By Aubrey Bronson
As a mortgage servicer working in the world of hazard insurance claims, it can be easy to get caught up solely in the adjustment side of the process, i.e., filing claims. However, it is important to remember that maximizing claims recovery cannot occur without comprehensive claims analysis.
Claims analysis consists of reviewing properties and identifying all of the opportunities for recovering claimable damage, and is the first step in the process of filing claims. Your property preservation teams provide maintenance and corresponding documentation of the property from the time it is received through liquidation. During the claims analysis process, to ensure the maximum recovery is obtained, servicers must adapt to recovery opportunities that arise from the property preservation data, while always being mindful of remaining in compliance with government regulations.
Comprehensive and thorough analysis
The more detailed the analysis of the claims, the more compliant the adjusters remain, while recovering the most money possible for the client. Your property preservation teams should spend a significant amount of time onsite, walking around the property and taking pictures that document the status of the entire property, as well as potential claimable damages. Interior damage may include mold, roof leaks and pest infestations, while exterior damage may consist of unsecured doors or windows and lack of proper winterization.
Photos, along with detailed damage reports completed by the property preservation teams after assessing the property, are then used by adjusters each time they receive an assignment. Properties are reviewed for all initial claimable damage and any subsequent or recurring damage or theft to the property while under management. The reports can also be used to pinpoint the damage discovery date, or “date of loss,” which ensures filing with the correct insurance carrier who has coverage in place at the time the damage occurred.
Teamwork with internal licensed adjusters and external officials
Once the inspection and reports have been completed, licensed adjusters take over for the processing of the hazard insurance claims. It is their job to look for ways to maximize each and every claim, as discussed previously in our blog regarding insurance claims expertise .
These adjusters are required to undergo extensive training in 45 states in order to receive a license, so it is important to make sure that you are working with certified professionals. Licensed adjusters also proactively monitor the loan status to ensure that claims are not submitted while the borrower is actively engaged with a lender on a loss mitigation plan.
In addition, if the loss is for theft, a notice and/or police report must be created and filed with your local police department. It helps if you or your specialty insurance provider has relationships with law enforcement officials. This often allows your reports to be filed much faster, enabling you to get the information needed by the insurance carriers.
The most important thing to remember when trying to maximize hazard claims recovery is that claims analysis is a vital first step to the process, which cannot be completed without being extremely thorough in your inspection of on-going property reports.