What Business Owners Need to Know about Filing Commercial Insurance Claims

Commercial insurance policies protect businesses against a broad range of types of loss resulting from property damage and lawsuits.  These causes of loss include but are not limited to fires that damage inventory, structures or equipment; customers injured in falls on the premises; theft of specialized equipment; and government restriction on access following a hurricane or other disaster.  If a business has proper commercial coverage and pursues a claim properly, the company can recover and restore normal business operations.  This blog post provides suggestions for filing a commercial claim and obtaining a maximum recovery.

Notify Your Insurer Promptly: The insurer or agent will respond to your claim after you have notified the carrier of the loss.  The insurer should dispatch an adjuster to inspect the premises. 

Summon Law Enforcement If Appropriate: If the insurance claim relates to a criminal act, such as theft of vandalism, a police report needs to be filed.  Once the police report has been completed, the insured should contact the law enforcement agency and obtain the report.

Construct an Inventory: Put together a detailed list of any inventory, equipment, or other property that is damaged, lost, or destroyed because of a covered peril.  If you have invoices, credit card statements, copies of receipts, and other paperwork to substantiate your loss, this documentation should also be provided to the insurance carrier.

Implement Measures to Mitigate Loss: Sometimes a catastrophe like a fire or hurricane can make it unsafe to access the premises.  If it is safe to enter the damaged buildings, appropriate steps should be taken to prevent further loss.  If tiles are blown off the roof in an intense storm, a tarp should be secured over the opening to prevent water damage to the interior of structures and property inside like machinery, supplies, and inventory.

Get Ready for the Adjuster: The insurance carrier will probably send an adjuster, so you should be prepared for the adjuster to inspect the premises and examine relevant records and financial information.

Document Any Damage Experienced: Carefully inspect the property and identify all structures that have been damaged.  Meticulous notes should be maintained, so you can prepare a list of all damage you want to show the adjuster.  When conducting this inspection, you might also want to take video or pictures in case there are later disagreements about damaged areas and the cause of the destruction.

Furnish Proof of Loss: The insurer will request that you provide a sworn proof of loss.  This document must contain the information requested to facilitate investigation of the claim.  The sworn proof of loss must be signed and provided to the insurer within sixty days from the time it is initially requested by the carrier.

Review the Policy Terms: The insurance policy will impose specific conditions that an insured is required to perform prior to the insurer becoming obligated to pay a claim.

Keep Organized: If you submit documents to your insurer, copies of all such records and any correspondence between the business and the insurer should be maintained in an organized fashion.  A log also should be maintained of the name, title, and number of all individuals you communicate with during the claims process.

If your insurance carrier is refusing to comply with its contractual obligation, you are invited to contact our law firm to speak to an experienced Miami insurance claims attorney.  My law firm specializes in representing policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. Click here to read about some of our case results.  The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM. 

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