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Winter insurance claims – 20 tips to mitigate losses after flood or storm damage

Winter insurance claims – 20 tips to mitigate losses after flood or storm damage

When your business has experienced a flood or storm, it’s often difficult to know what you need to do, and equally what you shouldn’t do, in order to mitigate the loss and reduce the risk to your business.

Angus Tucker, Chartered Loss Adjuster and Managing Director of Lorega Solutions has written up this helpful list, with easy tips and advice to follow in the event of a flood or storm.

1. Are services, such as electricity, gas and water, still operating?

If not, check the reason for this with the utility company, and obtain an estimate of reinstatement of supply.

2. If services are still on, is there a threat from these?

For example, if a property is flooded, should the power be turned off at the mains to prevent short circuits and a possible fire?

3. Act as if you're uninsured

Make urgent decisions on basis of what is best for the business and what is critical for business survival, not on the basis of what insurers may perhaps want.

4. Take photographs of the damage – the more the better.

This will assist in identifying the extent of damage for an insurance claim down the line, as memories can fade and become blurred.

5. If possible, move undamaged stock and equipment higher up out of reach of potential rising flood water

If in two storey premises, move whatever possible from the ground floor to the first floor.

6. In any event, move undamaged goods/stock away from damaged goods/stock

This will help to prevent contamination.

7. If perishable stock, especially foodstuff and similar, has been saturated, try to dispose of before it becomes health hazard.

Ensure it is correctly recorded and photographed as it is disposed of.

8. If you're uncertain regarding your position on the possible health risks of damaged stock/goods, and whether it is salvageable or not, seek immediate advice from the local Environmental Health officer.

They will inspect and issue certificates for condemned goods. Find your local Environmental Health Officer here.

9. Take what necessary immediate measures are possible for mopping up.

Do not wait for someone to give permission!

10. Ensure there is plenty of ventilation to the premises

This can help to prevent possible mould growth.

11. If necessary, contact specialist damage management drying and cleaning companies to attend asap and assist with pumping out of water and drying premises.

Details can be obtained from the British Damage Management Association (BDMA) – 07000 843 236.

12. Do not dispose of anything that may be salvageable.

Try to store this separately, and do obtain assistance from a specialist damage management company.

13. If the premises are now uninhabitable and will be left unattended, secure them.

This will prevent further loss or damage.

14. If you are a tenant, contact your landlord, via the managing agents if appropriate, as soon as possible to advise of the position and request they take necessary immediate action.

You cannot start to recover your business until the building you trade from has been dried and repaired.

15. If the premises are uninhabitable, try to locate suitable local alternative premises, if possible.

You will be able to continue temporary trading from these.

16. Try to reallocate internal resources from unaffected areas of the business.

This may help you to maintain future sales.

17. Contact customers to advise them of the position, especially where immediate supply of promised orders is affected and now no longer possible.

You should seek to reassure them of a longer term position.

17. Prioritise those customers key to business, as initial recovery of business proceeds.

19. Create a separate cost code in the accounts specific to the flood/storm damage and allocate all related expenditure to this code.

This will make it easier to track costs later when insurance claim if being agreed. This is especially important for any additional expenditure incurred to maintain the business.

20. Contact your insurance broker (or insurer if there is no broker) as soon as possible.

They will be able to either provide advice or point you in the right direction for specialist advice.

If you have a loss recovery insurance policy, you’ll have a chartered loss adjuster on hand the manage the insurance claim and advise on how to mitigate losses from the start. To find out more about this, click here.

 

Watch the webinar

Angus talked brokers through some winter weather advice on this webinar. Watch now.

Brokers vote Lorega number one for commercial lines service

We’re delighted to announce that, for the second year running, we have been voted number one for broker satisfaction in commercial lines, in the annual Insurance Times Broker Service Survey – ahead of the industry’s larger insurance brands.

This is a tremendous honour and we are very grateful for all of you who took the time to respond to the survey.  To maintain the position for a second year makes us even more determined to enhance the level of service we provide.

