From the Executive Team
No one relishes having to file a claim. Whether it’s a weather, theft or water loss, there are no “good” claims from a policyholder’s perspective. As much as the AgriBusiness® claim team endeavors to make it a painless experience, if an insured is speaking to one of us, something has gone at least a little sideways. It is a frustrating time but also an opportunity to demonstrate our expertise, not just for the claims team, but for agents as well.
Working in this industry makes us better consumers of insurance products. If I did not work in insurance, how familiar would I be with the coverage my policy provides? I’d like to think that I would know the basics, but the reality is that is not often the case for those outside the industry. The same is true of our policyholders. They are busy with the daily responsibilities of their businesses, which rarely include reading an insurance contract.
I frequently hear a variation of the same question from agents when a loss is initially filed: “What can I do to help?” Having an additional point of contact is valuable, especially when we have a difficult-to-reach insured. However, the greatest assistance an agent can offer is educating policyholders on some of the fundamental principles of their coverage before a loss occurs.
The claim process can be a learning opportunity for policyholders, but that does not mean there have to be surprises. For example, dwellings oftentimes include coverage for the contents within and most people understand that correlation. There may also be coverage for a barn on the very same policy but the items inside that barn are not necessarily covered, or at least not to the extent an insured expects. The fact that business or farm personal property coverage does not accompany a covered farm structure by default is different than the way most consumers link structure and contents insurance coverage.
This is just one example of how we as insurance professionals know the finer points of coverage but can take for granted a policyholder’s understanding of those same concepts. It only takes a moment to explain something that we may consider common knowledge, but someone else regards as a foreign concept. As claim handlers we can do this during the claim process, but if it can happen prior to a loss, it can help make the claim experience much less frustrating for our policyholders. In the long run, an informed policyholder will appreciate that their agent was proactive.