This month’s Guest Columnist is Cassandra Hand Gallegos AIC, CEO and President of CCMS & Associates. CCMS is a multi-line claim adjusting service specializing in complex P&C Claims Adjustment, Dispute Resolution and Severity Exposure Management throughout North America. Cassandra was a featured presenter during Rytech’s recent Sunshine Claims Conference and has served the insurance industry since 1989 as a Claim Executive Specialist.
How carrier partners can communicate effectively to policyholders
When something unexpected happens, what matters most is how you respond. Imagine waking up to a room full of water from a pinhole leak in your bathroom supply line. It’s a first for you. You don’t know what to do. You’re under pressure to do something fast but have no idea where to begin.
It begins with communication!
As homeowners we might call our agent or dial our insurance company’s 1-800 number to report a claim. Maybe we call Rytech, a plumber or both. Perhaps, in a panic, we just run to our neighbors house for support. But, if you’re a claims handling organization, in partnership with a carrier, the challenge is much different—you must change a personal tragedy into a fulfilling outcome so the policyholder will be satisfied enough to continue entrusting their home’s insurance with the same carrier.
Carriers constantly hone how best to respond to events in policyholders lives. They want to add value. They search out new and inventive ways to communicate expectations during the claims process–explaining mitigation, evaluation and restoration periods.
As service providers adjusting organizations should have the same continual process of communication in mind, consistent with the processes and goals of the carrier.
Technology is a tool, not an answer. Carriers and service providers often use it to answer questions and educate consumers about the claim process. But, computers and email don’t eliminate the responsibility of thoughtful face-to-face communications with a homeowner ankle-deep in water. Example: while the answer to a policyholders question might be on the carriers website, you wouldn’t simply tell them to go there for that answer.
As a service provider – do you know what the insurer has told the policyholder about your role in the claims process? How do you add value to the carrier and the policyholder in your role as a communicator? And, most important, how do you document your policyholder communications?
As claim professionals, we need to ask ourselves how we can provide great customer service while managing the risk, the exposure, the damage and the repair?