Chatting to our loss assessors nationwide always reveals one vital thing – only a very small proportion of property owners, both domestic and commercial, know they have the legal right to appoint a loss assessor to handle their property damage insurance claims.
When we dig deeper into the issue, we also get feedback that suggests the understanding of how a loss assessor differs from a loss adjuster is very slight indeed. The two roles are frequently seen as being one when, in fact, they are usually completely different, with the two experts sitting on opposite sides of the claims see-saw and striving to gain a position on which both can agree.
Add all of this up, and Britain is a nation in the dark when it comes to property damage insurance claims. For this reason, Aspray – as a leading loss assessor with nationwide representation – has outlined here how the buildings insurance process works, for both residential and commercial properties, in four easy-to-understand stages.
Property Damage Insurance Claims Process: Stage One
- Some form of damage is incurred at the property and discovered by the property owner.
- If the homeowner, tenant, landlord or commercial property owner know they have insured their property, they call the number provided, to notify their insurer of the damage and find out what to do next. At this stage, they will pretty much never be asked if they wish to appoint their own loss assessor to represent them. Instead, the insurer will either make arrangements to send out a loss adjuster or claims validation company, who represents their interest in the claim, or ask for photographic evidence, and other details to be submitted, by email, App or post.
- If they are aware of their right to appoint a loss assessor to represent their interest in the claim, the property owner could get in touch with one at the same time that they notify their insurer of the damage. One call to Aspray on 0800 077 6705 would do this. Some people believe they can only ask a loss assessor to help them if the home or commercial property insurance claim becomes tricky, or if the property claim is turned down. That is not true and ‘Day One’ representation can be very advantageous, allowing the loss assessor to immediately start negotiations with the insurer, or their appointed loss adjuster/validation company, striving to gain the policyholder the settlement that they are entitled to.
Property Damage Insurance Claims Process: Stage Two
- The insurer’s appointed loss adjuster (or other claims adjudicator, if submitting evidence by app), will make arrangements to examine the damage, either in person or remotely. This may lead to a decision to pay the claim in full, pay it in part, or decline it. If they decide the insurance policy’s terms cover the damage, in whole or in part, they will typically ask the property owner to get three quotes from appropriate tradespeople. They will then make a settlement offer. If the property owner is representing themselves in the claim, they often do not know whether the offer is fair or not, or whether the policy terms are being interpreted correctly.
- If a loss assessor has been instructed by the property owner, they too will take a judgement on what a fair offer would be, according to the terms of the individual’s insurance policy.
- If the loss adjuster’s judgement cannot be challenged by the property owner, they will usually have to accept the offer made (or possibly a decision to turn down the claim entirely, or in part). Often, they do not have the knowledge to be able to do otherwise. If a loss assessor is representing them, however, the loss adjuster’s judgement or offer can often be challenged and this could be to the benefit of the policyholder, if the settlement sum is then increased, or a part or all of the claim that had been excluded or declined, subsequently included/paid, following the loss assessor’s representation.
Property Damage Insurance Claims Process Stage Three – Repairs and Reinstatement
- If the insured policyholder has to proceed with the loss adjuster’s offer, they will have to work with the tradesperson that provided the agreed quote for the schedule of works, unless they wish to pay the difference and choose another tradesperson or go elsewhere. We find homeowners, and other property owners, often have little idea whether or not the tradesperson is reliable or does a good job. They will typically either have to take time off work to be at the property, or change their social schedule, whilst the tradespeople are working on the damage, or else arrange for someone else to be there. Another scenario is that of giving the tradesperson the keys and trusting them.
- If the insured policyholder is working with Aspray, their appointed loss assessor will instruct, and project manage vetted contractors to reinstate the property to its pre-loss condition as swiftly as possible. They can also leave the Aspray loss assessor to let the tradespeople in and also supervise their work. Many property owners do not realise that the law deems them responsible for the health and safety of contractors if there are bigger repairs or works taking place at their property. By appointing Aspray, this legal responsibility is removed from their shoulders.
Property Damage Insurance Claims Process Stage Four – Settlement of the Claim
- The policyholder will be reimbursed by the insurer to the level agreed, minus the excess on the policy that they themselves chose to set, when they first took out, or renewed, the property insurance cover.
- If the policyholder has appointed Aspray, there will be no charge for the service provided that Aspray instruct and project manage the vetted contractors who complete the reinstatement works. However, any excess stated within the policy will still apply. Aspray may be able to provide a £100 voucher to offset against the excess, subject to terms and conditions.
- Aspray will (if they managed the repairs) invoice the insurer for the cost of the damage repair.
If you have read through the process, the question you have probably come to is ‘Why wouldn’t anyone appoint Aspray as their loss assessor?’ As we highlighted, lack of knowledge is one reason, but there is also the issue surrounding the word ‘claim’. In a world in which ambulance chasers and PPI claims have been prominent for many years, consumers can distrust those who say they help them make a claim, fearing this comes at a significant cost in terms of commission or fees.
As we have highlighted, our claims management and repair processes see us invoicing the insurer for the repairs, not our clients. Clients are not charged for the Aspray service, if we handle the reinstatement work using our vetted contractors, who help support our reputation for service excellence. We do not encourage unjust or exaggerated claims, simply arguing what the customer is entitled to, under the terms of their property insurance cover.
We have many case studies that shed light on how we have made a difference in the claims process. This could be through negotiation support, emotional understanding, carrying out property repairs as speedily as possible to get property owners back in their homes, offices or premises, or allowing property owners to carry on with their working or daily schedule, knowing we will manage everything.
If you wish to instruct us to help you with a property damage insurance claim, call 0800 077 6705 or visit www.aspray.com to find out more.