Handling of Insurance Claims for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises [SMEs]

This article from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority provides confirmation of all of the claim issues that we see all of the time. Some of these issues are easily dealt with while some are not. The Executive Summary refers to “unregulated firms such as Loss Adjusters and Third Party Administrators (TPAs)” and are often involved in the claims process. The implication here is that this contributes to difficulties for the consumer/claimant.

The findings section speaks for itself, the main issues being:

  1. who should drive the claim?
  2. significant under insurance (Para 1-14).

Our view is that the insurer is in the driving seat. They write the policy, they control payments, they deal with all background investigation into disclosure & claims history, warranty & liability investigation and forensic investigation. Clearly a mine field.

It is clear that the claimant must, in any claim situation, have access to specialist claim advice. It is only then that the pitch is levelled to some degree.

Drying up your home after the floods is a challenge

The Office of Public Works recently published a guide to restoring your home or business from the recent floods in Ireland.  We suppose that almost a month after the disaster the initial restoring works like cleaning are already done, but if you still struggle with the longest process of all – drying you place, then we can help you. Here is a short guide to how to deal with remaining water or moisture in your home or business building.

House Flood

Air circulation is the best way to dry out a property and clear the air inside. Be patient and make sure the property is completely dry before you move back in.

Some Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do open your doors and windows to ventilate your home.
  • Do ensure your house is secure.
  • Do unblock airbricks and vents.
  • Do wash your hands with disinfectant if you came into direct contact with water.
  • Do check external walls and the roof for structural damage before entering a property.
  • Don’t attempt to turn on any services until they have been checked by an expert.
  • Don’t attempt to move any heavy or unstable objects by yourself – get help.

Drying the property:

  • You can allow your property to dry naturally, but that can take months. Forcing the drying process can speed it up so that it only takes a number of weeks. Whatever way you choose to dry your property, make sure that the moisture trapped within the structure of the property is removed. Sometimes the walls may feel dry on the outside but they are still damp internally. If in doubt get a professional in to ensure that your property is completely dry.
  • If your heating has been tested by a professional and is certified safe to use, it can be turned on to help dry the house. Keep the temperature at around 20 to 22 degrees celcius. Excessive temperatures should be avoided as rapid heating may lead to cracking of plaster work, etc.
  • Be aware that temperature alone will not dry your property. Air circulation and humidity are critical factors to consider.
  • Good ventilation is essential so keep windows and doors open during good weather and ajar during wet weather.
  • If you are using a dehumidifier leave external windows and doors closed, especially during wet weather.

If you haven’t still contacted you insurance company for a claim settlement, you can always first refer to an expert loss assessors company like Clearys Loss Assessors. Hence, you might get an additional advice and guidance for obtaining a better settlement.

Central Bank publishes findings on Household Property Claims in Ireland

At the end of October 2013 the Central bank of Ireland published a report with findings of a themed inspection into household property claims resulting from water damage.Given the increased frequency of floods in recent years the Central bank considered it important to make an inspection of the compliance with the Consumer Protection Code (the Code) between 1 July and 31 December 2012 in 10 of Ireland’s largest non-life insurer’s (approximately 90% of the Irish property insurance market).

With regard to this inspection the Director of Consumer Protection, Bernard Sheridan  said that the  Central Bank expects all regulated insurers to work in the consumer’s best interest by selling suitable insurance policies, providing clear information and handling claims properly when they arise, directly or through a third party such as a loss adjuster. He expressed concern by the findings of this inspection which show a lack of transparency around the claims retention policy and policy terms that consumers need to be aware of at time of purchase and when making a claim.   The Central bank considers that policy booklets contained a number of terms and conditions which may not be fair or transparent to consumers.”Consumers can often feel vulnerable when they experience damage to their home and that it is important that firms deal with their claims in a prompt and fair way.  ”  said also Mr. Sheridan.

