Insurance Companies Are Outsourcing Claims Handling to Consumers
Over the past few years, insurance companies are asking people to participate more and more in the investigation and resolution of their claims. With technology that links a consumer’s smart phone to the adjuster in the claims office, insurers are encouraging people to do more of the leg work gathering information about their claim, instead of the adjuster. Using “customer satisfaction” and expediency approach, the claims rep will say something like, “We can work together on this if you just download the app and I’ll walk you through the process. Or, I can send someone out to look at the damage to your car, which may take a few days.” The real reason, though, is that the app saves money for the company.
Is this a good idea? “Maybe or maybe not,” says Mark Roman, a National Claims Expert and Director of Insurance Claims Projects at Consumer Federation of America. In cases involving limited or minor property damage, such as a tree blown down on a fence, this could be an efficient way to resolve the claim and receive payment quickly. But situations where damage is more widespread or complex, say a house fire or flood damage, an on-site visual inspection by a trained, experienced claims handler is far more appropriate.
A couple of things to also consider when deciding whether to assist an insurance company in handling your claim: software with voice recognition capability can record everything you say and upload it to the claim file. Also, these apps may require you to provide access to other personal information stored on your mobile device, such as personal photos, contacts, and track your movements and location, which may be used against you to reduce or deny your claim. Proceed with caution!