Loss adjusting with the best results possible

Any adjustor knows exactly how to perform the loss adjustment process and how to communicate with clients and insurers in order to make sure that the client receives what they’re entitled to, says Ing. Naděžda Růžičková, RESPECT’s smiling large loss adjustor.

Naďa, you’ve been working as an insurance broker for almost 14 years, 7 of them as a loss adjustor. Do you think there’s been any progress in methods or techniques over time?

Over years, the loss adjusting process has mostly experienced changes in regard to technology. Sending paper files and documents to insurance companies by slow-mail are a thing of the past. Nowadays, digital files and sending data electronically are a matter of course. Electronic damage records allow us to keep track of loss adjusting and make the adjustor’s job easier. All documents are nicely stored in an electronic file, including all correspondence. That’s necessary because adjustors gather, check, and dispatch a considerable amount of material, especially when there are large losses, we also communicate with clients, insurers etc.

Electronic data processing also allows brokers to provide another added value. Our ONLINE RESPECT system makes it possible for clients to report losses, transfer documents, and constantly keep track of their loss adjustment, 24/7.

Do adjustors inspect the place where damage has occurred for every single insured event, or there are cases where this isn’t necessary?

As a general rule, our adjustors perform inspections in case of large-scale or complex losses. But that’s just inspecting the location where the damage occurred. The adjustor frequently holds personal discussions with the client regarding preparing materials, is a part of the client’s team, and removes the consequences of the loss. Furthermore, if necessary, the adjustor meets the client to discuss the event which could have caused the loss. This often happens in case of liability losses.

How many cases a year does your division handle?

In the last year, the Prague centre dealt with almost 9,000 insured events. The average loss processing time is 21 days. In 2018, RESPECT dealt with over 40,000 cases of loss. The number of losses keeps increasing, and client consultations regarding all the possible ways of handling insured events are being held more frequently. The growing pressure to deliver quickly and optimise the solutions which our clients often face in their business relations is reflected in more frequent and complex losses. Clients can always reach us on our mobile phones to ask for a consultation or assistance.

Which qualities should a loss adjustor have?

An adjustor who works for an insurance broker is an expert in many fields. Our clients engage in various types of business. Therefore, an adjustor must at least have a general grasp of a client’s activities. We employ experts in chemistry, engineering, agriculture, healthcare, and other spheres. An adjustor must be able to ask questions, gather relevant information, evaluate it, and use it to adjust the loss. The most important thing is to make an effort and professionally help the client to get through the loss adjustment process. Last but not least, an adjustor needs to be able to deal with stress and emotions as they’re often confronted with tense situations.

What should the injured party do when an insured event occurs?

In loss adjustment workshops or manuals, we recommend clients to take the following steps when a loss is discovered:

  1. Thoroughly photo-document the loss (the cause, a full shot, details of the loss, or video recording).
  2. If the loss was caused by fire, call Fire Rescue Service. This is an obligation imposed by Act No. 133/1985, On Fire Safety, where legal entities and natural persons-businessmen are required to immediately report any fire which occurs during their activities or on any premises they own or use, to the relevant operations centre of the regional fire rescue service.
  3. When an illegal conduct is suspected (offence, criminal act), call the Czech Republic Police (theft, robbery, vandalism, car crash).
  4. Prevent the loss from spreading.
  5. Report the loss to your broker as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, we still face the issue of insufficient or even missing photo-documentation or late loss reports. This puts us into an unfavourable position with the insurer as soon as the loss adjustment process starts. Late loss reports and insufficient documentation regarding the extent of a loss can result in decreased insurance settlements.

What do you consider to be the heaviest damage in terms of compensation assessment?

Generally speaking, it’s very difficult to settle large property losses associated with suspended operations, as well as liability losses. The number of such losses keeps growing and they’re very difficult to resolve. In case of liability losses, the difficulty is based on, among other things, complex contractual relations between the individual actors of the loss. Regarding compensation claims, when the new Civil Code came into effect there was a marked increase in compensation claims in the case of liability losses of medical facilities, and of all liability losses where an injury was sustained in general.

What do you believe is the main asset of loss adjusting when compared to brokerage?

A broker represents a client before the insurer, provides all services relating to loss adjusting, and coordinates the adjusting procedure to make sure the result is satisfactory to the maximum degree. Depending on the situation, brokers communicate with experts, repairmen, and injured parties. Thanks to the broker’s information system, a client keeps track of all their losses.