EDMONTON, July 4, 2013 /CNW/ - "Am I covered?" "When can I start to rebuild?" These are just some of the questions fielded by Insurance Bureau of Canada's Information Officer, Frits Wortman, who has handled hundreds of calls since the Alberta floods. The 50-year insurance veteran who is one of the insurance professionals staffing IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-377-6378 says most callers ask about the process of both filing a claim and applying for government disaster relief.
Every insurance company that writes policies in Alberta has extra staff - claims adjusters, customer service representatives, underwriters - working to help Albertans recover from the recent disaster. According to an IBC survey some 5,000 insurance company personnel have been deployed to work on Alberta claims in this disaster situation.
Wortman explains that consumers must first make a claim to their insurer whether or not they are covered for any damages. If they are not covered, the insurer will then issue a letter of denial that consumers can use for their Alberta Emergency Management Agency disaster relief application. To speed up the disaster assistance funding, the government does not require the letter in advance of issuing funds, but it will require it eventually.
He also advises consumers on how to proceed if they don't agree with their insurer's decision to deny a claim. "I tell them there's a process to follow," he says. Consumers should first contact the company claims manager, followed by the company liaison officer. Consumers can also appeal to the General Insurance Ombudservice. Every insurer has an ombudsman at the ready to review the concerns of customers.
Wortman has answered a range of complex insurance questions related to the floods. In particular, consumers have had insurance questions related to condominiums, small business, non-profit organizations, secondary homes, rental properties.
Wortman's approach is to listen carefully and empathetically, then offer whatever practical information and advice he can about the process for seeking help whether through an insurance claim or government disaster funds. "You have to feel for people. It's a bad situation. People tell us that just talking to somebody seems to have helped a great deal," Wortman says.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $46 billion.
SOURCE: INSURANCE BUREAU OF CANADA
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