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Insurance Claims and Potpourri

Jun 14, 2008
Generally, there are no guidelines as to when is the proper time to file a claim. Decisions tend to be made based on individual claims made by the customers of insurance carriers. Each company is different and customers are subject to their preferences. Some may raise a hike for a single claim filed. Others wait for two filed claims within a 3 year time period before triggering a hike. Most often, companies have a standard basis for their judgment. That is, the period of time the customer has spent with the company or the nature of the claim filed by the customer.

Inquiries are most often mistaken as claims and may be used by companies against the customers. This is because most of the time, insurance carriers submit information to CLUE when they call simply for an inquiry. To combat this, some states have taken measures to restrict the information found in these databases. Others have laws that regulate the consideration of inquiries as claims.

Data in the databases, both CLUE and A-PLUS, is retained for 5 years. So long as they comply with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transitions Act, states can pass legislation requiring information to be kept for a longer period of time.

Of the two databases, CLUE or Claim Loss Underwriting Exchange is the more popular one. Such is the popularity it enjoys that people in the insurance industry field affectionately call reports generated by the database as CLUE reports. The same goes for reports generated by A-PLUS as well.

The information withheld within the database is so expansive, that people barely realize the extent of what insurance companies can do. The companies have free jurisdiction over the database on how much information they can use to research and screen applicants. Afterwards, some cases could be raised to higher rates and the applicants might have difficulty obtaining coverage in the future.

Shiver in fear and tremble. When the insurance company places your name amongst those in THE database, you know you're in trouble. Expect higher premiums, difficulties in obtaining new insurances, and loss of coverage as some of the things that will come your way once you're in the blackballed list.

Most claims are recorded in one or both of the major known databases: CLUE (Claim Loss Underwriting Exchange) and A-PLUS (Automated Property Loss Underwriting System). Claims that are registered in the databases include homeowner claims and auto claims. Health insurance and others are not associated with these databases and are not registered.

The reason why agency writers are not price competitive, is because the amount of commission that independent agents receive from them. To compare, captive seller agents receive only a commission of $100 while at agency writers, the agents receive 150 or even more direct from the premium.

So why buy insurance from them? Who in their right mind would want to buy insurance at a greater cost? The answer is that these agents will do whatever they can to accommodate you. While other insurers simply won't cover you or will do so at staggeringly high rates, independent agents shop around and find deals that untrained eyes don't normally see.
About the Author
Jon Caldwell is a professional content manager. Much of his articles can be found at http://thehomeinsuranceblog.com
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