As Engle Martin’s Vice President of Casualty Operations, Laura Straznicky provides leadership, operational direction, and supervision to Engle Martin’s National Casualty Practice. In a recent conversation, Laura discussed key areas of Engle Martin’s expertise that help clients meet their business goals but are not as well known.
Q: Engle Martin is wrapping up its 25th year as a leading loss adjustment and claims management company. What’s an important capability that Engle Martin’s clients may not immediately think of when they’re hiring a claims partner?
A: Most clients know Engle Martin for our work on property claims. There are many clients that may not realize that we also manage liability claims, through our National Casualty Practice (NCP). For clients that do know that we handle liability claims, they may only know us for specific types of claims without realizing that we have the staff and expertise to handle a vast array of claim types.
Based on the nature of liability claims, you cannot predict what kinds of claims you will receive. Each claim is unique, for example, one day you could be handling a water damage claim from a beauty salon that flooded a neighboring business and the next day, a simple slip and fall in a restaurant. Later in the week, you could be conducting a worker’s compensation field investigation taking statements and gathering documents on behalf of a client.
Then there are claims that are very complex, like the loss of an entire condo building. It is our job to determine fault and if negligence of the insured caused or contributed to the loss. Many times, complex claims involve various stakeholders and experts. From engineers and subcontractors to insureds and other insurance providers, our team works to coordinate those efforts for a seamless experience. We ensure that inspections are completed, all parties, vendors, and experts are doing the right things, documents are gathered, and necessary reports are submitted. Successful claim resolutions depend on excellent coordination and strong supporting details…our team excels at that.
Q: Why do clients who need help with liability claims turn to Engle Martin?
A: Our clients turn to our National Casualty Practice because our adjusters have a high degree of specialized and technical competence in handling these claims. Working with liability claims is fundamentally different than adjusting a property damage claim. On a typical property claim, fault doesn’t need to be determined because the loss is covered by the client’s insurance policy. With a liability claim, an extra layer is added to the process. We determine fault and then assess the damages. In this case, those damages may either be property damage, or they may be bodily injury. Our job is to take into consideration all factors and determine liability.
Q: What makes you uniquely qualified to work on the full range of general liability claims?
A: Our team is highly trained and experienced. Our adjusters know all the elements of negligence, duties owed, duties breached, damages, and causation. Our team has the breadth of knowledge to analyze liability on a variety of claims – auto, general liability, construction defect, negligent security, premises liability, errors and omissions, professional liability, and environmental liability.
Additionally, we have expertise in determining any resulting damages. We have a selection of National Casualty Practice adjusters who have been trained to handle liability property and bodily injury claims.
Q: How does the trend of more insurance carriers turning to partners to handle casualty claims as well as property losses impact Engle Martin?
A: In some cases, a client will engage Engle Martin because their internal teams are new to the industry and are not yet knowledgeable on basic liability or causation principles related to property damage. In this scenario, our adjuster works directly with the client on the claim to guide them through the process while explaining our recommendations.
Our clients engage Engle Martin because they trust that their claims are being handled appropriately by a team that understands the intricacies of the loss. Our clients don’t have to question if contact is being made to their policyholders and that their customer is being taken care of.
Our goal is to make contact within 4 hours after a claim is received. Within 24 hours, we have contacted all the parties involved and started the investigation. Our adjusters and leaders develop strong relationships with our clients and the result is that we can customize the product based on the standards that the client expects from us.
Q: How do you respond to a request to investigate a new type of loss?
A: Clients will call me and ask, “Can you do this?” and my answer has always been “Yes!”
Even if we don’t have specific experience on the finer points of the loss to start, we become an expert on that claim through the process. We work as a team and share our expertise with one another, so that our clients benefit from the collective knowledge of Engle Martin. That’s one of the things that I like most about this job!