Twenty years ago when acting as a traditional loss adjuster and asked whether a policyholder should appoint a loss assessor I could honestly have stated – and did do so – that to do so was the policyholder’s prerogative but that I was required to be impartial and that it would not make a lot of difference to the outcome.
I certainly cannot say that now for the impartiality requirement which was diluted in the mid nineties has now disappeared altogether. Never has the policyholder representation industry been required more than it is at present. Insurers blatantly now do their utmost to get out of paying claims. Even insurance brokers who have traditionally advised their clients against using the services of loss assessors are now beginning to realise that they need help from experts in dealing with insurance claims matters and broker recommendations as well as the selling of loss assessor/adjuster fees products are increasing.
Loss adjusting companies openly state that their purpose is to save their clients (insurers) money whilst at the same time increasing the satisfaction of their clients’ customers (policyholders). How does that work. “Hello I’m here on behalf of your insurers and my job is to save them money but by the time I leave you are going to be the happiest person on earth” – it doesn’t work does it?
Experienced, qualified loss adjusters are embarrassed to have to put forward at the instruction of their principals spurious arguments which their intelligence, experience and qualifications tell them are totally and utterly wrong and designed only in an unintelligent attempt by insurers to save money by not paying claims. Of course they will get away with it at times because by far the majority of policyholders making claims are unrepresented and don’t know any better.
The most recent development in this respect actually involves small claims where policyholders are not represented because the claims are too small for loss assessors to take on. Claims validation companies are selling themselves to insurers as guaranteeing savings on buildings claims. How? Simple – they validate only what their surveyors (and thus the policyholder) can see. Water comes through a ceiling from an upstairs room. They agree to repaint the ceiling. As an extra they will stainblock it to stop the stain reappearing. It doesn’t matter about the floor joists being saturated. Hopefully they will not rot and hopefully the policyholder will not eventually fall through the ceiling.
The policyholder is offered the opportunity to have his chosen contractor to do the work for the price agreed by the validation company, say £1400. The policyholder gets a builder in who says that the job can’t be done for that price and quotes £2400. Who does the policyholder think is ripping him off – his insurer or the builder?
Why would an insurer move away from the supply chain management idea of instructing their own builder to carry out repairs at a saving for the insurers?
I chose those figures because I recently advised someone to insist upon seeing the validation company’s costings for a claim where they steadfastly refused to increase the offer beyond £1400. Unbelievably someone who might by now have been dismissed sent out a copy of their costings – for £2000 plus vat making £2400 in total………………
Even more disturbing is the fact that at least one major insurer has instructed its own outside claims force to likewise validate only what can be seen and to ignore latent damage. It’s no wonder that loss adjusting firms no longer are required to be impartial is it?
Remember this – your insurer is no longer your friend.