Not surprisingly, one of the busiest days for accident claims in the United States is Black Friday. Between the influx of parking lot collision and an increase in other related claims, this time of year can sometimes be a bit hectic for those in the auto insurance industry. Here are a few tips for adjusters to help you get through it all.
Tip #1: Ask Questions About Driver Distractions
One of the first questions to ask a driver involved in a Black Friday accident claim is whether or not they were distracted at the time of the incident. Very few people go bargain shopping alone, so it is important to determine if someone else inside the vehicle might have inadvertently caught their attention. In addition, you will want to determine if recently purchased items in the back seat limited visibility or if they were glancing at a cell phone to find sale update alerts. These can all be important factors if you are dealing with a comparative negligence claim.
Tip #2: Look for Common Signs of Fraud
In addition to accident claims, the holiday shopping season is also a time when the volume of fraudulent claims rises. Some people will falsely report a stolen vehicle to try to make extra money for holiday gifts. In addition, others will try to claim vandalism or break-ins that never happened. Paying attention to small details that don’t exactly add up can make a big difference when handling these types of files.
Tip #3: Determine the Driver’s Mental State
Not surprisingly, stress is a leading cause of car accidents over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Whether a driver is stressed about family relations or simply exhausted because they spent time cooking a large family meal, this can translate into their driving and reaction time on Black Friday. Ask about the hours leading up to the accident and whether these factors affected them at the time. While this may not be as critical for insureds who are using first party coverages, this sort of scenario could factor heavily into a comparative negligence situation with a claimant.
Tip #4: Consider Using Recorded Statement Transcription Services
As you delve into files days or weeks after Black Friday, another of our favorite tips for adjusters is to consider utilizing recorded statement transcription services. Insurance transcription records can help you catch minor details that you missed on an initial call or during a call taken by another adjuster in your department. Furthermore, if the claim ever goes to subrogation, you will already have the transcript on hand for review.
Tip #5: Prepare Yourself
The sheer volume of claims that come through the day after Thanksgiving can be a little daunting to some adjusters. Mentally and physically prepare yourself for the day by getting enough rest the night before. In addition, grab a cup of coffee (or another favorite work beverage) and settle into a comfortable chair. While there are plenty of other things you would likely rather do that deal with crazy holiday shoppers and their fender benders, what you do really is important to your company and policyholders.
Black Friday can be a very busy time if you are a claims adjuster. However, keeping these tips in mind is an excellent way to ensure your files are complete and the overall process is just a little smoother.