In the last year we have continued to build on the service we provide to you and your clients with:

  • further enhancements to our award winning online trading system, including a 24/7 FNOL claims service and improved visibility of branch performance
  • automated, real time online finance features
  • introduction of the REG TOBA system to improve the efficiency of binder management
  • free training and technical updates using webinars and other material
  • the launch of new assistance products, including Cyber Recovery and HSE Recovery

The results of our own customer satisfaction surveys following a claim show that over 92% of all respondents are delighted with the level of service Lorega provides and would recommend it to others.

If  you would like any more information about any of our products or how to work with us in the future, please feel free to contact us here.

New FNOL claims facility now available on Lorega Online

FNOL is the newest exciting feature to be added to the Lorega Online Quote & Buy platform.

It allows brokers who have access to our online system to submit a claim efficiently and effectively online, 24/7, without needing to ring us on our claims number or fill in a claims notification form. FNOL enables the broker to easily provide extensive information in relation to the claim, and to upload policy documents such as underlying policy wordings. Claims can be referred immediately if the date of loss is outside of Lorega’s notification period of 14 days.

Once the broker has completed the claim submission online, the Lorega claims department will be notified immediately. The claims department will check over the details and appoint a loss adjuster.

How to access the FNOL facility

If you’d like access to our FNOL facility switched on for your brokerage, just get in touch with us and a member of team will arrange this for you straight away.

 

Other ways to submit a claim

Brokers can also email the claims department with a copy of one of our claims notification forms, which can be downloaded on our website. You can also ring us 24/7 on 020 7767 3070.

New survey shows insurer’s claims service still lags behind SME customer expectations.

New survey shows insurer’s claims service still lags behind SME customer expectations.

According to a our recent independent survey of SME insurance customers, there remains a clear gap between the experiences and expectations of SMEs in the UK* when it comes to making a commercial insurance claim.

Despite the growing appetite and interest in SME insurance products and distribution opportunities, our survey found the experiences of those making claims were still lacking.

A snapshot of the numbers:

  • Nearly 70% of SMEs say interim and final claims amounts not agreed promptly
  • 6 out 10 SMEs received no advice on loss mitigation as part of the claims process
  • Only 16% of businesses had a loss adjuster visit with 24 hours of reporting a claim
  • Close to 60% of SMEs had no regular communication from their insurer on claim progress
  • Over half of SMEs got no explanation of claims responsibilities

 

For SMEs who had made a claim of over £5,000 in the last two years, their experiences revealed insurers still have some way to go to address the concerns highlighted in the Financial Conduct Authority’s thematic review on SME claims published in 2015.

 

When asked about the support received, only half of the SMEs (56%) said they had received advice and support in preparing the claim. 57% of respondents said they did not have regular communication from their insurer on the progress of their claim.

 

53% said they were given no explanation of who was responsible for their claim and the same percentage said they were provided with no information on their cover and claim coverage. When it came to claim settlement, nearly 70% indicated their insurance company or its loss adjuster did not agree interim and final claims amounts promptly.

 

When asked to what extent their insurance company and its loss adjuster understood the impact of the loss on the business, over half of SMEs said they only understood somewhat or partially. Just under 6% said they did not understand at all.

 

The results of those who made a claim contrasted with what many SMEs expected their insurer to provide.

 

SMEs surveyed who had not made a claim, had clear views on the most important aspects they would expect to receive as part of the claims service. At the top of the list was for their insurer to provide regular communication on the claim’s progress. This was closely followed by advice and support in preparing a claim and prompt agreement of interim and final claims settlements.

 

Expectations around receiving information on cover and which sections might be relevant for the type of claim being made and guidance from their insurer on how to mitigate the impact of the loss on their business also featured highly amongst SMEs.

 

Commenting on the survey results, Neill Johnstone, managing director of Lorega, said:

 

While the development and distribution of insurance products for SMEs continues to evolve, our survey indicates there remain challenges in the servicing and support available when SMEs call on the policy in the event of a claim.

“The foundation of our business model was to provide policyholders with access to claims expertise; enhancing the service they received when it came to making and settling claims. The results of our survey reveal that this approach is more relevant and necessary than ever before.

“The survey reflects a number of findings from the FCA’s thematic review on the handling of insurance claims for SMEs which was published over two years go. It’s clear that the industry needs to take a more holistic approach to supporting SMEs who suffer claims of £5,000 and over, developing covers that include a responsive claims services with access to professional support and expertise, to ensure the trading and financial impact on SMEs is kept to a minimum.”

