Have you ever had an insurance claim? What was your experience like? I truly believe that claim time is the true test of an insurance policy- it’s then that you actually “see” your policy go to work for you.
Amazingly enough, a contractor friend (and the insured’s neighbor), was at his wife’s store next door to my office. I ran over and said “Allen, I need your help.” I told him the situation and asked him to please make temporary repairs as well as provide an estimate for permanent repairs. Within 15 minutes he was at the insured’s house. If you’re local and need some remodeling/contracting work, I highly recommend Allen Snyder of Snyder Home Repair. He does excellent work, is reasonable and very trustworthy. You can reach him at 937-592-4699.
I also called a tree removal service that had done work for us in the past. Within an hour, they arrived and made plans to get the branch off the house (it was ultimately determined that a crane would have to be rented and removal would occur the next day).
As I was making arrangements for these various services, I kept Tera in the loop, again via Twitter. I told her who was coming, their names and what was going to happen next. Within 24 hours the tree was off the house and Allen was busy fixing the exterior and interior damage. Tera and I communicated back and forth as to what else she needed to do to facilitate the claim (submitting estimates, etc.) It’s now a week later, and they are well on their way to having their house good as new.
In all fairness, it was just dumb luck that I happened to look at my screen and see the post right after it happened. And having the contractor next door was some serious luck. However, I don’t think it changes two valuable lessons I learned from this experience:
- Whether you’re an insurance agent or a company, you need to be utilizing the various social media platforms as a communication source. Your customers are using them and you need to be there as well. Customers now dictate how they want to communicate with you, not the other way around. Listen up or risk losing out.
- The value of building a strong network can never be discounted. By having Allen do work for me personally as well as establishing a friendship with he and his wife, we’ve developed a strong bond. So he had no issue with grabbing his tools and running immediately over to Tera and Jon’s house. Try this tactic with a random contractor in the phone book, and see the response. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be the same. So having a trusted network IS everything.
- A corollary to the second point is that without a local agent, there is no way this claim could have worked out as quickly or as well as it did. Agents have networks and connections. They know who to call, what to say and will even roll up their sleeves and pitch in when necessary. We’re expediters, advocates, translators and even hand holders. Do you think the Geicos of the world can say this?
What do you think about this crazy turn of events? Are there other lessons that consumers or those in insurance can take away from this experience? This was a first for me and I’m interested to hear your reactions. I think this is just the beginning folks………