Storm Ophelia

 

Gerry Carter CDip LA

Owner/Director at Carter Claims

 

Hurricane Season.

 

Hi Folks.

For anyone who has damage to their property be it household or commercial please don't try and settle the matter without taking Professional Advice.

You may think this process is simple? Remember if you go that route you will have to accept the rates the Insurance Company give you for the work to be completed and also their scope of repairs that they decide need to be completed. Why do you think Insurance Companies employ firms of Loss Adjusters to handle their claims?

Any decent Loss Assessor working for you will increase the settlement you would have received were you to handle the claim yourself ? This is done by knowledge and negotiation and insures you can be restored to the position you were prior to your loss.

Please give me a call for advice on your particular issue which is free with no obligation to appoint.

 

Regards Gerry Carter CDIP LA

gerry@carterclaims.ie

0868104215

What your household policy "Does Not Cover"

This is to advise the public what in fact your standard House Insurance Policy does not cover.In relation to the Building (The house, outbuildings, detached garages, swimming pools, tennis courts, fuel tanks and their contents, terraces, patios, driveways, footpaths, walls, gates and fences, lawns, hedges, trees, shub`s and plants) itself.

Most policies in this country do not cover the following aspects of these risks of which there are 12.  I will only advise the first 3 risks in this article and will publish 3 every week for the next Month. Try and get your heads around these 3 and we can tackle the rest as we go along.

Should you have any questions you want answered if you email me I will respond to all queries.

  • Fire, Explosion, Lightning, Earthquake and Thunderbolt - No exclusions in general terms.There are however circumstances where if your house burns down ect the Insures won`t pay these are General exclusions which we will tackle later (fraud etc).
  • Smoke Damage -  By smoke from the fire place. By smog or from agricultural or industrial operations.
  • Storm or flood - To fences and gates, lawns, hedges, trees, shrubs and plants, except as a direct result of damage to the Private House  by storm or flood. By frost,to roofs constructed with torch on felt exceeding 10 years ago.

 

 

Helping the Customer through Staff Training.

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The Insurance industry is a huge employer of young intelligent graduates from our Universities and Colleges. These are smart energetic kids who have a burning ambition in most cases to succeed. Many get positions with Large Insurers and Brokers mostly in areas such as Sales or Claims or Administration and many have day to day contact with customers.

They now all have to pass their Insurance exams through the Insurance Institute Of Ireland and this is a good thing which ensures a good level of understanding of what is required of them and their employers when dealing with the public.

This is all very good but I think it's also imperative they also receive on the job assistance and guidance on a daily basis in the role they are fulfilling as how it works in practice can be a different proposition to what they read in a book.In other words they need help and guidance as they will invariably make mistakes and they need assistance to enable them to learn and develop.

They are unfortunately in some cases left to their own devices to sink or swim which encourages bad habits to develop and later receive undue criticism when they simply knew no better.

Many people have very defined roles when dealing with customers be it sales or claims and they operate very well in their defined roles. But when they have to step into a different role  from time to time which we all have to do in this new world of flexibility in the workplace they struggle which can mean a difficult experience for customers. This will inevitably mean dissatisfaction  which is bad for business.

This training can be done  on site by Specialists in different areas of expertise to small groups for short sessions as not to affect  the normal running of the business. It can also be tailored to suit each situation and can in the end greatly enhance the reputation of the company with the customer they serve.

Large amounts of cash don't need to be splashed and often the expertise is a staff member with a wealth of knowledge in a particular area that simple needs to be tapped. 

Its really all about taking training and development seriously rather than giving it lip service.

Would it not be better, to avoid the headache of a large turnover of staff which is a common feature in the industry to simply develop those currently doing the job?

Motor Insurance -Did you Know?

 

Under the Non-Life Insurance (protection of Information)(Renewal of Policy of Insurance) Regulations 2007, the Motor Insurer is obliged to ensure that:

 

  •  The customer gets renewal papers at least 15 working days prior to renewal. In fairness they normally arrive prior to this .
  • You are informed of any loading for claims or convictions.
  • Any fee`s where a broker is used must be shown clearly (its still advisable in my view to use a broker as the fee is small and the knowledge is great).
  • Interest rates charged on instalment payments (be careful it`s not excessive).
  • What discounts you are getting for good claims history,having an alarm,voluntary excess increase (be careful these excesses  come off your claim settlement and can make your claim amount leave you paying a lot of the repairs),restricted to named drivers etc.

Basically always check carefully what you are getting for your money or use a broker who knows the nitty gritty.

