The riots and demonstrations in Baltimore over the past few weeks have certainly grabbed national headlines for many reasons. The way the insurance industry is likely to see these events, though, is through the lens of the large number of claims that are likely to be filed by homeowners, drivers, and businesses in the coming weeks. This situation is certainly something that agents operating in the area will have to keep a close eye on, and it may also be wise for them to stay in constant communication with their clients during this time to make sure that any concerns they may have can be addressed as expediently as possible.
Windows of businesses and homes were broken and cars smashed during the lengthy clashes with police in Baltimore over the last few weeks, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun. That, in turn, is likely to lead to many insurance claims across a number of different policy types, and it’s something insurers will have to monitor closely in the near term.
How widespread was the damage?
Altogether, the Baltimore Police Department estimates that damage was suffered by 200 businesses and 144 automobiles, but some of the vehicles were owned by the local government, so they might not lead to claims themselves, the report said. That does not include damage to homes and apartments, the extent of which is more difficult to nail down at this time. Most of that latter damage is expected to be covered by homeowners or renters’ insurance.
What can insurers do?
It’s expected that policy providers are likely to deal with these claims as expediently as possible, but that may not always be easy, the report said. State regulators have urged insurers to conduct their own investigations into the damage rather than just what’s provided in police reports.
“I know that under normal circumstances, police reports may play a role in the adjudication of your claims,” Maryland insurance commissioner, Al Redmer Jr., told coverage providers in the wake of these incidents, according to the newspaper. “However, these are not normal circumstances. We are in an environment where our police resources are stretched and the writing of reports is not a high priority. We have personal and business policyholders that have been significantly affected by these events. I am asking for your assistance and flexibility during this period.”
The more that insurance agents in any field can do to connect with their clients on a regular basis to help them better understand their coverage and what they’re really paying for, the better off both sides of the equation are likely to be. That’s because a strong understanding of how policies work can help consumers to better understand the issues they may occasionally run into, even if they’ve never really planned for them, and that could include suffering damage as a result of events like these. With open lines of communication, agents are generally more likely to see higher customer satisfaction and client retention rates.