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Frequently Asked Questions

Ever wondered who to call when you have an insurance claim? Who can help you process the claim and ensure that you get the best possible settlement. Find the answers to your questions about insurance claims like who to call for help with your insurance claim or what is a loss assessor or what does an insurance assessor do.

Insurance Claims Settlement Cheque in joint names with my bank. What to do?

“my insurance company has issued a cheque to me and my mortgage company to cover the repairs but the mortgage company will not confirm that if I lodge the cheque to my mortgage account that I can draw down the funds to pay the builders who are currently doing the repairs.  what can I do?”

Your mortgage bank will normally insist that the mortgaged property is insured and that the banks interest in the buildings insurance policy is noted. The bank will normally ensure that they have up to date confirmation of this in the form of a letter of indemnity. This is a document issued by the insurance company to the policy holder and will confirm the basic details of the cover and will commit the insurance company to issue cheques over a certain amount in the joint names of the policyholder and the bank.

In the event that the settlement cheque issues in the joint names of the policyholder and the bank you should contact the mortgage department of the bank who will advise of the procedure. Normally they will request that you forward the cheque to them and the will return it to you with authorisation to allow it be lodged to your bank account. In the event of larger cheques the bank may have further requirements.

It would not be advisable to lodge the cheque to your mortgage account as this may be used to reduce your mortgage balance and it may not be possible to withdraw it again unless you have a prior agreement from the bank.

What is an Insurance Adjuster?

Loss Assessors, Loss Adjusters, Public Loss Adjusters and Insurance Claims Consultants are often collectively referred to as Insurance Adjusters. The role of an insurance adjuster varies depending on whether he represents the insurance company in the insurance claims process or whether he represents the customer. In the event that the Insurance Adjuster is representing the insurance company he is referred to as a Loss Adjuster. If the Insurance Adjuster represents the policyholder he is normally referred to as a Loss Assessor or on occasion as a Public Loss Adjuster or an Insurance Claims Consultant.

If I claim from my policy will insurers deny me cover in future?

If you claim from your home or commercial buildings insurance policy your insurance company will investigate the claim and decide whether they will pay the claim once the insurance claim process is complete. The investigation is normally carried out on behalf of insurers by a loss adjuster and the policyholder should appoint a registered loss assessor to represent their interest.

It is unlikely that your insurance company will refuse to offer cover in future as a result of an individual claim. However insurers will always examine the risk they are taking on and if there is a high likelihood of a loss re-occurring they may decide to exclude a particular peril, for example flood cover if your house is at high risk of future flooding.

It is also important to consider that if an event occurs whether or not it gives rise to a claim it may need to be disclosed to insurers at renewal or when switching insurers. You should consult your broker at renewal for guidance. Your Loss Assessor will advise on the process of making your claim.

In rare circumstances where fraud is detected or if a material fact is not disclosed at policy inception or at renewal, insurers may take a different view including policy cancelation.

Is the Loss Adjuster appointed by my insurance company there to help me with the insurance claim?

The Loss Adjuster appointed by the insurance company is there to protect the interest of the insurance company. The Consumer Protection Code places certain obligations on insurance companies to assist consumers in dealing with insurance claims. As the representative of the insurance company the loss adjuster must also ensure that he complies with these obligations and must in this context provide certain assistance to you in the insurance claims process. However you must remember that the Loss Adjuster acts for the insurance company and you should appoint your own Loss Adjuster (known as a public loss adjuster or loss assessor) to help you with your insurance claim. In order for your claim to be successful it must be compiled and presented correctly to insurers and the loss adjuster appointed by insurers cannot represent your interests in this regard. In order to get help with an insurance claim you should appoint a Loss Assessor to handle your claim.

How do I know how much to insure my house for?

You need to insure your house for the full cost of rebuilding it including site clearance and professional fees. Account should be taken of outbuildings walls driveways etc.

The market value of your home is not relevant to how much you need to insure your house for.

The Society of Chartered surveyors provide a useful guide to help you estimate the rebuilding cost of your home and can be accessed on their website.

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What does my home insurance policy cover?

You home insurance policy will cover you for loss or damage to your property but only if the damage is caused by a peril insured under your policy.

Examples of insured perils are fire, flood, storm, escape of water, burglary etc.

If the damage or loss is caused by something other than an insured peril your insurance claim won’t be successful  but if the cause is an insured peril your insurance claim is likely to succeed.

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What is the Policy Excess?

The policy excess is the amount of an insurance claim which is not insured.

