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August 29, 2017

Business leaders in a variety of industries are tasked with protecting their people and their assets in times of distress. A&M has compiled a short list of action items that business leaders should take heed of now and in the days to come in order to maximize recoveries from property damage and business interruption insurance claims:

  1. It is crucial to provide notice of your loss to your insurance carrier BEFORE September 1, 2017.  New legislation in Texas, “The Hailstorm Bill,” goes into effect September 1st which reduces the penalties that insurers pay for delaying or denying claims wrongfully (so-called bad faith claims). To preserve access to the higher penalties, draft a formal letter to your insurance carrier notifying them of a loss. Be sure to include a description of the general nature of the loss, the date and a statement of intent to file a claim. Inform the carrier that you intend to seek partial payments of your loss. You do not have to file a claim or proof of loss by September 1st, but simply provide notice.
  2. After engaging emergency services and a restoration contractor, begin assembling a team that will mirror the team the insurance carrier will utilize to adjust your loss. The appropriate team is dependent on the nature of the business and extent of the loss, but will need to address claim preparation, scopes of work, coverage and engineering issues.
  3. Consider engaging coverage counsel that can provide a quick policy review which will ensure that recovery efforts and claim processes are conducted in a way that maximizes recovery under the policy. Effective coverage counsel can remain in the background during the claim process without compromising negotiations or creating unnecessary confrontation.
  4. Carefully document initial efforts to clean up and take inventory of damaged items. Make sure to carefully document the efforts of your workforce in these tasks. Set up a separate section and separate accounts in your general ledger to keep track of storm-related activities, temporary expenses and labor utilized in the cleanup or rebuilding process.
  5. Utilizing the members of the team you have assembled, prepare a strategy for securing an advance/partial payment from your carrier to cover immediate expenses and payroll.

Alvarez & Marsal professionals have helped hundreds of clients recover well over $1 billion following significant natural disasters and have successfully handled many of the largest and most complex claims from these events. For more information or help in assembling a team, contact Dean Graves at +1 713 221 3912 or Robert Lang at +1 214 549 7196. 

NOTE: Alvarez & Marsal employs corporate advisory professionals but is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. Please consult a licensed attorney for legal advice.