Updated April 2013
Many would argue that claims and, more specifically, the handling of claims, is where "the rubber meets the road" in the insurance business. It is the "product" that insurance companies ultimately sell, usually accompanied by heartwarming, Norman Rockwell-type advertising that assures peace of mind, "safe harbors", "good hands", and the like.
It is hardly surprising that the average consumer believes that, when a loss occurs, all they have to do is report the matter to their insurance company and the latter will then take care of everything. Such consumers might be astounded to learn that insurers have no such obligation.
Property insurance is, of course, a contract. It is invariably evidenced by policy wording spelling out the terms and conditions of coverage in detail. The average insured, regardless of his level of sophistication, rarely reads his insurance policy. Even if he did, such insured would probably not find any claims handling procedure spelled out in terms that he could understand. It invariably falls to the insurance adjuster to explain the process along with the roles, rights and obligations of all involved.
There is much misunderstanding on the part of insureds, insurers and adjusters alike respecting the claims handling process. This paper attempts to explain both the technical and practical requirements and will hopefully be useful to insurers and independent adjusters on that account.
(PDF Format, 12 pgs)