Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

Satisfaction with Homeowners Insurance Claims Experience Increases

Posted on Mon, Apr 02, 2012 @ 03:07 PM

marketwatch,insurance,insurance claim,insurance claims,property damage,property claim,property claims,insurance company,customer satisfaction

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Overall Customer Satisfaction with Homeowners Insurance Claims Experience Increases, Despite Record Number of Storm Losses

 

Amica Mutual Ranks Highest in Overall Satisfaction among Property Insurance Claimants

 

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Despite a record number of catastrophic storms and some of the largest payouts ever in the U.S. property insurance industry in 2011, overall customer satisfaction with the property claims experience has significantly increased from last year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.

 

 

The study, now in its fifth year, measures satisfaction with the property claims experience among insurance customers who filed a claim for damages covered under their homeowners policy by examining five factors: claim settlement; first notice of loss; estimation process; service interaction; and repair process.

After four years of relatively stable customer satisfaction with the insurance claims experience, overall satisfaction in 2012 improves to 833 on a 1,000-point scale, an increase of 10 points from 2011. This increase is noteworthy, as the claims experiences measured in the 2012 study are based on claims filed during 2011, when there were 99 weather-related disasters in the country, 14 of which totaled more than $1 billion in damages each, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

"A period of tremendous volatility in the industry, caused by a large number of devastating storms, led us to anticipate that satisfaction would decline, but that clearly was not the case," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "The industry as a whole did well in not only handling the day-to-day claims, but also the large volume of claims associated with those major events."

According to the study, high wind claims, which include tornado and hurricane damage, accounted for 33 percent of all claims filed, an increase from 21 percent in the 2011 study. Yet, among those who filed a claim for high wind damage, satisfaction remained stable relatively unchanged with the 2011 study.

However, when examining the claims experience by region, there are mixed results in overall satisfaction in those regions with large increases in particular weather events. For example, satisfaction in the South Atlantic and Northeast regions, both of which had increases in high wind claims due to hurricanes in 2011, improved 36 points and 18 points, respectively, compared with the 2011 study. In contrast, overall satisfaction in the East North Central Region, which also had an increase in high wind claims due to tornado damage, satisfaction has declined by 14 points from 2011. In addition, an increase in hail-related claims in the West South Central has resulted in an eight-point drop in satisfaction year over year.

"The way in which carriers ramp up for a major natural catastrophe can have a major impact on customer satisfaction," Bowler said. "Having a plan in place to handle the increased volume of claims helps carriers, but so does having time to prepare for an oncoming storm. There usually is some advance warning for a hurricane, so carriers have a few days to prepare and be proactive with their customers. However, since there is little warning for tornado or hail storms, carriers are forced to react in trying to manage claims associated with this type of storm damage."

The study finds that a positive claims experience fosters significantly higher long-term loyalty among claimants, while a negative claims experience may cause claimants to be more likely to switch insurers. Among highly satisfied claimants (satisfaction scores of 901 or higher), 84 percent say they "definitely will" recommend their insurer, and 81 percent say they "definitely will" renew with their insurer. Conversely, among claimants with low satisfaction (scores of 550 or lower), only 12 percent say they "definitely will" renew with the carrier that handled the claim, and 18 percent indicate that they have already switched carriers.

Amica Mutual ranks highest in overall satisfaction with the homeowners insurance claims experience, achieving a score of 894. Amica Mutual also performs particularly well in all five factors. Auto-Owners Insurance follows in the rankings with a score of 873, performing particularly well in service interaction, while Nationwide ranks third with 872. USAA also achieves high levels of customer satisfaction, although it is not included in the rankings due to the closed nature of its membership.[1]

Bowler offers the following tips for homeowners insurance customers:

Read and make sure you understand your homeowners insurance policy and make sure the coverage limits are adequate to cover the replacement value of your home and its contents.

Big-ticket items, such as valuable art work, expensive jewelry or collectables, should be declared on your policy. Often, insurers will require an independent appraisal to verify valuations.

Maintain an inventory of the contents of your home--at least the 10 most expensive items--and store it in a safe place. Some insurance carriers offer apps to help with this process.

Take pictures or videos of the damage.

Try to be at your home when the adjuster arrives to asses the damage.

Ask your insurance carrier to explain how the claims and repair process will work, and how long it is expected to take.