 

 

 

Motor Insurance.

 

Some Simple Facts for People taking out a Motor Insurance Policy.

June 01, 2016

Your Contract with the Insurance Company.

 

This contract is made up of a number of documents :

 

1. A proposal form- or statement of fact (mostly done now on line or over the phone which is recorded).This gives the Insurer all the facts they need to decided how much to charge for the premium if they decide to Insure in the first place.

2.The Insurance Certificate-it will have the disk for your window attached and is proof of Insurance if your asked to produce proof of Insurance by the Gardai.

3. The Policy Booklet- (please read it carefully) it tells you what is and is not covered and all you need to know about the policy cover and how to deal with different situations (claims etc).

4. The Schedule- It contains all the nitty gritty contained in the policy. If there is an issue later with a claim this is where you look to see what terms and conditions apply to the policy.

Insurance Policies even ones with the term Comprehensive do not cover every eventuality so know what is covered and what conditions you must abide by to have cover in place.

Its not rocket science but its amazing what you find out when you need to call on the policy to assist following an incident that requires a claim to be made.

Its not all about price but more about getting a good policy with a good Insurer. A Broker will advise but you still need to know what`s in above documents.

Liability Insurance made simple.

Employers Liability:

An Employer takes it out to cover his Liability to pay compensation to any employee for injury,disease,illness or death that arises out of and in the course of his employment by the Employer. An example would be if you slipped on a banana skin in your companies premises that had been left on the ground by an unknown person.

Public Liability:

Similar to above but is for claims which arise from members of the public or companies for accidental bodily injury or damage to property due to the negligence of the insured or his employers. An example would be a shop assistant drops a box on your foot while you shop in a boutique 

Professional Indemnity: It covers the insured against claims which might be made alleging that injury or loss resulted from his negligent action or advise. An example would be a Financial Adviser recommending clients to an investment fund that is in fact illegal to invest in.The Central Bank Regulates this sector and Professional Indemnity Insurance is a requirement.

Products Liability: This covers legal Liability for bodily injury or damage caused to property by either a product,goods or services sold or supplied. You might buy and eat a piece of chicken that makes you ill.

 

Gerry Carter CDIP LA

 

 

Salvage-What a policy holder needs to know.

Most people who take out Insurance Policy`s have absolutely no idea what salvage is all about. Hopefully after reading this simple explanation you will understand what it means.

If an Insurer pays for a total loss let`s say you claim for a new rug for your sitting room after a coal from the fire falls on it and burns a small hole.  Because Indemnity (cover under the policy for the claim) has been  accepted by your insurance company and they have paid for a replacement rug then the damaged rug becomes salvage and the Insurers can take the item and sell it to recoup some of the money they paid to settle the claim.

They may often offer the salvage to the policy holder who may decide to buy it back at the reduced price so he can put it in a spare room or playroom where they are not to concerned that it has a small bit of damage.

Savage would apply also with for example the theft of jewellery from a house and where the Insurers have paid to replace the item or items and the Gardai subsequently get the property back during the course of there investigation. Insurers as this stage will often then offer the item back to the Insured providing he/she returns the settlement  made for the loss.

Salvage is most commonly seen with plant and machinery on a Commercial Policy. If a piece of plant is damaged say a digger and Insurers accept there is cover for the claim on the policy they will often use an Assessor to inspect the vehicle. If he deems it uneconomical to repair, Insurers may offer the Insured the value of a replacement (less depreciation,depending on the policy wording). They may also offer the piece of plant to the Insured as salvage or in other words he gets the first opportunity to buy the damaged digger from the Insurance Company. 

It should be remembered that the Insured has no right to abandon the salvaged item as it may be of significant value to the insurance company.

Gerry Carter CDIP LA.

 

 

 

How to decrease rising Insurance costs.

Insurance costs go in cycles and at present the cycle is upward from what was a very low base.

If you want to get the best cover for the cheapest price possible here are a few simple tips.

 

 

  • Try to be risk conscience and don`t expose your business,family home or motor vehicle to unnecessary risk by being careless. The more claims you have to make the higher your Insurance is going to be going forward.
  • Don`t wait till the last minute to look to renew your policy.You will be given plenty of notice from your Insurer so don`t have yourself under pressure to renew at any cost as your policy is about to expire.
  • Consider grouping all your policies with the one Insurer as all the major insurers offer extra discounts for multiple policies.
  • Check your policy to ensure it covers whats required and not for example extra drivers that will in fact never drive the vehicle.
  • Use comparison sites to get multiple quotes for cover so you know what`s best for you.
  • Use an Insurance broker who because of their volume of business with Insures can usually get better prices and better cover than you will as an individual.
  • Don`t be afraid to ask for discount as the market is very competitive at present .
  • Don`t make unnecessary claims for small amounts of money as this will be costly in the long run.If you have a facility with Insurers protecting your no claims bonus in the event of a claim this will help.
  • Basically set aside some time to spend on the process so that once renewal is completed you will be in a position to say you achieved the best cover for the most competitive price possible.

