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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why Insurance Companies aren't the Same

Regulation is supposed to level the playing field but it never has. There is always a new trick, gimmick or forgotten method that someone resurrects that can overcome the shrewdest of bureaucrats. That is somewhat the method being used today by Allstate and USAA Insurance Companies.
While State Farm, Metropolitan, and Travelers pay for roof systems a customer has when the roof is damaged, Allstate and USAA wrangle out every aspect down to shingles and felt. No metal edge, step flashing, pipe covers, chimney or skylight flashings are included in their estimates unless they are dented.
While State Farm and USAA both use Xactimate to figure their respective hail damage reports, USAA figures that roofing suppliers must give me free step flashing, metal edging, and valley; that my roofers don't take any longer to install these items; and that leaving them out doesn't make for a lesser roof (system).
Then comes Allstate. They stand alone in dumbing down a roof. They use a system called Integra Claims, and which the management has, in the words of their adjusters, locked them out of all the details. A few years ago Allstate paid for the items integrated with the shingles, like a shingle. Just as one shingle laps with the others around it, so do the pipes, step flashings, valleys, chimney flashings, and boy am I tired of listing this.
Shingles and felt. That's it. No valley. No sewer pipes. No valley. No step flashing. No metal edge. No chimney flashing. No skylight flashing. No power pole flashing. No flue base flashings. Just shingles and felt.
Allstate says hold the pickles. I want to drag it through the garden and get a real burger. The meat is called hamburger but the unit is a hamburger. We put on better burgers and use real cheese if you want cheese. Even if you have cheese, Allstate won't put it back. It's not damaged.
Multiple Allstate adjusters have told Nathan, our in house licensed adjuster, that the program has these items included in the line item price for the shingles. Nathan counters that the program specifically states in the line item description that the price is for shingles only and that the program has specific line items for each of the items that Allstate won't pay for. Valleys, metal edge, stacks, stop it. The adjusters then say they have their own modified program. We know what that means.
They altered the bible.
Allstate stands alone. This is unique. How come Allstate's customers have to suffer this?
I will admit that their overall assessment of shingle damage and measurements are right on. They don't under measure and they pay for roofs when they need to, albeit on the cheap. They also tend to buy roofs that really aren't damaged. Allstate buys the farm. Couldn't help it.
The amount of money they underpay per roof comes nowhere near to what money they lose in buying roofs they shouldn't.
State Farm doesn't buy many roofs it shouldn't so if you have an old roof and you want it paid for for no reason don't get State Farm.
Where insurance companies very widely on what their initial claim is, State Farm and Farmers getting it closer to right in the beginning, they usually miss something. I have actually seen State Farm adjustments that couldn't be improved unless you were willing to lie. But if they miss the mark, they will compensate.
Allstate will adjust also but the movement is small. They start dreadfully low and will come up to real low. The adjusters even admit it.
Farmers, who at one time bought roofs for being old or having too much sun or bird poop, went to a B rating back in the nineties. They got tough and denied meteor shower claims. Once they got back on track with the coveted A rating they took the State Farm track. Their behavior is like synchronized swimmers in an old Ester Williams flick.
We'll pause so the young'ins can hit the Google Bar. Come on guys, "Million Dollar Mermaid" and "Neptune's Daughter" are always showing up in PBS documentaries. Meanwhile back at the Farm, er Ranch, er All-State-Farmers-Bureau...