One of the most important findings from the review were that most common reasons for insurers declining claims were either no insured peril or wear and tear that had occurred to their property, e.g. the sealant on a shower tray having fractured over time.  It was also noted that many consumers had withdrawn their claim on learning that an excess of up to €1,000 would be deducted from any claim settlement offer, as well as the impact that the loss of no claims bonus would have on future renewal premiums.

The Central Bank also considered that insurers’ policy booklets contained a number of terms and conditions which may not be fair or transparent to consumers, and therefore insurers have been requested to review aspects of their respective policy booklets. Examples of the terms that insurers were asked to review include references to policy excess amounts or administrative fees without actually stating how much these are or where the consumer can find this information and failure to include information about retaining a portion of the settlement until after reinstatement will be a condition of the claims settlement agreement.

A review of insurers’ policy booklets revealed that only one of the insurers clearly describes the practice of retentions in its policy booklet. All of the insurers have a practice whereby a retention amount may be applied to a claim settlement offer and typically the retention withheld would be between 20% and 30% of the settlement amount.  In order for a retention amount to be paid, consumers are required to provide either receipts, invoices or other proof that the repairs have been fully completed.  The Central Bank noted that 23% of the monetary amount of all household property (water damage) claim retentions applied by the 7 inspected insurers during 2012 were never claimed by the consumer.

What Clearys advises you is to always read very well your insurance policy and in case you have any doubts or ambiguity, do not hesitate to contact a loss assessor.

9/11, World Trade Center owner versus insurance companies

In 1980, Larry  Silverstein, a successful real –estate businessman from New York,  won a bid from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to construct building 7 of the World Trade Center, to the north of the World Trade Center site. Silverstein  signed the lease on July 24, 2001.

Right after that Silverstein took out insurance plan that “fortuitously” covered terrorism. After 9/11 Silverstein took the insurance company to court, claiming he should be paid double because there were 2 attacks. Swiss Re, Lloyd’s, Zurich Financial, Copenhagen Re, and 8 other major insurers all paid Silverstein Properties a total of $4.9 billion. Silverstein received $861 million from insurers for Building 7 alone, as well as over $4 billion for the rest of the Trade Center complex. That $861 million for WTC-7 was paid on the basis of Silverstein’s claim that airplanes were somehow responsible for making Building 7, which was not hit by any plane, disappear at free-fall acceleration

A year after the attacks Larry Silverstein mentioned in the 2002 PBS documentary “America Rebuilds,”:”I remember getting a call from the fire department, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, ‘You know, we’ve had such a terrible loss of life, may be the smartest thing to do is to pull it’ and they made that decision to pull and then we watched the building collapse”. Larry Silverstein admits to the controlled demolition of Building 7.

The insurance companies have likewise neglected to mention that after doubling his insurance coverage immediately before 9/11, Silverstein multiplied his compensation after 9/11 by claiming double indemnity. According to Silverstein’s spokesman, “the two hijacked airliners that struck the 110-story twin towers Sept. 11 were separate ‘occurrences’ for insurance purposes, entitling him to collect twice on $3.6 billion of policies.” The bizarre double-indemnity claim was approved in 2004.

This trial remain one of the many mysteries in the 9/11 case. However In April 2006, after several months of negotiation aiming toward permitting reconstruction of the WTC complex Silverstein cedes his rights to Building One to the Port Authority allocating a portion of the insurance proceeds to the rebuilding of Building One in favor of the Port Authority. In return the US government issues pro-rata shares Liberty Bond funds for reconstruction of the site, part of which are allocated to Silverstein Properties for purposes of rebuilding the remaining buildings. Hence the costs to rebuild were partially covered by the Liberty Bonds and the construction of the new 7 WTC which began in May 2002 ended in 2006.

HELP!! I am a victim of a burglary! What to do now?

