Studies show same-day reporting a business claim can save thousands
You know the dilemma: a mishap occurs at your business: a customer slips and falls, but seems to be ok except for a twisted ankle. A worker sprained his shoulder lifting heavy boxes. One of your drivers was involved in a minor fender-bender. Another driver backed the truck right into the back door, taking out the door frame and part of the wall. Fairly minor stuff, right? And you’re trying to decide whether to pay for it out of business funds or alert your insurance company and risk a possible rate increase. What’s a business owner to do? Will reporting a business claim promptly save or cost you money in the long run?
Of course, you can gamble that indeed the accident stays minor and doesn’t involve a customer who decides to sue for whatever they can get. Sometimes you will win – and sometimes you will lose.
The question is, how much can you afford to lose by not filing a claim right away?
According to our statistics on claims and losses, quite a bit. Our quick analysis of past claims shows that when a claim was reported more than 10 days after the event, costs rose by 60 percent on indemnity claims, and by 64 percent on medical claims.
Here are the numbers on other types of claims handled by ACM, from auto and property to general liability:
QUICK CLAIM REPORTING CAN RESULT IN DRASTICALLY LOWER CLAIMS COSTS
If the numbers aren’t enough to convince you, consider these facts as to how the claims investigation and settlement are hindered when claims are delayed:
- Claims reported late severely hinder the adjuster’s ability to conduct a meaningful investigation, determine the merits of the claim, and allow the adjuster to make a timely decision.
- A delay in contact with an injured employee or customer can result in litigation simply due to fear of the unknown or lack of understanding of the process.
- Timely reporting improves morale of injured employees: They can see their employer is concerned about their well-being. An employee who feels they are being taken care of by their employer is less likely to obtain legal representation.
- Delay in reporting can result in litigation, which in turn can cause a delay of benefits, often increasing the overall payout by three to six times – resulting in higher unnecessary losses.
- The delay in taking statements from those involved and witnesses can impact the accuracy of the events, simply because people don’t remember details as to what happened.
- Early identification of a claim leads to the correct treatment plan being approved more quickly. This results in a faster recovery, a shortened duration for which an employee is off work and lower treatment costs.
- Any liability claim should be reported immediately. Your best defense is to have an adjuster on the scene right away. The same holds true with a commercial auto accident, which typically has a claims cost of $40,000 – $50,000 (more than you’d want to pay out of pocket).
HOW TO START THE CLAIMS PROCESS
You’ll find the property contact information to begin your claim here. Choose whether it’s a claim for workers’ compensation or property/casualty.
- Ensure that all accidents and injuries are reported immediately. Prompt investigation will uncover not only the cause of the mishap, but also help you determine what corrective actions need to be taken.
- If the claim is auto or property damage, take photos and make a list of damaged items. Don’t throw anything away. If necessary, make temporary repairs to minimize additional damage.
- Start your claims file to keep track of the process and all moving parts. Keep a copy of all supporting documents before you turn them in. Schedule regular follow-ups with your adjuster so that you can monitor progress.
In a nutshell, if your mishap is fairly minor property or vehicle damage (to your vehicle only, with no injuries involved), you may be better off not filing a claim, because you may not meet your deductible. However, in cases of liability or injury – whether to your own workers, a contractor or a customer – it’s best to file the claim right away to get your insurance company working on your behalf.