As you can see, the title of this article is simply $465,000. The amount of money stated in the title represents the total that will be wasted by a very large insurance company, on a claim they simply want to have closed.
A very well respected member of the adjusting profession made me aware of their involvement in the investigation and evaluation of a large property damage claim. This adjuster arrived at an adjusted value of the claim to repair the building of $800,000. That $800,000 total is the result of several inspections and finally a report from an expert in the field of property damage repair. It is a total worth defending, due to the fact the expert described the extent of the damage, the cause of the damage and cost to repair.
When the named insured expressed a desire to have a higher settlement, the insurance company brought a high level executive in to handle the negotiations. The negotiations consisted of saying ‘yes’ to the demands of the insured. The adjuster who handled the claim from its inception was shocked; shocked that the insurance company they were representing would be willing to flush $465,000 unnecessarily by paying $1,265,000 for repair valued at $800,000.
This situation demonstrates two things to me. The first is that almost all of the insurance companies claims offices that I am familiar with are so drastically understaffed that payment of unnecessary demands are being made on large claims just to get them closed and off the active books. Secondly, insurance claims executives, especially in first party losses, are so overworked they are simply numb to the principles which hopefully enable them to be appointed to the executive positions they occupy which are the principles of hard work, truthfulness and putting the named insured first.
If an insurance adjuster believes their adjustment is correct, they present it and stick to it, until they can be shown their work was in error. The adjuster from the very first days with their respectives companies will be told they represent the interest of the premium paying policy holders and not waste funds, but to pay what is right.
The long and short of this situation is $465,000 is just too much to waste. I wish to propose one very good method for quality control of adjusting claims and that is to have the insured become involved. Demand to see the estimates that are written by all of the contractors involved and the estimate prepared by your adjuster. Make sure that you, the insured, understand what is being paid and exactly why. This final point is extremely important due to the fact that large and small insurance claims are audited after they are closed. As an insured that received $465,000 too much, you do not want to hear a knock on your door and see an FBI agent standing there with questions about the inflated settlement that you received.
This country will now begin the repair work from hurricane Irene and also from the earthquakes that hit Colorado, New Mexico and the east coast. My advice to the insured is to get involved; in the end it may save you money on your next premium payment.