Source: Great American Insurance Group, Environmental Insider, November 2018
No one wants or expects to have to submit a claim to their insurance company, but when it happens, Great American Environmental is there to work with your clients and provide the support necessary during that difficult time. Submitting a claim and participating in the investigation that follows can be a stressful process. Use these five handy tips to make it go as smoothly as possible.
1. Report Early
Many insureds take a wait-and-see approach to submitting a claim — waiting until they know the total damages before deciding whether or not to submit a claim. This not only raises potential coverage issues under the policy, but also prevents the insured from taking advantage of the knowledge and expertise of our claims department. Whether it be utilizing our Response & React program for emergency spills, getting advice on qualified contractors with pre-approved rates, knowing the proper governmental entities to involve, obtaining information on what investigation or documentation needs to occur, or obtaining experienced and cost-effective counsel, reporting early can save time and money for your clients.
2. Document Damage
Once a claim is reported, one of the first things that the claim handler will request is documentation of the incident and damages. This includes photographs, receipts, repair invoices, proposals, incident reports or any other pertinent documentation. If damage is occurring or has occurred, be sure to document it! Whether an incident leads to property damage, a government required clean-up, or a lawsuit by a third-party, the more information that is documented when the incident first occurs, the easier it is for your client and the more efficient the claim process will be.
3. Be Ready with Contact Information
If the insured’s first call was not to Great American, then they should be ready with the contact information for whom they did call. When a pollution condition arises, a number of things are put into motion. This may include involvement by an environmental consultant, a remediation company, lawyers, federal, state and local agencies, contractors, potential responsible parties (neighbors, contractors, owners, etc.) and other insurance carriers. When the claim is submitted, the claim handler will need to know who has been informed and what has taken place. While the insured may have many details, the claim handler will need to talk with everyone involved, so be ready with their contact information.
4. Ask Questions
Great American Environmental encourages its insureds to participate in the claims process. With a team that averages more than 15 years of experience in handling environmental claims, an in-house technical department averaging 30 years of experience and a division that has been dedicated to providing environmental insurance nationwide for the past 10 years, Great American Environmental is prepared to respond to any questions you or your client may have during the claims process. Great American’s claim handlers and technical team are ready to assist you and your clients in handling the complexities associated with environmental losses.
5. Rest Assured
Once a claim is submitted, the claims team at Great American Environmental will work diligently to investigate the claim.