A few years ago, Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the Eastern Seaboard, but hit the coasts of New York and New Jersey particularly hard. Even now, many homeowners whose properties were negatively affected by the massive storm may be waiting to hear from their home insurance providers about claims they filed years back, and in some cases these issues are getting contentious. For these reasons, insurance agents might have to start doing just a little bit more to smooth over potentially damaged relationships with longstanding clients, and that could include explaining the various aspects of their plans, what is and isn’t covered under them, and why.
A team of lawyers representing some 1,500 homeowners in New York alone recently started making arguments related to rejected home insurance claims made in the wake of Sandy, according to a report from the Associated Press. They argue that, in a lot of cases, insurance companies’ engineers may have incorrectly judged some damage to foundations or other parts of a home’s structure to have predated the storm, which would give companies an out in terms of paying out on those claims.
What are insurers saying?
For their part, home insurers say that they don’t have anything to gain from not paying out claims, because most were filed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and not individual companies, the report said. In fact, FEMA would actually pay insurers slightly more to process an approved claim than it would if the company decided to deny it.
“There is simply no incentive … to try to guide the engineer to an opinion, or to try to find no coverage,” Henry Neal Conolly, president of the nation’s largest flood insurance company, told the Associated Press via email. “[I’m] not sure at all what the alleged conspiracy is or could be not to pay claims.”
The more insurance agents can do to clarify potential misconceptions and misunderstandings about a person’s home insurance coverage, the better off they may be in terms of keeping those passengers as happy as possible with their plans. In fact, good customer service is often valued by consumers above and beyond small discounts on their policies, and that, in turn, can boost satisfaction ratings. Further, higher satisfaction tends to lead to better retention rates, and perhaps even more recommendations through stronger word of mouth.