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How Insurance Agents Should React to Fire and Water Damage

When a homeowner experiences serious damage to their home from a fire or flood, they often feel helpless and overwhelmed at the sight of the damage.  Homeowners in this scenario are typically unsure of what to do next and have questions about who they should call first, and whether or not their homeowner’s insurance will cover the damage.  As an insurance agent, it is important for you to provide clear answers and guidance to help ease the stress of your policy holders, and get them on the right path towards restoration.  You can also provide them with more accurate insurance claims if you have good knowledge and understanding of the restoration processes used to repair homes affected by water or fire damage.

insurance adjuster

Immediately After a Fire or Flood

Many homeowners who experience severe fire or water damage will most likely call their insurance company first.  If you receive a call from a policy holder, make sure that there are no lingering emergencies that need attention.  The fire should be out, the main water supply should be shut off if needed, and all people involved in the emergency should be evacuated and in a safe place.  Once you have determined that the emergency is over, try to gather as much information from them as you can about the damage.  Encourage your policy holders to assess the damage if it is safe to do so, and take pictures to document the damage for the claim.  You should also tell them to avoid cleaning up or fixing anything.  The damage must remain untouched as proof for the claim.

Calling a Disaster Restoration Company

In the aftermath of a disaster, homeowners want their property repaired and restored to its normal condition as quickly as possible.  For this, they need to contact a trusted restoration professional that provides water damage and fire damage restoration.  As an insurance agent, you can recommend a restoration service provider to your policy holders, but by law, it is their right to call a restoration service provider of their choice.  Advise your policy holders to call back and let you know when they have chosen a professional to handle the restoration.

Set up an Appointment for the Insurance Adjuster

Once your policy holder has chosen a restoration company, you will need to send an insurance adjuster to their property to investigate the claim.  You should send the insurance adjuster as soon as possible to get a full inspection of the damage immediately after the disaster.  The adjuster should carefully inspect the damage to determine the cause and review documentation of the damage from the homeowner.

insurance adjuster

Negotiating the Claim

The inspection done by the insurance adjuster should help you determine the cause of the damage and the appropriate claim amount for your policy holder based on their specific insurance policy.  It is important to remember that the restoration company will also form their own estimate based on their assessment of the damage and the work they have completed.  You must work with the restoration service provider to determine a negotiated claim amount that will cover the restoration work.  This is why it is very important for insurance agents to be familiar with the water and fire damage restoration process so they can account for the work in the claim.

CE Classes for Insurance Agents

Many disaster restoration companies, including ServiceMaster Kwik Restore, offer continuing education (CE) classes to insurance agents to keep them informed on the latest restoration methods and techniques.  It is very important for insurance agents to have a good understanding of these services to provide more accurate claims for their policy holders, and negotiate claim amounts with disaster restoration companies.  Attending CE classes will also help you earn state required credits.

If you are an insurance agent or adjuster, contact ServiceMaster Kwik Restore to learn more about our available CE classes.  You can view our current class schedule on our CE class page, and also submit an online form to register for a class.  Each of our classes have limited spaces so make sure you register early.