MANY BUSINESS HAVE EXPERIENCED SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE AS A RESULT OF STORMS AND FLOODS RAVAGING BOULDER
As a Boulder lawyer and a Boulder business, we have seen first hand the damage caused by the recent storms and floods. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those people and their businesses that have been affected.
What Should You Do Now?
First priority is Safety and Security! Make sure to take appropriate steps to protect yourself, employees, clients, customers, and property. To the extent practicable, secure doors, windows, and holes in walls and roof. Expenses that you incur to prevent or minimize damage to your business may be recoverable under your applicable insurance policies; be mindful to keep detailed records of and receipts for these costs and expenses.
Identify each insurance policy that may be available to you and that may provide coverage for your losses and damages. Examples include: first-party property policies; flood insurance; automobile policies, business interruption or disruption policies, and travel policies. If you have not done so, remove all insurance documents to a safe and secure place. If you are unable to locate your insurance policies or copies, request copies from your insurance agent or broker.
Create a current inventory of your property, including real and personal property, inventory, equipment, and supplies. Electronic back-up copies of business inventories and assets may provide the best starting point for completing your inventory. An inventory will be particularly valuable in submitting your insurance claim and negotiations regarding the scope and amount of insurance coverage available under your policies. Interview all business employees and personnel to also inventory any personal items affected by the storm.
In addition to a detailed inventory of the damage, photograph and video record the damage, if possible.
Provide prompt written notice of your loss to your insurance company, agent and/or broker. To the extent possible, identify and describe, for each affected insurance carrier, those immediate actions that you believe must be taken. Some insurers may insist on assessing damages before any permanent repairs are undertaken. If so, obtain a commitment from each carrier as to the date and time an insurance claims adjuster will be available to conduct the initial assessment.
Designate one person or representative in advance who will be responsible for communicating with your insurance company—your insurance agent or broker is probably NOT the person for this role. Keep detailed records of all communications with your insurance company, agent, or broker. Do not speculate prematurely about the nature and extent of the damage, the valuation of the loss, or the scope of insurance coverage.
Insurance companies will generally have catastrophic loss teams at the storm site quickly under the guise of “helping” with the recovery. However, more often than not these are efforts to quickly settle as many claims as possible for the least amount of insurance company dollars. DO NOT agree to accept any settlement offer until you have secured the counsel of your legal and financial advisors and assessed whether any offered settlement is fair and reimburses you for all loss covered by the policy.
Stay safe and dry.