What quality oriented roofing contractor would take a used piece of step flashing, maybe thrice used, and put it back along with fifty others on a wall and guarantee it not to leak? What contractor won't reflash a chimney, what installer does it for free, and what wholesaler gives us the materials for free to flash them?
One supervisor from one of these companies told me last year that if he paid for the step flashing on my customers roof he'd be ripping off his next customers. I told him he'd just be continuing with his ripping off. He then threatened me with the possibility of telling all their clients not to use me because Jon Wright Roofing was too expensive. I wish I had a recorder right then. My rebuttal was that we were just discussing price and threats weren't necessary. He apologized and hoped I didn't have a recorder.
If we look at this as simply passing on the diminished profits to the consumer, as my father likes to say, we'll see that the people insured by companies that gut the roof down to shingles and felt also get an inferior product on their home.
This may not always be the case but the law, and not theory, of averages, requires that less expensive items have generally lesser value. Roofs with used accessories that are older and full of holes will have more leaks. Roofers that install quality roofs with all new components but don't get paid for their service are more likely to go out of business. Homeowners who live under these roofs are going to have more financial difficulties because of the increased frequency of leaks. Homeowners with leaks have more marital problems than those that don't. Governments with leaks have more issues too.
The only winner is the insurance company, the lawyers, and the spies.
In retrospect it is hard to imagine that State Farm was the low bidder many years ago and Allstate paid well. The pendulum swings, usually, but this time it appears to be stuck. Some say the change occurs after someone successfully sues an insurance company resulting in changed behavior. I know if I made the front page of the Dallas Morning News or was on any of Belo's news outlets for the wrong reason, I'd change.
The politics of when insurance companies buy roofs versus how well they pay on a line item basis is a completely different topic. Soon I'll voice my opinion on the dynamics of why insurance companies are sometimes more generous on paying claims on marginally damaged roofs than others. I've not only been watching these dynamics in the Dallas Fort Worth roofing market as a roofing contractor and roofing company owner, I've been in the thick of it discussing pricing.
Now that I said it, if I'm not your roofer, ask your roofer. If you are a roofer, then post a comment and don't leave me out here alone. If you're a supplier of roofs, state what your roofing contractors say about this. Come on and comment so when the insurance companies find this they'll know how we feel. I believe you had needed a Google account to comment but we figured out a way to remove that.
www.jonwrightroofing.com
Addendum to rant: The insurance companies say"nobody else wants us to pay that or ever asked..."..."we didn't get any faxes"..."nobody has ever told us that the cathedral ceiling might be damaged by reroofing"...when I told you yourself on this and other jobs in the past, much less the other times I told other adjusters, and other roofers told them, and it was in my initial estimate as a protective disclaimer so I wouldn't get sued for putting nails where they belong.
Ha, a new topic.
www.jonwrightroofing.com

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whew, laughing muscles are hurting. It's about time someone stood up for themselves to the big bad insurance companies. Well ask yourself this, how many of those insurance companies asked for "buyout money" from the government. Only AIG whose a meek pebble the the sea of the homeowners policies nationwide. Why is that? How hard is it to pay for what you owe? How about a customer sends in 80% of their premium and see if that will fly. Likely not right? Well why should homeowners have to choose a "Shady" contractor who might overlook ALL the small things they should pay for but try to minimize the claim by 20% by not paying for needed items ANY Reputable contractor would replace? The easy thing to do would be "Juice" the customer instead of standing up to the insurance people, what if it were their house? How would they feel? I can't tell you how many times when the insurance company doesn't act right on "Fair Market Value" items, then we call the customer and let them know they actually are "IN GOOD HANDS" with me, because I will actually do the right thing on the home whether the insurance company agree's or not. Lately the insurance company plays the waiting game, not returning phone calls, acting like they didn't get faxes, calling customers saying we are too high on price, hoping that the customer is just ready to do the work and the pressure forces the contractor to protect his good name, all the time, not getting paid accurately by the insurance company. They are pretty smart after all. So daily we awake to a labyrinth set intentionally by the mongers answering the claims line. Each year they try to save money on claims to be competitive next year on premiums. Are we really "In Good Hands?" Does MetLife really Pay? Is State Farm really act like a neighbor whose there? What's that? Fire your PR/Advertising department. Most people these days don't even know their neighbors, it's a trend I think. I like the the little green fellow. Never had a claim with them, but I think his commercials are funny. State Farm actually "Blacklisted" me once, they refused to meet me anywhere. But, that roof got bought by a "manager" trying to save face. The insured had a legitimate claim after 23 years, and they did not treat her as a good neighbor.

