Insurance companies are supposed to have insurance adjusters that are empathetic, professional and ethical when dealing with policyholders and claimants. The first chapter in the insurance treatise, Claims Handling Principles and Practices, has multiple lessons about these obligations. Claims adjusters should not make policyholders scream out of frustration about the service you receive.

The treatise cites to the ethical standards of the Society of Registered Professional Adjusters as having a Code of Ethics its members are supposed to uphold. While I was not familiar with that organization before reading this chapter, I went to its website and found the following Code of Ethics which their member adjusters are supposed to abide by:

RPA Ethics

The work of adjusting insurance claims is a profession of public trust. Accordingly, RPA’s must maintain a standard of integrity that will promote the goal of building public confidence and trust in the insurance industry.

RPA’s will only discharge claims responsibilities for which they possess sufficient technical competence or can acquire adequate training.

RPA’s will seek only information they believe to be relevant, timely and accurate, and use only legal and ethical means of obtaining that information. They will handle claims with no intent to mislead or misinform.

RPA’s will be sensitive to individuals’ rights of privacy, and will take reasonable measures to protect sensitive information from illegal or unauthorized examination.

RPA’s will avoid illegal discrimination, and will strive to keep personal feelings and prejudices from influencing their judgment.

RPA’s will maintain a courteous and sensitive attitude in their interactions with insureds and claimants, seeking to understand their concerns during times of distress. They will assist insureds in presenting and documenting their losses, and will not place the interests of their employer above those of the insured.

RPA’s will maintain their business relationships with others in a manner that will promote the goal of bringing credit and honor to the profession. They will have no undisclosed financial interest in any direct or indirect aspect of an adjusting transaction.

RPA’s will obey the laws and regulations related to handling claims.
They will resist fraudulent, unmeritorious or exaggerated claims, and support public and industry organizations involved in the detection and prevention of insurance fraud.

Recognizing that litigation is costly and time-consuming, when appropriate, RPA’s will seek out all available alternatives to litigation to resolve issues in an expeditious and conciliatory manner.

One point noted by the Claims Handling Principles and Practices treatise is that policyholders and claimants may complain to insurance claims departments and even departments of insurance. These complaints are supposed to be monitored by claims managers and insurance regulators.

While many claims go smoothly and with great care and attention given by the insurance adjuster, some claims are anything but a nightmare. So, if you are a policyholder and are frustrated by the service you are receiving—and especially if it is unethical—you should consider filing a complaint with the insurance company and the local department of insurance.

If you are still screaming out of frustration after making a complaint, you should seek professional help from people like myself and not be taken advantage of or abused by the claims process.

Thought For The Day

We want people to have the right to express their concerns and frustration and protest in a peaceful manner.
—Larry Hogan