Professional claim management tips for public insurance adjusters.
The start of a New Year is always a great time to start making resolutions and developing new habits. Making sure you are putting the best claim forward for your client is no exception! To do that, one of the first things you need to do is make sure you have the full policy of insurance. Without it, you truly don’t know what the requirements are for producing a proof of loss, giving notice, the timeframe for recovering depreciation, or filing suit, just to name a few. That isn’t to say you can’t immediately help your client if you don’t have the policy, but you should be making the request for the policy ASAP! Also, a great habit to start is to keep your own policy library of forms so you can compile a policy based on the declarations if needed!
Once you have the policy, review the applicable provisions and make sure you diary the dates. Does the policy require that you produce a proof of loss within 60 days of the date or loss? Or does it require the same only if the insurer requests a proof? What about the suit limitation provision? This is a particularly important deadline and is often triggered from the date of loss, not the date of discovery of the loss. These dates are of the utmost importance as the failure to comply with them can have a detrimental impact on the claim. Making sure you are tracking the deadlines not only ensures that you are not missing deadlines, but it allows you to request an extension should it become necessary and/or inform your clients of the deadlines and discuss next steps which may be necessary such as hiring an attorney in a timely fashion.
Perhaps one of the most important habits you can develop is supporting your clients’ claim upfront with proper documentation from complete estimates with ACV and RCV values, to photographs and invoices. The case of Christopherson v. American Strategic Insurance Corp., 2020 WL 5117991 (E.D. WI. Aug. 31, 2020) serves as a good reminder of this. While a more thorough review of the decision can be accessed here, the short take away is that the court granted summary judgment for the insurer finding that the insured had failed to produce evidence during the claims process that supported the claimed damages and incurred costs. Practically speaking, don’t wait for the insurer to make the request for the documentation or information. Be proactive on behalf of your client and present the full picture. Ultimately, this practice should allow for a faster and more accurate claims decision to be made.
With the New Year just beginning it is a great time to set some new standards and work on presenting the best claim you can for both you and your client!
Cheers to a great 2022!
About the author: For more than 15 years, Christina Phillips has dedicated her law practice to representing plaintiffs in insurance recovery and related litigation. Christina has represented policyholders in insurance disputes involving coverage matters, property, business income, lost rents, and bad faith disputes throughout the country. Her practice has included representing a wide range of insureds from single family homeowners, to condominiums, as well as corporate entities in claims involving hail, wind, hurricanes, fire, flood and collapse, among others. Christina has also successfully represented clients in broker negligence actions.
Christina is licensed in Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Washington, D.C., as well as a number of Federal Bars throughout the country.