Setting up a business involves tremendous amounts of time and money. Over the years, your company may accumulate a large workforce and valuable assets in the form of machinery, stock and buildings. All these are vital for productivity and are therefore protected by business insurance. When it comes to filing a business insurance claim, where do you begin?
If you work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network, you can start by calling your agent, who will help you through the entire claims process. If you are seeking a new business policy that will help you recover from accidents, injuries and other business risks, a member agent specializing in commercial insurance can help. Find an agent near you to secure your assets and get peace of mind.
Most Common Business Insurance Claims
When Should You File a Business Insurance Claim?
It is important that you file business insurance claims immediately after an incident occurs. Any delay in filing a claim with your insurance company can delay the claims process and the time it takes to receive funds. You should comprehensively report the damages to your own business property as well as damages to any third-party assets in the incident. If you work with a Trusted Choice member agent, you will be in good hands. Your agent will help you to navigate the claims process as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Here are some guidelines on how to systematically file claims for damage to your business assets.
- Assess the situation and contact emergency services
It probably goes without saying, but be sure to call for emergency services if there is severe damage, someone is injured, or if there is an ongoing hazard. Complete the required police reports and be sure to retain a copy of any reports for your own records and for your insurance company.
- Contact your insurance agent
Provide all details of the incident to your insurance agent, including any data that will support your claim. The records you provide could be anything from the findings of a forensic accountant to documentation of cyber-crimes or pictures of an on-the-job accident. Your agent will assist you with any paperwork that needs to be completed to start the claims process.
- Work with the adjuster
The insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to your claim. The adjuster is responsible for verifying damages and providing guidance as you proceed. In the event of a small claim, your adjuster may settle the claim at the time of a visit to your work site. For a large claim, such as a work place fire, a severe worker injury, cyber-crimes, fraud or embezzlement, typically an investigative process will be required to gather all of the pertinent information before the insurance company can settle the claim.
Important Safety Measures to Prevent Loss
The security and safety of your business can prevent many business insurance claims in the first place. Make sure you have safety protocols in place and clearly communicate these to your employees. Safety protocols should include everything your employees handle that can put them or your business property at risk, including:
- Handling company funds
- Accessing and managing company data, documents and intellectual property
- Handling food and food prep areas
- Driving company cars, commercial vehicles or trucks
- Handling heavy equipment or supplies
- Using ladders, equipment and machinery
In many cases, workplace safety training and occupational hazard awareness can help to make your workplace safer and reduce the likelihood of loss, damage and liability claims that can affect your business assets.
Here are a few tips for managing risk at your business place.
- Install CCTV cameras
Security cameras can help document the routine events of your business and help to prevent burglary and business fraud. Be sure to notify your insurance agent if you do install a security system, as you may be able to get a discount on your business coverage.
- Use a standardized reporting system
Have a standardized system that staff members can use to report any on-the-job incidents. Train your employees on the importance of good documentation and timely reporting.
- Practice an evacuation plan
Have an evacuation plan designed for all of your buildings and conduct mock drills to prepare your staff for fires and other disasters.
- Follow regulations
Make sure that your business follows all state and federal regulations that apply to your business type. Many of the best practice risk management methods are covered by state legal requirements and safety requirements.
Important Considerations When Filing Business Insurance Claims
The time it takes to settle an insurance claim on your commercial insurance policy depends on the severity of the loss and the associated financial compensation you receive. You may need a follow up strategy if the extent of damage is major and the estimated time it will take to reach a settlement is significant. When you do have a business loss, the following are some things to think about.
- Your loss management team: In the event of a large claim, consider hiring a professional loss specialist. You can think of these specialists as adjusters from your side. Although all their reports will be rechecked and verified by the insurer’s adjuster, you can rest easy knowing that your own team prepared them. In addition to a loss specialist, consider hiring a legal expert to guide your team through laws and policies.
- Business interruption: Interruption of business is a major concern in large claims. The time that passes during the loss adjustment process is not usually considered in the compensation. The considerable amount of time to resolve large claims can cause significant financial loss if a business is not financially prepared for down time.
- Forensic accounting: Your adjuster may propose that an accountant review your loss and any related events that may affect your claim. Consider hiring a forensic accounting firm to put together the claim. The firm’s accountants will work with your accounting department and file the claim for you.
When you have concerns about your business coverage, such as whether it will be adequate to meet your needs at the time of a claim, contact a local independent agent in the Trusted Choice network who specializes in commercial insurance. Choosing an independent agent means you will have an advocate who will take the time to get to know your business and review all of your coverage needs. Best of all, because these agents work with multiple insurance companies, your local agent can meet each of your coverage needs out of one office.
Contact a local member agent in the Trusted Choice today to get personalized assistance.