Insurance Consumer Advocate to Host Claims Roundtable
Sean Shaw, Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, has scheduled a second roundtable for November 18, 2009, to discuss possible improvements to the insurance claims settlement process. The Consumer Advocate hosted an initial roundtable on this topic over the summer and invited contractors and insurance claims personnel to discuss issues they have seen in determining the amount of damage and effectuating repairs.
Although contractors and insurers both seek to complete repairs as promptly as possible following catastrophes, the roundtable highlighted that their needs for information can be different. For example, a contractor familiar with local codes might know that in addition to replacing certain damaged property, the scope of damage will necessitate additional upgrades affecting parts of them property that are not damaged. The contractor might aggregate these repairs into a single estimate. The insurer, on the other hand, needs to distinguish between property that is damaged and other property that is being replaced due to the application of laws and ordinances. The time spent by the insurer and contractor sorting out these issues pushes back the commencement of repairs on the insured property. The Consumer Advocate as observed that by making improvements in these areas, such as by creating forums for the industries to share these ideas, all interested parties may benefit the next time storms affect the state.
After the initial roundtable, the Consumer Advocate developed a series of recommendations aimed at improving the claims process. Many of the recommendations focus on improving training and continuing education requirements. Essentially, the recommendations reflect that if the various parties to the insurance/repair transactions better understood the underlying business aspects and informational needs of the other parties, some claims would be able to progress faster.
The participants in the roundtable process have not yet had an opportunity to comment on the specific recommendations. The Consumer Advocate therefore has scheduled another roundtable at which interested parties will be able to discuss the recommendations. The Consumer Advocate then hopes the release the recommendations in final form. Anyone interested in commenting on these proposals will be able to do so by attending the November 18 workshop.