When you deal with an incident that gives rise to an insurance claim, it’s usually a pretty crappy situation. It can be stressful, terrifying, frightening, and alarming in many cases. First things first, try not to panic. Hopefully it’s an incident you carry insurance for to be protected.
Your insurance contract requires that you report all claims promptly. Contact your insurance carrier or broker as possible after a property, liability, worker’s comp or automobile claim. An insurance company claims adjuster will be assigned to handle your claim. You should then be able to deal directly with the adjuster to settle your claim, but your broker can be there with you to assist you along the way.
Here’s step-by-step suggestions on how you should handle property, liability, workers compensation, and auto insurance claims.
In the event of damage to your building or contents:
- Protect the property from further damage:
- Call the proper authorities and utilities (gas, electric, telephone).
- Take photos of the damage before having emergency repairs made, such as boarding up windows or covering holes in the roof.
- Call your insurance broker or carrier to report the loss.
- Call a contractor to estimate the building damages.
- Separate damaged contents from undamaged contents. Do not discard any items until the claims adjuster gives you the authority to do so.
- Keep records of expenses if you are forced to temporarily relocate your business.
- Do not authorize repairs until the claims adjuster has given you the authority to do so.
After the claim is reported to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:
- Contact you by phone or mail to discuss the loss
- Arrange for an appraiser to inspect extensively damaged property
- Assist you with your choice of contractors to make the repairs
- Contact you for a settlement
In the event of injuries or damage to property of others which you allegedly caused:
- Call your insurance broker or carrier to report the claim.
- Forward any correspondence, including a summons from an attorney representing the other party.
- Do not discuss the claim with the other party or their attorney. Refer them to your insurance company’s claims adjuster or to us.
After the claim is reported to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:
- Contact you to discuss the incident that allegedly caused the injury or damage to the property
- Deal directly with the other party and/or attorney to handle the claim
Workers’ Compensation Claims
In the event an employee is injured on the job:
- Complete the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Disease form for all claims. Either use the “call in” reporting system or fax the original form to the insurance company.
- Forward a copy of the First Report to your broker in the event of a disabling injury or death claim. They should follow-up with the insurance company for their prompt handling of the claim.
- Contact the insurance company to question the status of a claim. If you experience delays or have questions, contact your broker for assistance.
After you report the claim to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:
- Contact the injured employee to discuss the accident
- Request copies of bills and doctors’ reports for medical treatment administered
- Contact you, the employer, if there is any lost time from work as a result of the injury
Auto Insurance Claims
In the event of an automobile accident:
- Report the accident to the police.
- Obtain information about the other people involved in the accident such as:
- Names, addresses and phone numbers
- Insurance company
- Type of vehicle
- Auto and driver’s license numbers.
- Have your vehicle towed to the nearest repair shop if the vehicle is not drivable. Do not authorize repairs until the claims adjuster gives you the authority to do so.
- Call your insurance broker or carrier to report the accident.
In the event of a windshield, vandalism or theft loss:
- Report the vandalism loss or theft to the police.
- Call us to report a loss.
After the claim is reported to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:
- Contact you to request details of the accident and repair estimates
- Arrange for an appraiser to inspect the damages of vehicles that are not drivable or extensively damaged
- Contact you for a settlement
- Deal directly with the others involved in the accident
You should not talk to others involved in the accident, but refer them to your claims adjuster.
Source: Zywave, Inc.
Stupidity of others is up there on the list of reasons why you should carry home and auto insurance.
You might wonder sometimes why you ever carry home and auto insurance. “It can never happen to me” right?
Perhaps…until this guy comes driving down your block
Need a review of your home, auto, or renters insurance policies?
Call me! I can do that too.
Watch this video and you’ll be thinking a lot differently about your commute home tonight!
Most underride guards fail to stop deadly crashes
On any given workday, you may have employees on the road operating a variety of vehicles. Whether you provide company vehicles or your employees use their own vehicles, commercial auto insurance is a must.
