Five questions hurricane-affected businesses should be asking their insurers

Published: Friday, 29 September 2017 07:29

Businesses disrupted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria should press their insurers to answer the following five questions, according to FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers.

1. Are adjusters on the ground, ready right now to assess the damage to my business?
If your situation requires a site visit, the answer should be yes. Once you’ve determined it’s safe to be on site, the adjuster should arrive within 48 hours of your call, or better yet, call you proactively.  

2. Can your adjusters authorize payment when they arrive?
Ideally your adjuster should have the authority to give you a portion of your eventual settlement before they leave your site. However, if your insurer employs independent adjusters, that authority may not exist. 

3. When can I expect payment?
You should be able to expect payments from your insurer as often as you need them during the restoration process. Under the best circumstances the relationship between the policyholder and the insurer is established well before a loss ever happens to eliminate surprises, should a claim arise.  

4. How long will it take to complete the damage assessment?
It varies with the complexity of the loss. The claims adjustment process is a dynamic one. If both the policyholder and the adjuster are working in a spirit of cooperation, the damage assessment process often can be completed in days and the entire claim can usually be settled in a matter of months. During this process, interim loss payments can be made. The more the insurer and insured work together during the process, the greater the chance the claim will be settled quickly and satisfactorily. 

5. How long will you be on site to help with restoration and recovery?
You should expect your insurer to be with you until the job is done, on-site, available 24/7 to partner with you and answer your questions with respect to restoration and policy response. This will ensure you recover as quickly and smoothly as possible and make plans for risk mitigation in the future.