Finding the Right Property Insurance Claim Experts - A Key to Your Success
September 11, 2016| Von Sue Stein
Region: North America
People that work in the Property Claims field are adept at sorting through the chaos which is part of any loss, and at making order out of it. We take the necessary steps to determine the claim strategy, with one of those steps being to identify the expertise needed to analyze and assess the loss.
Most insurance company claim departments do not have specialized staff on board for every unique risk and claim scenario. Even the best generalist-type firms cannot deliver every type of expertise needed. The challenge is knowing when that specialist is needed and finding the one most appropriate for the job. Part of our work as a reinsurer is helping insurers match a claim expert to the particular type of claim.
Claim specialists can be quite specialized. We have worked with engineering and geotechnical firms as well as forensic accounting and salvage experts. For salvage alone, experts are available for everything from clothing to machinery and equipment to antique auto parts. When you retain the appropriate expertise for the claim, good things can happen. In most cases the insurer saves loss dollars, but in almost all cases the insurer achieves the best claim outcome for everyone.
Consider this example from Gen Re’s past claim files. The insured was a mushroom farming operation in the U.S. The mushroom houses accommodated a variety of exotic species, from Shitake to Portobello. A storm-related power outage caused a large loss of the crop from high temperatures and humidity. To evaluate the salvage potential and understand the business interruption loss, the client needed to know more about farming methods and the growing period for each mushroom species. With an expert that we identified, the insurer developed a claim strategy to help the insured get back up and running, thus reducing the business income loss significantly.
Most insurers maintain a regular panel of outside counsel to help manage legal costs and processes, but each law firm is likely to have an area of expertise that is aligned with particular kinds of claims. Certain firms focus on arson and fraud or inland marine, while others might specialize in coverage or even subrogation. Even if the carrier has a favored firm for most matters, that firm is likely not ideal for all of its claims work. Some reinsurers also maintain expert lists compiled from experience, so they can offer referrals to fill any voids on the insurer’s panel.
Insurance companies should leverage their partnerships with reinsurers, law firms and property experts. The benefits are not limited to claim handling. Insurers applying best practices understand that claims knowledge from reinsurers and outside firms can also help them evaluate territories and classes for profitable growth as well as adjust a business income loss. Are you leveraging these resources for the most benefit to your organization?