In other words it is the amount that you contribute towards the cost of the damage which gave rise to the claim.  After your insurance company investigate the claim and agree with your Loss Assessor that an insured event has occurred, that there is policy cover and a valid insurance claim they will then negotiate the quantum of your claim with your Loss Assessor or Public Loss Adjuster. Once your Public Loss Adjuster or Loss Assessor has agreed the quantum of the claim with your Insurance Company appointed Loss Adjuster the final amount which you receive will be arrived at after the Policy Excess has been deducted.

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How much is the Policy Excess?

The amount of the policy excess varies from insurance policy to insurance policy and often varies within a particular insurance policy depending on the type of loss. A policy will normally have a standard policy excess. There is no fixed or set figures for a policy excess the amount will vary between insurance companies and it is important that you check with your broker at renewal how much the standard excess is for your policy and also if there is a different excess for any  specific insurance perils. The standard policy excess is normally between €200 and €350 but can be lower or higher.

An insurance policy may have a standard excess of €250 in the event of most types of claims but the insurance policy may have a different policy excess in the event that your claim is for certain specified perils. For example in the event that a pipe leaks in your home you are likely to make an insurance claim under the escape of water peril, while the policy excess is €250 in this example, the escape of water excess is often higher between €500 and €1,000 is not unusual.

The policy excess for subsidence claims under your house insurance policy is typically higher than the standard excess often approximately €1,000.

It is best to seek advice from your insurance claims assessor or loss assessor to be certain that your claim is made under the correct policy heading as you don’t want to have a higher excess than necessary applied to your insurance claim.

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What is a Loss Adjuster?

When a claim is reported to an insurance company the claim is often assigned to a firm of loss adjusters to handle on their behalf. Loss adjusting firms specialise in handling claims on behalf of insurance companies normally receiving instructions from many different insurance companies.

The loss adjuster will investigate the claim, normally visiting the location of the incident giving rise to the claim and report back to the insurance company. In most cases the loss adjuster will have delegated authority from the insurance company. Delegated authority is an authority given by one party another to carry out a specified function on their behalf and the party giving the authority is bound by the actions of the party to which they have given the authority.
In the case of an insurance claim this normally allows the loss adjuster to settle the claim with the claimant without having to revert back to the insurance company. However they will be bound by the parameters of the authority.

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What is a Loss Assessor?

A Loss Assessor also known as a public loss adjuster is appointed by an insurance policyholder to assist them to handle property insurance claims on their behalf. The insurance company will appoint qualified experienced personnel normally a loss adjuster and/or an in-house claims handler to deal with the claim on their behalf and ensure that the claim is dealt with in an efficient and cost effective manner from their perspective.

However the policyholder will have their own perspective and will want the matter dealt with in a manner that will achieve the optimum settlement from their perspective.
The policyholder will normally appoint their own experienced and qualified representative known as a loss assessor to deal with the claim from their perspective. Any person giving advice regarding an insurance claim to a consumer is required to be registered with the central bank of Ireland.

You should always check that your loss assessor is registered with the Central Bank of Ireland as registered loss assessors are required to be suitably qualified and to hold suitable professional indemnity cover. It is not wise to engage advisers who are not property registered as the may not have suitable qualifications or knowledge and you may not benefit from the protections offered by the Central Bank of Ireland and the Financial Services Ombudsman.

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What is a Public Loss Assessor?

A Public Loss Adjuster is another name for a Loss Assessor and is appointed by the policyholder to deal with property insurance claims on their behalf. The public loss adjuster or loss assessor will handle the claim from start to finish managing all dealings with the insurance company appointed loss adjuster on behalf of the policy holder.

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When do you start to pay a loss assessor? Is payment based on successful claim recovery or do you have to pay up-front?

Your Loss Assessor will normally charge a fee based the successful outcome of your property insurance claim. However in some circumstances an hourly rate or a flat rate may be agreed between you and your Loss Assessor. If this is the situation you should agree the fee rate and the timing of the payment in advance.

In most cases the fee will be based on a percentage of the settlement of your insurance claim and is payable on issue of the main settlement cheque. If an interim payment is made a portion of the fee will normally be paid by you on issue of the interim payment and you will pay the balance on issue of main settlement cheque by your insurance company. Retention may be held by your insurance company pending completion of the repairs to your property. Your Loss Assessor will work with you to secure release of the money retained from the main settlement cheque, however the full fee will normally be paid to the Loss Assessor when the main settlement cheque issues.

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