Last Thursday, I posted Citizens Property Insurance Employees and Vendors Should Read this Blog Because of Systemic Wrongful Claims Handling, stating in part:
Our law firm had just received a letter from Citizens Property Insurance, where the letter date was approximately 60 days before the envelope containing the letter was sent. Public adjuster George Quintero of Vanguard Public Adjusters was complaining about numerous letters from Citizens Property Insurance, which were severely backdated. I have attached as a footnote some redacted letters that Quintero provided.
My bet is that this has happened hundreds if not thousands of times—I cannot imagine that the practice of backdating letters, probably to hide evidence of claims delay and inactivity, is isolated. I wonder if the claims department will report to the Citizens Board of Directors about this and other problems being complained about by their policyholders at the next Citizens Board meeting.
So, my question to readers of this blog is whether you think a Citizens Property Insurance press release issued the very next day following the post was a coincidence or made in response to this blog. The Citizens Press Release stated:
Today, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation began notifying policyholders and agents of potential delays in policyholder claims-related communications due to processing delays caused by its contracted vendor, Exela Enterprise Solutions, Inc. Citizens claims staff has also been alerted to these challenges and stand ready to assist policyholders.
Policyholders will not be adversely impacted by the mailing failures of the vendor, and deadlines that may have passed will be revisited and extended by Citizens where appropriate.
Any policyholder who believes they have been impacted by delays should contact their agent, call Citizens at 866.411.2742 to reach their assigned adjuster or submit a request via Contact Us on Citizens’ website. Policyholders can also submit additional claims documentation through the Citizens website.
To address the backlog caused by the vendor’s failures, Citizens is increasing output from vendors and hiring an additional third-party vendor on an emergency basis to process the backlog. All impacted Citizens claims documents have been sent and the entire backlog for all other policyholder documents as described above will be eliminated by mid-April.
Citizens remains committed to quickly resolving any problems that may have impacted our policyholders.
Regardless, it is refreshing to see an insurance company issue a public statement that it made a huge mistake in its claims handling. Every business entity will have some embarrassing mistake occur at some point in time. Thousands of policyholders not receiving written communications for two months following a major catastrophe will result in many complaints and frustrated customers. Stopping those actions, making up for them, and then preventing them from happening again is all that any claims management can do once the problem is discovered. In this case, finding the reason why the problem was not fixed sooner is another step toward better claims management.
As a footnote, the vendor whom Citizens Property Insurance blames these claims delay upon published a white paper, 3 Things Your Claims Process Should Do… And How to Get There, which states in part:
It’s a truism: ‘If you are in the insurance business, you are in the claims processing business.’ The promise to pay on a customer’s claim of damage is what property and casualty companies fundamentally sell. After the policies are written and the premiums are collected, everything else revolves around processing claims—as cleanly and efficiently as possible.
An Afternoon Thought
Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.