Insurance attorneys understand the importance of proper communications with an insurance company.
The Claims Journal, which is a publication for the insurance industry, published an article in September 2017, suggesting ways for a company to properly communicate with their insured. The article is titled, 10 Tips On Responding To Claimant Complaints.
The substance of the article is below but before discussing it, keep this is mind. Not every claim is going to be denied or need attorney assistance. However, any communications the insured has with the insurance company needs to follow the suggestions the companies make for communicating with their insured.
Once, an attorney is involved to help with a claim, the attorney will write a proper letter and follow the requirements of Texas Insurance Code, Section 541.154.
The article says that although insurance carriers care deeply about the approval ratings from their policyholders, claims responses to claimant complaints are often stodgy, mistake-ridden and vague.
Here is the 10 brief tips that will help an adjuster to catch and correct problems before sending out letters and insureds communicating with their insurance company should also keep these in mind.
- Tell the story. Think of the claim as a story being told to the reader. Keep the narrative flowing so the reader pictures what you are describing, not jumping around and hard to follow.
- Separate fact from opinion. The way to be convincing is to state facts that cannot be challenged and when giving an opinion, be clear how you formed that opinion. Don’t be careless about mixing facts with opinion.
- Review punctuation. It counts. A sloppy letter can be a pretext for fighting back. Understand how punctuation marks are used. Avoid being disagreeable as much as possible.
- Read you work aloud. How does it sound to the ear? Reading aloud can help you decipher the tone of the letter.
- Avoid signs ( “#”), too much capitalization and too much abbreviation. Spell out dates. Spell out July 4, 2010, not 7/4/2010.
- Use the word “regard,” not “regards” when you write. Example: “This response is in regards to our conversation …” use “regard.” “Regards” has to do with giving someone best wishes.
- Do not use a first and last name in a salutation unless you are unsure of your reader’s gender. If you are not sure “Dion Smith” is a man or woman, then your salutation should read: “Dear Dion Smith.”
- Use hyphens when you write two or more words acting as an adjective modifying a noun. In the expression, “at fault party” a hyphen should be placed between “at” and “fault.”
- Don’t be overly humble. It’s too humble to say, “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to discuss my case with you.”
- Lead the person you are writing to by the hand when making calculations. It is your obligation to make clear numbers you are explaining. Don’t just state numbers, explain how the numbers are calculated.
Hopefully, proper communication will go towards getting the claim resolved without having to resort to an attorney.