Insurance claims: is it time to get an expert in your corner?

According to leading claims experts, there are insurance lessons needing to be learned from COVID-19 and the way in which the industry has handled the claims of insured policyholders.

Criticism of the way in which certain insurers have handled Business Interruption (BI) claims may have left clients questioning the value of having insurance protection. Clarity when it comes to insurance policy coverage has risen in importance. 

While the main area of business insurance to have come under scrutiny has been BI insurance, the same need for claims transparency applies in other areas too – business buildings insurance protection being another significant one but not the only other cover where wordings given need to be clearly understood by all parties who may become involved. 

Negotiating the maze of policy exclusions and terminology can take years of training through industry bodies, such as the Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII) and the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA). Understanding the actual extent to which a policy delivers coverage, and whether or not a claim has any validity, often requires expert help.

The good news is that such help is available to policyholders and they have the legal right to appoint their own expert in claims negotiations with an insurer. The insurer’s negotiator is typically known as a loss adjuster, whilst the policyholder’s representative is usually called a loss assessor. Some of the companies who offer representation to policyholders refer to themselves as loss adjusters, however. 

Their service can be accessed either by taking out a Loss Recovery Insurance policy, which will cover any expenses incurred in using their professional expertise for claims likely to be over £5000 in value, or by opting for an option that may appeal more to a smaller business and which offers 10 hours of support. Other loss assessors will either take a commission or, charge nothing for their loss assessing and property reinstatement management service, if they can instruct and oversee vetted contractors, appointed to carry out the required property repairs. 

Instructing your own loss assessor can have many advantages. It takes the strain off your shoulders and relieves the stress of trying to deal with a claim that has the potential to become complicated and involved and where you would be better served with expert advice. It provides you with someone in your corner, who speaks insurance language and who can expertly translate it. It also gives you the reassurance of knowing the extent of your true policy entitlement. Your loss assessor cannot extend your cover beyond that which you have paid for, but can try to ensure that you gain a fair settlement, according to the cover which you did buy. 

Feeling that you have been compensated fairly for your losses can create a greater feeling of positivity within the business and help you swiftly move on from a claim. Having a lingering feeling that you were under-compensated can have the opposite effect. 

Loss assessing experts emphasise that timing and expertise are everything in claims. You can access their support from the first notification of loss – the point at which you first realise you have a claim – or from some other point during the process. You can also instruct a loss assessor if you have had a claim rejected and believe that the decision was an unfair one. 

Claims almost always involve a stressful situation, of one sort or another, so having a means to steer yourself through the process, as painlessly as possible, can be advantageous. A loss assessor’s aim will be to get their client back to their pre-loss state as soon as possible. 

If you recognise the advantages of this type of cover, you can talk to us about Loss Recovery Insurance, which will step in when you need help with a claim, or the other options that you have, should a claim be experienced but you have no policy in place. 

Having the peace of mind of knowing that you have an expert on hand, to provide loss mitigation advice and to help minimise your loss, through a rightful settlement, can make all the difference and get your business back on track quickly. Whilst there will be an insurance excess to pay, at least you will know that everything possible was done to give you the full compensation that your policy wording entitled you to claim.