On March 30, 2022, Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei hosted First Impressions and First Inspections: Everything You Need to Know About Your Initial Visit. This webinar was the third installment in our twelve-part series, The Perfect Claim. The goal of this series is to discuss the entire claims process from start to finish so people can learn how to resolve claims more efficiently.

In First Impressions and First Inspections, Partner Anthony DiUlio discusses what it takes to make a good first impression to save you time and effort in filing a claim.

Why the First Inspection Matters

The first inspection is the most important inspection. This gives the individual a fresh opportunity to present their claim. Thus, it is crucial that your first impressions are all-encompassing and comprehensive.

Did you know that the less time you spend on a file, the more money that file is worth? You do not want to miss anything.

To prepare for your first inspection, we recommend utilizing a system to organize anything involved with your claim. This can include photos, videos, and relevant documents. In addition, go into every claim with a game plan for how you would like the claim to go. Preparation and organization are always critical for success and will save you time in the end.

What It Takes to Make a Good First Impression

Now that you understand how important the first impression is in filing a claim, you must now take the proper steps to guarantee satisfaction.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

As mentioned, first impressions are crucial for any interaction you have when making a claim. Five key elements to remember when filing the initial claim including:

  • Appearance
  • Materials
  • Conversation
  • Confidence
  • Honesty

1) Appearance: how you present yourself, matters. The goal of proper appearance is to exude professionalism. As simple as it may be, dressing for meetings is super important as it is respectful to those you are presenting. A good rule of thumb is to dress in business casual or professional attire for good representation.

2) Materials: what you present matters. A commonly overlooked element is an appropriate letterhead. Find a good template, and create a letterhead that is personal and standardized for all communication purposes.

Also, many people disregard business cards as “old fashioned.” However, a proper card—with a name, phone number, email, and website—can be a very useful tool in dealing with adjusters.

Another good tip is to generate a presentation folder with all the necessary information that you have on hand for the adjuster. Include professional forms that outline everything the insurer needs to know and sign. These items will set you apart and make it more likely for the adjuster to sign the claim.

3) Conversation: what you say matters. Speak to adjusters like people. Not only is this respectful, but it also offers other benefits. Eloquent communication:

  • Demonstrates knowledge of the industry
  • Allows the person filing the claim to get the point concisely and coherently
  • Permits both parties to sympathize and empathize with the situation

4) Confidence: how you say it matters. You may not be “the perfect expert” on how to file a claim, but you can be a knowledgeable expert. Do your research and have prepared answers on hand to display self-confidence.

People want to conduct any sort of business with someone who knows what they are doing. Confidence in yourself, your knowledge, and your ability will show, and your confidence will reflect in the adjuster’s confidence in you.

Building confidence in you will help the entire process from start to finish, so establishing trust in the beginning makes it easier in the end.

5) Honesty: building trust, matters. Do not “hide the ball.” If problems with the claim arise, speak up immediately. Don’t be afraid of being honest, it will build trust and confidence in you. But, be sure to find a balance between honesty and ripping off the band-aid.

The First Inspection Checklist

Anthony DiUlio and the partners at Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei have compiled an initial inspection checklist to help you prepare for your initial interactions with insurance companies and public adjusters.

  1. Be sure to have access to the full policy and be prepared with pre and post-loss photos of the damage as well as video walk-throughs. All content should tell the full extent of the damage in addition to the full area of the damage (i.e. take both close-up and far away photos and videos).
  2. The next crucial items include the following:
    1. Signed contract carrier authorization and check authorization
    2. Measurements
    3. Major repair and renovations invoices
    4. Current estimates from the client
    5. Invoices relating to the loss
    6. Prior loss history
  3. Also include these documents and information: client contact info (phone/email), secondary contact information (phone/email), damage review with client, client expectation review, narrative from the client, other proofs, and source of referral.
  4. Finally, set a plan and discuss the next steps with the insured.

All these steps will assist in making a solid first impression. To recap, be sure to get as much information as possible from the beginning, including proof by taking many photos and videos.

Have more questions about making a good first impression? Contact Wheeler, DiUlio & Barnabei to learn more.