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Communication: The Key Component of a Customer-focused Insurance Restoration Claim

Posted by Rich Droste on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 @ 04:24 PM

key to communicationOne of the biggest concerns in the insurance industry today is “how to create a customer-focused organization”. This question forces insurance companies to take a closer look into their organization to identify where improvements can be made to increase customer satisfaction through better customer service performance.

This process includes looking beyond the organization itself, and delving deeper into the practices of their insurance restoration providers. The reason for this is that if a customer is not satisfied with the work performed by an insurance restoration contractor, it reflects poorly on the insurance company, and they risk loosing that customer to a competitor. And in today’s world of getting an insurance quote in 15 minutes or less, it doesn’t take long for that customer to disappear.

The best way to ensure customer satisfaction and prevent claims disputes is to provide clear, transparent communication between all parties involved in the claims process. In the case of a property damage restoration claim, those parties typically include the insured (policy holder); the insurance agent; the insurance claims adjuster; and the restoration contractor.

The first step in the claims process usually involves the insured contacting the insurance agent to make the damage claim. At this stage of first contact, it is imperative that the insurance agent listens carefully to the insured and asks the right questions. Depending on the nature of the damage, this can be a very traumatic time for the insured, and they may rush through their description of the damage or leave out important details that will determine how the agent responds to their situation. It is also important to project a high degree of compassion and understanding towards the insured’s situation at this time. The insured needs to feel that they are important to you, and you are committed to solving their problem. Reassuring them of this will help calm their nerves and provide a greater sense of comfort.

In an emergency mitigation situation, the restoration contractor should also project a high level of compassion to the insured, and communicate professionally and respectfully what needs to be done to solve their immediate problem. It is their home or business you are trying to salvage, and this is no time to undermine the extent of the damage, or downplay the urgency of the situation. Our most satisfied customers praise us for our outstanding communication and customer service over many other aspects of a restoration project.

But communication doesn’t mean much if you don’t do what you say you will. This is why it is important for the restoration contractor to provide a complete itemized estimate and accurate scope of work, using industry-approved estimating software and processes. This prevents fraudulent practices from coming into play and allows the insurance company to compare and verify costs.

Many restoration contractors are granted projects from Third Party Administrators (TPA). These TPA’s represent a network of insurance restoration contractors and award work based on the reputation, capability, quality, and professionalism of the restoration contractor. The restoration contractor must also adhere to strict standards and practices set forth by the TPAs in order to be awarded work from them. The TPA program requires timely, accurate job status communication from the restoration contractor to the TPA. The system is developed to provide efficient service, on time and on budget, at every stage of the project. If the restoration contractor does not follow the system properly, they can be fined; not awarded future work; or even dismissed from the program altogether. This can tarnish the reputation of the contractor, so there is a high incentive to comply with the system.

When you’re dealing with a property restoration project, it is difficult to know just what you might encounter as the job progresses. Because you are working on damaged property, rather than building from scratch, there is often hidden damage that reveals itself during the course of performing repairs. This is another critical time when communication is key. The restoration contractor needs to notify the insured and the insurance company and provide a supplemental estimate to cover the additional work. No one likes surprise costs after a job has been completed.

The final step in providing transparent communication during an insurance restoration project is to conduct a punch list, or walk through, with the customer to go over the work that was performed; review the quality of workmanship; and identify any corrections that need to be made. This is an integral component for ensuring customer satisfaction. Once the customer sees that the work has been done to their satisfaction, their concerns are put to rest and they can continue on with life as usual, or better.