Across the U.S., insurers continue to seek solutions to the challenges that arise when a policyholder's home is damaged, and they turn to their insurance carrier to deliver on their coverage promise to them.
It's critical to identify the difficulties and complexities property claims entail before determining the best approach to tackling these issues. Doing so gives insurers a path toward continued improvement, growth and efficiency.
Here are three challenges insurers need to know about property claims and what can be done to overcome them:
Building the trust of the property owner is difficult but necessary
When a property owner's home is damaged in a natural disaster, he or she needs someone they can rely on to help get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible. They need a contractor who is trustworthy and liable, but they are likely not in position to adequately research what separates a qualified professional from an unscrupulous worker.
The days of insurance companies simply providing their policyholders with a claims check for their damages are over as the bar has been raised on customer expectations. While that method may meet the requirements and obligations of the insurance policy, it does not do nearly enough to help policyholders resolve their issue and only leaves them in need of finding more help. Insureds want their home repaired and need their normal life restored quickly.
That said, insurers have a significant opportunity to handle the repair process for their policyholders and ensure they have a qualified contractor they can trust at a moment's notice. To do so, your company must be in a position to determine whether contractors are licensed, insured and financially stable. You must perform regular background checks on these contractors and measure their performance based on their timeliness, quality of work and customer satisfaction ratings.
It is important that you establish a greater level of trust with your policyholders by helping them complete their claim through the use of a vetted contractor, a major step in exceeding their expectations.
Policyholders are unfamiliar with the damage repair process
Many property owners do not know who to turn to for repair of their damaged home or business, and leaving them to find a reputable, qualified contractor on their own can lead to a poor customer experience. It can also increase the claims cost if the contractor they select does not understand the importance of working with the insurance carrier to develop a fair and reasonable damage repair estimate and poses a risk to your company by opening it up to potential fraudulent activity.
You must ensure that your policyholders’ home repairs will be completed properly and at a fair price by a contractor who is licensed, insured and financially stable, and has performed background checks on their employees. Undertaking this process can relieve a lot of stress and worry for customers, who will be thankful to you for providing a total solution to their claim.
Quality work, timeliness and effective communication are three of the most important factors in property claims and repairs, but difficult to achieve
It is important that your company has a way to oversee all work done by contractors to ensure quality repairs and timely completion – two areas that will ultimately determine whether your policyholder is satisfied with the outcome of their claim. You can add more value to your insured by requiring a workmanship warranty for any work done on their property.
Insurers should also make every attempt to utilize and integrate advancing technology to monitor the performance of the contractors you recommend. The result is quality repairs in a timely manner. Make sure your policyholders are able to stay engaged with you and their contractor throughout the repair process, and remember to be as transparent as possible to build trust and satisfaction. Your goal should be to create an ideal customer experience.
The bottom line is, when you are with your customer through every step of their crisis, you will earn their trust. More trust means you will improve your levels of customer satisfaction, which ultimately leads to policyholder retention and a competitive advantage.
As with any type of claim, property claims come with their fair share of challenges, but implementing a program that fits your company will bring you tremendous value if done properly. Customers are in need, and they are relying on you, their trusted carrier, to get help restore their lives to what they were before their home was damaged.
You have the opportunity overcome these challenges and be a total property solution, handling the complete claims process from beginning to end.
Bill DiGiovanni (Bill.DiGiovanni@ContractorConnection.com) is assistant vice president of customer service for Contractor Connection.