From understanding how different types of insurance protect your business and calculating the level of cover required, to choosing the best policy from the pool of potential providers, the entire process can be time-consuming and costly.

When it comes to making a big claim, say for an incident that leaves the business unable to trade, such as a fire or flood, things can get even more complicated, and therefore it pays to be prepared.

A big part of this preparation is understanding what responsibilities you, the policyholder, has; for example, the obligation on you to mitigate against any further damage as a result of the incident, such as physically securing the premises to ensure looters and vandals are unable to gain access. What's more, the amount of time you have to report an incident is usually short and will differ between providers, so you'll need to act quickly. It's also important to get your head around the roles of all involved parties who will play their part throughout the claims process, including the loss adjuster.

What is a loss adjuster?

Anyone who has been involved in a major insurance claim, such as a fire, flood, or water leak at their business premises, will have likely come into contact with a loss adjuster. In simplest terms, the loss adjuster is appointed by the insurance company and it is their job to investigate claims of a certain size.

After a claim has been initiated, the loss adjuster is typically the first person on the scene, usually visiting the premises within a couple of days of a claim being logged. Ultimately, the loss adjuster will be looking to assess the validity of the claim, establish the cause of the incident, and determine whether or not the damage is covered by the insurance policy.

While it is standard procedure for an insurer to send out a loss adjuster following a claim, it's natural to have some concerns regarding their visit. After all, the loss adjuster is paid by the insurer, and a major part of their role is to establish whether the obligations of the policyholder have been upheld and in turn if liability lies with the insurer.

With this in mind, it's often a good idea to seek your own form of representation in the form of a loss assessor.

Loss assessor vs loss adjuster: what's the difference?

While these two professions sound similar, their respective roles in the insurance claims process could not be more different.

In stark contrast to the loss adjuster, a loss assessor works for you and will manage the claim on your behalf, including handling all communications with your insurance provider and the loss adjuster.

All loss assessing firms operate slightly differently and fees will be tailored to an individual claim's requirements. However, as the business owner, how you choose to run your insurance claim will have a marked impact on the settlement you receive, and how quickly you receive it.

If no major building works are required, or if you choose to use your own building contractors, the loss assessor may charge a small percentage of the claim value. In this scenario, the fee is typically more than made up for by the increased settlement achieved.

Alternatively, if the claim includes a substantial buildings element, the loss assessing firm may introduce you to contractors they have on their panel. Should you choose to utilise these contractors, the loss assessing services could be free of charge.

For busy business owners, the insurance claims process can be a tedious distraction from the daily tasks necessary to run their business. Using a loss assessor not only allows you to focus on what matters most, getting your business back on its feet, it also helps speed up the claim process and ensures you receive the maximum settlement you are entitled to under the terms of your policy.

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