The natural reaction from someone whose business has just suffered fire damage is to clean up, tidy up, use all the help from neighbours and friends you can get.
This can be a big mistake. We are finding more and more that the process of dealing with liability investigation is slower and slower. Insurers may take between four and six weeks even in the most straightforward of circumstances to complete investigation.
The process involves:
Our advice in all cases is to do nothing until insurers accept liability. If you clear the site, your insurers may well claim you have prejudiced the investigation and delay or go negative on a decision. You may then have a defence that you cannot contest the decision if the scene is cleared or bring your own forensic investigation.
The time it takes for Insurers to decide will not be wasted. You can start planning & preparing for reinstatement:
During this period claim documents will be prepared for all losses insured:
Supporting documents like Invoices & quotations will be required in each section of the claim. You may also need engineering reports or structural surveys or machine maintenance reports. Once Insurers are on board and claim is submitted, there is a negotiation process which again could take from four to eight weeks more.
Works may start in the meantime but you are still exposed if your costs are not in line with insurers’ proposals or worse, parts of the loss are underinsured or not at all. You then have a balancing act to manage.
We all have difficulties with banks in Ireland today. You may not be in a position to borrow funds to support the reinstatement costs to fix and repair the damage, let alone make improvements. This means you may be fully dependent on your insurers and insurance policy to pay for the damage.
Even when agreement is reached, the process is not complete. Your insurers will pay part of this settlement, the balance being payable when the company re-check your repairs and the cost of repairs to ensure that the terms & conditions of the policy and the settlement are met.
This final stage is just as important as the start of the process.
In the event of FIRE:
The above building & business was extensively damaged together with machinery and equipment that was in the building also at the time.
Clearys handled all aspects of the claim, from initial contact to settlement of the claim. This included:
We met with the Insurers appointed Loss Adjusters to inspect the damage in relation to the building, stock and equipment. We also liased with other appointed specialists ex.Forensics, Engineers, Accountants. Individual claims along with all specialist reports was presented to the Loss Adjuster and negotiation commenced. These claims were successfully finalised to the satisfaction of all parties involved.