Legal alternatives, better claim service explored
Another requirement of Florida’s recent consumer insurance reforms is that third party vendors go through alternative dispute resolution, such as appraisal, before filing a lawsuit against an insurance company, if the policy requires it. I recently sat down with an established restoration contactor and an appraiser to talk about how that’s working and the bigger picture: how we can reduce litigation through improved claim service. We recorded our conversation as the latest episode of The Florida Insurance Roundup podcast.
Both shared how today’s technology and methods can not only reduce excessive lawsuits against property insurance companies, but herald the return of good customer service and improve the insurance claims process for everyone. We also talked about how to encourage homeowner mitigation & resilience measures on their properties now that hurricane season is gaining attention.
John Minor, President of Complete Inc. and Complete General Contractors of Pensacola does a lot of work in alternative dispute resolution, which includes insurance appraisal and arbitration of claims. “The appraisal process is a place for reasonableness,” he said. “Fully outrageous demands are going to be washed away by the process. A true umpire is going to be writing things in such a way that they can explain it to any person.” What it comes down to, he said, is just being fair, looking at the damages, establishing their true value, and then backing it up with an understandable explanation.
Jason Evans, President of EIG Restoration of Texas and Florida agreed and explained how using the latest technology and providing good customer service can help prevent claims from even being disputed. EIG has developed an “Option to Repair” program for insurance companies that provides seamless service to policyholders, where the insurance company chooses the contractor to execute repairs. “When an insured files a claim, they want to know three things. That you saw me, that you know what my problem is, and you have a plan to fix it. Doing those three things absolutely can take out 40% of the claims that go into litigation,” Evans said. He went into the exact process his team uses on the podcast.
Evans said it’s an idea that’s catching on in Florida and the rest of the country. Minor said it should be the model for every insurance company. “It’s the method of applying old school values in a modern society. If we can do that, then these armies of AOB roofing contractors and others that are going to triple the value of the claim so that they can somehow end up resolving it at a number that they’re comfortable with, or that allows them to pay for their Rolls Royces and their sports cars will be diminished,” said Minor, who is also a certified contractor.
This was a very positive, informative, and encouraging conversation by these two established experts that will leave you invigorated. Taking care of the insurance customer is job one! You can read more – and better yet, listen to the full podcast here.
LMA Newsletter of 9-6-22