* Lorega’s research was conducted by Censuswide, with 250 SME business owners between 19.04.2017 – 24.04.2017. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

 

 

How can we help?

When you are running a business, in the event that you need to make insurance claims following a loss, you need to have the confidence it is going to be sorted quickly.

Loss Recovery Insurance – For Businesses is an insurance policy which provides the policyholder with unlimited advice from one of our expert loss adjusters, to help you prepare, negotiate and settle a material damage or business interruption claim.

Acting independently of your insurance company, to help you achieve the fairest and fastest settlement possible under your insurance cover. We have a nationwide network of expert loss adjusters who respond promptly on notification and will visit you within the first 24 hours.

We have more than 25 years of experience in helping policyholders with their insurance claims, giving you peace of mind when you need it most.

Swinton Group partners Lorega on new commercial loss recovery service

Lorega Limited (Lorega), the UK MGA and assistance specialist, has been appointed by Swinton Group to provide commercial loss recovery insurance and expert loss adjusting services for its SME customer base.

 

Lorega’s loss recovery insurance is now available to Swinton Business clients, for claims in excess of £5,000.  Customers who select this service will have access to expert advice from Lorega’s chartered loss adjusters, to help in the preparation, negotiation and settlement of material damage or business interruption claims.

 

Neill Johnstone, Lorega’s managing director, said: “Swinton recognises the important role expert claims support plays in helping SME customers get back on their feet quickly after a claim. Our commercial loss recovery product is designed not only to offer peace of mind, but to complement Swinton’s strong personal service culture.”

 

Tony Monnington, head of commercial at Swinton Business, said: We are delighted to be partnering with Lorega and their loss recovery insurance offering; the addition of this product is in keeping with our desire to continue to deliver “added value” propositions for our customers.

 

Kirsty Walker, director of insurer development and product at Swinton Group, said: “Lorega delivers proven expertise and support that directly helps to enhance our customers’ claims experience. Supporting SMEs to get a fast and fair settlement in the event of a loss is an important addition to our business insurance products and services.”

 

For further information please contact:

Alex Wise, Full Circle Corporate Communications

T          +44 (0)20 7265 7887

M         +44 (0)7710 665615

E          awise@fullcirclecomms.co.uk

 

About Lorega

Lorega is the UK’s leading supplier of assistance insurance products to the SME market, which help home and SME business customer when they need it most.

Its Loss Recovery Insurance product is an insurance policy which provides and pays for the cost of an independent expert loss adjuster, authorised by the FCA, to help a broker’s clients prepare, negotiate and settle their insurance claims.

HSE Recovery is for SMEs with an annual turnover up to £5m. Firms must be subject to health and safety regulations, enforced by the Health and Safety Executive and, where employing five or more employees, prior to any HSE intervention have a written statement of health and safety policy and a risk assessment relating to the business. Insureds must also have a current employers’ liability insurance policy which was in force prior to any Health and Safety Executive intervention.

Operating in a similar way, its Cyber Recovery insurance product was launched in May 2016 to help businesses survive a data breach following a cyber-attack by providing a Cyber Expert to help them recover and liaise with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

These expert services are also available on demand.

About Swinton Group:     

  • It has been meeting the needs of its 1.4m insurance customers for 60 years
  • The UK’s largest high street insurance broker
  • Works with a panel of insurers to find the right cover for customers
  • Offers a range of insurance products from car to home, bike to van, commercial to taxi insurance, plus additional services like breakdown cover
  • Ranked second in the Auto Express ‘best car insurance companies 2016’
  • A Gold Feefo Trusted Merchant 2017, a unique accreditation based on the experiences of genuine purchase verified customers and reflects consistently high scores in customer service
  • A UK subsidiary of leading French mutual insurance group Covéa, which is the leading property and liability insurer in France and serves over 11.4 million policyholders, with earned premiums of €17.2bn in 2015.

For more information please visit www.swinton.co.uk

 

Seven ways high net worth customers could avoid an insurance claim while on holiday

Seven ways high net worth customers could avoid an insurance claim while on holiday

As airports, beach bars, and luxury hotels around the globe prepare for the arrival of your high net worth clients this summer, now is the time to help them ensure their properties at home are protected before heading off.

