Steps for Businesses to Take to Facilitate a Hurricane-Related Commercial Insurance Policy Claim [Part I]

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

If you own commercial property and operate a business in Florida, your business needs a disaster plan because hurricanes are a legitimate risk to those in South Florida.  While Miami and other areas of South Florida can be hit by a hurricane at any time, the risks posed by a hurricane are even more relevant because our area is overdue for another storm.  Despite the fact that hurricanes can have a devastating impact on your commercial property and bring your business to a standstill for months or years, they are a form of peril that can be anticipated unlike tsunamis or earthquakes.  While a commercial insurance claim can provide vital compensation and financial security for your business, there are steps you can take to protect your business.

Our Florida Commercial Insurance Claims Law Firm has drafted this blog to provide business owners with important information about mitigating losses and facilitating prompt repairs to return your business to a profitable status.  If your claim is handled properly and appropriate steps are taken, a company can avoid mishandling a potential claim or undercutting the value of a commercial claim.  The following steps can protect your business in the event of a hurricane:

Copy and Safeguard Relevant Documents:   Most businesses will have multiple commercial policies, which might include a business interruption policy and a property and casualty policy.  All potentially relevant policies along with any commercial lease agreement should be printed and stored in a safe place inside the home and off-premises in a secure location like a safe deposit box.  While hard copies are important because a hurricane can result in an extended period without electricity, electronic versions should also be stored online.

Memorialize Property with Videos/Photos: If you have video footage or pictures of your entire business facility, office supplies, machinery/equipment, and inventory, you can more easily establish the scope and value of your loss if your insurance carrier balks at aspects of your claim.

Keep Accurate and Up-To-Date Inventories: Every business has inventory control and management practices, but companies might not be as meticulous about maintaining current inventory records regarding office supplies, equipment, desks and chairs.  Losses caused by damage to all of these items is recoverable under a commercial policy, so keeping an up-to-date inventory of both supplies and unsold inventory will make the claims process much more efficient and minimize disputes.

Store Emergency Contract Numbers: Emergency contact numbers must be collected for employees, as well as local suppliers and venders.

Set-Up a List of Contractors: Some businesses make the mistake of waiting for their commercial carrier to select contractors to perform repairs.  Business owners are much more likely to be satisfied with the quality of the repairs if they screen and select contractors prior to a storm.  In the event of a major catastrophe like a hurricane, the insurer might not be able to arrange for repairs for a prolonged period because of the number of claims with the carrier.

If you are involved in a dispute with the insurance carrier for your business, our experienced commercial insurance claims attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo can help you avoid these types of insurance traps and pitfalls.  Miami business insurance claims lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions and explain your rights.  Mr. Gonzalez-Sirgo handles disputed insurance claims in Miami and throughout Florida.  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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