Commercial/ business auto insurance provides coverage for cars, trucks and vans used by you or your employees for business purposes. Your business vehicles are not covered by your businessowners policy or personal auto insurance, so you must buy a separate policy.
When shopping for the right coverage for your business, here are ten good questions to ask about business auto insurance:
1. Is coverage mandatory for a business that uses vehicles?
Yes. Just like with personal auto insurance, it’s against the law to drive a vehicle without insurance to cover injuries or damage to others that an employee causes as a result of a car accident.
2. Is Business Auto Insurance better than Personal Insurance?
Business Auto coverage is similar to the coverage you may carry on your personal auto policy; however, business auto exposures can be more complex requiring specialty coverages to be considered based on individual business needs.
3. How do I find out about what’s out there?
The most effective way to compare rates and coverage available to you is through an independent agent or broker. They should be able to point you to the right type of policy based on the type of business you have and how you use your vehicles.
4. What can I do to influence the premium I pay?
The best ways to keep rates down is to make sure that you’re a safe driver, hire and employ safe drivers and use less expensive vehicles for your business.
5. What factors impact the premium I pay for Business Auto Insurance?
Insurance premiums can be affected by everything from the type of business you operate, to the type of vehicles you own; to the radius you operate your business in, and the driving records of yourself and your employees.
6. What is the reputation of the insurance company?
Make sure you do the research before moving forward with a Business Auto policy. Ask your insurance representative or go online to answer questions like — Do they have a long history? Are they reputable? Do they know your business?
7. What extra benefits are added onto the policy without additional cost?
Every insurance company is different. So make sure to ask about extra benefits when shopping around, because they could prove useful when an accident happens and save you money in the long run.
8. Does coverage vary state to state?
It definitely can. Each state has its own rules and regulations that can affect rates and types of coverage that an insurance carrier can make available to your business.
9. Are all my employees covered by my Business Insurance policy?
They should be, but there are exceptions. This is a very important question to ask when you’re shopping around for the best Business Auto policy.
10. How does the claims process work?
The process usually includes reporting an accident to both the police and your insurance company, assessing the damage, and working with a claims handler. When selecting an insurance carrier, be sure to ask about any benefits they offer in the event of an accident, like a network of repair shops where the work is guaranteed as long as the vehicle is leased or owned.
Source: The Hartford
If you’re a California driver, pay close attention to this one. The Golden State of California is broke and is looking for ways to pay some bills. Aside from raising taxes like our brilliant politicians up in Sacramento like to do as a “solution” to all our fiscal problems, they looking to the highways to generate some revenue for their pockets.
Take note of the following California traffic ticket fines which took effect on Friday, 1/6. Sorry, I’m a few days late on this. I received this information from an email. Apparently, these details were taken from an article in the L.A. Times. I tried to find it but no luck. If you come across the story, please send to me so I can give some credit to where it’s due.
Rumor has it that the California Highway Patrol is under pressure to issue a lot more tickets than last year with at least 30% increase in fines over 2009, so beware of radar guns, highway and traffic cameras installed everywhere and the tougher enforcement of parking rules.
Traffic Ticket Fines (Effective 01/06/2012)
- VC 12814.6 $214 Failure to obey license provisions
- VC 14600(A) $214 Failure to notify DMV of address change within 10 days Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
- VC 16028(A) $796 Failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility (insurance) Note: This fine may be reduced with proof of insurance on or after the violation date.
- VC 21453(A) $436 Failure to stop at a red signal.
- VC 22349 $214 Unsafe speed, 1 to 15 miles over the limit.
- VC 22350 $328 Unsafe speed, 16 to 25 miles over the limit.
- VC 22450 $214 Failure to stop at a stop sign.
- VC 22454(A) $616 Passing a school bus with flashing red signals.
- VC 23123(A) $148 Driving while using a wireless phone not hands free, first offense.
- VC 23123(B) $256 Driving while using a wireless phone not hands not free, each subsequent offense.
- VC 23123.5 $148 Driving while using a wireless device to send, read or write text.
