It turns out that the internal workings of State Farm are about as disjointed and dysfunctional as they appeared.
Our own State Farm agent for the past 25 years was never made aware the property damage claim for our motorcycle was transferred from GEICO to State Farm back on November 5th. He only learned of that fact when I sent him an Email this past Saturday morning, November 14th.
To his credit, he’s been a stand-up gentleman since being made aware and has been doing his best to get the claim process moving… again! You may recall he was never made aware of the original claim being filed back on October 17th and only learned of that from us on the afternoon of October 19th. He jumped on the phone to the claims department and got things moving almost immediately back on the 19th.
He engaged the claims folks again on Monday and sure enough, I had the claims rep calling me about 30 minutes later. In talking with our agent it was pretty clear he was encountering some of the same issues that I’d been experiencing. To say it was frustrating was an understatement and ours is a relatively simple, straight-forward claim.
Unfortunately, the discussion with the claims rep ended up being another conversation that seemed to have a very high excuse to actions-taken ratio and self-contradictions, very similar to the one I’d had nearly a week earlier on November 10th. However, it ended with a clear commitment to provide me with State Farm’s “final offer” on Tuesday. I pushed back on “final offer” by suggesting that he probably meant the first or initial offer and, well, you’d have thought I was speaking in Pig Latin. Regardless, it was promising to hear the estimating group was purportedly crunching numbers and would provide me with some type of dollar figure for the write-off value of our beloved Blue today, Tuesday.
As a reminder, Blue I has now been sitting out in a salvage yard since November 10th, either nearby at IAA or over at Co-Part in Lithia Springs. The title is sitting here in my hot little hands and even though it sounds like it’s going to be written-off, it’s not the kind of motorcycle you leave sitting in a salvage yard, uncovered in the rain. Blue II is house-bound in our garage as it’s not currently insured (yeah, that’s a little uncomfortable) and needs to have an exhaust system update and the ECU programmed before it can be ridden. The exhaust system hasn’t even been ordered yet and has to come from Lake Havasu, Arizona. So, yes… I still own two 2013 CVO Road Kings.
Getting back to the promised dollar figure for the State Farm claim offer, yeah well… Tuesday came and went without any calls from State Farm’s claims or estimating folks. Not even a, “Just to keep you up to date, we’re not going to have that number until ____” call which would have been nice. I ruined the end of our agent’s day by passing him that bit of news. No, he wasn’t pleased at all as it seemed as though he’d been given assurances they’d get the settlement offer out today.
So, we continue to remain in limbo. Again, kudo’s to our agent for jumping in the middle of this thing and taking a personal interest. However, I suspect that there’s a lot more at play from his perspective here as this entire break-down in communication between the agent’s office and the claims department appears to be a symptom of a change in the State Farm business model. In short, the local agents seem to be getting relegated to a singular role as the “sales rep” instead of the full-service agent model that most of us old-timers have enjoyed.
Yeah, well…. State Farm ain’t no GEICO when it comes to their claims department’s performance and they’ll lose a lot of long-time customers if they eliminate our agents without maintaining the same level of customer satisfaction. I’ve never had a problem paying a slightly higher premium to have a relationship with a trusted insurance agent at State Farm: you know, the good neighbor that they talk so highly of in their advertising and jingles. Take away my always responsive agent who understands the value of our relationship, good communication and customer advocacy and stick me with the luck of the draw on having a good claims rep and there’s no doubt I’ll simply take my insurance needs to another company that has figured out how to work well in that business model.
Here’s hoping tomorrow brings a fair offer so we can move-on with this process!