In this age of connected technology and communication, it is easy to lose track of the benefits of onsite, in person claims adjusting and investigation. In the property claims business, I have long recognized that there are still many benefits to our model which is based on in person work that simply cannot be accomplished remotely. Consider the following:
The moment you meet someone in person, you begin developing a personal relationship. While the seed that is planted in that first meeting may never grow, the process of going through a first party property claim is often part of a traumatic personal event. For the life span of the claim, the adjuster will be discussing the financial (and other) consequences of the loss with the insured. Even in adversarial circumstances, a skilled adjuster can build close personal relationships with insureds and consumers that can have a significant positive impact on their experience.
Good investigation is essential to good claims handling. The more you know about the circumstances and people involved in a loss, the more you are likely to make good decisions about what to include in the claim, and how much to pay. Consider the contrast between a phone conversation and the conversation you would have in person in the insured’s living room? Or, contrast the information you get in an email with the information you get from walking through someone’s flood damaged home.
There is a wealth of information to be gained from good field inspections. One example of how this works is that in many cases neighbors will approach and offer up details about the loss and parties involved. This is information that you will never get electronically.
There is no better testimony than eyewitness testimony. While email exchanges create a written record, emails are brief, and easily taken out of context. A field adjuster’s notes are a written record of their eyewitness inspection. The context is clear and can be backed up by the djuster’s testimony.
Technology may provide many opportunities to improve efficiency, but it is a mistake to overlook the effectiveness and benefits of a proper field investigation.
These four corner stones are key to our field adjusters at Vericlaim.
I would like to hear from you about your own personal experiences where field adjusting made a difference.
Stuart Ryland CPCU
Western Regional Vice President