When a policyholder files an insurance claim for property damage, most have two expectations:

  1. My insurance will delivery and I will be able to return my property back to its condition before the disaster.
  2. My insurance company will assign a person to help me who has the experience, time, and ability to make No. 1 a reality.

If you reading this blog, then chances are your insurance company failed to live up to your expectations. In a recent article in Claims Journal, reporter Denise Johnson gives some insight into what insurance company adjusters are doing instead of responding to your problems. The data from her article comes from the Claims Journal 2013 Job & Salary Survey.1

Survey responses tell us why your claim is not going well.

Not Enough Adjusters
Adjuster surveys revealed that within the industry there is a lack of employer commitment to hiring experienced adjusters to replace those who retire. Most felt that the staff size was unlikely to increase in 2013 but that staffing was a problem. As explained by one survey respondent, “Industry-wide, I think staffing has always been too low in claims”.

Inexperienced Adjusters
Everyone has to start somewhere but where are the experienced adjusters? Trained and mentored adjusters are leaving & retiring. While not part of the survey, a look at the background of many successful public insurance adjusters will show they began their careers working for insurance companies. Many adjusters now only help homeowners as a result of certain corporate rule changes that have gutted true adjusting and fairness to insureds. For those who have stayed on as company adjusters, the survey shows that the claims talent pool is getting older and continuing to shrink because of senior staff retiring at a quickening rate.

Your Adjuster is Too Remote
According to the Survey, property damage adjusters are commonly remote adjusters. Remote and telecommuting employees can be disadvantages because they are never in “the office” and these adjusters need more self-discipline. Claim consultant, Chris Tidball found it can be more difficult to manage people because of the increased distractions that happen when your office time is done at home or on the road. Not having the office atmosphere can also make an impact education and the learning on the job that takes place when surrounded by your colleagues.

Too Many Claims, Not Enough Time
If the company is giving a large number of claims to an adjuster, especially an adjuster who is not experienced and trained, this spells disaster for a proper adjustment of a loss. Kevin Quinley of Quinley Risk Associates commented on how administrative work can bog down an adjuster and that management needs to ‘monitor adjuster caseloads to maintain file quality, staff morale, turnover and to control leakage. More importantly it can save the company from bad faith claims.”

No Power to Pay
It’s a big problem if the person assigned to handle and hopefully settle your claim does not have the power to do so and this trend is becoming more and more the norm. Only 6% of the adjusters who participated in the survey had settlement authority of $500,000.00, the majority of survey participants were capped at $50,000.00 in authority.

We welcome our readers to share their comments and opinions about their claim experiences. Do you disagree with the survey information?

1 In April and May 2013, 647 participants from 46 states responded.