The management discussion based on the study, available for download here, provides an in-depth examination of homeowners insurance claims and the claims process.

The 2012 Property Claims Satisfaction Study is based on more than 4,200 responses from homeowners insurance customers who filed a property claim between May 2010 and January 2012.

        Customer Service Index Ranking              J.D. Power.com Power Circle Ratings
        (Based on a 1,000-point scale)              For Consumers
        Amica Mutual                            894 5
        Auto-Owners Insurance                   873 4
        Nationwide                              872 4
        Erie Insurance                          864 4
        CHUBB                                   859 4
        Automobile Club of Southern California  848 4
        COUNTRY                                 847 4
        State Farm                              846 4
        American Family                         842 4
        NCNU Insurance Exchange (Formerly CSAA) 842 4
        The Hartford                            841 3
        Safeco                                  835 3
        Travelers                               835 3
        Industry Average                        833 3
        Allstate                                829 3
        Liberty Mutual                          824 3
        MetLife                                 823 3
        Farmers                                 818 3
        The Hanover                             812 2
        *USAA                                   895 5
        


NOTE: Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size: Foremost.*USAA is an insurance provider open only to U.S. military personnel and their families and therefore is not included in the rankings.

Power Circle Ratings Legend:5 - Among the best4 - Better than most3 - About average2 - The rest

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/ .

Media Relations ContactsJohn Tews, Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.comSyvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

[1] USAA is an insurance provider open only to U.S. military personnel and their families and therefore is not included in the rankings.

SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved 

 

Comtex

Tags: property damage, insurance claims, insurance, insurance claim, insurance company, property claim, property claims

Catastrophes, Reserves Halve Liberty Mutual Insurance Q4 Earnings

Posted on Thu, Mar 08, 2012 @ 11:55 AM

March 6, 2012

 

NU Online News Service, March 6, 12:25 p.m. EST

Net income at Liberty Mutual Insurance fell nearly 51 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and about 78 percent for the year on catastrophe losses and reserve strengthening.

Liberty Mutual fourth quarter net income stood at $284 million, down from $576 for the same period in 2010. The combined ratio for the period was 104.2, up 5 points from the fouth quarter of 2010.

“Another quarter, another catastrophe,” says David H. Long, president and chief executive officer of Liberty Mutual, during a conference call.

During the last three months of 2011, the company suffered $90 million in losses related to the flooding in Thailand. Most of the loss is attributable to a Lloyd’s syndicate. Local companies took about $20 million in losses, Long says.

Liberty Mutual recorded a total of $234 million in catastrophe losses during the fourth quarter, compared to $198 million for the prior year same period.

The company posted net income of $365 million for full year 2011, down drastically from $1.68 billion in 2010.

Results included hundreds of millions in reserve strengthening. After a “ground-up reserve study” Liberty Mutual strengthened asbestos-related reserves $294 million in 2011.

Additionally, a re-estimation of current accident-year loss reserves resulted in a net incurred loss of $121 million in the fourth quarter.

“I’m pretty happy it’s no longer 2011,” Long says.

“At least, I thought so until last weekend,” he says, referring to the severe storms and tornadoes experienced by a dozen states.

Good news for the Boston-based insurer included increases of 10.6 percent and 6.8 percent in net written premium during the fourth quarter and year, respectively.

Long says Liberty Mutual continues to see favorable growth trends in domestic personal lines, with rate increases of more than 3 percent in auto and 5.5 percent in homeowners.

In commercial lines there is also a general trend in rate increases, led by double-digit jumps in workers’ compensation, he notes.

Premiums in the company’s Liberty International Underwriters unit were up 8.3 percent during the fourth quarter and internationally premiums were up 10 percent during the same three months, led by growth in Portugal, Poland and Turkey, Long says.

Business outside the U.S. now makes up about 23 percent of Liberty Mutual’s consolidated premium, says Long.

Tags: insurance claims, insurance, property casualty insurance, liberty mutual insurance, claims

What is an Insurance Claim? by WiseGEEK.com

Posted on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 @ 01:32 PM

insurance, insurance claim, insurance claims,property damage,disaster,restoration,long island,new york,insurance agent,property damage claim

An insurance claim is the actual application for benefits provided by an insurance company. Policy holders must first file an insurance claim before any money can be disbursed to the hospital or repair shop or other contracted service. The insurance company may or may not approve the claim, based on their own assessment of the circumstances.

