A limited amount of claims adjusters in the territory was one of the biggest hurdles local insurance companies faced in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes.
That is according to President of the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI), Paul Lalor.
A considerable number of residents felt insurance companies were dragging their feet to settle claims while others felt they were being cheated by insurers.
However, Lalor said the underlying problem had to do with the number of insurance adjusters that were available to the BVI.
Effectively, an adjuster is a person who investigates an insurance claim and establishes whether the insurer is liable, and to what extent.
“I think one of the weaknesses that the whole industry has suffered has been a lack of adjusters,” Lalor told BVI News.
He explained that there was a massive demand for adjusters to service several hurricane-affected countries in the Caribbean.
“So, we have all of these territories including the continental US drawing down on all the adjusters in the world. And unfortunately, they just weren’t enough. So there have been delays by not being able to get enough adjusters to help to settle the claims faster.”
Moving forward, Lalor said ICWI intends to contract exclusive adjusters to complete settlements faster.
Meanwhile, Lalor said the inadequate supply of building materials is another hindrance for residents.
“Once the claims are settled, there are not enough steel or roofing materials to get the job done anyway. So people are sitting on their money but cannot get their houses or their cars repaired.”
Almost all claims settled for ICWI
According to the insurance boss, ICWI has settled almost 100 percent of its claims in the territory.
“In the BVI we are relatively small. We only had a handful of claims on the property side; all of which have been settled. On the motor side, we have four more claims to go. So we are about four claims away from settling all claims in the BVI, which we think is quite good,” he said.
He admitted that while the bulk of claims have been settled locally, there were a few clients who were dissatisfied.
He underscored that some level of client dissatisfaction is not uncommon in the industry.
“I think most are satisfied. Obviously, there are always going to be one or two that are going to argue over the value [of their house or car],” he said.
The company had a total of 140 claims in the territory and 10 of those claims were for properties.
He said ICWI has paid out roughly $1.5 million, so far.
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