According to a survey of the national crime league, published in the Irish Examiner, each 19 minutes a burglary is committed in Ireland where the average value of goods stolen is 1,868 Euros. The Central Statistics Office indicates that there were a total of 28,706 burglaries or burglary-related offences in 2012 – an increase of 7.9 per cent on the previous year. These figures could be worrying for many homeowners, as a burglary can be costly, frightening and deeply upsetting.

We have prepared an emergency list of 10 steps to follow if you are a victim of burglary. They’ll help keep you and your family safe, while giving you the very best chance of making a successful insurance claim.

10-point burglary checklist:

  1. If you find that your home has been burgled, it’s important to call the Police straightaway.
  2. If you suspect that the burglar may still be inside your property, call the Police from a mobile or from a neighbour’s phone.
  3. Don’t start to clean up or move anything until the Police have had chance to inspect the scene, or you could be damaging vital evidence. They are likely to send specialist officers who will take a statement from you, as well as photographs and fingerprints.
  4. Ask for the reference number of the crime, you might need it later when filling in documentation .
  5. If your bank or credit cards have been taken, call their emergency number and have them stopped. These services are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so don’t delay. If any important documents are missing, such as your passport, report that too.
  6. Contact an insurance Loss Assessor, like Clearys Loss Assessors. This is the best way of ensuring you receive a full and fair settlement from your insurers.
  7. As their first priority, your loss assessor will send out approved contractors and locksmiths to secure your property. They will board up any broken windows and replace any damaged locks. They are your friends and will help you deal with the stressful situation.
  8. Check your home for damage and start to make a list of items that are missing. If possible include model and serial numbers, as well as any purchase receipts you have. Give this list to your loss assessor, who will assist you in preparing an inventory of all lost and damaged items for presentation to your insurers.
  9. Your loss assessor will then contact your insurance company on your behalf, making them aware of the burglary and giving them your crime number and inventory. They will then act on your behalf throughout your burglary insurance claim.
  10. Once the Police have concluded their enquiries, it’s worth reviewing the security of your home. If you don’t already have them, fit locks to your windows and security bolts to your doors. You might also consider installing a burglar alarm.

 

Another reason you need Professional Representation!

This article is from the Independent newspaper on Tuesday 22nd April, 2013 and shows how policyholders are shortchanged by Insurance Companies.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/insurance-firms-not-offering-claimants-full-entitlements-29211793.html#comments

Contact Clearys on 1850 28 1850 is you feel you need help with your insurance claim.

Leaked Oil seeps through to Neighbours Semi-D – A Case Study

What do do if you detect an oil leak from your tank or associated pipes.

The problem was discovered in the adjoining property and until detailed investigations took place, no one knew the source of the small or the extent of the contamination. The two neighbours had two different Insurance Companies which meant two different teams of people dealing with the event as if it were two separate and individual problems. The Insurance Companies made the whole issue more difficult because neither would accept liability initially. Both insurers argued that it was the others problem. Eventually, the escape of oil was deemed accidental and there was no negligence on the part of either paty and therefor no payment arose under the public liability section of the policy. At this point both insurance companies paid for the de-contamination work by the specialist environmental clean=up companies in the properties they insured. The clean up process must first involve sampling from the ground below the building, the building fabric itself and of course the air in the building. This process produces evidence of the measure of the contamination and the extent of the contamination plume. From this evidence, all parties may then agree the specification for the technical clean-up work and any demolition, removal and rebuilding work required to the building. Even in domestic situations, this clean up process may take 3-6 months where the property is probably unusable. At the end of the repair work, the premises will again need to be tested for any residual contamination (especially the air) for certification that the environmental measures are within acceptable limits i.e that the clean up has worked. Clearly the householder in this type of case requires specific specialised expert advice to avoid the many pitfalls that can arise. Call us today on 1850 28 1850

How Loss Assessors in Ireland work…

How Loss Assessors in Ireland work…

Have you ever suffered a loss in terms of fire, flood, burglary or other damage to your home or business? If you have, then there is a high probability that you made a claim on your insurance? And if so, you may have used a firm of loss assessors to assist you with your claim. You may also have dealt directly with the insurance company yourself.

