The Devastation of Loss and the Broker Advantage

December 15, 2020

Debbie Arnold
Registered Insurance Broker

Group Business Development Manager
Sound Insurance Services

I’ve been an insurance broker for over 30 years. Throughout my career I have assisted my clients in navigating the claims process, be it a minor fender bender or a total vehicle loss on the automobile side to a major break-in or a devastating house fire on the property side. No matter the magnitude of the claim, it is still a loss where someone has suffered injury to property or to self. It is always inconvenient and often devastating.

I, myself, until recently had never suffered a loss. Although I’ve always been able to sympathize with my clients and have consistently advocated for them with their insurer, suffering a personal loss has provided a very different perspective; the overwhelming emotional side of a claim.

As a broker, it is important that we outline to our clients not only the claims process but the consequences of reporting a claim and how that may affect their policies and premiums going forward. We always suggest that minor claims be handled personally, of course within the financial ability of the client. When a major claim occurs, there is no choice but to go through insurance. At the end of the day, that’s why we pay premiums.
The process however, can be arduous, stressful and confusing. Being in the industry, I know certain truths about the process;

  • Sentiment can never be insured
  • Time expectations are rarely met due to reliance on body shops, contractors and adjusters
  • Certain items can never be replaced like 100-year-old trees, photos, and home made goods ruined when the hydro is out for a week.
  • There is no compensation for the time a policyholder has to take in providing documentation, finding receipts, meeting with contractors nor the inconvenience of juggling an already impossible schedule to include these extra burdens
  • Adjusters, although may express sympathy, are bound to policy wordings and often become inured to tragedy
  • Most importantly, people cannot be replaced or monetarily valued.

As I proceed through my own claim process and argue finer points of coverage with my adjuster, it strikes me that policyholders normally don’t have the luxury or ability to dissect a policy wording to their advantage and are at risk of receiving less than they deserve. I am my own advocate thanks to decades of these exercises but have found a new appreciation for that knowledge and know that as a broker, I will be better able to assist my clients because of this first-hand experience.

There is a definite advantage to having a broker on your side. To advocate for you in the event of a claim. To explain precisely how your policy will work for or against you, hopefully prior to ever having a claim. A broker will spend the time to explain your coverage and although you may pay a little more in premium, the knowledge and expertise is certainly worth the cost.

 

Debbie Arnold, R.I.B. (ON) C.A.I.B.
Sound Insurance Services Inc.
debbiea@soundinsurance.ca
416-646-0155
 

 

 



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