As our loss adjusters have experienced on high net worth cases, relaxing vacations can soon turn into stressful nightmares when something goes wrong back at home.

Case study: what can go wrong when clients are on holiday

In one instance, our loss adjusters were approached for advice after the event when a couple on a weekend away in Berlin received a phone call from a neighbour notifying them that their flat had been broken into.

7 ways to a avoid an insurance claim on holiday - empty home high net worthThe police assessed the situation and instructed that the lock and door were damaged and should be dealt with immediately. Unfortunately, the landlord of the building was absent as he lived abroad, and so the couple were tasked with finding a contractor straight away.

They found an emergency contractor who told them he was approved by insurers, and would be able to immediately replace the door. The new door cost £1300 in total. The couple came back from their holiday ready to claim the cost back on their household policy.

When the insurers received the claim, they stated that their specialist contractors would have charged £700, and that the couple should have gotten at least 3 competitive quotes for the work. They refused to pay them any more than £700.

This is when the couple approached Lorega’s chartered loss adjusters for advice. Our adjuster argued that it was the insurer’s duty of care to the customer to pay the full claim, as it was unreasonable to expect them, whilst on holiday abroad, to shop around for multiple quotes for the emergency work, when the police had told them to immediately secure the premises.

The insurer agreed to pay the claim in full. Moving forward, the couple have taken out a Loss Recovery Policy, which will remove the stress of dealing with their insurance claims if faced with another loss in the future.

7 tips to protect an empty property

Share these tips with your clients to help make sure they’re protected when on holiday.

  1. Make sure the policy covers long absences – it’s no use having cover if it isn’t valid for the entire trip. In most cases this will be 30 days, and some policies may even ask that somebody visits the property every week.
  2. Ensure all door and window locks are secure – in 72% of break-in cases, a burglar will enter through a door, according to LockRite statistics. 15% of those will get in because the door has simply been left unlocked
  3. Take contact details for emergency contractors – write them down or have them saved on your phone, just in case you need them while away. Preparation is key and will help should something happen when abroad
  4. Ensure your alarm is in full working order – check this before you go, and make sure it has a regular service (every 12 months). Many HNW policies will have this service contract as a requirement.
  5. Switch off the water mains – an easy one to forget but an even easier one to prevent disasters from occurring. Turning off the water supply can help avoid issues, but may also be required as part of the policy
  6. Tell a trusted neighbour – let them know that you are going away, and make sure they have a spare key should the worst occur. This will make the insurance process easier and, in some instances, can help to mitigate the loss. As a lesson to learn from the above case study, it’s a good idea to ensure your neighbours have your contact details
  7. Avoid posting about going away on social media – while it’s tempting to show followers that you’re jetting off to the sun, this tips others off that the house will be empty for the duration of the trip

 

Smooth the claims process

Should the worst occur and a claim is not prevented, our loss adjusters have the expertise and experience to ensure the claims process runs as smoothly as possible – as demonstrated in the case above.

In our recent webinar, Chartered Loss Adjuster and Operations Director of Lorega Solutions Martin Almond spoke his experience supporting policyholders in high net worth claims and discussed some of the benefits of having a loss adjuster working on their behalf. For personal lines brokers, the webinar provides information on product benefits and how they can sell Loss Recovery to home owners.

Case Study: A complex high net worth claim in Belgravia

Case Study: A complex high net worth claim in Belgravia

When you’ve refurbished your home to an incredibly high standard, the last thing you want is to discover a burst pipe in the ceiling.

This is the unfortunate situation one Lorega policyholder found himself in, after his housekeeper discovered a major burst pipe while he was abroad.

The burst pipe had caused significant water damage to many of the ceilings in the ground floor of the property, as well as some of the bedrooms in the basement.

Luckily, as the home owner had a Loss Recovery Insurance policy, our adjuster was instructed and immediately investigated solutions for mitigating the loss and drying the building.

These investigations revealed serious damage to the ceiling voids, which housed some of the built in electrical systems and speakers, alongside a sophisticated and newly installed air conditioning system.

Unfortunately, this meant taking down a number of high ceilings that still had their original cornice features. In order to do this, our adjuster had to ensure that any works of art, of which there were many, were properly removed from the affected areas and stored safely. Whilst there was very little contents damage overall, a lot of money was spent moving these valuable and irreplaceable pieces.