- VC 23124 $148 Minor driving while using a wireless phone.
- VC 22500 $976 Parking in a bus loading area.
- VC 22507(A) $976 Violation of disabled parking provisions, first offense.
- VC 22507(B) $1876 Violation of disabled parking provisions, second offense.
- VC 26708 $178 Unlawful material on vehicle windows.
- VC 27150 $178 Adequate muffler required.
- VC 27315 $148 Mandatory use of seat belts.
- VC 27360 $436 Mandatory use of passenger child restraints. Note: This fine may be reduced by completing a court authorized child seat diversion program.
- VC 27400 $178 Headsets or Earplugs covering both ears.
- VC 27803 $178 Violation of motorcycle safety helmet requirements.
- VC 34506 $616 Commercial Driver – Log book violation.
- VC 4000 $256 No evidence of current registration. Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
- VC 4159 $178 Notify DMV of change of address within 10 days. Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
- VC 5200 $178 Proper display of license plates. Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction.
- VC 9400 $178 Commercial weight fees due. Note: The fine may be reduced with valid proof of correction
So what do you think? Will these California traffic ticket fines convince you to be more cautious on the road?
This past weekend was the Long Beach Grand Prix, probably the biggest weekend annually in Long Beach and by far one of my favorites. We went on Saturday and enjoyed a perfect day of sun, fast cars, thundering loud sound and jam-packed bars. I’m not necessarily a race fan, but if you ever get a chance to check out a live race and get up front in the action, you won’t be disappointed. The speed and noise of these IndyCars give me the chills every time I see them.
Check out this short clip I filmed track-side. This was Saturday’s IndyCar qualifying for the main race on Sunday. Cars are flying by at 160-170 mph at this point on the track:
With the theme of fast cars and driving, take a moment to browse over these 10 safe driving tips:
Top 10 Safe Driving Tips
- Don’t Drive Drunk – More than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States involve drivers impaired by alcohol. It’s easy to avoid driving drunk. If you’ve been drinking, ask a sober friend for a ride or call a cab. If you’re planning to drink, make sure you have a designated driver. The mild inconvenience of taking a cab home is nothing compared to the disastrous consequences of driving drunk.
- Don’t Speed – Research has shown that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent
- Avoid Distractions – One researcher compared the reaction time of a 20-year-old driver talking on a cell phone to that of a 70-year-old driver. What’s more, working a cell phone behind the wheel can delay reaction times by as much as 20 percent.
- Don’t Drive Drowsy – A study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech reported that 20 percent of all accidents have sleepiness as a contributing factor
- Wear Your Seat Belt– NHTSA statistics reveal that more than half of all accident fatalities were people who weren’t using seat belts
- Be Extra Careful in Bad Weather
- Don’t Follow Too Closely – The three-second rule is simple. Find a stationary object on the side of the road. When the car ahead of you passes it, start counting seconds. At least three seconds should pass before your car passes the same object
- Watch Out for the Other Guy – One good rule of thumb to use is, “Assume everyone else on the road is an idiot.”
- Practice Defensive Driving – Defensive driving is not only safer, it can save you money. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who complete defensive driving courses.
- Keep Your Vehicle Safe– One of the most common maintenance problems that can lead to a crash is improper tire pressure. Uneven tire pressure, or pressure that is too high or low, can impact performance or lead to a blowout — especially in high-performance cars or heavy vehicles like SUVs
For these tips and more, visit www.howstuffworks.com
Have you seen this comical Lexus commercial on the air pertaining to distracted driving? This one really applies to everyone on the road. Auto accidents don’t announce themselves.
After watching the video, check out the tips below to avoid distracted driving. Be safe out there.
Tips to avoid distracted driving
- Be well rested and alert before driving.
- Keep safe driving as your first priority when driving.
- Consider taking a defensive driving course.
- Park to eat.
- Drink with a lid on your cup, only going slow and straight or stopped.
- Don’t hold a cup between your knees while driving.
- Pull to the curb to read a map or directions.
- Find out what landmarks are near your destination before arriving.
