Are Your Roof Claims Being Properly Handled by State Farm in Good Faith? The State Farm Shingle Locator Service (aka RLS)

By Chip Merlin on December 5, 2023
Posted in State Farm

Are you a policyholder, insurance restoration contractor, or public adjuster dealing with a roofing claim adjustment involving roofing shingles with State Farm? Have you asked the State Farm adjuster for the process explaining how the adjuster is handling the claim? Why wouldn't State Farm provide and publish the honest methods it uses to adjust these claims with its customers if you asked for them? 
I say this because I was sent a Shingle Locator Service protocol and critique of the same, which stated the following: 
  • SLS was invented by State Farm, and is an internal service department.
  • SLS was created to replace State Farm's use of ITEL as a 3rd-party verifier of building materials, specifically roofing and siding.
  • SLS notoriously gives back false positives. One prime example (I can provide proof from my own files), is when shingles are discontinued and a new line or variation is released to replace it, SLS will auto-magically identify all materials as the “new” one. Specific example: when GAF discontinued their Timberline HD line, they released the Timberline HDZ to replace it. There are physical differences in the shingles, and GAF advises that they cannot be mixed, as they are not compatible. However, SLS started identifying all Timberline HD roofing materials (installed and manufactured YEARS prior to Timberline HDZ's existence), as Timberline HDZ shingles.
  • The specific files attached denote that State Farm simply uses a list (link) provided by a manufacturer to find a distributor of what State Farm unilaterally identifies the material as. The important part of this is: AVAILABILITY IS NOT ACTUALLY VERIFIED BY STATE FARM. You'd think that would be an important part of a unilateral investigation used to make coverage decisions…
  • State Farm will vehemently deny and “not accept” any 3rd party documentation regarding identification of roofing materials, and therefore coverage decisions, including ITEL. They will only accept their own information, unless you fight them tooth and nail, and escalate.
To be fair and balanced, State Farm is an American icon of insurance. I am certain they have people at its home office in Illinois who read this blog daily. I invite them to correct anything that is incorrect or that State Farm would like to set the record straight upon. State Farm did not become so successful by repeatedly upsetting its customers and not having people in high claims positions who lacked insurance claims ethics training. 

I would suggest that everybody in the insurance claims business should consider third-party vendor opinions from those who are credentialed and reputable. Indeed, I have no idea why claims adjusters would not consider shingle reports from third parties, such as NTS, which is a competitor of ITEL. NTS notes as its mission:

We believe in sharing knowledge and information for the benefit of property owners, contractors, engineers, insurers and adjusters. We aim to be the most reliable and reputable source of information when it comes to the identification and related documentation of roofing materials.

The significant issue raised from the information I was provided about State Farm's roof claims handling process is that it no longer wants to learn from nor rely upon third-party experts and vendors.  

Roofing expert Steve Thomas wrote a guest blog, Hire A Professional to Inspect Your Roof Following Hurricanes or Severe Weather Events, which had the following advice:

Just because a roof is not leaking does not mean it is not damaged. Unfortunately, many hold this view and do not have a trained roof expert inspect the property after a storm event. Water stains may show up six months or even years after the storm event because the holes created are small and impede moisture ingress at the moment. However, the water can and will eventually migrate into the structure.
If your home, business, or condominium went through Hurricane Ian, I strongly advise that you have your roof inspected by a qualified, trained professional.

If you are a State Farm policyholder or dealing with State Farm about a roof claim involving shingles, please inquire about its SLS claims handling process. If you learn anything from State Farm, please let me know so we can help keep everybody informed about how their shingle roof claims are being handled. Good faith claims treatment depends upon transparency. 


Why Hire a Public Adjuster?

Claimants who hire a Public Adjuster receive substantially more on their insurance claim than those who try and go it alone.