One of our long-term customers recently experienced a house fire. I immediately decided it was necessary to tell her story if you also suffer from a fire. For the sake of privacy, I have renamed the customers Jack and Jane, but everything discussed here is exactly how it played out after the fire. Pay particular attention to "Good to know" the point … ..
We had just opened the office Monday morning when Jack and Jane came in. They said they smelled of smoke around the clock that morning and discovered that the fire had started in a bedroom upstairs. They called the fire brigade, and the fire was then extinguished.
Fortunately, everyone came out safely. Also fortunately, the fire did not spread to the whole house, but was kept containing it aside. The damage was still quite extensive – walls, doors, floors, ceilings and part of the roof even embedded. The water damage from the fire hoses completed the picture.
Preliminary reports show that the fire was due to an electrical problem.
Due to this information, the power company closes the power to the house. It makes sense until the electrical problem is solved, you really don't want it to happen again. Good to know Item # 1 – If the power is off, how will the damage be cleaned? I didn't give it any thought until I spoke to the restaurant for fire / water damage. More about the latter … ..
What Happened Next
I looked at them and said something like this: "The insurance point is to take care of you and get you back to where you were before the claim. exactly what we should do. Everything will work out. I promise. . I gave Jack and Jane the adjusters information so they would know who can wait for a call.
Next, I called fire / water damage restoration company . I gave all vehicle details, insured contact details and also the adjusters name and phone number. Good to know Item # 2 – The earlier you can connect the restoration company and the adjuster, BETTER. You want them to work together – the adjuster approves the work and the restoration company does the job. When they work together, it is done efficiently and at the right time. And when we talk fire or water, you have to go fast.
Advice from the customer
This is the rubber that meets the road. You are trying to help people who have just experienced a horrible tragedy to understand what is happening next. And our customers were tired, anxious and hurt to death. So I broke it down in a number of steps.
- I told them the adjustment would ring very soon (within the hour promised) and his first job was to get them money so they could find a place to live, dress, wash and eat. If not through a physical check, the companies often have the opportunity to make a deposit to a checking account. Good to know Point # 3 – This is called Additional Housing Cost or Loss. I don't know many homeowners policies that don't include it, but you really want to check and make sure you have it. As you can see, its value is enormous in such a situation.
- I then explained that the restoration company would call to create a time to start working. They assess the situation and then work with the homeowner to create an inventory of objects damaged in the fire, make arrangements for cleaning / repairing, and clean the parts of the house that were affected. Good to know point # 4 -They normally take things to their facility for cleaning, so the inventory helps the directory and makes sure the items taken are returned.
- Finally, I explained the type of paperwork they would be expected to complete, including personal inventories. Good to know Item # 5 – Just because you have $ 50,000 in the content of your policy does NOT mean that the company should only write a check for $ 50,000. They require PROOF for loss, so the inventory gives it certificate. Our customers have access to a mobile app that allows them to make a complete home inventory, including photos. Trust me, it's easier to do it in advance than after the loss occurs.
They also needed to be available to allow the insurance company and restaurant company to access the house.
When I was done I asked if they had any questions or needed to review something again. They were happy with the conversation and noticeably less urgent than when they first entered. They left to collect some other things from their house and wait to hear from the adjuster.
While the restoration company keeps me updated on the progress, they pointed out a couple of things I had not thought of. File these also as "Good to know" …
- The insurance company would not allow the restoration company to clean the scene. Why? Because their fire investigators had to visit FIRST and determine the cause of the fire. It is similar to the crime scene's mentality – the scene cannot be compromised until evidence is collected. When the cause is determined, the stage is released and the restoration work can begin. I completely forgot about the fire investigator, because fortunately we have few fires.
- Remember that the power is off? So which restoration company has equipment that requires power. Hmmm. It causes a problem because in order for them to be able to do the job, they need power. But until the cause can be determined and fixed, the power company will not hit it. Type of a catch-22. As soon as the fire investigator was finished, the first activity began to regain power.
First day after claim
The last message I received was a note from the restoration company that the insurance company fire investigator and the restoration company manager were scheduled to meet at the house the following afternoon together with the homeowner.
There will be much more communication in the weeks, and even months passing. I am convinced that the ultimate goal of taking care of our customers and getting them back to where they need to be will be achieved. It won't be fast, but it will happen.
As an insurance agent, I am proud and honored to be able to help our customers through this time in their lives. That's what we do and what we are here for.
- Offer a friendly face and ear for a moment of crisis. I have been known to offer hugs and hold a hand during the worst moments.
- Access our trusted network of service personnel to get our customers back on their feet.
- Review the requirements so they know what to expect.
- Answer all questions they have.
- R state that they are not alone and we will be here to help, but we can.
- Recall, above all, that we care for them as humans.
Do you have this type of relationship with your insurance agent? If NO, and you want to change it, call us at (937) 592-4871 or visit our website. We would be happy to help you and, as you can see, we are here at all stages of the insurance process.