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5 Questions To Ask Property Adjusters Before Making That Partnership

Don’t shortchange the process by not asking the right questions

Selecting the right partner for your property adjustment needs can be absolutely crucial to meeting stake-holder needs across the claims process.  Making the wrong decision up-front can create countless problems down the road.

At a high level, claims executives might look for synergy, good philosophical fit, and a proven track record. But what about day-to-day operational considerations? What should be included in your detailed market evaluations, your informational meetings with potential vendors, or even your RFI and RFP for property adjustment services?

What to ask of potential property adjustment partners

At the very least, ask the following 5 questions:

  1. References – learn from other customers
    Start with the primary matching of company profile to your needs. Do they serve your geographic markets? Do they focus on your particular lines of business? Do they specialize in CAT claims, daily claims, or both? How long have they been in business? How experienced is their management team? What is the average tenure of their clients? And, of course, what do past and present clients say about their work?
  2. Qualifications and Credentialing Process – manage risk carefully
    Understanding how the potential partner qualifies and credentials its staff is crucial since, to the insured and others, your partner’s employees are an extension of your claims organization. Their professionalism is a reflection on your organization and the validation of their credentials can be an important part of managing and reducing risk. What types of training and/or certifications do they conduct? Do they perform (and document) background checks? How is individual performance tracked and measured?  And, importantly, how transparent is the company with all of this information?
  3. Physical Infrastructure – evaluate bench strength
    Depending upon the way in which you intend to use your partner, the depth of their resources can be an important distinguishing factor. What type of inside processing capabilities do they possess? Do they have training facilities? Can they offer call center functionality? Do they have multiple facilities for redundancy purposes? How many inside handling stations do they house?
  4. Technology Orientation – leverage technology to its fullest
    Superior technology can mean more effective and faster work product. It can sometimes be a great equalizer in evaluating smaller vs. larger companies. What estimating software program(s) do they use? What claim management software programs are in place? Is their software proprietary? Does it have distinguishing features? What types of telephony systems do they use (if any)? Are they using newer technologies, such as satellite roof imagery measurement software.
  5. Performance Metrics – measure, measure, measure
    It is difficult to manage what isn’t measured. Metrics (and your access to these metrics) can help to establish goals and benchmarks on the front-end, and compliance to standards on the back-end. Key questions to explore include: what claim volume capacity does the partner have both inside and in the field? What is their average time to first contact? To onsite inspection? To delivery of their work product? To invoicing? What is their re-open ratio? Do they maintain customer satisfaction data? If they run an internal re-inspection program, how do they score?

With the right screening process in place, organizations can select the right partner for their property adjustment needs. Understanding the partner’s strengths, weaknesses and philosophical orientation can set the stage for a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

Have you recently selected a property adjustment partner? What additional items did you include in your evaluation process?

Posted in Due Diligence, SPOT on Ops.

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2 Responses

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  1. Guy Hoffman says

    I agree 100% with all 5 questions, but would suggest that these are the check boxes, in other words while technically accurate, every property adjusting firm ought to be able to answer these questions well. Some of the key questions I would add would include (1) how are you different, (2) how are you going to add value to our organization, (3) what is your corporate culture/values/brand promise, (4) how do you define and measure success – you touch on this with the last question around performance metrics, but I would look even deeper. While we have many performance metrics, we only measure success 2 ways – first policyholder satisfaction, second measureable reduction in claims costs. If we can measurably drive customer satisfaction higher while quantifiably reducing claims costs we are a partner to our clients. Everything else is just window dressing.

  2. Kevin J. Kalland, RIA MN says

    The bottom line is the insured/claimant, have to be serviced. The claim has to be handled in a prompt and fair manner with a final review of the loss being made for possible salvage/subrogation. Claims in litigation need to be resolved/reviewed ASAP.
    I am entering my 27th year as a claim handler/consultant in a multi line -complex state (MN). I have been involved with many “new systems/programs” both as a staff-carrier rep. and TPA/independent.
    You need to have a solid team/person-“boots on the ground”, doing the job right otherwise, all the fast pased technology is for not!

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