The objective of any insurance policy is to assist the client regain what they lost during their incident. It is not intended to make people money. Your insurance company will aim to pay out a little as they can, within reason. The Loss assessors job is to work with you to establish what exactly you can claim for and to prepare and manage your claim in a professional way with your insurance company, generally ensuring a speedier and higher value payout.

Insurance is a complex area and making a insurance claim can be testing. Not only do you have the emotional trauma of loss to deal with, but you also have to deal with the insurance loss adjustor, appointed by the Insurance Company looking at everything in a practical way, aiming to quantify losses and reduce payouts. The loss assessor works for the client at all times and can negotiate on your behalf to ensure that you get the settlement that you are entitled to.

A loss assessor will work on any type of claim. The only stipulation required is that you are insured in the first place. Now is not the time to be eliminating insurance payments.

Loss Assessors are skilled in assessing loss and value of loss. In a business environment, there may also be loss of income claims so please be aware of this too.

If you have suffered a loss, do the right thing and call Clearys on 1850 28 1850 today for an initial discussion. We will save you time and money and remove the pain in making insurance claims.

 

Is home insurance necessary?

Its 2012 and as the days and months go by, more and more people are considering more ways in which they can cut down on their monthly outgoings. There is a high percentage of people in the country wrapped up in a financial quagmire and may are really finding it difficult to make ends meet. And they look at all expenditure, including home insurance.

Our advice is this: Make Sure Your Home Is Insured – Cut No Corners  and here’s why:

1. We have worked with thousands of clients in the past 25 years and have helped them recover from flood, fire, property damage as a result of burglary, subsistence claims and leaking pipe damage plus many more. In the vast majority of cases, we were able to help the client recover their loss by working with them and their insurance company. All these clients were insured.

2. The emotional and financial pressure experienced by clients in the face of an event is immense. Having insurance eases some of this pressure in the immediate aftermath and makes it all so much more bearable as time goes on and the recovery process starts.

3. If you are suffering financially right now, neglecting your insurance and subsequently suffering a loss with massively increase your pain and suffering. Its a gamble that you may be considering but no good gambler takes unnecessary risks.

Working with a loss assessor like Clearys will ensure that if you do suffer a loos, your claim will be managed professionally, promptly and with empathy at all times. Call us today to discuss your claim…

Recovering after a Burglary in your home

If you have suffered the trauma of a home burglary, you will have experienced the emotions of anger, fear, indignation, disgust and a sense of loss and invasion of privacy. It can take some time for the recovery to even start to begin. There are a few things that you can do. Not it may seem like you are locking the door after the horse has bolted, but why tempt fate and allow it to happen again. A quick return to normality is the best route to take, blended with taking some preventative measures.

In the immediate aftermath of the burglary, you will need to prepare a loss and damages report. Clearys Loss Assessors will complete this work for you in a thorough and professional manner, taking the headache of your insurance claim away and expediting your claim through the system as quickly as possible.

You may already have printed photos of your belongings, or receits for their purchase, or evidence of you using the items such as jewellery. Please make these available. Create a list of all items stolen and be as descriptive as you can. Your home and contents will cover you for replacement of same items. Clearys will assist you through this porcess.

Carry out a full security audit of your home ensuring all windows have locks and are locked. Do the same with doors. If you have a habit of leaving doors unlocked while indoors, then it may be time to learn some new habits.

Check your alarm system – is it being used all the time. Check your home insurance policy in relation to alarm

Check your routines – are you and your family predictable in your movements – Would someone be able to predict your movements.

Develop a security conscious mindset and also begin to focus on your future. Reliving moments from the burglary will only keep you there and that’s not good. Call Clearys on 1850 28 1850 today to discuss your burglary