One of the biggest regular expense items for any business is purchasing insurance coverage that you hope you will never actually need. As a business owner, you most likely maintain a vast array of different types of coverages, from worker’s compensation to business interruption to property damage coverages.
Businesses spend thousands (and in some cases, millions) of dollars each and every year to make sure that all aspects of their business are fully insured against any potential losses.
Despite paying all of this money and expecting to have your losses covered, insurance companies don’t always do the right thing. Many times insurance companies will undervalue claims or will simply deny them outright, focusing on the fine print in their policies to justify not paying claims. This is something that business owners find themselves facing far too often.
If you have had your business insurance claim denied, The Mahone Firm is here to help you with your claim. Here are 3 things to keep in mind with business insurance claims.
1. Know Your Business Insurance Policy
It is critical that you understand the terms of your policy. Many business owners assume that they know the details of their policy but don’t actually have a complete understanding of what is covered by their policy and what is not covered.
While many people rely on their insurance agents to make sure they are fully covered, the safest practice is for the business owner to read the policy and understand it.
There are pitfalls in every insurance policy that can lead to a claim being denied. Many policies will limit the scope of what is covered. In addition, many policies will exclude certain things from coverage, even if they would otherwise come within the scope of the coverage provided by the policy.
As another example, business insurance policies will also frequently have deadlines and obligations imposed upon the policyholder. You want to make sure that you are complying with everything that is required of you so that the insurance company is not able to later deny your claim based upon a technicality.
2. Document the Timeline for Your Business Insurance Claim
From the very beginning of your claim, you should keep a detailed record of all of your dealings with the insurance company and any outside adjusters working for the insurance company.
If you have a conversation with the insurance company representative, you should know the date that you had the conversation and the substance of that conversation. You should also save every email or piece of written correspondence from the insurance company’s representatives.
This may seem like a tedious and overly burdensome process. However, it can be critical to your ability to hold your insurance company accountable for a delay in paying your claim. This is because insurance companies in Louisiana are subject to the Louisiana bad faith insurance laws set forth in the Louisiana Revised Statutes, specifically, La. Rev. Stat. 22:1892 and 22:1973.
These statutes allow for penalties and attorney’s fees for insurers who are arbitrary in delaying the payment of claims.
To be able to recover under these penalty statutes, it is required that you provide your insurer with satisfactory proof of loss. What amounts to “proof of loss” can be a complicated analysis. This is why keeping track of your communications with the insurance company is so incredibly important.
A Louisiana insurance lawyer will be able to review those communications to determine the point by which your insurer had proof of loss and then to determine whether their actions after that point should subject them to the consequences of violating the bad faith insurance statutes.
3. Obtain an Independent and Thorough Evaluation of Your Business Insurance Claim
Your insurance company will inevitably undervalue your business insurance claim. This anticipated consequence is not the least bit surprising, as insurance companies make money by retaining more in premiums than they pay out in claims.
From the policyholder’s standpoint, however, you must consider all of the different sides of your claim and have a comprehensive valuation of the claim. This requires that you consider all of the different coverages that are afforded by your business insurance policy.
For example, some policies will have coverage limits for the structure of the business but will have a separate coverage limit applicable to the business property that is within the structure (which could include things like computers, cash registers, servers, etc.). Utilizing all of the coverage afforded by your insurance policy is vital in the case of catastrophic losses, such as that presented by Hurricane Ida.
Depending upon the type of loss that you have suffered, you may need an array of different experts and consultants to fully quantify your claim. For example, if you suffered a loss from Hurricane Ida, you may have claims under your property damage policy and under your business interruption/loss of business income coverage.
To quantify your property damage, you may have a combination of contractors, engineers, architects, or even other disciplines to fully understand the cost to repair the damage from the storm. On the other hand, if you have business interruption insurance, you may need a combination of accountants and economists to fully capture the losses that you suffered.
Regardless of the type of business insurance claim that you have to make, you should always be mindful of maximizing the value of the claim and not leaving any coverage unutilized.
Contact a Louisiana Denied Business Insurance Claim Lawyer
If your business insurance claim has been denied or underpaid by your insurance company, you are not stuck without options. The Mahone Firm is here to help you through the process and hold your insurance company accountable for the value of your claim, including pursuing all available coverages and any applicable penalties that can be imposed on your insurer.
Call (504) 564-7342 to have your claim evaluated by a Louisiana insurance lawyer today. There is no charge for a confidential consultation to discuss your claim.