The unthinkable has happened. A tornado, flood, blizzard or earthquake has just devastated your local area. At times like these, your first thoughts are for the well-being of yourself, your family and your friends. After that, your thoughts turn to the well-being of your clients. You want to make sure they are physically and emotionally safe. Next you want to help them rebuild their lives and repair any property damages sustained in the disaster.
It is around the time you begin working with your clients that the catastrophe adjuster arrives. And while their responsibilities are very different from yours, communicating with the adjuster can be beneficial for both the adjuster and for your clients, too.
Understand the Role of an Adjuster
The role of a catastrophe adjuster isn’t for everyone. Adjusters are often away from their homes for weeks or months at a time, depending on the severity of the disaster. Upon arriving on the scene, these professionals delve into seven-day work weeks and are surrounded by the grief and misery of the people who lived through the disaster. They are forced to keep a cool head and go about their work regardless of what has occurred in the area.
As a local agent, reaching out to the adjuster when he or she arrives and working to make their job easier will ultimately benefit your clients.
How you can help the adjuster help your clients
Because the adjuster is new to your area, it’s best to get him or her up to speed on your clients as quickly as possible. Remember, as the local agent no one knows your community better than you, and it’s up to you to inform the adjuster about each of your clients needing help. This means providing the adjuster with a brief synopsis of your affected client’s personalities. They will need to know who will need a little more help understanding the process, who will be more hands on – and potentially climb the roof with the adjuster – and who will be pretty relaxed about the situation.
Because claims adjusters often have a background in construction, contracting or home inspections, they will be able to provide valuable details regarding the extent of the damage to your client’s home or vehicle. Ask the adjuster to give you a heads with any potentially difficult decisions involving one of your clients. It is likely that not every home in town sustained significant damage, and if you are informed, you can help communicate with your clients about their potential benefits.
All of this will, in turn, protect you from being caught off guard by any of the adjuster’s decisions. Your clients will know that you are looking out for them and that you understand what is happening with their potential claims. The adjuster’s findings may also help you pursue future policies with your clients. For example, if they lack flood insurance, a recent disaster may be a perfect time to add such a policy.
Once you've spoken to the adjuster, reach out to your clients
Once you have met with the adjuster, relay his or her presence as well as any helpful and appropriate information to your clients. They will appreciate the fact that their insurance provider has someone in the field working to get them the closure they need in the wake of the disaster. The quick response by the catastrophe adjuster will also reflect positively on your agency.
Rebuilding after a disaster is one of the most challenging scenarios your community will ever face and, just like you, your clients appreciate open communication so they can understand each step of the process. Meeting and speaking with the adjuster ahead of time will help you communicate effectively with your clients, improve their mood and reduce the likelihood of costly and time-consuming future re-inspections.