Christchurch Earthquake - Information You Need Before Negotiating With Your Business Insurer 30 May 2011
If your business suffered damage in the Christchurch earthquakes, negotiating a successful insurance claim will be vital for the viability of your business going forward. We have a free checklist of basic information you need to collect to begin making an insurance claim.
This is a useful tool whatever stage of the process you are at.
Key questions that you need to be able to answer include:
- What cover do I have for physical damage?
- Can I replace my contents and stock?
- Am I covered for lost profits or rent?
- Am I covered for my additional costs from the earthquake, and for how long?
- Can I get interim payments before my claim is finalized?
It can be hard to know where to start.
- What information do you need?
- What questions should you ask?
- Should you obtain the assistance of outside experts (e.g. accountants, engineers etc)?
- How can you best present your claim?
- What if there is more than one way forward?
- What should you do if your claim hits a hurdle?
Why getting legal advice is smart and may not cost you anything.
Independent advice can be crucial to achieving an outcome that is in your business’s best interests. We can help.
Parry Field has been directly affected by the earthquake ourselves, so we have had to work through many of the above questions. We can help you understand your insurance policies, and put you in touch with qualified experts to bring together evidence in support of your claim. In fact, many business-related insurance policies provide some cover towards the cost of obtaining professional advice/assistance in respect of your insurance claim?
1. Helping you understand your insurance cover
A successful insurance claim starts with clearly understanding as early as possible what your insurer agreed (or sometimes more significantly, did not agree) to do when you took out your insurance policy and what obligations you have.
Insurance is just a promise – what it is worth depends on the fine print. Your insurer’s promises are set out in your insurance policy and the schedule accompanying them. The fine print is long and can be complex. It will contain various exclusions or limitations on the cover your insurer will provide. What cover you have often depends on what options you or your broker ticked when you took out your policy.
Lawyers are best placed to interpret contracts and, if need be, go into bat for you against your insurer. We can assist by explaining what your policy(s) and the accompanying schedules do and do not cover and what your obligations are in plain, simple language. In our experience, this usually works best by meeting with you to discuss once we have reviewed the key documents. We will also provide you with a written overview to assist you moving forward.
2. Assisting you to obtain the key information
Not only is it important to understand what your policy covers but also to understand the type of information that will be required to support your claim, the nature of your business, your long term goals for it and how best to achieve them.
Before meeting with us, you should start obtaining the information.
We have a free checklist of basic information you need to collect to begin making an insurance claim. This is a useful tool whatever stage of the process you are at.
3. Meet with you to discuss how best to progress your claim
Once or as you obtain the key information your claim will need, we can assist further to review the claim and your goals for the business and discuss how best to progress your claim. Our help may include liaising with various industry experts to obtain further information to support your claim or talking with your insurer to negotiate interim payments or progress your overall claim.
Very often your business will be your livelihood. We want to help you get back on your feet and achieve an insurance outcome which best meets your interests and the goals you have for your business. If we can assist, please don’t hesitate to contact Kris Morrison or Paul Cowey at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.