Due to the complex nature of the claim, and the large amount of damage done, our adjuster spent a long time working with the project team making sure the repairs were undertaken correctly and to the required standard.

This was especially needed in this case, as concurrent to the insurance claim, the policyholder wanted to do some further upgrading works, which needed to be differentiated from the insurance works. Our adjuster was essential for the policyholder in this instance, as he was abroad throughout the process and unable to deal with the insurance company.

By having a Loss Recovery Insurance policy in place, the home owner was able to continue his daily life whilst having peace of mind, knowing a claims expert was on hand to handle the situation.

A Broker’s Guide to the Health and Safety Executive Fee for Intervention – could your clients be at risk?

A Broker’s Guide to the Health and Safety Executive Fee for Intervention – could your clients be at risk?

In October 2012, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) introduced Fee for Intervention (FFI) as a way to recoup the costs of carrying out its regulatory functions from employers and the self-employed found to be in material breach of health and safety law.

These HSE inspections and visits were once totally publicly funded, and the shift to Fee For Intervention was intended to encourage businesses to comply with HSE requirements without intervention becoming necessary.

Put simply, the HSE is looking for health and safety lawbreakers. Unfortunately, because of the breadth of this definition, the threshold for receiving an FFI is low, and it is likely that one of your manufacturing, healthcare, education, gas installation, haulage or construction clients in particular could receive an invoice from the HSE.

Your clients may be unaware of current requirements and could be at risk of paying a large FFI invoice; don’t let them get caught out if the HSE comes to visit, and share this guide to Fee For Intervention.

 

What is an FFI?

A Fee For Intervention is charged when an HSE inspector finds that an employer or self-employed person has put others including their employees or members of the public at risk, violating healthy and safety regulations. This could involve many factors, including poor control of toxic materials, lack of planning, , failing to train or supervise staff properly, lack of use of personal protective equipment, and unsuitable equipment usage.

A few specific examples of these material breaches could include:

  • Poorly maintained or misuse of ladders
  • Unhygienic or non-existent welfare facilities
  • Inadequate planning and/or supervising work at height
  • Not providing guards or effective safety devices to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery
  • Materials containing asbestos in a poor or damaged condition resulting in the potential to release asbestos fibres

These breaches could be discovered during an unannounced HSE visit, or following a health and safety incident leading to a HSE intervention. The total of the FFI is based on the amount of time it takes the HSE to identify and complete their regulatory action relating to the material breach, and the hourly rate charged is £129. This includes not only the time taken in the original inspection but all the follow up action, correspondence and revisits needed.

Upon a satisfactory resolution of the health and safety breaches, the inspector will provide a written notice, detailing the amount to be paid and how health and safety regulations were violated in the material breach.

 

Who is impacted by Fee For Intervention?

By and large, the construction and manufacturing industries bear a majority of the burden when it comes to HSE regulations and FFIs.

Construction companies have received nearly 28% of the overall total number of FFI invoices, while manufacturing represents 36% of FFIs issued.

 

While private companies have received the bulk of all FFI charges, those who are self-employed come in second place. But not everyone is at risk of an FFI – The HSE has provided the following list of those to whom the fee does not apply:

  • Those who are regulated by Local Authorities, not the HSE
  • Self-employed people who don’t put people at risk by their work
  • Those who are already paying fees to HSE for the work through other arrangements
  • Those who deliberately work with certain biological agents.

With such a small list of exceptions, it’s important to understand that your clients could be at risk for receiving an FFI if they are not compliant with HSE regulations.

How businesses can avoid FFI

The HSE has put these in place so that greater responsibility is taken to follow potentially life-saving regulations. Bearing this in mind, the easiest way to avoid FFI is to comply with health and safety laws.

Businesses must have suitable systems in place to protect employees, visitors and the public from harm. It’s also important to have up-to-date risk assessments and health and safety policies readily available to employees, ensuring they have relevant training for the hazards of their workplace.

High on this list of preparedness is making sure your clients have the capability to recover from an FFI.

