Businesses must be aware of several key steps as they begin the process of recovery with their insurance carriers in the wake of the Marshall Fires. Every effort should be made to obtain all available insurance policies. If you don’t have the policies on hand, contact your agent or broker immediately. This includes property, homeowners, and vehicle policies. You should also gather insurance certificates supplied by a contractor, transporter, lessee or customer that may provide coverage for your loss.
After obtaining all potentially applicable policies, they should be reviewed by an attorney with experience with fire loss insurance claims. These are unique scenarios that need to be handled with great attention to detail as they may be extremely complex. We have lawyers ready to review your policies at no cost and provide feedback on the applicable coverages and best approach to ensure you receive the full extent of your available benefits. In conjunction with the policy review, all potentially applicable policies must be provided notice of the loss, which can be provided through your agent or broker.
During this time, we also recommend keeping thorough records documenting your losses. These losses include damages to your property and the property of others affecting your business. This can include your suppliers, distributors, storage facilities, utilities, service providers and key customers. Financial losses include delayed sales, extra expenses incurred to keep the business operating or to reduce lost business. These financial losses should be documented in a separate account to record expenses stemming from the fire along with all receipts.
Now is not the time to navigate the waters of insurance claim recovery alone. Remember that the value of your claim as a policyholder depends on the actions you take and the manner in which you present your loss. Be aware of deadlines and your obligations to cooperate under the policy. Engage professionals experienced in the insurance recovery process and don’t allow the carrier to avoid its coverage responsibility under the policy.