As we continue to adjust our home and work lives amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’re quickly becoming accustomed to things operating differently. Whether it’s the rise in ordering takeout instead of dining in at your favorite restaurant, or donning a mask before shopping at the store, things have changed — and that includes how insurers are handling property damage claims.

In many cases, insurance companies are turning to technology to reduce the need for field employees to visit a property to assess a claim. This evolution in the property claims process has created new issues for owners, insurers and adjusters to navigate.

Filing a Property Damage Claim During COVID

Whether you’ve experienced a fire at your home or water damage at your business, the start of your property claim is the same as it’s always been — a call to the insurance company. After they’ve verified your coverage and discussed your situation, instead of sending an appraiser or an adjuster to you to take photos and assess the damages, they’re now using technology to conduct assessments.

While this option reduces the exposure for the insurance company’s employees, it still relies on taking stock of a damage claim remotely — which doesn’t always provide the full story. This approach may also mean that some aspects of property damage may be hard to photograph, such as water penetration or smoke damage. If those are missed and not factored into the adjuster’s assessment, a lower claim value can be the result.

CoronavirusNew Methods for Claim Appraisals

One common method today uses claims apps on mobile devices. This technology is already in use by some auto insurers. Some providers offer downloadable software that guides claimants through taking photos, adding notes and submitting them to a central claims center. With restrictions in some areas of the country limiting adjusters’ ability to make in-person visits, and the overall goal of maintaining more social distancing and separation for everyone’s health and safety, this option has become increasingly popular. 

Another option, according to the Insurance Journal, is the increase of third-party “lookers,” independent contractors who serve  as “eyes in the field” for appraisers and adjusters. These workers often contract on a freelance basis and connect with the insurance company by phone at the site of the claim.  They then take direction from the adjuster at the property and take photos and videos for your insurer’s employee to review and document in the assessment of the claim. 

“With insurers doing more and more remotely and relying on the policyholders or contractors to assess damages, we’ve seen an increase in mistakes and oversights in claims,” says Steven Vanuga, principal of Adjusters International/Basloe, Levin & Cuccaro. “This has meant more gaps in insurance values versus actual losses and more need for our team to help clients get what they need to recover from their loss.”

Challenging a Property Damage Claim Amid COVID-19

The move to more remote processing has been accompanied by a need for the aid of certified public adjusters like the team at Adjusters International/Basloe, Levin & Cuccaro. Our public adjusters work on your behalf, assessing your property damages, reviewing your policy coverage, and defending your property damage claim against lower value findings from your insurance company.

The job of a public adjuster is to work for you. We advocate for you throughout your property damage claim. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way claims are processed, it’s had a noticeable impact on the amount of many claim settlements. Clients often find that their insurer appraised their loss at a far lower value than expected.  

That’s where we can step in. We send our own staff to visit you at your property to discuss the situation. We review your coverage, the insurance company’s findings and negotiate with your insurer. We work to get you a full, fair, and correct financial recovery and to expedite the process to help you get back to normal sooner.

When you contact us, we’ll start with a phone call to discuss your situation and learn more about you and your loss. Following that conversation, we’ll schedule a time to visit you at your home or business to assess the scope of your loss in person. To help keep everyone safe, our team members always wear masks during on-site visits and strive to keep safe, six-foot distances as recommended by the CDC. This in-person visit is critical to truly assessing the true size and scale of your property damage claim, and helps us fully understand your loss to prove it to your insurance company. 

After the visit, we’ll coordinate the handling of your claim with you and your insurer. We’ll take point on communicating with your provider and will work to resolve your claim in a timely fashion. We know that claims can be stressful and confusing, so we strive to handle as much of the paperwork and back-and-forth with your insurance provider as possible to minimize your hassle and stress.

On Your Side – Even During a Pandemic

The certified public adjusters at Adjusters International/Basloe, Levin & Cuccaro know that handling a property damage claim isn’t always a straightforward and simple process, especially now, as COVID-19 continues to impact the way claims are handled and managed. With decades of experience, our staff of professional loss consultants and specialists can help with your homeowner, commercial or non-profit/governmental property damage claim.

Let us work with you to make the process simpler, more streamlined, and safer as we protect your policyholder’s rights and your health during the ongoing pandemic. With offices across New York state in Buffalo, Utica and Albany, as well as Scranton, Pennsylvania and Portland, Maine, our public adjusters are near you to help you handle processing your loss. Contact us today to start the conversation about your property damage claim.