Subrogation on property losses can present a number of challenges for the Property Adjuster who has to balance expeditious claims handling with a thorough investigation in to the cause of the loss. Here are 5 practices that can lead to success in the pursuit of a recovery:
- Have an Eye for Recovery – Make it a point to conduct the scene investigation with an eye towards subrogation-whether you are utilizing staff adjusters or engage independent adjusters to do so. Water and fire losses may very well be the result of the negligence of a contractor if recent work was done to the interior or exterior of the home or building.
- Preserve the Evidence – Having the evidence in your possession is usually better than trusting the insured to preserve it for you. This is especially critical in losses which may have occurred from a faulty product. Make the Insured aware of the importance of holding on to the suspect product until an expert inspection has been conducted. Avoid spoliation-the destruction of evidence. All adjusters investigating fire and explosion losses should be familiar with the NFPA 921: Guide for Fire & Explosion Investigations which offers information on using the scientific method in origin and cause investigations, handling evidence and documenting the investigation
- Hire the right expert for the examination of the suspect product and make sure the manufacturer’s right to examine the product is preserved. Meticulous attention must be paid to the chain of custody to avoid allegations of evidence destruction or tampering. The best scenario is one where the evidence is examined simultaneously by the expert for the insurer and the manufacturer.
- Good Neighbor Policy – When fire or water loss occurs as a result of a neighboring unit or home it is key to commence contact immediately with the carrier for the other home. All too often there is no communication and the other party’s representative may be un-cooperative when presented with a subrogation claim which will ultimately jeopardize a successful recovery.
- First Notice of Loss Outsourcing? Consider FNOL services with a reputable subrogation services provider-select subrogation vendors offer First Notice of Loss services by using sophisticated methods of data extraction which enable them to commence subrogation activities before the claim is actually paid by the carrier. Under their mindful watch the subrogation process is preserved while the adjuster can focus on making the insured whole. A win-win for all!