Individuals who take out home, life, health, or automobile insurance policies must maintain regular payments called premiums to the insurers. Most of the time these premiums are used to settle another person's insurance claim or to build up the available assets of the insurance company. But occasionally an accident will happen which causes real financial damage, such as a automobile wreck or a tornado or a work-related accident. At this point the injured policy holder has the right to file an insurance claim in order to receive money from the insurance company.

In general, the insurance claim is filed with a local representative of the insurance company. This agent becomes responsible for investigating the specific details of the insurance claim and negotiating the payment from the main insurers. Many times a recognized authority (doctor, repair shop, building contractor) can file the necessary insurance claim forms directly with the insurance company. However, sometimes the policy holder may not want to file an actual insurance claim if the damage is minor or another party has agreed to pay out-of-pocket for their mistake.

After an insurance claim is filed, the insurance company may send out an investigator called an adjustor or appraiser. The insurance adjustor's job is to objectively evaluate the insurance claim and determine if the repair estimates are reasonable. This is to prevent possible fraud by contractors who may inflate their bills for additional compensation. Insurance companies tend to accept the adjustor or appraiser's evaluation as the final word on the insurance claim.

Some insurance claims may not be recognized by the insurance company for any number of reasons. If a claimant's premiums have not been paid in full, the policy itself may not be active. Another insurance company may have already agreed to pay for the damages listed in the claim. This happens quite often in automobile accidents where one party is held responsible. Another reason an insurance claim may be rejected is a failure to fall under covered conditions. Most insurance policies spell out specific areas which qualify for benefits. If the accident or damage claim was caused by carelessness or an unavoidable "Act of God", the insurance company has the right to withhold payments.

An insurance claim is the only way to officially apply for benefits under an insurance policy, but until the insurance company has assessed the situation it will remain only a claim, not a pay-out.

Tags: disaster, long island, property damage, insurance claims, insurance, new york, insurance agent, insurance claim, restoration, property damage claim

Enservio Continues Growth, Acquires Insurers World

Posted on Fri, Feb 17, 2012 @ 10:54 AM

NEEDHAM, Mass.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Enservio (www.enservio.com), the nation’s leading provider of property insurance analytics, affinity marketing and claims solutions, today announced that the company has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Insurers World (www.insurersworld.com) of Canton, Mass.

“Insurers World is an excellent company with strong management, great products, and similar values, and we have watched and admired them for years”

Together, Enservio and Insurers World will be able to offer property insurers a full range of solutions from strategic analytics to claims software and services nationally. As a combined entity, Enservio provides solutions to 12 of the largest property insurers in the nation, has over 300 insurer customers and over 450 employees nationally.

“Insurers World is an excellent company with strong management, great products, and similar values, and we have watched and admired them for years,” said Jon McNeill, CEO of Enservio. “This is a great day for both companies. We are thrilled to welcome Insurers World into the Enservio family. Over the years, we’ve developed a great deal of respect for the Insurers World professional team and their capabilities. This acquisition doubles the value we bring to our customers and doubles our geographic footprint in our claims services business.”

Don Stafford of Insurers World echoed the same, “We are thrilled to be joining Enservio and to benefit from their continued drive to create real innovation and efficiencies in the industry, including their enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) platform. Together, we’ll not only provide our customers with the same unparalleled service levels, but also offer them a broader range of industry-changing solutions like the ReStoreMall and ReStoreCard.”

With this acquisition, Insurers World will retain its distinct brand identity, while strengthening and complementing Enservio. Insurers World will continue to be based in Canton, Massachusetts.

About Enservio

Enservio is the market leader in property insurance affinity solutions, strategic analytics, and contents software, inventory, valuation, replacement and replacement tools. Enservio created the first SaaS (software as a service) software platform for contents, the first replacement mall, the first payment debit card for claims and the first ContentsITV product. We provide software and services to property insurance carriers and their policy holders nationwide. Founded in 2004, we are headquartered near Boston, in Needham, MA with offices and professional staff across the United States. For additional information, please visit the company's web sitewww.enservio.com or call 888.567.7557.