The biggest incidents I've had is when an insurance company intentionally pays a claim low (as protocol normally) then we ask for fair market value to be paid. In an effort to further their foot in their mouth, the adjusters sometimes call homeowners who trust their "word" too much and say we are to high and they should go with a "recommended" contractor whose much cheaper. Wait, does cheaper mean better or does that mean someone whose paying the bill likes? Hey take you Jaguar to a substandard shop (even though your deductible is the same no matter where you) and get your car fixed with sub standard parts, labor, warranty, etc. Or is the contractor sending that adjuster hush money? Oh I bet that's not happening, not in this America! Listen, too many times things are not what they say they are. Do me a favor insurance companies, find some integrity and pay what you owe. Stop encouraging people to get bids! If you needed a heart transplant, would you get bids? Would you ask Doctors to lower their standards so your insurance company whose not hurting can hit bigger profits than ever while you sit there still paying premiums to be treated like that? I don't think so. I will remain anonymous until the news channels pick up the story. Hardly "On Your Side" as they say!

Anonymous said...

Whew, laughing muscles are hurting. It's about time someone stood up for themselves to the big bad insurance companies. Well ask yourself this, how many of those insurance companies asked for "buyout money" from the government. Only AIG whose a meek pebble the the sea of the homeowners policies nationwide. Why is that? How hard is it to pay for what you owe? How about a customer sends in 80% of their premium and see if that will fly. Likely not right? Well why should homeowners have to choose a "Shady" contractor who might overlook ALL the small things they should pay for but try to minimize the claim by 20% by not paying for needed items ANY Reputable contractor would replace? The easy thing to do would be "Juice" the customer instead of standing up to the insurance people, what if it were their house? How would they feel? I can't tell you how many times when the insurance company doesn't act right on "Fair Market Value" items, then we call the customer and let them know they actually are "IN GOOD HANDS" with me, because I will actually do the right thing on the home whether the insurance company agree's or not. Lately the insurance company plays the waiting game, not returning phone calls, acting like they didn't get faxes, calling customers saying we are too high on price, hoping that the customer is just ready to do the work and the pressure forces the contractor to protect his good name, all the time, not getting paid accurately by the insurance company. They are pretty smart after all. So daily we awake to a labyrinth set intentionally by the mongers answering the claims line. Each year they try to save money on claims to be competitive next year on premiums. Are we really "In Good Hands?" Does MetLife really Pay? Is State Farm really act like a neighbor whose there? What's that? Fire your PR/Advertising department. Most people these days don't even know their neighbors, it's a trend I think. I like the the little green fellow. Never had a claim with them, but I think his commercials are funny. State Farm actually "Blacklisted" me once, they refused to meet me anywhere. But, that roof got bought by a "manager" trying to save face. The insured had a legitimate claim after 23 years, and they did not treat her as a good neighbor.

The biggest incidents I've had is when an insurance company intentionally pays a claim low (as protocol normally) then we ask for fair market value to be paid. In an effort to further their foot in their mouth, the adjusters sometimes call homeowners who trust their "word" too much and say we are to high and they should go with a "recommended" contractor whose much cheaper. Wait, does cheaper mean better or does that mean someone whose paying the bill likes? Hey take you Jaguar to a substandard shop (even though your deductible is the same no matter where you) and get your car fixed with sub standard parts, labor, warranty, etc. Or is the contractor sending that adjuster hush money? Oh I bet that's not happening, not in this America! Listen, too many times things are not what they say they are. Do me a favor insurance companies, find some integrity and pay what you owe. Stop encouraging people to get bids! If you needed a heart transplant, would you get bids? Would you ask Doctors to lower their standards so your insurance company whose not hurting can hit bigger profits than ever while you sit there still paying premiums to be treated like that? I don't think so. I will remain anonymous until the news channels pick up the story. Hardly "On Your Side" as they say!

No Thx said...

