To guard against natural disasters and other calamities, many companies buy business interruption insurance. These policies provide cash flow to cover revenues lost and expenses incurred while normal operations are limited or suspended. But buying coverage is one thing — making a claim and receiving the funds is quite another. Depending on the scope of your loss, the insurer may enlist its own specialists to audit and reduce your claim. Fortunately, you can enlist a CPA to help you prepare a claim, quantify business interruption losses and anticipate your insurer’s challenges.
There are two major roles your accountant can play in managing the claims process:
1. Point person. He or she can be the primary contact with the insurer, dealing with the typical onslaught of document requests. This leaves you free to run your business and bring it back up to speed. Your CPA can also keep the claims process on track by informing the insurer about your actions and dealing with requests to inspect the damaged property. It’s possible that your accountant may already have an established relationship with the insurer and knows how its claims department works.
2. Damage estimator. Most policies define losses based on the earnings a company would have made if the interruption hadn’t occurred. To project lost profits, a CPA can analyze, identify and segregate revenues and expenses. The insurer will cover only losses that are directly attributable to the damage, as opposed to macroeconomic or other external causes, such as an economic downturn.
Most insurers require you to provide detailed documentation on the steps you took to mitigate losses during the business interruption period, which is the time it took your company to resume normal operations. The steps may involve shutting down all or part of the business or moving to a temporary location. The interruption period is critical and one of the determining factors the insurer will use when examining the total amount of your company’s claim.
Your CPA can review your documentation and, in particular, calculate or double-check any financial information provided to ensure accuracy. It’s also a good idea to work with an attorney who can aid in the legal interpretation of your policy.
A well-crafted claim
Filing a well-crafted business interruption claim can speed processing time and ease the resolution of any disputes that may arise with your insurance company. As a result, you’ll be more likely to receive much-needed cash-flow relief while getting your business back up and running after a disaster. We’d be happy to provide the services mentioned here as well as any other support necessary to pursue a claim.