How Lorega can help

Lorega’s team of health and safety specialists are aware of the impact that an FFI can have on the success of SMEs. We provide HSE Recovery insurance to support businesses with independent, expert health and safety professionals who can help your clients navigate the process of a HSE inspection. The policy will also cover up to £25k of FFI charges, should the HSE discover one of your clients has materially breached health and safety regulations.

Case Study: expert advice on hand when a family home goes up in flames

Case Study: expert advice on hand when a family home goes up in flames

When an elderly couple who had lived in their family home for over 40 years woke up in the night to discover it was on fire, they were absolutely devastated.

The lady of the house was the first to realise something was wrong, after being woken up by a sound in the loft. Upon heading outside to investigate, she saw the roof was on fire and immediately rang 999. The emergency services attended straight away, but despite their best efforts the roof collapsed and the entire first floor of the house was very badly fire damaged. Furthermore, the actions of the fire brigade in stopping the fire resulted in severe water damage to the ground floor of the property.

Luckily, the home owners had taken out a comprehensive insurance policy that covered the damage to the buildings and contents, and had also bought a loss recovery policy to provide a chartered loss adjuster, working directly for them to manage the claim and get the fairest settlement.

Having been occupied by the same family for many decades, there were items belonging to several generations, and many old, valuable pieces of furniture and artwork. There was also a lengthy process to determine which items were salvageable and could be saved or restored, and what was beyond repair.

Our adjuster organised for specialist contractors to be appointed to carry out the restoration of the house, removing the salvageable contents.

They agreed for a surveyor to start drawing up a schedule of the building works and carry out emergency works, another process that the policyholder would’ve found difficult to undertake without expert guidance from a claims expert.

The adjuster was also on hand to guide the process of some additional building works and layout changes, financed by the policyholder, to be undertaken concurrently with the restoration work. The repair took 15 months in total – a stressful period for any home owner, but particularly for an elderly couple in need of total assistance getting their home life back on track.

By having one of Lorega’s chartered loss adjusters on hand to handle the claim and negotiate with insurers, they were able to avoid unnecessary stress and concentrate on looking after the family while their home was rebuilt.

Should your clients be spring cleaning their health and safety practices?

Should your clients be spring cleaning their health and safety practices?

Spring is synonymous with fresh starts and new beginnings, and there’s something about the season that compels us to tidy up and get organised. So, what better time for your clients to review their current health and safety practices, to make sure they’re taking sufficient steps to limit risk while meeting legal requirements?

We have put together our Health and Safety Risk Management Guide to help business owners ensure that they’ve ticked all the boxes when it comes to keeping themselves, their staff, and anyone who comes into contact with the business, safe.

Below are five tips taken from the guide that brokers can share with their clients.

These can assist them in spring cleaning their health and safety practices.

  1. Draw up a policy

Do you have five or more employees? If so, you need to have a written health and safety policy, which is likely to be checked by a HSE inspector. The policy should outline responsibilities and contain a list of procedures in place. You must make every staff member aware of the document, which should be supplemented by a HSE poster outlining your responsibilities as an employer.

  1. Conduct risk assessments

You need to evaluate possible health and safety risks within the workplace – from working at heights to manual handling – and outline how employees can minimise them. The more meticulous you are with this process, the better; and if you have more than five members of staff working for you, any significant findings from risk assessments must be written down.

  1. Provide adequate training

Lack of training increases the likelihood of serious accidents occurring within the workplace. Rules need to be put in place which outline your expectations of staff, as well as what they are and are not authorised to do. Certain types of work require specific training or qualifications and should only be carried out by competent persons; and you provide new training whenever new processes or equipment are introduced.

  1. Supply staff with the correct protective clothing

Chances are, some of the work your staff undertake requires them to wear protective clothing – and it’s your duty to supply it to them, free of charge. From hard hats to goggles and ear protection, you are responsible for maintaining and replacing all equipment, and making sure that it is worn by staff at all times whenever necessary.

  1. Maintain and inspect equipment

Regular maintenance is key to keeping equipment in tip-top condition. In most cases, this will entail basic checks; however, things like gas and pressure systems require specialist inspection. Bear in mind that if any staff provide their own tools and equipment, they still need to be safety checked and approved. 

HSE Recovery Insurance

Reading the full content of our risk management guide can help to protect any business that is regulated by the HSE, and taking out HSE Recovery Insurance can further protect your clients.