Regards Gerry Carter CDIP LA.

 

April Showers.

It seems that following recent heavy rain falls and high winds that flooding and structural  damage is again taking place throughout the country.

If I can be of any assistance to Insurance Policy Holders don`t hesitate to call. I can advise and assist in getting you back to normality quickly and efficiently regardless of whether you are a business or individual and Carter Claims will do all the paper work required for Insurers to have your claim settled.

 

Regards Gerry Carter CDIP LA

0868104215

Carter Claims.

 

 

 

 

Risk Management in the workplace.

 Here are a few simple procedures that will ensure your liability to customers and staff is something that will not  be a constant worry as you grow your business.

 

  • Show staff by example that you are serious about risk avoidance in the workplace.
  • Train your staff properly on an ongoing basis regarding risk and ensure they realize its not a paper exercise but a company priority.
  • Learn from mistakes and take actions to ensure incidents are properly documented and new procedures are put in place to avoid repeat incidents.
  • Ask your staff to highlight what they encounter on a day to day basis that may be dangerous and involve them in the risk management process. 
  • Use common sense when putting your risk management documentation together.

Discuss your needs with your Insurance Broker he/she will advise what is best for your particular circumstances when taking out Liability Insurance. Notify your broker when incidents do occur and he/she will advise how best to deal with the matter.

Risk Management is not rocket science and risk can be reduced dramatically by taking the matter seriously and having  some simple avoidance procedures in place.

What you need to understand about Insurance.

There are a number of things people need to understand about Insurance Policies. 

 

1. No policy covers everything they all have limits of indemnity so although Comprehensive  sounds great it does not cover everything when it comes to your level of cover.

2. Excess means the amount of the loss you cover yourself before the policy kicks in. Be aware many policies carry an excess for both Buildings (the property itself) and another for the contents. So a household claim could have say €350 excess on both total excess €700.

3. If you under insure the contents or buildings in a household policy then you settlement will be reduced by the same percentage of under insurance.

4. If you extend your home and add lots of extra contents this may put you in a position that you are under insured.You would need to disclose these changes and increase your cover accordingly (your broker can assist).

5. There is a single article limit on your valuables. (if you have a ring worth 10k and the single article limit is €2k,you get 2k for your ring unless it is insured separately on the policy .

6.Household Insurance policies apart from covering Buildings and Contents can also cover such things as Personal Possessions owned by you or any of your Household or for which they are responsible often to a limit of around €2500.Other cover people forget are Jury Service,Fatal Accident Benefit,Third party Liability,Personal Possessions lost outside the home (worldwide),Personal Accident  (death,loss of limb).

Above are some of the reasons you should use an Insurance Broker when taking out a policy and a Loss Assessor when making a claim.

 

 

 

 

Securing your home.

A little advice about securing your home from thieves.

Criminals are creatures of habit and generally use the same Modus Operandi (methods) when entering a home and searching it for valuables.

They like a point of entry from the rear if possible as this gets them away from passers by in most cases. After that the easiest entry method is to slip the frame on a pvc window and lift out a full pane of glass. People often leave shovels and spades etc around and this can assist them unfortunately .

Another recent trend is to enter via the front door where people have closed their pvc front  door  but have not lifted the handle to secure the 4 bolts generally in the door that secures the door to the frame once the key is turned. Any decent thief will slip the lock and wont even mark the door. I have come across several houses on a road being done one after the other with a transit van waiting outside for valuables ie TV sets etc.

If the door has an opening for post leave nothing visible that can be collected by a little fishing. Car and house keys are a good example of this.Best advice is have an external post box secured to the wall.

Never leave the front or back door key under the mat or close to the door as you might as well leave a welcome note for thieves as they will find anything that is not properly hidden.

The number one way and most effective deterrent to keep thieves out is to have an alarm fitted and monitored if possible. Thieves will still break in if they feel its a risk worth taking but it puts them under pressure to get in and out fast. They may be daring and locate the alarm monitor in your home and disable it as quickly as possible (pull it off the wall) and work from there. If you cant afford an alarm consider a false box for an area at a height to give the impression that there is one.