Whew, laughing muscles are hurting. It's about time someone stood up for themselves to the big bad insurance companies. Well ask yourself this, how many of those insurance companies asked for "buyout money" from the government. Only AIG whose a meek pebble the the sea of the homeowners policies nationwide. Why is that? How hard is it to pay for what you owe? How about a customer sends in 80% of their premium and see if that will fly. Likely not right? Well why should homeowners have to choose a "Shady" contractor who might overlook ALL the small things they should pay for but try to minimize the claim by 20% by not paying for needed items ANY Reputable contractor would replace? The easy thing to do would be "Juice" the customer instead of standing up to the insurance people, what if it were their house? How would they feel? I can't tell you how many times when the insurance company doesn't act right on "Fair Market Value" items, then we call the customer and let them know they actually are "IN GOOD HANDS" with me, because I will actually do the right thing on the home whether the insurance company agree's or not. Lately the insurance company plays the waiting game, not returning phone calls, acting like they didn't get faxes, calling customers saying we are too high on price, hoping that the customer is just ready to do the work and the pressure forces the contractor to protect his good name, all the time, not getting paid accurately by the insurance company. They are pretty smart after all. So daily we awake to a labyrinth set intentionally by the mongers answering the claims line. Each year they try to save money on claims to be competitive next year on premiums. Are we really "In Good Hands?" Does MetLife really Pay? Is State Farm really act like a neighbor whose there? What's that? Fire your PR/Advertising department. Most people these days don't even know their neighbors, it's a trend I think. I like the the little green fellow. Never had a claim with them, but I think his commercials are funny. State Farm actually "Blacklisted" me once, they refused to meet me anywhere. But, that roof got bought by a "manager" trying to save face. The insured had a legitimate claim after 23 years, and they did not treat her as a good neighbor.

The biggest incidents I've had is when an insurance company intentionally pays a claim low (as protocol normally) then we ask for fair market value to be paid. In an effort to further their foot in their mouth, the adjusters sometimes call homeowners who trust their "word" too much and say we are to high and they should go with a "recommended" contractor whose much cheaper. Wait, does cheaper mean better or does that mean someone whose paying the bill likes? Hey take you Jaguar to a substandard shop (even though your deductible is the same no matter where you) and get your car fixed with sub standard parts, labor, warranty, etc. Or is the contractor sending that adjuster hush money? Oh I bet that's not happening, not in this America! Listen, too many times things are not what they say they are. Do me a favor insurance companies, find some integrity and pay what you owe. Stop encouraging people to get bids! If you needed a heart transplant, would you get bids? Would you ask Doctors to lower their standards so your insurance company whose not hurting can hit bigger profits than ever while you sit there still paying premiums to be treated like that? I don't think so. I will remain anonymous until the news channels pick up the story. Hardly "On Your Side" as they say!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you think Angie's list is a good thing. Not to say the BBB isn't good, because it is. So many times a customer tried to file a BBB and the BBB straightened them out for me. No contrator or customer is always perfect. All you can hope is you picked a guy who cares and will fix anything he or his guys accidently messed up. But, Angie on the other hand, someone can blog their "opinion" of you and some people actually think that's a good place to "find a good contractor." Well, I had a crazy lady who didn't wanna pay, she rant and raved about me, then my attorney got her attorney to agree to pay plus my attorney fee (1500) plus 20% Liquidated damages, plus removing her negative blog about us. That only took a year. Wonder how many potential customers read her blog and went somewhere else.

you know said...

I can't believe you think Angie's list is a good thing. Not to say the BBB isn't good, because it is. So many times a customer tried to file a BBB and the BBB straightened them out for me. No contrator or customer is always perfect. All you can hope is you picked a guy who cares and will fix anything he or his guys accidently messed up. But, Angie on the other hand, someone can blog their "opinion" of you and some people actually think that's a good place to "find a good contractor." Well, I had a crazy lady who didn't wanna pay, she rant and raved about me, then my attorney got her attorney to agree to pay plus my attorney fee (1500) plus 20% Liquidated damages, plus removing her negative blog about us. That only took a year. Wonder how many potential customers read her blog and went somewhere else.

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