Untrained insurance adjusters significantly impact the property damage claim process. They miss damage during inspections, write inaccurate estimates, and cause lengthy claim timelines. While this is unfortunate for the policyholder, those involved in the repair process, like roofing contractors, also suffer.
The trend of untrained and unskilled adjusters in the claim process will likely worsen with an increase in storm activity.
A report put out by McKinsey and Company notes how carriers can increase profit by moving as much as “30% of their workforce to outside vendors.” These include roof inspection teams or “ladder assists,” independent adjusters, engineers, and claim filing administrators. All directly impact a claim’s outcome, yet no state laws require carriers to train them properly. With more insurance companies adopting the use of these untrained vendors, it is making it much harder for contractors to receive fair compensation for their work.
The good news is contractors have options and steps they can take to improve insurance claim handling without fear of violating UPPA laws. Below are a few tips of steps to take for you and your customer’s best claim outcome.
1. Have an estimate written by an Xactimate-certified estimator
An estimate written by an Xactimate-certified estimator allows you to substantiate and prove price increases, line-item changes, and other critical pieces of information on estimates. It often deters the constant back and forth with carrier adjusters and keeps them from being able to stonewall you into accepting an unfair and often lower amount for the work you do.
2. Focus On Claim Documentation
If you can’t rely on the carrier-provided ” experts ” to create a detailed and accurate estimate, be prepared to fully document the claim yourself. This includes more than enough photos and information to create a justified supplement later. We’re talking A LOT of photos. This allows you to substantiate any line items and pricing.
3. Improve Internal Claim Processes
Ensuring everyone on your team follows the same process when assessing damage and writing estimates is critical. Missed damage, improperly accounted-for items, and incorrect prices are three of the biggest reasons claims end up in supplement hell. It doubles or triples the paperwork and increases back and forth with carriers, which can slow the claim timeline significantly. Take your time on the front end to create an iron-clad, evidence-based claim file for your customers.
4. Partner With Industry Experts
The single best way to avoid violations is to know when to get help from experts like a public adjuster or property damage attorney. The key is to spot signs of trouble as early as possible. For instance, when a carrier representative becomes unresponsive or combative, it may be a good idea to educate your customers on the types of third-party assistance available to them and prepare them for the possibility of hiring one. Early intervention can save time, reduce stress, and keep claim timelines on track.