After a natural disaster like Hurricane Ian, everyone wants life to get back to normal. Part of that normalcy is getting businesses back to business through business insurance claims.
However, According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about 25% of businesses do not reopen after disasters. AccuWeather projects that Hurricane Ian will cause more than $180 billion in damages and economic losses.
Business insurance claims are designed to protect businesses owners, their investment, their employees, and their bottom line. However, sometimes getting the funds needed to rebuild from insurers does not happen as quickly as the damage.
Dealing with issues after an event poses many financial, logistical and psychological challenges. This can include conversations with your insurance company over fair compensation for your damaged property. If your building floods and you have a standard commercial building insurance policy, it probably won’t cover your losses. Home-based business owners should not rely on homeowner’s or renter’s insurance either, as homeowner’s policies may exclude coverage for commercial property.
In the event of storm damage, an attorney can help make sure businesses get a fair and equitable settlement. An attorney can help prove that damage was related to the storm. Insurance adjusters may try to indicate that some damage was due to normal wear and tear instead of caused by the storm. An attorney can enforce your rights under the policy.
Also, as Floridians have learned through the years, hurricanes can bring out the worst in people. Fraudulent and dishonest individuals often take advantage of the situation. Be sure that you are getting a qualified inspector for damage, not a salesperson.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, businesses should take six steps to prepare for the claims process:
- Contact your insurer as soon as possible to start the claims process.
- Make temporary repairs and secure your property.
- Collect business records, such as the value of damaged equipment, inventory or structures, proof of business income and financial documents.
- Keep a detailed record of expenses incurred, such as cost of conducting business from a temporary activity, expenses continued while business was suspended, and losses that hamper your ability to operate.
- Photograph debris or destroyed items and ask your insurer if debris can be removed. If you must dispose of damaged items, be sure to photograph and take video of damage.
- Stay organized, retaining claim reference number, adjuster and who you talk to and when.
Help from Our Attorneys
Our attorneys experienced with business hurricane claims can review the information and documentation of your claim and help you determine the best course of action when dealing with the insurance company.
Reopening your business after Hurricane Ian often involves an extensive list of things to do. Attorneys from Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz can help with questions, compiling and reviewing insurance policies, documenting or submitting claims, responding to coverage denial or pursuing litigation. Contact us for a free review of your business insurance claim.