About Insurers World

Since 1978, Insurers World™ has been a chosen partner of insurance companies to establish accurate LKQ and indemnity, incomparable to other industry services. Without the partnership of IW, an adjuster’s contents inventories may remain dormant while they manage more pressing tasks in their workload, returning to their contents evaluation now and again. This issue is simply resolved with the use IW’s inventory transcription and evaluation services, which proceed immediately upon claim submission, allowing the adjuster to concentrate on higher level tasks, making optimal use of their time.

Article First Appeared On EON Business Wire

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Contacts

Topaz Partners
Tom Francoeur, 781-404-2405
tfrancoeur@topazpartners.com

Tags: long island, insurance claims, insurance, new york, insurance claim, insurance industry, enservio, claim

Insurance Claims: What To Do After A Disaster Due to A Storm

Posted on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 @ 03:47 PM

insurance claim, insurance claims,insurance,property damage,storm damage,disaster,disasters,restoration,long island,new york

After the storm, besides making temporary repairs, there are several steps you should take that will aid in the filing of an insurance claim.
 
Make temporary repairs

  • Make temporary repairs to prevent further weather related damage. Cover holes in the roof, walls, doors and windows with plastic or boards. Be careful not to risk your own safety in making the repairs.
  • Save receipts for any material you buy. Your insurance company will reimburse you for the cost.
  • Beware of building contractors that encourage you to spend a lot of money on temporary repairs. Remember that payments for temporary repairs are part of the total settlement. If you pay a contractor a large sum for a temporary repair job, you may not have enough money for permanent repairs.
  • Don't make extensive permanent repairs until after the claims adjuster has been to your home and assessed the damage.
  • Avoid using electrical appliances, including stereos and television sets, that have been exposed to water unless they've been checked by a technician.
 
Call your insurance agent or insurance company
  • Report the damage to your insurance agent or insurance company representative. Ask questions such as: Am I covered? Does my claim exceed my deductible? (Your deductible is the amount of loss you agree to pay yourself when you buy a policy.) How long will it take to process my claim? Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs to structural damage?
 
Save receipts for additional living expenses. 
  • Most homeowners policies cover additional living expenses such as food and housing costs, telephone or utility installation costs in a temporary residence, extra transportation costs to and from work or school, relocation and storage expenses and furniture rental for a temporary residence. Your insurance company will usually advance you money for these expenses. The payments will be part of the final claim settlement. Let your insurance company know where you can be reached so that the claims adjuster can give you a check.
  • The maximum amount available to pay for such expenses is generally equal to 20 percent of the insurance on your home. So on a home insured for $100,000, up to $20,000 would be available. This amount is in addition to the $100,000 to pay for repairs or to rebuild your home. Some insurance companies pay more than 20 percent. Others limit additional living expenses to the amount actually spent during a certain period of time, such as 12 months, instead of a maximum percentage of the policy limit.
 

Preparing for the adjuster's visit

The claims process may begin in one of two ways.
  1. Your insurance company may send you a claim form, known as a "proof of loss form," to complete.
  2. An adjuster may visit your home before you're asked to fill out any forms. (An adjuster is a person professionally trained to assess the damage.) Usually, the more information you have about your damaged home and belongings the faster your claim can be settled.
  • Major disasters make enormous demands on insurance company personnel. Your adjuster generally will come prepared to do a thorough and complete study of the damage to your home. However, the large number of claims may place time restrictions on adjusters forcing them to "scope the loss." If your adjuster doesn't make a complete evaluation of the loss on the first visit, try to set up an appointment for a second visit.
  • Be sure to keep copies of lists and other documents you submit to your insurance company. Also, keep copies of whatever paperwork your insurance company gives you.
Personal Belongings:
  1. Make lists of the damaged items. Include the brand names and model numbers of appliances and electronic equipment. If possible, take photographs of the damage. Don't forget to list items such as clothing, sports equipment, tools, china, linens, outside furniture, holiday decorations and hobby materials.
  2. Use your home inventory or put together a set of records - old receipts, bills and photographs - to help establish the price and age of everything that needs to be replaced or repaired.
  3. If your property was destroyed or you no longer have any records, you will have to work from memory. Try to picture the contents of every room and then write a description of what was there. Try also to remember where and when you bought each piece and about how much you paid.
  4. Don't throw out damaged furniture and other expensive items because the adjuster will want to see them.
Structure of Your Home:
  1. Identify the structural damage to your home and other buildings on your premises, like a garage, toolshed or in-ground swimming pool.
  2. Make a list of everything you would like to show the adjuster when he or she arrives. This should include cracks in the walls, damage to the floor or ceiling and missing roof tiles. If structural damage is likely even though you can't see any signs of it, discuss this with your adjuster. In some cases, the adjuster may recommend hiring a licensed engineer or architect to inspect the property.
  3. Have the electrical system checked. Most insurance companies pay for such inspections.
  4. Get written bids from reliable, licensed contractors on the repair work. The bids should include details of the materials to be used and prices on a line-by-line basis.

