Tips for How to Handle a Loss
By: Andrea Morrison
Unfortunately, when a loss occurs within the wood products industry, it is often catastrophic, but our goal is to help our insured’s through the challenging process of recovering from the loss as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence and prompt reporting of all losses is crucial to getting people back on their feet, and the clock begins as soon as the loss occurs.
I’ve been in the insurance industry for 10 years, and I saw the unique work of Continental Underwriters, Inc. as an opportunity to challenge myself, expand my skill set, and continue supporting and helping people who have experienced a significant loss. The ability to help people through the unthinkable can be very rewarding.
With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful for us to review a loss scenario and outline what an insured may expect throughout the typical claims process. Although each claim is handled on its own merits, my hope is that this will help provide a high level understanding of the process.
First Steps in Catastrophic Loss Event
In our simulated example, let’s picture a business and its owner — a person named Ian. After experiencing a loss, Ian should immediately reach out to his agent to report the details of the loss.
The agent will then compile the necessary documentation from Ian and send a formal notice of loss to Continental Underwriters, Inc. This initial loss notice comes to our office in the form of an email and provides details such as loss location, contact information, and other pertinent details related to the event. At that point, I review the loss details to determine if anything additional is needed and identify the types and levels of coverage that may be affected by the claim. This step is important because the property loss may involve multiple layers and lines of coverage, and we want to make sure we notify all applicable carriers from the very beginning.
Once the claim has been reported to all relevant carriers, I begin monitoring the claim to ensure that the claim is moving toward resolution and immediately identify any issues that may arise. After the loss has been inspected and the extent of the loss is determined, we advocate for an initial advancement of funds to be issued as soon as reasonably possible in order for Ian to proactively begin to restore his business.
Tips for a Quicker Claims Stage
Ian’s ability to quickly and comprehensively collect relevant documentation on his assets will not only help establish the value of the machinery involved, but it will also help the field adjuster and experts involved in adjusting the loss identify and validate items that were damaged in the loss.
Good documentation habits will benefit Ian throughout the life of his business. Photographs, invoices, ledgers, receipts, inventory records, maintenance paperwork, and documents relevant to his day-to-day operations are all helpful. We also recommend backing up data and having extra copies at off-site locations to ensure all is not lost in a catastrophic event.
Ian should remain available during the adjustment process as open and constant communication will be critical in working with the field adjuster. Our team at Continental Underwriters remains engaged from start to finish and will be in contact regularly, but the agent as well as the field adjuster play important roles in moving Ian’s claim forward.
Catastrophic events are usually very large, complicated losses which often translates into a team of professionals working diligently toward a resolution. Continental Underwriters places an emphasis on fostering relationships with partner organizations and monitoring claims from start to finish. For Ian, the benefit of our involvement in the claim is to allow our team to identify any potential issues or delays and quickly facilitate contact and re-engage the appropriate parties in order to ensure that the claim continues to move toward a timely resolution.
Supporting People In the Most Trying Times
We know that experiencing a loss and filing a claim can be one of the most trying moments of a business owner’s life. Our goal is to be involved and serve as a liaison to ensure that we are managing and setting appropriate expectations the start. This begins with our underwriting and engineering teams, making sure we understand the risk and structure a program to meet the unique needs of your business. We also take on the role of advisor, working to identify and ultimately remediate areas of risk from the onset of our relationship. That way, when an unforeseen event occurs, we have the procedures and knowledge base to act on your behalf, allowing you to focus on building the business back stronger than ever.
One of the things I love most about Continental Underwriters is the culture. We all work closely together, and each individual plays a crucial role in our operations which is something that you don’t get to witness upfront in a corporate company structure. Our team’s involvement in claims and risk assessment allows us to identify common risks that result in losses throughout the industry and apply that knowledge through our risk assessment process.
With this all-in approach, we are always available to our insureds to talk about aspects of their coverage or advise them on ways to mitigate risk. But, if the unthinkable happens, they can remain assured that we will always be here for them.
Helping our insureds get through and recover from the challenges of experiencing a loss is very rewarding, and working with individuals who are so passionate about what we do makes me proud to be a part of this team. If you, or someone within your organization, have questions about the process or other best practices for driving the best results, please reach out to me at Andrea@contund.com.