Flood Season & Helping the Policyholder with their Insurance Claim
Well it’s that time of year again. No, not tax time. All the flood adjusters from all over the country are attending the Federally-mandated annual flood certification training. Over the course of several months, flood adjusters attend training workshops from coast to coast in order to receive certification to adjust flood claims. No adjusters, even seasoned adjusters with years of experience, can adjust flood claims without having gone through the eight-hour long course each and every year in order to keep their flood certification status active.
Unfortunately, the workshops are about as exciting as watching moss grow. That’s not a negative reflection on the presenters – it’s just plain boring content and nearly impossible to keep the workshop attendees on the edge of their seats when you’re talking about “the program of flood insurance coverage and floodplain management administered under the Act and applicable Federal regulations in Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subchapter B”. See what I mean?
Sometimes adjusters just sit there and simply tune out. Like when you were in high school and your science teacher drones on about micro-organisms. All you could think about was lunch or whether or not you were going to see that special someone in the hall after class. Believe me, I’ve been there.
That said, there are usually a few tidbits of important information that flood adjusters need to pick up unless they are zonked out. For example, supplemental claims resulting from Sandy are still a big deal. While FEMA did allow two extensions, the deadline is rapidly approaching and homeowners must get their final proof of loss forms submitted before April 29th.
Also, it was emphasized that computers and estimating software don’t adjust claims. They are only a useful tool to prepare a repair estimate. Further, adjusters should accept prices submitted by homeowners and give adequate consideration to those prices above their own estimating software. And finally, adjusters should ADJUST the claim.
Don’t place undue hardship on the homeowner. Many adjusters advise homeowners to just send in their receipts after all the repairs are completed. This puts an undue financial burden on the homeowner because many don’t have the financial means to pay for the repairs without the insurance money. Homeowners should not be put in the precarious position of having to complete repairs for flood damage BEFORE they can be paid for the damage.
Many adjusters provide little to no guidance on preparing a list of damaged contents items. Then when the homeowner submits their inventory, the insurance company claims examiner requests all kinds of receipts and pictures of the damaged items. By that time, most of the damaged contents items have been discarded. This causes undue stress on the homeowners and creates an adversarial situation. While there is no policy requirement for the flood adjuster to prepare a contents list for the homeowner, the adjusters should advise the homeowner on what will be required and work with the policyholder to develop the contents list. This includes adding state sales tax to an item’s unit cost and applying a reasonable amount of depreciation to each item on the list.
Lastly, adjusters should help policyholders get every penny that the policy allows. The homeowners paid their premiums and should receive every penny they are legally entitled to receive under the policy.
If only it were that simple.
If you have questions regarding any property insurance related issues, please call 800.321.4488 or contact us to submit a question to one of our public adjuster or insurance claim experts. Click to see public adjuster Keith Grams profile