles, Good Guys, and Memories from Katrina:
Your blog is required reading in my world. Before I became a public adjuster, I was very proud of being a General Adjuster. I worked for 30 years for the insurance companies, and I was proud of our profession.
After Katrina, things changed. I represented Citizens of Florida in several hundred commercial appraisals, and I was broken hearted to see the abuses. The guys I ran with paid their claims. It was a cold slap in the face to see how badly Citizens treated their policyholders, and I switched sides at 55 years old, burning all my bridges behind me.
Before that, as a hobby, and to scratch my writers itch, I was a columnist for a baseball website. They knew I was a disaster relief guy, and they asked me to blog about my experience as I headed in to ground zero on Katrina.
Not all company adjusters and IA’s are evil. Many are good people who do the best they can to help everyone they meet. All of my friends in the business were in that category. Sadly, it’s very rare today.
The lesson—keep a timeline and make a notation of everything said by the insurance company adjuster on the claim at the time. I also suggest you ask who the current supervisor is because the supervisors do not change as often as the field adjusters.
Thought For The Day
Trust, but verify.