You will need to make a business insurance claim if your commercial premises is damaged by a flood or a fire. Charles Piton Ltd will help you assess, document and survey the damage, clean up and repair your property but you may need to involve other experts.
Everyone must inform their insurance companies or broker immediately after an incident and follow the insurance claim procedure carefully to ensure a successful result. You may need to take a series of actions within a tight timeframe for your insurance claim to remain valid. A loss assessor will negotiate with your insurer’s loss adjuster and manage your claim, particularly if it’s large, complex and if there’s a lot of building work involved. To find a good loss assessor, contact the Institute of Public Loss Assessors because they are accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority and have indemnity insurance.
When making an insurance claim it’s important to understand the difference between the role of loss adjusters and loss assessors.
Insurance companies will appoint and pay a loss adjuster to investigate a large or complex insurance claim on their behalf and check the claim is valid. A loss adjuster will inspect the site investigating how the flood or fire damage occurred, the extent of the damage, the insurance policy cover including the small print, warranties and exclusions and review the amount or sums that are insured.
If your property has been damaged by arson or another act of vandalism, you must get a crime reference number from the Police. You may also need to take witness statements as well as photographs to give to the loss adjuster and insurers as evidence. Alternatively, you may be at greater risk of flood damage to your property and in need of business insurance that specialises in flood risk cover. Many insurance companies delegate authority to their loss adjusters who can agree (or exclude) claims and make payments as if they were the insurer.
A loss assessor will meet you, visit your property and agree their fee to effectively project manage the fire or flood clean up process with Charles Piton Ltd. They should make the insurance claim’s process simpler by arranging a temporary relocation for your business and producing a survey of the damage for the insurer. If your claim is delayed or declined, a loss assessor who has more experience of making business insurance claims can intervene on your behalf.
Your insurer is not obliged to settle your insurance claim by paying you a full cash settlement.
Many insurance companies reserve the right to repair or replace damaged or stolen items. If you’re dissatisfied with the insurance company’s offer, try to get evidence, such as receipts and independent valuations, to back up your claim.
When you make an insurance claim, you are entitled to a reasonable explanation of the loss adjuster’s view but you may have to wait until they have finished their investigations. All loss adjusters will send a report including an insurance claim settlement figure to the business insurance companies. While you may not be allowed to read this report, you can ask for guidance and an explanation of the decision.
A service level agreement will ensure that your insurance claim is handled quickly and fairly.
If you are unhappy with how your insurance claim is being handled, you can complain to the loss adjuster’s manager or to the customer services department of any of the insurance companies. You can also appoint your own loss adjuster but make sure he or she is chartered by the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA.) CILA has a special interest group for property of expert loss adjusters that produces guidance and best practice when handling complex property claims.