On January 31, 2022, Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei hosted Part 1 of their new webinar series: The Perfect Claim.

This will be a 12 part series that focus on different stages in claims adjustment. Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei will discuss the entire claims process from start to finish so viewers can learn about the industry and resolve claims more effectively.

In the first webinar of the series, Before You Start, Know the Industry and the Law, Partner Anthony DiUlio discussed information regarding what you should do before you start your claim, particularly in understanding the law and the industry.

How To Set Up A Claim Filing System

Software

Having a proper claim filing system will help you ensure that you cover all the key aspects of filing a claim. As soon as you have a system in place, you can rest assured that you’ll be less likely to miss a step.

There are multiple types of software available to assist you in filing an appropriate claim. Some of the ones that are available for public use include:

Their automated features can save you time and energy. In addition to claim software, accounting software like Quickbooks is crucial for filing a claim and tracking your money. Adjusting software also adds credibility to your claim. This can help with important figures like estimating damage.

Letters

In writing a letter to the adjuster, following a standard format is good practice. It can help you to be certain that all the appropriate information is included.

There are specific things that should be indicated in your form letters. For example, in your notice letter to the carrier, you should include the following:

  • Your representation of the insured
  • The loss that is being presented
  • The date of loss
  • An authorization that you are to be included on every check issued
  • A statement regarding acceptance of the notice that the claim made is subject to recoverable depreciation

As mentioned in our previous webinar on how to file a claim, documentation is important to any claim. Documentation allows you to provide proof or evidence to support your claim. Thus, it is good practice to have on hand the following equipment for gathering proof for your claim:

  • Cameras or cell phones for photos and video
  • Moisture meters for proving water damage
  • Thermal imagers
  • Matterport cameras or similar 3D Imager (if you want to get fancy)

Claim Organization

Another key component for setting up an adequate system is an organized filing system for all important documents. This filing system should include a few things:

  • Estimates
  • Photos and other evidence
  • Letters written by you as well as letters you have received
  • A detailed file name (i.e. formatted as YYYYMMDD_ItemName)
  • Log notes from all conversations such as emails and phone calls

When filing a claim, be sure to set a timeline for yourself that adheres to the policy set forth in your state’s insurance statutes. Each state has its own set of regulations and timeframes regarding filing a claim. It is crucial that your timeline matches or closely resembles the timeline outlined in the statutes.

Contract Drafting

Having the right paperwork is critical when filing a claim. Holding the correct contracts, disclaimers, and authorizations are important elements to protecting yourself.

It is important to note that there are no uniform procedures or contracts across all states, so educating yourself on your state’s laws should be your first step.

In our webinar, Partner Anthony DiUlio invites Holly Soffer, Esq. to provide further information on filing a claim with the correct paperwork. He specifically discussed the importance of contracts. Check out the webinar recording above for more details.

Claims Laws and Unfair Claims Settlement Practices

First, be sure to check out our previous webinar on this topic. It goes into much more detail about the codes so that you know what you are arguing.

Statutes and codes are laws put into place by state congress that tell you what you are allowed to do and what the insurance company needs to do.

Each individual or party involved must comply with these statutes. For example, the Unfair Claims Practice Act, is a prevalent statute with different versions for each state. Check your own state’s codes to see the specifics regarding policies, timelines, required responses, and other mandated requirements.

As previously mentioned, these statutes must be adhered to as they are the law. Any violations of these codes and statutes are due for recourse.

Disputing and seeking remedies can often be time-consuming and tedious. Try to avoid these problems if possible. However, if you find yourself spearheading a dispute, your options include submitting a complaint to your State Insurance Department or heading down a litigation path.

Planning For Success

An important thing to remember is that knowledge turns directly into success. Educating yourself of items regarding filing a claim, including, but not limited to, estimating, understanding policies, and understanding laws, will help support your claim.

Other ways to educate yourself are:

  • Joining local adjuster groups like MAPIA to keep up on trends, laws, and strategies
  • Engaging in classes on the subject
  • Reading about the industry and how to file a claim
  • Seeking out conventions or online groups
  • Registering for future lunch and learns hosted by Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei

In addition, there are several associations, both locally and nationally, that can assist in providing more information about the industry such as the AAPIA and the NAPIA.

Have any questions about the claims process? Contact Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei to learn more.