Our newest blog, a two-part series, looks at the relationship between a servicer and adjuster and how they can work together to increase efficiencies and processes to expedite the claims process. We interviewed Alisa Aschenbrener, one of our top adjusters, to get a clear perspective on how to strengthen servicer-vendor relationships:
Facilitating the Claims Process Part 2: Understanding What it Takes
In the second part of our two-part blog series, we’ll continue examining how servicers and adjusters can make the claims filing process easier for themselves and each other. Our interview with Alisa also continues as we delve into what it takes to be an adjuster that servicers can depend on to get claims filed properly.
As an adjuster, who is fully licensed in all states and jurisdictions – an accomplishment years’ in the making, I’m comfortable sharing with our readers that adjusters who reach this level are crucial to handling complex hazard claims. Licensing is a huge time and monetary investment that doesn’t end when the license is issued. Many states require continuing education credits to retain their validity, license renewal fees and bonds. It took me several years to obtain all my licenses, a testament to how committed adjusters need to be to gaining and maintaining knowledge for correct, efficient claims filing. While there is a monetary commitment employers need to make to attain and keep these licenses, it is a worthwhile investment – you can’t out a price on having someone who is experienced in handling claims.
So, from an adjuster’s perspective, what can servicers do to optimize their relationship with their vendor(s)?
Understand perils, claimable and non-claimable damages
As mentioned in part one of this blog, most claims don’t fit into a cookie cutter mold; the claims process takes time and is dependent on someone with the experience necessary to adjust and respond to changes on a file.
In addition, it’s important for the PPV to also understand what damages are insurable vs. uninsurable. Sometimes the servicer will receive a repair invoice or inspection report for something that does not qualify as insurable damages, which leads to a back and forth process between servicers and vendors to clarify the report and what can and cannot be claimed as reimbursable by the carrier. Servicers and PPVs would help the claims process by understanding the difference between claimable damage (i.e. damage caused by perils like fire, smoke, theft and vandalism, etc.) vs. normal property wear and tear (i.e. worn carpeting, pet damages, etc). Having a claims adjuster with experience and knowledge is helpful in establishing a relationship and trusted partnership to aid in this understanding.
Know when a property is vacant or occupied
Both servicers and adjusters need to be on top of vacancies and occupancies. If this or any other step in the claims filing process is missed, it is possible a claim will not be paid. All parties need to do the appropriate research to determine property vacancy. Carriers will always request a Change of Risk form, if we don’t provide this proactively a claim can be denied. As your partner, it’s important for you to work with your vendor for all notifications. Once a loan is delinquent a servicer will want to verify an insurance policy exists or apply a lender placed policy to the property – if there is a change in vacancy/occupancy the carrier needs to be notified within 30-days (depending on policy). We have encountered denials due to a lack of Change of Risk notifications.
Get familiar with all documents that prove interest in a property
Without documented interest in property, servicers can lose out on tons of funds gained from successful claims filing. Key documents for proving interest include:
- Original appraisal,
- All assignments of mortgage,
- Welcome/Goodbye Letter, and
- Transfer of service letter
It’s helpful for servicers to understand how foreclosures affect the claims process and why they need to be aware of all damages before foreclosure, what proper documentation is needed, and have a partner who can educate them on claim damages.
A complete understanding of the process will save time and money for all parties involved. Having a vendor with experienced adjusters is the best step your agency can take to being educated in the claims filing process and demonstrates how experience, education and training are essential to helping our clients with their complex claims.
About Alisa: Alisa began her adjuster career at AAA as an auto adjuster. She is fully licensed as a public adjuster in all jurisdictions. Alisa is a mother of two boys and is happily married living in San Diego. Her favorite aspects of adjusting include researching and solving the puzzle of complex claims, learning something new every day, and being part of a team of experienced adjusters.