“Claims payouts for the entire property-casualty industry have decreased in the past decade. In 2006, carriers paid out 55 percent of the $435.8 billion in premiums collected" -- The Insurance Information Institute, a trade group in New York.
Columbus, OH (PRWEB) October 1, 2010
American consumers have gained an ally to help protect the value of their homes, the biggest financial asset most will ever own.
When homeowners suffer damage to their properties, most of them have the comfort of knowing that their properties are covered by insurance policies provided by financially strong, well-respected companies. Sometimes, however, they become disenchanted with the insurance claims process because the payment received is inadequate to cover the full cost of needed repairs. Homeowners are typically inexperienced in managing the insurance claims process, so they feel frustrated and helpless. And they have no advocate available to assist them.
A new technology startup, ReClaims, Inc. of Columbus is giving consumers an easy, no-risk method of ensuring that they receive full and fair compensation for damage to their homes. The company was founded by three veteran insurance professionals, Gary Siroko, Doug Robinette, and B.R. Mohan, who collectively have more than 70 years of experience in the industry.
The founders of ReClaims are confident that home insurance claims today are often being paid out at less than the full contractual value. Further, they estimate that the amount of those underpayments is significant, averaging 30-40% below full value. They attribute this in part to the general complexity of property claims and the inability of insurance companies to accurately assess all incurred damages while under pressure to settle claims quickly. According to Mr. Siroko, “Consumers desperately need a trusted friend to guide them through the insurance claims process. We created ReClaims specifically to be that friend.”
For homeowners who wonder whether they received full, fair compensation from their insurance companies, with ReClaims the process of finding out becomes very easy. The consumer can visit http://www.ReClaimsInc.com, submit answers to a simple claim questionnaire, and then receive a point-of-view from a ReClaims insurance expert – always within two business days.
By working through ReClaims, the consumer is relieved of the frustrating and uncertain process of disputing the payment amount. Instead, the entire process is handled by a ReClaims insurance expert who has access to objective industry facts and speaks the same industry language as the insurance company claims personnel do. In all but very unusual cases, ReClaims can resolve the claim for the consumer in less than four weeks.
Best of all, homeowners pay nothing to find out whether ReClaims can recover additional funds for them. If ReClaims reviews a claim and finds that the original payment made by the insurance company was fair, the homeowner pays nothing. Additionally, the homeowner has gained the peace of mind of knowing he was treated fairly.
On the other hand, if ReClaims experts determine that the insurance company’s original payment amount was too low and, accordingly, ReClaims recovers additional funds for the homeowner, the cost to the homeowner is just 20% of the incremental payment that the homeowner receives.
B.R. Mohan summed up his founding group’s goals when they decided to create ReClaims: “Damage to your home is stressful enough. The last thing any person in that position needs is the additional stress and headaches of an insurance dispute. We designed ReClaims to help avoid those headaches. Hard-working Americans whose homes have been damaged now have an easy way to gain peace of mind and the full compensation they deserve!”
Excerpts from article in Bloomberg Markets Magazine, August 3, 2007: “Home Insurers' Secret Tactics Cheat Fire Victims, Hike Profits” by David Dietz and Darrell Preston:
“Insurers often pay 30-60 percent of the cost of rebuilding a damaged home -- even when carriers assure homeowners they're fully covered, thousands of complaints with state insurance departments and civil court cases show.”
“The 60 million U.S. homeowners who pay more than $50 billion a year in insurance premiums are often disappointed when they discover insurers won't pay the full cost of rebuilding their damaged or destroyed homes.
Property insurers systematically deny and reduce their policyholders' claims, according to court records in California, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Tennessee.
The insurance companies routinely refuse to pay market prices for homes and replacement contents, they use computer programs to cut payouts, they change policy coverage with no clear explanation, they ignore or alter engineering reports, and they sometimes ask their adjusters to lie to customers, court records and interviews with former employees and state regulators show.”
“It's despicable not to make good-faith offers to everybody,'' says Robert Hunter, who was Texas insurance commissioner from 1993 to 1995 and is now insurance director at the Washington-based Consumer Federation of America.
“Money managers have taken over this whole industry,'' Hunter says. ``Their eyes are not on people who are hurt but on the bottom line for the next quarter.''
The industry's drive for profit has overwhelmed its obligation to policyholders, says California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, a Democrat. As California's insurance commissioner from 2002 to 2006, Garamendi imposed $18.4 million in fines against carriers for mistreating customers.
“There's a fundamental economic conflict between the customer and the company,” he says. “That is, the company doesn't want to pay. The first commandment of insurance is, `Thou shalt pay as little and as late as possible.”
“Claims payouts for the entire property-casualty industry have decreased in the past decade. In 2006, carriers paid out 55 percent of the $435.8 billion in premiums collected, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group in New York.
That compares with a 64 percent payout ratio on $267.6 billion in premium revenue in 1996.”
Find full text of this article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aIOpZROwhvNI
Excerpts from website of weekly TV newsmagazine NOW on PBS, August 17, 2007: “Home Insurance Tips” by Robert Hunter, Director of Insurance of the Consumer Federation of America
What to do if you have a claim
“A claim is a very traumatic event, both when it happens and as you go through the settlement process. Here are some tips to help you through the claims process. Do not be afraid, you have considerable power in this situation.
First of all, when you are a policyholder, the insurance company owes you a duty of good faith when processing your claim. They are supposed to help you and not low ball you. But often they will not help and will low ball. But if they do, they run a risk of being liable for damages for not treating you properly.
When you have a claim, make sure you keep good notes of all contacts you have with the insurance company. Every call or meeting should be documented: the date, the time, the names of the people involved, the substance of the discussion. These notes will be invaluable should trouble arise during the claim process.
Do not simply accept any offer the insurer makes. Test the offer. Can you repair the damage for the amount offered? Get estimates and verify that the amount will do the job. If not, refuse the offer.”
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