As a result of the advanced technology, most insurance companies communicate with their policyholders online. It is now possible to add/delete coverage or file a claim online by visiting the insurance company’s website and choosing the appropriate selection.
There are times, however, when the online selections won’t truly address the insurance matter at hand. When the online method of communication is inadequate, it’s time to use the old-fashioned method of writing a letter. Knowing how to properly write a letter to an insurance company will help expedite and resolve the open item.
Location and Department
The first and most important item is to make sure you mail the letter to the appropriate department and address. Large insurance companies handle different aspects of the insurance process from different locations. The underwriting and claims department may be housed in separate buildings. If you are unsure of the address/department, call the insurance company to get the correct information. While you’re on the phone with them, get the name of the department head and include it on the letter.
It is good practice to include an informative reference line. This allows anyone at the insurance company to properly direct the letter at first glance. The reference line should include the following:
- Name of insured
- Type of Policy
- Policy Number
- Date of Accident (if referring to a claim)
- Subject, i.e., Add Vehicle, purchase boat or increase policy limits
By including the above information formatted in bold print prior to the opening salutation, anyone at the insurance company receiving the letter can route it properly. Keep in mind the insurance representatives are overworked and busy. Anything you can do to make it easier for them to process the letter works to your advantage.
Get to the Point
In the body of the letter state what you want. Get to the point in the first paragraph and provide the details later. A letter to the insurance company should not read like a novel; it should read like a news report. When reading a newspaper article, the pertinent information is presented in the first paragraph. If the reader interested in finding out more she reads the rest of the article, but all of the meat is presented first. Your letter to the insurance company should do the same.
If your letter requires supporting documentation such as a bill of sale or attorney letter, be sure to attach a copy (not the original) to the letter. Attach the documentation in the same order as it is referred to in the letter. If necessary, number each of the attachments to make it easier to follow. Your goal is to be clear and concise to avoid any miscommunication.
Make sure to include your contact information and the best method and time for contacting you. Include the appropriate phone number (whether work, cell or home) and email address if you prefer to be contacted electronically. The easier you make it for them to reach you, the quicker your item will be resolved.
Depending on the contents of the letter, you might want to mail the letter with a Return Receipt Request. This way you have documented proof the letter was received by the insurance company. It also lets them know you mean business and the excuse of “it got lost in the mail” won’t hold up.
Create a diary system to follow up on your letter. Remember, insurance personnel are busy and sometimes things get lost an ever-growing “To Do” pile. If you found it important enough to write a letter, don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Be diligent and follow up with the insurance company until the issue is resolved.