Filing a Business Insurance Claim

The nation’s businesses got an eye-opening lesson in the summer of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina roared through the Gulf Coast region.

Not only did the massive storm leave more than 1,800 people dead, it changed the way many businesses and insurers for that matter do business.

Some 81,000 businesses in Louisiana were damaged by Katrina and Hurricane Rita that year, according to the Census Bureau. While three-fourths of them have since reopened their doors, approximately 19,000 businesses were shuttered permanently due to the storms. The Small Business Association approved more than 92,000 disaster loans for over $6.5 billion to businesses affected by
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but many business owners said getting approved was not an easy task.

For those businesses that survived the storm, they offered a great lesson in resiliency to other businesses nationwide who have dealt with storms, fires, thefts and more.

In the event your company has suffered some form of damage and is left to file a business insurance claim, there are simple steps that can eliminate wasted time and effort.

  • Contact your insurance agent and company immediately. Any burglaries or theft should also be reported to the police right away.
  • Review your insurance policy to determine what your responsibilities are to your insurer following a loss.
  • Following a disaster, move to protect your property from added damage by instituting temporary repairs. If immediate repairs are needed, save the damaged parts in the event the claims adjuster wants to examine them.
  • Obtain a minimum of two bids on the cost to fix or replace damaged property.

To properly file a business interruption claim, make sure you can show the income the business was generating both prior to and following the loss. Maintain in-depth records of business activity and the extra costs of keeping your business operating in a temporary locale during the interruption period.

When forced to close down, include costs that continue during the time that the business is closed, such as advertising and the expense of utilities.

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