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4/7/2015 By Nicholas Sochurek

Filing an auto insurance claim is simple. You call your insurance agent, file a claim on the insurance company’s website or, in some cases, even through a mobile app! (Or, if you’re really lucky, your insurance agent will magically appear at your side after you sing a simple jingle.) Rarely is anyone concerned about how quickly you called, or whether you called the right person.

Corporations facing a claim are not so lucky. And, if you’re the person whose job it is to deal with filing claims, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

How to prevent a mad scramble in the face of a claim? Here are some tips to make it easier for you to quickly determine to whom and when you need to give notice:

Before you have a claim

Some say the best defense is a good offense, and that platitude holds true with notice. The best time to prepare for giving notice to your insurers is before you even have a claim to file.

First, consider what kinds of claims you might have to defend against. Is there the possibility, however remote, that your company might be the target of suits alleging injury or environmental damages from decades ago?

Next, locate all potentially responsive insurance policies to which you may give notice. Read your policies with an eye towards answering these key questions:

When do you need to give notice? Common answers are “immediately”, “as soon as practicable”, or “reasonably likely to implicate coverage”.

Who should be given notice? The insurance company, an agent or broker, or another party?

What else? Are there other issues raised by your insurance coverage counsel?

This information should be stored electronically along with key policy data such as insurer, dates and limits — preferably in a well-organized policy spreadsheet or, better yet, a relational policy database.

Once a claim arises

Showtime! Once there’s a claim, staying organized will go a long way toward helping you respond efficiently.

If you took the steps above, you should be able to quickly identify which policies might be impacted and which of those should receive notice. (It may be that certain excess policies are unlikely to ever be triggered by the claim and therefore do not need to be given notice.)

Next, if you stored each insurer’s address in your database, you can generate dozens of notice letters with a simple mail merge.

In certain cases, notice of claim must be made within the same policy period. Whatever the case, the more notice letters you send, the more letters you will probably receive in response, and the more requests from insurers you will have to address.

Keeping all of the documents, contacts and requests straight can be overwhelming when dozens of insurers are noticed. The solution? Once again, turn to your robust spreadsheet or relational database to track key pieces of information such as:

– Current insurance company contact
– What requests were made and how you responded
– Denials of claim for statute of limitations purposes

Sure, you could keep all these documents in a file cabinet.

But utilizing a database structure will better allow you to link together your policy, claim and notice information, and analyze issues across insurers.

It’s just one reason KCIC developed The Ligado Platform. Ligado makes it possible to store all your data and documents in one secure place online. That includes sending and receiving notice correspondence and documents electronically — a significant upgrade over the traditional paper-heavy route.

Yes, it’s still more complicated than filing a claim after you’re in a fender bender. But by taking these steps, you can sleep better at night.

How about you? What are some ways you manage the often-ungainly notice process? Please share any tips you have.

Nicholas Sochurek

About Nicholas Sochurek

Nick Sochurek has extensive experience in leading complex insurance policy reviews and analysis for a variety of corporate policyholders using relational database technology.

Learn More About Nicholas