When you’re suddenly unable to do business, filing a business interruption insurance claim may be your saving grace. However, to receive compensation, you need to file your claim the right way. For many business owners, the fallout of the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis marks the first time that they’ve ever needed to file a business interruption claim. What do you need in order to file a business interruption insurance claim? Our attorneys for business interruption claims explain.
1. The Name of Your Insurance Company
You make a business interruption claim to your insurance company. They are the entity you buy your policy from, and they are the entity that pays your claim. It might seem obvious, but you should start your claims process by identifying the insurance company from which you purchased your business insurance in the first place.
The company may have changed names or merged with another company, and it’s essential to have that updated information. To file your claim, you need to know who is responsible for your compensation.
2. A Copy of Your Policy
The compensation that you stand to receive is based on your actual policy. You probably chose among various options when you bought your insurance. That means that your insurance policy is unique unto itself. Even if the company issues lots of similar policies, the only thing that matters is the policy in place in your individual case.
Read your policy and see what it says about business interruption claims. Some policies cover all kinds of interruption losses, while others require you to have some type of physical loss before you can receive payment. There are various waiting periods and deductibles that can all impact your claim. It’s important to know what kind of coverage you have so that you know what to expect and how to put the right information forward as part of your claim.
3. Accounting Records
Exactly what documentation you need to prove your business interruption claim depends on the nature of your business and how you plan to show your losses. Monthly profit and loss statements, as well as taxes, are almost certainly going to be a part of any claim. In addition, inventory statements, invoice and purchase orders and general accounting records that substantiate your losses are all likely to be included.
The documents you need depend on the nature of your business and how you plan to prove your losses. For example, if you’re a chiropractor, how you demonstrate your losses is going to be different than if your company is a part of the manufacturing industry. Be prepared to submit significant documentation, but know it may not be necessary or advantageous to simply overwhelm the insurance adjuster with every record that you have. Tailoring your submission to tell the story of your profits and losses, and submitting clean, coherent records that the insurance adjuster can follow is the best way to get fair compensation.
4. A Summary of Your Losses
Along with submitting your business records, you need to provide a summary of your losses. The insurance company needs to know precisely what amount you’re claiming and why. A business interruption claims lawyer can help you prepare this statement so that the insurance company can clearly see what you’re asking for and how it is justified.
5. Proof That Your Losses Are Related to COVID-19 or Other Proof of a Business Interruption
There are two parts of any business interruption claim. The first part is proving that you have losses, and the second is proving that your insurance policy covers those losses. In order to show that the policy in place includes the types of damages that you have, you need to prove the reasons for your loss. For most businesses, that means showing that the losses are COVID-19 related.
There are a few ways to accomplish this. First, you might show records of what days you are unable to open. You might provide copies of documentation of how your business practices have changed or how your doors have shuttered during the pandemic. Employee hours worked can be relevant. Copies of government orders can be helpful, too. It’s a good idea to print these orders or provide links with your documentation rather than just referencing them in your paperwork.
6. Copies of Everything That You Submit to the Insurance Company
When you submit documents to the insurance company, keep copies. If they have follow-up questions, or if they audit your work, you need to know what you’ve sent them already. Stay organized and keep records throughout the duration of your business interruption claim.
7. Copies of Analysis and Documentation Produced by the Insurance Company
It’s possible that the insurance company may conduct its own investigation during your business interruption claim. They may even audit your records. Always ask for copies of their findings. They might try to base a denial or reduction of your claim on their investigation. Without seeing their records, it can be hard to defend against inaccuracies or false accusations. Get copies of everything so that you can read it thoroughly and respond appropriately.
8. A Forensic Accountant
A forensic accountant can be an essential part of any business interruption claim. You might need to choose among accounting methods to substantiate your claim. Growth trends, sales projections, budgets, forecasts or historical sales records may all be necessary to a successful outcome. With a forensic accountant, you have an expert who can prepare proper accounting records that justify your claim.
9. An Attorney for Business Interruption Insurance Claims
It’s no secret that insurance companies don’t like paying claims. In fact, they’ll often do everything they can to avoid paying you the coverage you deserve. When you have an attorney for business interruption insurance claims, you’re working with a professional who is experienced in providing documentation, following procedures and negotiating with the insurance company, so they don’t take advantage of you.
With insurance companies overwhelmed by an influx of COVID-19 business interruption insurance claims, an experienced attorney can help you negotiate an appropriate resolution to your case as quickly and efficiently as possible.
10. Patience and Determination
It can take patience and determination to receive a fair result in your business interruption insurance claim. If you’ve been denied, or even if you’re just starting the process, don’t forget that minor setbacks don’t equate to failure. You have options and can pursue legal action against the insurance company if they do not honor their policy.
A business interruption lawsuit can be daunting for any business owner. However, you don’t have to go it alone. Contact our business interruption claim lawyers at Adam S. Kutner, Injury Attorneys for your confidential and free consultation today.