Try and have a friend or relative visit the house for you if your away and leaving an internal light on at night helps give the impression that there is someone around. Curtains should only be drawn upstairs at night and blinds can be left half way down the window so there is not a clear view inside during the day.

Don`t forget the Gardai have a vacant house register and most stations will be happy to have a patrol car drive by on and of once they know a house is vacant. 

If you have a decant garden consider a dog or just put up a sign saying beware of the dog as this too can work as a deterrent.

If you are unfortunate and have been burgled you can contact Carter Claims and Associates for advice and help as a Good Loss Assessor can be a great help in submitting an Insurance claim of this nature.

Regards,

Gerry Carter.

 

 

Risk of Fire.

A public health warning to all policy holders regarding the use of electrical equipment. We all know the dangers of working with items such as deep fat fryers in the home and how they are responsible for many fires where people forget to turn them off for one reason and another and they ignite.

Apart from Insurance concerns fire in the family home or commercial property can be responsible for people losing their lives.

Another item that that can be dangerous if left plugged in continuously are hair curlers. In fact many fires start in the bedroom where electrical equipment is left plugged in and often these items have been  covered by blankets and items of clothing but not always.

Please make the kids aware of the dangers and get them into the routine of unplugging everything before they go to sleep. If you check on them yourself before you go to bed insure all items in the room (mobile phones included) are unplugged.

I advise you do the same downstairs before retiring for the night and even more important before heading away on holidays. Neither is it not a good idea to have the dishwasher and washing machine in full flow as people sleep upstairs .

Obviously I am not talking about disconnecting your fridge or deep freeze but all the usual suspects should be plugged out where the home is going to be vacant for a prolonged period of time.

Most of these safety tips become habit and the norm after a while. 

The last item is ensure that the fire alarm works as it can save peoples lives by alerting them to the fire before it takes hold. Remember it is the smoke that kills people in most cases and not the actual fire itself.

Gerry Carter.

Red Flag Claims.

For anyone in the Insurance Industry who have any involvement in claims their ears prick up once they hear the words " Red Flag".

we all know this is the term used when a claim has been identified as suspicious or needs to be looked at further.Or in  any case there is some element of the claim that may be fraudulent. 

 In many cases it will  transpire that there is an innocent reason for the claim receiving a score with Insurers that mark it down as a red flag claim.

How then should Insurers/Loss Adjusters deal with the matter once it has been identified as something requiring attention.

The most important thing is that they don`t jump the gun and confront claimants in a manner that  gives the impression that they are being accused  of any wrong doing.

The best approach is to he visit the claim again and see what exactly is bringing the claim to attention and decide quickly what is the best way to get answers to the questions that the claim is throwing up .

In matters such as these speed is essential and these matters cannot and should not be put on the long finger as this makes it more difficult to deal with the matter later and may jeopardise a proper investigation.

Once it has been established what is required to move matters forward in a professional manner then this is the course to go. It may be that a simple phone call to the claimant or his/her representative can allay any fears regarding the claim. If however it appears to be a more serious situation then it may require a visit or revisit to establish the facts of the matter. 

In some cases it may be necessary to put specific questions to the claimant to clarify concerns of claims handlers and this should be done by an experienced member of staff in a sympathetic manner. We are still only in the investigative stage and we need to tread carefully.

A statement of fact may be required or the use of specialist  skills such as SE3R (Forensic Solutions) which is a method of extracting information  verbally from someone with regard to an incident which is simultaneously recorded on a Dictaphone. It gives a complete picture of events and dispenses with any allegations afterwards regarding what was and was not said.

Other evidence can be gathered by professional investigators but one should always be aware of what restrictions are imposed by the Data Commissioner and that any outside agency used to investigate are properly qualified and regulated to work in the Industry.

With all matters of concern properly investigated Insurers can then decide what action they wish to take if any.

 

Gerry Carter.

 

 

 

Public Loss Assessors.

People sometimes become confused as to the role of Loss Adjusters and Loss Assessors in the claims process.So to assist with this and to give some clarity regardless whether you are in Leinster, Munster, Connaught or Ulster the following applies.

A Loss Adjuster is a person who handles an Insurance claim on behalf of an Insurance Company.

A Public Loss Assessor is someone who represents a claimant when the are making a claim.

With regard to the Loss Adjuster he will be either a member of staff of the Insurance Company or he will be working for a Service Provider (Out Source Company) who are paid by the Insurance company to handle the claims process on their behalf.