This article was taken from Local10.com

 

Tags: reoprting a claim, what to do after a storm, property damage, insurance claims, insurance, restoration, disasters

Changing Climate = More Disasters, Property Damage, Insurance Claims

Posted on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 @ 12:56 PM

disaster,disasters,property damage,disaster restoration,insurance,insurance claims,property loss,long island,new york,hurricane,climate change,weather,advanced restorationLast year's extreme weather across the U.S. — 2011 was the most expensive year ever for natural disasters — is raising concern among scientists and policymakers about the nation's ability to withstand a shifting climate.

Damage from tornadoes, floods, droughts, hurricanes and wildfires caused more than $200 billion in losses and 1,000 deaths across the nation last year. Florida escaped major damage, but saw record high temperatures over the summer, after a much colder than normal winter.

The conversation about climate change has to move beyond debates about greenhouse gases to discussions about making homes and infrastructure more resilient to weather, said Margaret Davidson, director of the Coastal Services Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Communities must reduce their vulnerabilty, she said during a forum on adapting to climate change at the American Meteorological Society meeting here.

Recent trends show the cost of natural disasters escalating while the government's financial ability to deal with those losses shrinks. Climate scientists anticipate an uptick in extreme weather as the global climate warms.

"You can see there's a train wreck coming and it has to do with Mother Nature," Davidson said.

In communities where disasters, such as floods and storm surge, occur frequently, the knee-jerk reaction is to rebuild the same roads and bridges that existed before and bigger, more expensive homes. Those "stupid" decisions cost the nation, Davidson said, adding that 70 percent of repetitive losses covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in coastal counties.

Floods this year caused some of the most dramatic and costly damage. Hurricane Irene, which brought devastating and record-breaking floods to Vermont, hit the East Coast three times. The storm killed 45 people and inflicted $7.3 billion in damage. The cost of recovery caused tension in Congress when some leaders balked at sending relief to affected communities.

The Midwest and Northern Plains saw record floods from snowmelt and torrential rainfall that swelled the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri Rivers.

Seven states in the Northeast and the Ohio Valley had their wettest year on record, with some seeing rainfall of up to 8 inches above normal, said Jake Crouch, a physical scientist with the National Climactic Data Center, a federal agency that publishes and annual State of the Climate report.

Meanwhile, the southern tier of the nation baked in drought. Texas experienced its greatest drought on record and saw raging wildfires that destroyed 1,500 homes. Nearly 60 percent of the nation plunged into drought last year, also breaking a record.

In 2011, 58 percent of the nation was either extremely wet or extremely dry, the highest percentage ever, according the report.

It was also a year of devastating tornadoes across the Midwest and the Southeast. The spring storm season sent waves of cold fronts colliding with the warm, moist atmosphere over the Southeast. The severe storms triggered 1,155 tornadoes, killing more than 300 people and causing $20 billion in damage.

The nation saw a total of 14 natural disasters that cost more than $1 billion each, breaking another new record, and underscoring the effect of climate extremes on people, Crouch said.

While scientists cannot blame any single disaster on climate change, they can point to trends and make comparisons between what they see and what changes are predicted in a warmer world. Last year fit with expectations that a warmer Earth would bring much more rain to the Northeast, drought to the Southern Plains, warmer than normal temperatures in the high latitudes, such as those of Norway and Siberia, and shrinking sea ice.

For the U.S., extreme drought and rainfall were likely a combination of climate change and regular climate variation related to sea surface temperatures in the Pacific, Crouch said. Last year was dominated by La Niña, a weather pattern triggered by cooler than normal Pacific seas.

An interesting obversation that Crouch noted, however, was that La Niña years tend to be cooler globally. Last year was the 11th warmest year on record and the warmest La Niña year on record.

 

Tags: property damage, insurance claims, insurance, new york, disasters, long idland, damages, extreme weather

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