Behind the curtain: An inside look at the Marine Assessment Unit

Ever wonder how our adjusters can achieve such rapid turnarounds on watercraft claims? There’s an expert team working behind-the-scenes to get grounded boaters back on the water as fast as possible.

Here at Aviva, we pride ourselves on our fast and efficient claims service, especially for Lifestyle products with a short season – like boats.

How do we do it? One of our not-so-secret solutions is the Marine Assessment Unit, a three-person team of experts who know the boating industry inside and out.

With prior experience in the recreational boat business – from sales to service to management – they bring a wealth of insider knowledge to our claims process. They’re the people our adjusters call on to assess tough boat claims.

How does the Marine Assessment Unit operate?

“Day to day, we look at broken boats to assess the damage and help the adjusting team ensure the repair is accurate and appropriate to the loss. We ensure that parts, labour rates and the cost of repairs are being priced fairly and appropriately within market standards. Coming from that industry gives us insight into what those should be,” said Aviva Marine Assessment Specialist Don Sendall.

Shawn McKone, Senior Manager, Technical Lead, of Aviva’s Lifestyle Department says this team is crucial to enabling front-line adjusters to make proper coverage decisions and do their jobs effectively. “The Marine Assessment Unit is the eyes and ears of adjusters handling claims.”

The team mostly makes their assessments through photographs, but if it’s a complex claim and local to them in Ontario, they may inspect it themselves. If it’s a tough case in other parts of Canada, they partner with a local marine industry expert to do the inspection.

With vendor relationships in the industry, the unit is also able to reach out directly to ask questions or share concerns.

“We sometimes need to call and find out what they’re trying to describe or review any concerns on the estimate or pricing. I tell people I got this job because I knew the tricks from sitting on the other side of the desk,” said Sendall.

McKone says the knowledgeable team is one of the reasons Aviva can get claims started and finished fast. “Our adjusters are able to make higher-quality decisions and understand complex technical issues. This means we can provide a better level of service to customers and a more accurate application of our policies.”

After experiencing life on the other side, Sendall says the team ensures a quicker turnaround. “If we had to outsource to someone with our skill set, we’d lose time. The best boating season is about two months out of the year. There’s no time to waste when it comes to signing off on a repair estimate.”

The next time one of your boating customers has a claim, you can assure them there’s a committed team on the Aviva end of it that’s ready for anything.

The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. For specific information about a product, or exact terms, conditions, coverage definitions, exclusions and limitations, please refer to the customer’s insurance policy wording or the latest underwriting manual on Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks used under licence by the licensor.