On the other side you have the Public Loss Assessor who works directly for the claimant and who is paid by the claimant to process the claim on their behalf and to negotiate the best possible settlement for their client.

The easiest way to remember the difference between a Loss Adjuster and a Public Loss Assessor is to focus  on the word Public. Once you see that in the persons title you will know he represents the public rather than the Insurer.

Both of the above are  regulated by the Central Bank and are members of The Insurance Institute of Ireland.Both Loss Adjusters and Loss Assessors  have crucial roles to play in the claims process.They simple work on different sides of the fence.

Regardless of whether you reside in Dublin or anywhere else should you require additional information on the process fell free to email or ring me anytime. 

 

Wind and Snow.

Wow!!  Just when we are getting over the flooding we now get hit with wind and snow. Once the storm passes we all need to check that damage has not been done to the roof especially after the gales that we have been having for the last 24 hours.

Any damage done from these winds will be a peril that is covered under the terms of your household policy.The danger is that it can go unnoticed if tiles or slates are not seen on the ground. I would advise that people especially in two story homes  have a look around the attic to insure the roof has not been breached and that water is not finding its way internally .The area where the chimney meets the roof can be a vulnerable area so insure that the lead flashing has not moved especially in older homes that do not receive regular  maintenance checks . 

It can take some time for the water to show itself on the ceiling or via the lights but were it stopped at source now you would be able to greatly reduce the damage it causes. If you only discover the damage in six months time you may have trouble linking it to a specific event such as the storms we are having at the moment.

Once again if you discover damage and need good advise contact me and I will advise how best to proceed.

Regards Gerry Carter CDIP LA,CIP.

0868104215.

 

Advice on Insuring your Valuables.

Firstly check the Policy Booklet used by your Insurer to see what the policy covers in relation to valuables. If you use a broker (and you should) he/she will advise as how best to Insure valuable items apart from the normal contents you possess.

When dealing with valuable items such as Jewellery be sure to Insure these separately on the policy or you may not get there full value as Insurers will have limits per item  not specifically insured.

My advice is supply your Insurer with a list of these items with current values, photographs and description of each. It may sound cumbersome but will be of  huge  assistance to you in maximizing your claim settlement if you are unfortunately in the position that you have to make a claim.   Paying for a valuation now (pre loss) means no significant reduction in replacement costs later.

Many Insurers also require that with diamond rings that the stones are checked and certified every few years not to be loose.   Make sure the paper work is up to date.

You will pay an additional premium for these valuable items but be assured you will be very glad you spent the money in the event of you making a claim.

It can be really upsetting for policy holders when they have to make a claim for their valuables under the contents section of the policy and discover that due to limits on the policy and conditions in relation to proof of ownership and value that they end up having to settle for well below the replacement cost of the items. 

 Once again a Loss Assessor will assist you with the claim process but having the boxes ticked in advance means no unpleasant surprises later.  

Floods.

Hopefully we have seen the last of the flooding and as water recedes people can start getting their homes striped of all the damage and most importantly properly dried out and decontaminated.

This is not a simple job and should be undertaken by a professional.In cases where homes had significant amounts of water for a period of time the process to be undertaken is not as you would do with your leaky pipe.

Stripping   the place and using dehumidifiers is not going to be sufficient so please use the services of a Public Loss Assessor to get the best advice on the process.

 

Gerry Carter CDIP LA, CIP.

When should I claim.

People are often confused when they should make a claim . For all those people here a few pointers to remember.

  • Firstly check your policy to see is what has happened something that is covered under the terms of your policy.(if in doubt ask an expert i.e your Insurance  Broker or any Loss Assessor).
  • Check what the excess is on the policy (the amount you pay yourself before your insurance kicks in). If your claim is the same or less than your excess then you don`t want a claim on your policy where you would not be entitled to any settlement. In fairness your Insurers will inform you of this fact.
  • Depending on the terms of your Insurance policy your  no claims bonus which reduces the cost of your policy possibly by up to 50% will be lost at renewal following a claim so be sure not to make a claim for a small amount as it simply would not be a good idea financially.If you have a step back policy or one that allows one or two claims without losing your bonus above will nor apply.
  • Your broker (if you used one when purchasing the policy) can advise regarding claiming and may direct you to a Public Loss Assessor. I would advise you use a broker when taking out any Insurance Policy.
  • Don`t allow any damage that has occurred to your property to increase through lack of action on your part.
  • Don`t put off informing your Insurer of a possible claim as this may affect your cover if you do eventually lodge a claim.
  • Don`t be afraid to ask advise as its free and Assessors give this advise with no obligation and for free.