Creating a Contents Inventory is Rare

Recently our VP of Claims Jay Straughan had the pleasure of being interviewed by Denise Johnson of Claims Journal. Together, the two commiserated on an all-too-common problem: how unusual it is for homeowners to compile a list of their belongings. Although we instinctively know that every claim process submitted to an insurer would benefit greatly from an accurate inventory, actually creating one is still rare.

Allstate did a survey of Atlanta homeowners and found that only 41% of them bothered to document their contents, according to the Claims Journal article.

Jay confessed how he had never seen an insured equipped with a property inventory list in hand, despite his 20 years on the job. He also noted he had never seen a claim where a policyholder presented a comprehensive post-loss list with items checked off, showing contents lost to perils or theft.

Not surprisingly, the absence of a well-documented property inventory can cause delays in claim resolution. According to a Hanover Insurance survey, nearly 80% of insurance professionals believe claims are processed up to 100% faster when customers complete a home inventory in advance of a loss. The insurance pros responding to the survey also said there were two keys to a good home inventory: item descriptions and proof-of-ownership.

The toughest rooms to reconstruct are basements and attics because they are used for storage of rarely-used items. Things are too easily forgotten. Closets can be challenging for that same reason. The change in seasons also complicates reconstruction—it’s easy to forget about ice skates and snow pants when it’s summer and 79o outside.

Strategic partner MSB/CoreLogic is leveraging Enservio technology upfront to predict the total cost of contents in a home or commercial building as part of the underwriting process. The tool automates the task of quantifying the total value of personal property across 200 product categories. It goes a long way toward painting a fairly accurate picture of what’s inside the home both before and after a loss.

Listing a home’s contents can be a tedious task, but there are a number of free pre-loss tools from carriers, including cloud uploads, where insureds can take advantage of tools to make inventory creation a smoother process. Some of these include:

State government sites also offer home inventory checklists such as the one offered by New York.

To read Jay’s interview in full, please visit:

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