Can your business survive a hurricane, flood, fire, or other natural disaster? Have you ever considered that possibility? If a natural disaster were to occur, would you be ready? Do you have a disaster plan ready that could be implemented in a short period of time to ensure your business is adequately prepared before a disaster strikes. Would your business be capable of recovering quickly after it is all over? How quickly your business recovers after a disaster will depend on your financial resources and how effectively you can marshal those resources towards completion of all necessary repairs. Most of the money needed to repair or rebuild your practice will come from a business insurance policy, in which your insurance company indemnifies you for damaged business property and reimbursement or lost business income. In order to receive a settlement, you must first file a business insurance claim, describing each damaged item and what it is worth. If you are making a business interruption claim, the very best advice we can give you is to contact us, a trusted business interruption claims adjuster, whether or not your claim is already under way.
Managing Your Claim….
- The first step we take to manage your claim is to retrieve and review your policy. If the original document has been stored in a fire-resistant and waterproof safe on the premises, or in a bank safe deposit box off the premises, retrieval should be simple. If the original has been water-damaged or destroyed, we will call the insurance company for a duplicate copy.
- We review the policy to understand the kinds of insurance protection or “coverage,” that is provided. Property insurance coverage pays to repair or replace any physical damage to a building and its contents caused by a covered disaster. Damage caused by floods and earthquakes usually is not covered.
- Business interruption insurance coverage. Reimburses lost income when a business temporarily shuts down as a result of physical damage to its original location caused by a covered disaster. Again, damage caused by floods and earthquakes usually is not covered.
- Liability insurance coverage. Pays litigation costs (e.g., damage awards, court and attorney’s fees) of a business when a visitor to the premises suffers bodily injury or property damage from a dangerous condition or defect on the premises.
- Review the policy limit and deductible for each kind of coverage. A ” policy limit ” is the maximum amount a policy will pay, and a ” deductible ” is the amount the policy holder is required to contribute first, before the insurance coverage kicks in.
- We will then prepare and present your insurance carrier with a full claims package for the value of damaged business and lost business income. The packages will be proof and support the amount of damages being claimed.
The package will include but not be limited to the following:
- A written description and color photographs of any structural damage to the building (e.g., hole in roof, cracks in walls or ceiling).
- At least two written bids from reliable, licensed contractors for the cost of repairing each item of structural damage, including the type and quality of building materials to be used.
- A written description of any damage to the building’s electrical system, and at least two written bids from licensed electricians for the cost of repairing the damage.
- A written list of all the damaged contents of the building (e.g., laboratory equipment, O&P products and devices, computers and other office equipment), and copies of purchase receipts showing the date of purchase and cost of each item. If receipts have been destroyed, provide the approximate date of purchase and estimated cost of each item.
To support a business interruption insurance claim, provide:
- Copies of past (i.e., pre-disaster ) business records showing the profits your practice generated before the damage occurred (e.g., accounts payable and receivable ledgers; income tax returns, forms, and schedules, including profit-and-loss statements). If past records have been destroyed, try to reconstruct them.
- Copies of current (i.e., post-disaster ) business records showing the profits the practice has been generating since the damage. A comparison of pre- and post-disaster records should indicate lost profits.
- Copies of current (i.e., post-disaster ) utility bills, employee wage and benefit statements, etc., showing continuing operating expenses. Lost business income equals the amount of lost profits plus your continuing operating expenses.