Like much of the state, I was watching the LSU v. Bama game. It didn’t disappoint. While I felt confident going into it, we all knew it would be a challenge given that Bama has put together a pretty good team itself. Watching the game made me think a lot about team and even more about how teams are put together. I think after the game, we can all agree that Coach Orgeron has put together an amazing team.
The win wasn’t an accident. It was a finely tuned machine firing on all cylinders with every position having a job to do – and doing it.
So, today, I’d like to talk about how you get a big win when it comes to making your property claim. People often forget that insurance companies have entire teams behind them. This is probably true for most companies. After all, a large insurance company isn’t one person, but rather the sum of all of its parts.
The first position we should talk about is the desk adjuster. You can think of the desk adjuster as the quarterback. The desk adjuster is the one that you see the most. The desk adjuster writes the letters telling you what they will pay on your claim or if they will even pay your claim at all. But, the desk adjuster is just one position. Just like a quarterback can’t play the game alone, the desk adjuster has a whole team supporting him or her.
For example, the desk adjuster has a supervisor, maybe a claims manager. This is kind of like the coach. The claims manager is making policies about how things are handled and telling the desk adjuster what to do when he or she has questions or needs guidance. The claims manager may even have to approve payouts above a certain amount. You might think that the desk adjuster is your friend just because he or she is friendly, but Burrow certainly doesn’t think Tua is trying to help him win.
Now, an insurance company gets a win every time they don’t pay you what you’re entitled to when you’re house suffers a loss. In my time doing this, I see that a lot of policy holders think they have to play the game of insurance claims alone. Well, again, I wouldn’t expect Burrow to get on the field without a line, a running back, or any receivers.
If your insurance company isn’t going at it alone, why should you?
So let’s bread down the different positions. An insurance company has a desk adjuster, a claims manager, a field adjuster, and may even have experts. The desk adjuster is calling the plays based on what he or she thinks is appropriate.
In many claims, there is also a field adjuster. The field adjuster might work directly for the insurance company, or it might be an independent contractor for the insurance company. Make no mistake. That field adjuster is still on the insurance company’s team.That field adjuster goes out, looks at the damage, takes photos, and writes an estimate. That is what you see the field adjuster doing. What you may not see a field adjuster doing (but happens) is looking for a reason to deny or underpay your claim.
Ever see the players kind of talking trash at the line, right after the play, or before the game? When you think about it that way, the field adjuster telling you that your claim has problems doesn’t seem so innocent, does it? The field adjuster might be trying to get in your head. See, if you feel negative about your claim on the first visit, then you might be more accepting of a low estimate or a denial when it comes out later. It is psychological.
While those are the major positions, there are all these optional positions that the insurance company can put in the game. For example, the insurance company might hire an engineer, a roofer, a plumber, any number of other experts. I have even seen insurance companies hire companies that claim to do scientific testing on roofs to claim that no hail actually damaged the roof. These people are there to take down your claim and make sure you get a loss.
Finally, the insurance company has an entire corps of lawyers. They are there reading what they see and adjusting their routes based on what they think will give the insurance company a win. Lawyers for insurance companies are paid by the insurance companies. There is virtually no reason for them to want to see you with a win. When they sense the insurance company is likely to receive a loss, they often charge in and get very aggressive. Some insurance companies actually sue policy holders in advance of the policy holder even hiring a lawyer.
Obviously, this isn’t a perfect analogy, but I think I’ve made the point.
What it really comes down to is that if an insurance company has a finally tuned team that trains all year long to deny claims and to win the claims battle, why shouldn’t you at least have some help? Short answer, get your own team. It doesn’t have to be eleven different professionals, but get someone.
When you are hit by a car and are hurt, do you treat yourself, give yourself surgery, and then file the lawsuit alone? I would guess the answer is no. So why is your property claim different?
You need a team. But first, your probably need someone to tell you who you need on your team. At a minimum, you probably want a quarterback. In this case your quarterback is more likely than not an attorney that actually has experience in property claims. This quarterback should also have experience in identifying bad faith.
If you have a good quarterback that will call an audible when need be, it only stands to reason that your chances of winning get better. On the other hand, if you try to be the quarterback and you don’t have that experience and you don’t have that ability to look down the field and see how the defense is shifting, things may be a little bit harder.
That isn’t to say that policy holders can’t get a fair value on their own. But what do you think the likelihood of that actually happening is?
I would venture to say more often than not. It’s luck as opposed to skill when a policy holder actually is treated fairly. Sometimes, the policy holder doesn’t even know that he or she is being treated unfairly.
Now some policy holders say that they will wait to hire a lawyer until the last minute. The problem with this is that you don’t bring in your star quarterback in the fourth quarter when you’re already down by fifty points.
You want your star quarterback playing as long as he needs to in order to ensure that you have enough of a winning margin.
It gets increasingly difficult to watch insurance companies, take advantage of people. Frankly, it angers me. Every time I get a call from a homeowner or an insured that was not treated fairly, I get upset that I wasn’t in the game at the beginning. I feel upset for my client, my teammate.
What about the other positions? Well, the short answer is that maybe you need them, maybe you don’t. It probably makes sense to have someone out there first deciding whether you need those people. No reason to spend money you don’t need to spend. And, who is a good teammate. For instance, if you need a roofer to help with your claim is the roofer someone that actually knows how to properly make the claim or merely a contractor trying to get the job. The problem is that the latter might inadvertently say or do something to hurt your claim. The roofer also might drive down the value of your claim in an effort to get the job.
On the heels of an amazing LSU win over Bama and with the type of game they played tonight, we can be assured that we’ll see great things from them for the rest of the season.
I hope if you’re in the middle of dealing with a claim, you also see much success.