Managing expectations when dealing with an insurance loss

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, from a minor fender bender or 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 can be devastating.

Until recently, I myself 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, experiencing a loss personally has provided a different perspective on 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 taken care of personally if the client can afford it. 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 can be arduous, stressful and confusing. Being in the industry, I know certain truths about the claims 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 crammed schedule to include these extra burdens
  • Although they may express sympathy, adjusters are bound by insurance policy wording and often become inured to tragedy
  • Most importantly, money is a poor compensation for personal injuries.

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 policy wording to their advantage and are at risk of receiving less than they deserve. Thanks to decades of experience, I am acting as my own advocate, but have gained a new appreciation for my knowledge. I 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.


Debbie Arnold, R.I.B. (ON) C.A.I.B.
Sound Insurance Services Inc.



New Car Buying Service
APA’s new car buying service saves you time, money and hassles!
Used Car Buying Service
The APA recommends a network of trustworthy used car dealers in Toronto.

APA Lemon-Aid Reviews
Our expert staff can help you select the vehicle that best suits your needs.

Group Rate Insurance Program
APA has negotiated insurance discounts for members.

This content was featured in the APA Newsletter. Didn`t see us in your inbox? Subscribe today and keep up to date!