Maintaining the human touch in contents adjusting

July 25, 2023

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Industry demand is on the rise for a comprehensive contents adjusting solution that pays as much attention to the detail of the scope as it does on a larger-scale building claim. Professional contents adjusters are the essential link between an accurate property inventory, short claims cycle time, and the elevated customer service that defines a world-class integrated provider.

Insurance companies are looking for speed, accuracy, and efficiency when it comes to the creation of an extensive property inventory. In a large loss environment with the increasing value of today’s expendable personal items (like clothes and electronics), it can be challenging to achieve a fair and accurate inventory in a way that meets cycle time needs and maintains a connection with the customer that is vital to ensuring a smooth settlement. Technology-enabled tools do exist to power virtual field visits — cutting adjusters’ claims cycle times in half — but even these do not offer 100% accuracy in capturing inventory. This can result in inaccurate claim assessments, with insurance companies underpaying or overpaying their clients. A contents adjuster can keep cycle times short while acting in the best interests of the insured and the carrier.

Where contents solutions stands out

In this line of adjusting, caring not only counts — it shows. Following a major CAT event, when the insured is receiving advice from everyone around them — agents, contractors, friends and family members — the contents solutions adjuster shows up laser-focused to handle one of the most emotionally challenging parts of the claim: inventory of property’s items. A house can be rebuilt, living expenses can be accounted for, and lost business income can be paid out, but stock, equipment, and personal property are more complex to evaluate.

A seasoned contents adjustment firm ensures a claim is professionally managed not only when the insured is unable to compile an inventory themselves, but also in scenarios where the scope and accuracy of the inventory may be otherwise unverifiable. A properly executed inventory scope reflects the correct quantity and description of items and considers their condition as well as any policy provisions specifying exclusions or limitations on value. It will also address the varied purchasing habits in today’s market of endless options.

In other words, a proper inventory ensures more accurate payments. Having an experienced claims professional specifically trained in how to inventory and evaluate contents items also allows for a reduction in the possibility of soft fraud going undetected. In these cases, the value of having an expert contents professional involved is a clear return on investment for our clients and results in direct savings in many ways — ensuring fair settlements as well as managing audits when necessary, and even working with those representing the insureds, from attorneys to public adjusters. They are a means of providing checks and balances in these cases, especially as they are familiar with the many different resources available to establish value of items. Our claims adjusters are able to do all this while still maintaining the human touch needed to keep the claims process moving forward and ensuring those affected by the loss feel heard and involved.

Staying prepared in the event of a loss

The contents solutions division at Sedgwick receives more than half of their claim assignments as a result of residential losses. With our experience, we’ve learned ways that individuals and even business owners can ensure an efficient inventory process in the event of a loss. Above all, maintaining an accurate set of records of property is essential — ideally, as one full inventory. As new and significant personal property is acquired, simply walking around with a camera, and taking pictures is a valuable move. (Here’s a helpful tip: About 20% of what you own has the most value.)

Business owners may find inventory best taken using POS or annual tax records. In a third-party customer situation like a storage facility, where an owner may not have control over inventory, it’s essential to find a way to manage what is coming and going from the facility — even if it means asking for an accurate and up-to-date property list. One of the greatest challenges to resolving claims quickly and efficiently that we see time and again is when a business does not “empty the attic”; that is, it does not dispose of items that no longer have value.

For both residential and commercial customers, it’s important to have an emergency or storm plan: If you do experience a loss, who’s the contractor you can call that will respond immediately and help mitigate the loss? Sedgwick’s contents solutions team is with you every step of the way. If we can assist your organization, please contact me at [email protected].

> Learn more — explore our  contents solutions flyer.

Tags: adjusters, Adjusting, Caring counts, CAT Respnose, Catastrophe, Loss