PREPARING FOR CLAIMS

It’s always been my goal to help my clients mitigate their risk when it comes to potential claims, but there can still be accidents at any time:

  • Employee Injuries (Worker’s Compensation) 
  • Lost Product or Product Contamination (Property) 
    • Fire or other types of damage to your building that shut down your business for an extended period of time and your bills still continue
  • Customers can slip and fall at or around your establishment and be injured (General Liability) 
  • The dreaded “overserving” claim can cost you your business (Liquor Liability) 

When a claim occurs, it’s important that you inform your Agent as soon as possible to either have them submit the claim on your behalf, or give you the information to contact the insurance company directly with details.

Adjustors for the insurance company will be assigned to your claim in 24 hours on average, and they may ask you for the claim information again (so don’t be frustrated if you feel like you’ve been asked the same question multiple times).

WORKER’S COMPENSATION claims: 

This type of claim – concerning an injured employee – needs to be called or emailed into the insurance company directly. They will want to know the details of the claim directly from you, so have your “Investigation Report” that either you or your manager filled out prepared and ready to send to the adjustor.

Information about the employee that will be required:

  • Description of the injury (your “investigation report” will make this part easy)
  • Contact info for the Manager on duty at the time of the incident
  • Employee info:
    • Social Security #
    • Full Name and Contact info (email and phone number)
      • If you feel that the claim is fraudulent, and the employee may just be trying to get some “paid time off” from work, you always have the right to inform the insurance company that you are suspicious of the claim and provide details and documentation as to why. (i.e. video surveillance, employee/witness statements regarding the injury, the employee NOT following your written procedure documents that were read and signed upon their hire date, etc. 
      • There are many times that and employer will feel the employee claim is fraudulent, so they want the insurance company to either deny or investigate the employee. You need to remember that they MUST follow what the state laws say regarding Work Comp claims, their rights to investigate, and what they must pay. If they do decide to investigate the employee, they need to be very careful with their tactics and limits taken in order to avoid additional damages and lawsuits being filed against them

PROPERTY claims: 

  • There are MANY ways a Property claim can occur, and if you do not have your numbers in order it can lead to a frustrating and long claims process that can delay you receiving payment to: pay ongoing bills, pay your employees, pay net profits you are missing out on because the product had to be put down the drain or while the business is shut down.
    • Some info to have prepared for the phone call and continued correspondence with the adjustor will be:
      • Receipts, Receipts, Receipts…for any and all purchases made that are lost or damaged. They will be your best form of documentation!
      • Raw Material cost of your lost product
      • Retail cost projection of your lost product (what you planned on selling it for) 
      • Monthly sales records from the previous 12 months
        • Profit & Loss Statements
      • Cost of the brewing equipment damaged (Ex: fermenter implodes or the brewhouse is damaged and needs to be replaced or repaired) 
      • In the event of a fire – cost of the product lost (food/raw material inventory, finished product in cans, kegs, or bottles, etc.)
      • Income Tax Returns
      • Rent rolls
      • Payroll records

The most common timeframe for “Business Income Interruption” to start will be 72 hours (3 days), and depending on how quickly you can supply your sales, material, payroll, and other figures it could take up to 30 days for the payments to begin. Make sure there is a limited delay by having everything prepared as soon as possible. Once their CPA reviews and approves payments to begin they will include any back pay for the delayed first payment.

COMMERCIAL AUTO claims: 

  • Police Report
    • If there is NO police report, it will make it MUCH more difficult for your insurance company to defend you or collect against the other driver’s insurance.
  • If there is no police report, you will need to furnish the following info:
    • Make, Model, VIN# for YOUR vehicle
    • Make, Model, VIN# for the other driver’s vehicle
    • Make, Model, VIN# for any other vehicles involved
    • Current location of all vehicles and where accident occurred
    • Name and contact info for:
      • Each of the driver’s and all passengers involved in the accident
      • Any known witnesses

GENERAL LIABILITY claims: 

  • Physical Address of where the loss occurred
  • Name, address, and contact info for all persons claiming injury or damage
  • Name and contact info for any known witnesses

LIQUOR LIABILITY claims: 

These types of claims can occur “on-premise” and “off-premise”. You can be held responsible for a patron getting into their car and hitting another vehicle or person on their way home  – and if they stop at other establishments for drinks before or after coming to your place you can still be held partially liable for what happens that day!

There have been multiple incidents where the business has been unaware of any incident occurring until weeks or months after the “overserving” apparently actually occurred…this will usually be a demand letter from a lawyer received by a lawyer representing either the patron of your business OR the person who was injured by the patron of your business. For this reason, it’s VERY important that you have records stemming back for at least 30-45 days that can quickly and easily be provided to the insurance company and their lawyer(s) to defend you. Be prepared to had over the following items:

  • Written incident logs” (ex: Bar Books), including documented evidence that you cut off intoxicated patrons
  • Copy of your “policies and procedures”
  • Copy of any surveillance videos
  • The day’s POS records
  • Employment Records
  • Shift/Time cards
  • Incident reports, correspondence, emails, etc. regarding the day and the incident
  • Info regarding promotions or drink specials
  • Info regarding any previous liquor board actions

If you do not have any risk mitigation, reporting forms, safety procedures/protocols, etc. please make sure to contact me as soon as possible for assistance – don’t wait until after an incident occurs!

Trevor Stech

Phone: 480-214-2713

Email: BrewAndBeCovered@gmail.com