For entrepreneurs and business owners, risks are unavoidable, no matter the size of the business or its industry. Even with a super-efficient risk management process, accidents can happen. And natural disasters or cyber breaches can't always be avoided either. Fortunately, the financial liabilities that come with such unavoidable incidents can be managed with insurance.
These can be of different types depending on the size of your company and the industry you operate in. Some, such as workers' compensation claims, are essential and even required by law, while others may include general liability insurance, product liability, warehouse claims, auto claims, and more.
When an incident occurs, depending on the damage caused, you may need to process claims for one or more types of insurance and maybe deal with multiple insurance companies. Handling so many different claims simultaneously can get complicated, so having a well-defined claims management process in place is important.
This article will discuss some best practices to make your claims management process both efficient and effective.
The Steps of an Effective Claims Management Process
To ensure that your claims are processed quickly and that you, as a policyholder, get the required compensation, you need to engage with the insurance companies early in the process and cooperate with them throughout. Follow these steps for a speedy resolution of your insurance claims.
When an incident occurs, your priority would be to fix the situation by taking care of any work injuries, inspecting property damage, and generally putting out fires. In such a high-stress situation, figuring out insurance would be an additional burden you don't need. So the best thing to do is to be proactive and have systems in place so that handling insurance claims becomes an automatic part of managing the incident.
This can be done by defining steps to make claiming insurance easier in case of an incident, like taking photos of the damage or investing in surveillance to have video evidence of what happened. Keeping the necessary forms from your insurance provider handy and training a team to use the form would also help.
Gather the Necessary Evidence
Insurance companies often require evidence of any damage to process the insurance claim. So it's important to collect evidence in the form of photos and videos to pass on to the provider. If there is a theft or security breach, insurers may require real-time surveillance, evidence of a police report, as well as proof of any security measures taken to prevent the crime or incident. A detailed inventory of damaged property and items, and anything missing, would also help smoothen the claims process. Finally, make note of any witnesses of the incident and inform them that they may be called to state their observations.
Identify Relevant Insurance Coverage
Any incident, especially one that involves both property damage and injuries, would probably require you to file claims with more than one insurance provider. So, after the incident, it is important to identify all the policies that would be relevant. Multiple insurance claims may create complexities if the insurance companies have competing interests, or if the same issue is insured by more than one provider. These issues must be identified and resolved quickly, and you should maintain regular communication with your adjuster.
Reach Out to Your Insurance Broker
As soon as possible after the incident, you should inform your insurance agent or broker about the situation. They can explain the claims process to you and make sure you have everything in place before you notify the insurance companies. With their guidance, you can promptly start communications with the insurers. This is important because the sooner a policyholder notifies the insurance provider, the sooner the claims process can start, which will all help in the quick resolution of the claim.
Cooperate With Your Insurance Adjuster
After you file your insurance claim with the provider, they will assign a claims adjuster to your case within a few days. This adjuster is responsible for investigating your claim and determining how much compensation the insurer is liable for. If you make the adjuster's work easier by providing all they require (proof of loss, supporting evidence like photos or videos, an inventory of your losses, etc.), your claims process will go smoother.
Keep in Touch With Stakeholders
Throughout the process, you need to keep all the stakeholders related to the incident informed of all the progress and developments in the claims process. These include board members, employees involved in the incident, your insurance broker, and the insurers.
It is especially crucial to keep the insurance providers informed at all times because any surprises or challenges they are not made aware of could weaken your claim. If you ensure that all relevant information is shared with the required consent, your insurance claim will proceed much more smoothly.
Consider Expert Consultation to Strengthen Your Claim
Depending on the nature and size of your claim, you may need expert advice. For example, an insurance lawyer would be able to help you with legal matters and guide you with your claims documentation. They may also be helpful in case there are any disputes with your insurance adjuster. If your claim is very complex and involves multiple damages and insurance policies, a forensic accountant could help evaluate the losses and predict the coverage you can claim.
Automation — The Best Way to Streamline Your Claims Management Process
From the above steps, it is evident that the process of handling claims can get quite complicated, with the involvement of several stakeholders and a lot of documentation. Even simple insurance claims require several steps, but complex claims can get quite challenging to handle manually. Automation is probably the best way to make the claims management process more efficient. Here are some prominent benefits of using a claims management system to automate the process:
Manual methods are time-consuming, often inefficient, and leave you with a ton of paperwork, which increases the likelihood of administrative errors. Claims management software such as Pulpstream eliminates the need for these methods and thus saves time and energy and ensures more accurate work. A claims management solution would integrate all your claims and policies into a single platform and automate the entire workflow, from documentation of evidence to notifying insurers and other stakeholders, enabling you to focus on resolving the claim as quickly as possible.
Claims management solutions do far more than just eliminate the need for cumbersome paperwork and spreadsheets — they add powerful functionality that aid in decision-making. They improve user experience by helping with reports, analyzing trends, tracking expenses and payments related to the claim, and more, all in a single, user-friendly user interface. With predictive, artificial intelligence-enabled tools, the claims management software can also provide claims analytics at your fingertips, enabling you to process the claims faster.
One of the most important aspects of the claims process is to keep insurers informed throughout the claims lifecycle. Keeping track of who needs to be notified when, and keeping everyone apprised of all developments during the claims management process is difficult and may lead to errors. And if you fail to notify the relevant insurer of an important development, it may cause major difficulties in your claim. A claims management system like Pulpstream takes care of this issue by allowing you to automate notifications to both insurers and stakeholders.
Integrate All Your Claims With an Effective, Automated Claims Management Process
In a nutshell, the claims process can get complicated, especially for a major incident that accounts for coverage from multiple insurance policies. Having a well-defined claims management process in place helps. Planning ahead by keeping the necessary forms ready and creating a team to handle insurance, gathering evidence, contacting your broker as soon as possible, and keeping all stakeholders in the loop, including your insurance adjuster, the insurance companies involved, and your board members are all part of the process.
Handling all this manually can be tedious, time-consuming, and prone to errors because of all the documentation involved. So, the best way to smoothen it is to use a claims management solution like Pulpstream. Such a platform will improve your productivity by automating all the paperwork, enable better decision-making with intuitive analytics and trends reports, and make communications with all your stakeholders much simpler through automations.
Make your claims management process more effective and less time-consuming with Pulpstream's Claims Management Software. Book a free demo now!