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ELEVEN Tips for Business Owners
- Know your co-insurance clause (if applicable). This will help you know what
moneys you will need to contribute in a partial loss.
- Know your rights within the policy language example (if the insurance
company asks for your accounting statements for your business inventory, yearly or
monthly revenues, etc). YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE TO PROVIDE THEM TO SETTLE YOUR CLAIM.
- Do not accept the first offer you receive from the insurer as a final
- The insurer is required to pay you the “undisputed” amount of the
insurance proceeds immediately.
- If an insurer pays you a portion of what you believe you are entitled to,
ou are free to accept that amount, and use those proceeds. This does not mean that you
have accepted that amount as a final settlement. This simply means they have made a
partial payment to you. The insurer is not supposed to add language onto a claim check
that says you are accepting it is the final settlement amount.
- Before accepting any final settlement offer from an insurer, be sure
that the offer has been reviewed and analyzed against the insurance policy so that you
know ALL insurable damage has been included and adequately addressed.
- Do not speed through the process. While you may believe that the fastest
resolution of your claim is best for you, it usually isn’t. The insurer needs adequate
time to investigate the claim, this includes determining the total amount that is owed
under all sections of your policy. Claims take a long time to settle. The more time and
effort you spend valuing your claim, the higher your ultimate settlement will be.
- Start your business inventory immediately. This will be a very lengthy
and detailed process. Invoices and other Vendor records are useful so start to compile
your list of damaged property immediately. It is very likely that you will not remember
to list all of your items and several months later, while looking for certain things,
you will determine they are gone – this is most often the case with partial losses.
- The insurer will have a team of adjusters that will read and interpret
the language of the policy as they believe it to be. I believe it is a natural conflict
of interest for the insurer to attempt to represent the interest of the insured as well
as themselves. The less money an insurer pays on a claim, the more profitable they are.
It makes sense then to hire a licensed public insurance adjuster that will work on your
behalf with a goal of settling for the maximum you are entitled to under the terms of
- Does every loss require the expertise of a public insurance adjuster?
No. There are many situations that you may not need a public insurance adjuster. The
prudent thing to do is to talk to or meet with a public adjuster to discuss your specific
loss and get their opinion.
- How to select a public insurance adjuster? First and foremost, only talk
to a firm that adheres to and operates under a strict Code of Professional Conduct –
such as that of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters
Be sure to check with the California Department of Insurance
to verify the firm and individual is licensed.