The tendency for an insurance claim to turn into a lawsuit is pretty common. With this in mind, it’s good for adjusters to be on guard against situations which may potentially lead to a lawsuit.
Sometimes lawsuits and insurance claims go hand in hand. While a lawsuit is good for a policy-holder fighting a bad faith claim, some people pull those involved with an insurance claim into needless litigation. Those can include clients, companies or even adjusters and while it’s good to be prepared for a pointless lawsuit, it’s even better to avoid one.
Chip Merlin at Property Insurance Law Blog reported last week on speech given by Jeff Diamond, a prominent insurance lawyer, and some of the gleanings he walked away from the speech with. Some of these gleanings are good advice for public adjusters who are having to deal with an insurance company adjuster.
According to Diamond – and based off his own experience – insurance claims dealing with property damage typically devolve into lawsuits when any of the following happens between a public and insurance company adjuster:
1. Breakdown in Communication
2. Conflicting Agendas Between Insurer and Insured
3. Breakdown in Trust
He then went on to point out how certain things add impetus to lawsuits including:
1. Tactics shift from light to heavy
2. Issues proliferate
3. Stereotyping and demonizing
4. Good intentions give away to bad
5. More parties get brought into the fray
As you can see, when things begin to stack up in a property insurance claim case, things get confusing, assumptions are made between the parties involved and eventually everyone finds themselves wasting time in a courtroom.
Diamond says a good thing for public adjusters to do is to empathize with the insurance company adjuster as the insurance company adjuster is “overworked, usually underpaid and often not respected enough for the work they do.” He also brings out how the public adjuster is not always going to get the true story from a policy-holder. What’s critical is that the adjuster scrutinizes everything and keeps a generally gray point of view on the case.
The rest of Merlin’s blog post is fairly informative and definitely worth a read if you’re wondering how you can improve as a public adjuster.