They can happen at any time. Many may not realize that there are earthquake zones spread across the United States, presenting a widespread risk. Even the smallest event can compromise the structural integrity of your commercial property without you realizing it.
If your business suffers earthquake damage, the initial steps you take may determine if you are able to recover financially and rebuild your business.
A sudden earthquake can damage your commercial property and may go unnoticed. Even the smallest of impacts can seriously compromise a building’s structural integrity. This places the safety of your employees, any other occupants, and your operations at risk. It’s important to have a thorough inspection of your property to identify and document the extent of damages as you prepare to deal with your insurance company.
Our public adjusters have the unmatched experience and resources to guide you in this process. As insurance professionals working only on your behalf, we are fluent in your insurance policy, and assist you in complying with your policy’s requirements in order to develop a proactive claim management strategy to maximize your business’s financial recovery. We thoroughly research and evaluate your loss and substantiate every detail of your claim, which may include building damage, valuable contents, business interruption, and extra expense claims. We prepare and present a comprehensive claim to your insurer so your business can receive the optimum settlement in the shortest amount of time.
Make sure you fully understand the meaning of each of the following before you move forward. Feel free to reach out to us for a no-cost discussion about your claim.
What is my agent/broker’s role? Will his/her role be active or passive? When faced with supporting your position or the insurance company’s, where will he/she stand?
Does Adjusters International have earthquake damage experience?
How do I minimize the impact of a large deductible?
Why is a claim strategy so important?
Am I impacted by coinsurance?
Do I need my own engineer for the damage assessment?
Large deductibles demand that your claim be properly evaluated. How can you afford to rebuild your business or building with such a large deductible? Understanding claim strategies and implementing value engineering are important.
Successful evaluation of damages hinges upon a well-coordinated effort between engineers and construction consultants. Do you have the right experts lined up? Should you only rely on the insurance company’s cadre of experts?
How do I keep my employees? My customers?
Ensuing fire or water damage from an earthquake can be covered depending upon the policy.
How do I deal with hidden damage?
What is concurrent causation? Why is it important in an earthquake claim?
How does a large-scale disaster affect recovery? Replacement/reconstruction prices?
How does a large-scale earthquake affect your business interruption claim? Your loss of rents claim?
Is there coinsurance in your policy? If there is, what does it mean? If there is, did your insurance adjuster explain it to you?
How do you make certain that hidden damages are addressed?
What happens when the insurance company engages a forensic accountant? What is his/her role? Why can’t you just have your accountant prepare your claim? Understand that you will need to share your financial statements. You may also have to produce your tax returns.
Is there anyone on my side?
Property Damage Losses Commercial Claims Recovery Process
Life & Safety Issues
Mitigation of Damages
Establish A Preliminary Recovery Plan
Evaluation of Coverages
Valuation Of Damages, Claim Preparation, and Documentation
I would like to express my personal appreciation and also the appreciation of Lockheed management in general for the excellent job you and your associates did in working up our earthquake claim, particularly the business interruption portion. It is unfortunate that we had to go to the extreme of filing suit against the carrier(s) to recover our loss due to the adamant refusal on the part of one of the carriers to recognize that we had any business interruption loss at all. It is obvious, however, that your basis of presenting the business interruption claim, backed up by your understanding of the policy wording and intent, your understanding of Lockheed's financial situation at the time of the earthquake, and, of course, your professional expertise went a long way in prompting the early settlement of the claim.
R. E. Butler
Director of Corporate Insurance - Lockheed Aircraft Corporation
As this issue of Adjusting Today® was being prepared, the earthquake and resulting tsunami of March 2011 struck Japan. That concurrence put an exclamation point on what already was the theme of this edition ...