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Handling claims after a catastrophe.

The recent vicious storm that hit the Metropolitan area has once again heightened everyone's awareness of their susceptibility to unexpected catastrophic loss and damage. What makes this matter even more sensitive can be summed up with the comments made by one of New York's popular weather forecasters, who said he was concerned that this storm was being called the storm of the century and that is was the third storm this year referred to in that manner.

As a major insurance broker primarily concerned in providing the optimum of the service to our clients, we are particularly concerned with these types of catastrophes. Everyone, when they purchase insurance seeks out the best coverage for the most competitive premium but what is often forgotten, and comes to the forefront during disasters -- wide spread or individual, is that insurance is for one purpose to respond by reimbursing the buyer for insured damages when they occur.

What is becoming increasingly apparent, as these disasters hit our clients, is that they really don't know what they should do to start the ball rolling towards normality. They know they have insurance but they don't. know what their latitude is in dealing with emergency repairs, documenting their damage, evaluating their coverage etc.

We have seen many articles of late advising those that have sustained loss on damage what they should do, but they fall short, in our opinions of really relieving the stress of those that have been inflicted with the resttits of a disaster.

We at Kaye Insurance Associates have always put claims management at the head of our priority list by utilizing specialists -- staff and otherwise -- to guide our clients through the horror and stress of a catastrophe. It is unfortunate that only after a catastrophe do we remember that we ought to make ourr insurance decisions based on reasons other than price, price and price.

When selecting an insurance professional to handle your property insurance program, be sure they have the facilities to respond to a property claim in an efficient manor. The following is a checklist of services that should be provided by your broker after a catastrophe causes damage to your property: *Immediately advise the client as to what emergency measures can and should be taken to prevent further loss and recommend action while advising the client as to his rights and coverage under the insurance policy. The recent rain storm caused serious flooding and there are many buyers of insurance who did not know to purchase this coverage. The insurance brokers responsibility should not end because the client is uninsured for a particular condition. Insurance is the ideal but guidance and recommendations are still needed - insured or otherwise - and should be provided.

* Engage experts to assist in loss assessment, repairs, engineering, evaluation etc. so that the damage is repaired as quickly as possible.

* Assist in inventorying and assessing the extent of damage, and the presentation of same to the insurer for prompt action in reimbursement for losses.

* Advise as to options that are available under the terms of the insurance policy and help them evaluate the best course of action.

* Negotiate the settlement of the loss with the insurer on an expedient and in

a most beneficial manner.

* Constantly interrace with all parties during the negotiation process to keep them.

In summary, demand the same performance from your insurance professional in regard to claims management as you do in regard to premium dollars. While a broker can never make the disaster and the psychological and physical impact go away, they can help you to get back on your feet as quickly as possible and recoup the losses you have sustained to the fullest extent of the insurance coverage you had purchased.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:property and casualty insurance claims
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Dec 23, 1992
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