Our Broward County property damage lawyers can confirm that most insurance claim adjusters have a vast knowledge when it comes to fairly assessing structural damage to commercial buildings. They can even generally evaluate losses to inventory and equipment based on documentation provided by well-organized business owners.
However, they often underestimate the value of business interruption losses when they do not have a detailed understanding of the nature of a specific type of business.
Specifics Matter When Assessing Business Interruption Time Frames
As explained in advice on Filing a Business Insurance Claim after a Disaster, the Insurance Information Institute recognizes that certain claim adjusters may have experience only with specific types of damage. Thus, when adjusters determine that basic building cleanup and repairs will take three weeks, they generally know enough about these processes to make an accurate prediction; even in an area that was hit hard by a major storm or hurricane.
After considering the completion of building repairs, adjusters generally use formulas to predict the time it takes to restock inventory, get employees back on the job and perform other common tasks to restart business activities.
Still, many businesses are highly-specialized and do not fit the common business mold, as might be true in situations like the following:
- After re-stocking inventory, a chemical company might have to undergo one or more municipal inspections to ensure environmental safety and other issues. Scheduling inspections can cause lengthy delays before permitting a return to operations.
- While most parts needed to manufacture a product can be easily replaced, a manufacturer may need one or two parts that must be specially-created for them — or some items might be made from rare materials. Issues like these can extend the time period needed to get back to business.
- Even though a tax accounting office can return to business after repairing the building, replacing computers and loading data from backups, it requires every member of an existing team that is well-versed in specific client issues to serve them properly. Since it cannot rely on local resources to fill service gaps, it may require additional time until original staff members can get back on the job — particularly during the busy tax season.
Without Industry Knowledge, Insurance Adjusters Can Easily Underestimate Business Interruption Losses
To get a full and fair settlement offer for a business interruption claim, business owners need to take an active role in the assessment process. Discussions with adjusters can often quickly reveal that not all adjusters fully understand the important details that can extend the time period required to get back to business.
In some cases, business owners can set adjusters on the right path by explaining the considerations that require longer time estimates. However, particularly for complex or technical issues, it might be necessary to track down adjusters who have a better knowledge of their specific industry.
Just as important, never sign off on a settlement offer that underestimates the value of a business interruption claim. Call us at (954) 767-6333 or use our convenient online contact form to seek support from an experienced attorney who knows how to make sure that insurers consider all factors before arriving at a settlement value.