- Tell your passengers you need to keep your eyes on the road.
- Keep sun glasses within reach.
- Check rearview mirror BEFORE you enter a curve or turn.
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel in a curve or turn.
- Use restraints for your pet when you drive with them in the car.
Last month, on August 9th, a tour bus carrying Japanese sightseers from Las Vegas, NV to a national park in Utah, crashed on Interstate 15 north of Cedar City, Utah. Three were killed in the crash and 11 injured.
The 26 year-old driver of the bus was reported to have smoked marijuana heavily for several days before falling asleep at the wheel of the tour bus when it crashed. He was charged yesterday with 10 felony counts of negligent driving under the influence, and one misdemeanor charge of having marijuana residue in his system.
To date, no charges have been filed against the bus company he was driving for. That company supplied the shuttle bus and driver to other tour operators who organized the trip.
What if this happened to your business?
You might not be in the tour bus industry, but this doesn’t mean an accident of this magnitude can’t happen to your business. Do you own commercial autos titled under your business? Have a commercial auto insurance policy in force? Or, do you simply have employees run errands to the post office, store, or to pick up your lunch? What if your employee was distracted at the wheel and veered off the road killing or injuring others? Are you certain your business is covered for these circumstances? You may want to inquire with your insurance agent NOW to confirm.
Aside from having the proper insurance coverage in force to protect your business from auto liability claims, here are some basic risk management measures you can take as a business owner to help mitigate the situation. Although, following these measures is no guarantee accidents will NOT happen.
If you have additional stories, advice, or recommendations to share, please comment!
Businesses deal with risk everyday. Whether it be liability risks such as injuries to employees or customers, or property loss risks such as fire or theft, businesses must implement risk control and risk management procedures to protect their operations. Of course, accidents happen and this is why insurance is necessary. Here are six (not so fun) injury facts courtesy of Travelers Insurance:
- 25,000 slip and fall accidents occur daily in the U.S., accounting for 15 percent of all workplace accidents. It is also the leading injury to people on company premises.
- Back injuries account for more lost work time than any other workplace injury. Often, the source is improper lifting.
- Fires in commercial buildings cost more than $2 billion in annual property damage and loss. Lack of, or improper maintenance of sprinkler systems plays a significant role.
- Musculoskeletal disorders results in over $45 billion in loss wages and productivity costs. Organized office workstations and poor ergonomic practices are contributors.
- Adverse weather is the leading cause of vehicle accidents and fatalities. Many company drivers don’t understand the risk or how to adjust their driving behaviors.
- Falls from ladders injure over 20,000 American workers annually. Some injuries result in permanent disabilities and even fatalities. Safety starts before the ladder is even mounted.
Did you know that more than 1.5 million collisions a year, or 4,300 crashes daily are caused by driver distractions or inattentive driving? This comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Probably the most obvious reason for driver distraction comes from cell phones and PDA’s. Whether it be text messaging, emailing, or straight talking, people on the road seem to make it their priority, putting driving secondary. Even here in California where it’s against the law to use hand-held devices while operating a vehicle, most don’t seem to care from what we see first-hand on the road every day. If it isn’t the cell phone, then it might be laptops, GPS systems, food, drinks, reading, writing, grooming and other crazy things.
A 2009 study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reflects the severity of cell phone distraction while driving. From dialing and talking to reaching and texting, cell phone usage while driving can be over 23 times riskier than non-distracted driving. Text messaging is by far the riskiest as the study results show.
The important message here is if you’re an employer, you may be held liable if one of your employees causes an accident, catastrophic or not, from distracted driving. As long as that employee is driving in the course of employment, then beware. It’s highly recommended to establish a cell phone usage policy for your business and to educate your employees on the potential severity of their actions. If employees must use their phone to conduct business, they should at least pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot. Or, get out of the car completely.
1.5 million accidents a year is substantial number. However, it might only take one employee accident to affect your business substantially. Know your risks!
Photo Courtesy of TPS Report; Additional Resource: Insurance Information Institute