Claims adjusters have spent the past month working through the damage from Superstorm Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey. In some areas — specifically, those hit hardest — claims professionals have only recently gained access in order to evaluate losses. The numbers are coming in, however, providing the insurance industry a greater sense of the effects the storm.
According to the preliminary estimate from Verisk’s Property Claim Services® (PCS®), insurers have received 230,000 vehicle damage claims so far, with 130,000 of them coming from New York. New Jersey follows, with 60,000 claims. The remaining 40,000 comprise an aggregate of claims from Connecticut; Delaware; Washington, D.C.; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia; and West Virginia.
PCS expects those results to change over time as insurers receive and process more claims. In addition, the damage to the 230,000 vehicles varies from cosmetic issues to total losses from falling trees or flood.
As the insurance industry continues to handle claims from Sandy, we encourage you to label relevant losses as “catastrophes” when you submit them to ISO ClaimSearch. Doing that will help you identify:
- undisclosed duplicate insurance
- unrepaired previous damage
- questionable claim activity by insureds, contractors, and public adjusters
Reporting the claims as catastrophe losses will help you differentiate between catastrophe and noncatastrophe claims and see catastrophe claims in claims inquiries.
In planning for future catastrophes, now is the time to evaluate the additional tools that can help make the process faster, easier, and more accurate. For example, the Weather Forensic Reports in Decision Net® help claims adjusters verify weather activity related to a loss. Also, Vehicle Location Reports, which use license plate reader technology, provide photos to help determine whether damage to a claimant’s vehicle is preexisting.
Most important, we encourage you to reach out to your designated ISO account executive if you have any questions about using ISO ClaimSearch® for catastrophe losses or optimizing your use of the system for future events.