Today I welcome this guest editorial from District 2 resident Steve Acre
After being in the insurance industry as an insurance broker for more than 50 years, I have witnessed many claims and helped clients engage with adjustors and evaluators to a satisfactory conclusion. However, some companies have been using every method to find a way not to pay a claim. I find it very unethical to say the least. Insurance companies like any other businesses must be accountable and be a model to professionalism.
After all, a client who buys insurance coverage for a home or a business is not buying anything tangible, except trust, confidence between client, the broker and the insurance company. The client relies heavily on the broker to come to his or her assistance when a claim occurs. We all know that the insurance industry will not be around if there were no claims. An insurance company must understand that the most important thing in any policy is the settling of a claim, fairly and adequately and as soon as it is practical.
An insurance company should not deny a claim just because the claim was reported way beyond the normal time. Here is a case in point. A person whom I have known for many years and insured his commercial business, asked for my advice on a claim that he had in his home and is not able to get any satisfaction from his broker. The damage was from a broken pipe on the second floor of his duplex and damaged the bathroom, the ceiling and the bathroom on the first floor.
I told the person that I cannot intervene in such a case, but since his renewal was due soon, I will be glad to look into it if he gives me the authorization to become his broker for the home insurance. After the renewal was issued, I approached the insurer to reopen the file and check into the damage that occurred on the second floor in September of 2014.
To my total dismay, it appears that the broker never reported the claim to the insurer, as previously there was water damage from a city water main that was not covered under the policy.This person kept on calling his broker about the water damage that came from the bathroom on the second floor to no avail. This person has copies of e-mails with his broker urging him and begging him for assistance. So when I asked the company to look into the problem, they came back quite fast to say that due to the time elapsed, they cannot assess the damage and denied the claim.
In my humble opinion, this was the wrong attitude that a claims manager has taken. After all, the broker is the representative of the insurer and if he made a mistake by not reporting the claim, the insurer has the responsibility to work with the broker to compensate the client.
Insurers spend millions of dollars on TV advertising on how good they are in customer service and how fast they can settle a claim. In this case it would have cost the insurer and the broker a few thousand dollars and with that they could have bought themselves a lot of good will and client satisfaction.
It really pains me to witness such a lack of responsibility from an insurer. All I can say to that insurer, shame on you that you took the easy way out to deny a claim. At the end of the day, the shame will be upon us all, since we are part of the insurance industry.
Below is an article Steve wrote about the insurance industry in 1979.