The number of business owners not only frustrated by the continued loss of power, but also the insurcance claims process, or lack thereof, is growing rapidly. We are getting daily calls from business owners frustrated that their carriers are already mistreating them.
More than 25,000 businesses in Louisiana were without power as of Sunday. While some business owners in the surrounding areas of New Orleans will have power by Wednesday, some may be in the dark until the end of the month, according to some estimates. The storm damaged or destroyed more than 22,000 power poles, 26,000 spans of wire and 5,261 transformers – that’s more poles damaged or destroyed than hurricanes Katrina, Zeta and Delta combined. At the peak, 902,000 customers had lost power.
At least 20 deaths are now blamed on Ida in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. In the Northeast, Ida’s remnants dumped record-breaking rain and killed at least 50 people from Virginia to Connecticut. As of now, Ida is the deadliest hurricane the U.S. has seen in four years and the deadliest storm in the Northeast since 2012's catastrophic Superstorm Sandy, which killed more than 100 people.
The Voss Law Firm understands that small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy. In the ongoing impact of Hurricane Ida, and with more storms on the horizon, we are helping many businesses that are dealing with the aftermath of physical clean-up as well as interruptions of their business operations. The damage to a region can be catastrophic and costly. As clean-up and recovery efforts ensue, business owners must understand their applicable insurance coverage and begin the process of filing claims.
A property insurance policy covers the physical damage to the business. A business income insurance (BI) policy covers the loss of income that would have been earned while its facility is either closed because of a disaster or during the resulting recovery and rebuilding processes. BI coverage is typically added onto the business’s property/liability insurance policy or comprehensive policy.
Here Are Some Tips To Help You Prepare for Your Claims/Proof of Loss Process:
- Notify your carrier ASAP.
- Maintain a file and timeline for all communications with your insurance carrier
- Document your claim for physical damage as well as business interruption – work with your insurance adjuster but be pro-active as your own advocate for your claim
- Read your Business Insurance Policy carefully. Some helpful hints regarding what to review are below.
- Watch out for deductibles and co-insurance clauses.
- Gather and secure legal and financial records, including electronic data that supports those records.
- Create a proof of loss analysis and use a support team such as lawyers and accountant who specialize in BI claims analysis to help support your proof of loss.
- Seek help if needed. Your business is your only financial resource most of the time. Seek to protect your asset and recover from your carrier what you are legally entitled to.