The Claims Process
You have arranged liability insurance to protect you in the event of a claim, so what happens when something goes wrong and you need to call on the policy to help.
How does it all work?
Most claims we see are for property damage and this sort of damage is picked up under the Public Liability section of your policy - but if you want to ensure that your insurers will deal with it properly, then right from the off there are certain obligations on you.
Report the Incident
There is a set procedure that needs to be followed.
You need to report it promptly usually in writing within 30 days of the incident happening. You should always report it to your broker first - they are the professionals that will help you through the whole process and they will be able to help.
Claims that involve bodily injury need to be reported in a much quicker fashion, usually within 7 days of them happening.
Dealing with your customer
The next bit is very important:
When you are dealing with your customer you must not admit that you are liable for what has happened or make any offer, deal or payment, unless you have first obtained prior written agreement from your insurers. If you do, the insurers may reduce any payment that is made.
We see lots of our clients attempting to rectify issues in the first instance and from a customer service point of view that is exactly the right thing to do. However all such action needs to be taken with the above in mind, should you feel it may be ultimately one for your insurers - make no admission of liability and no offer to pay.
You can, of course, reach an agreement with your customer as a gesture of goodwill, but you need to be wary that legally they can still bring a claim against you for the damage. We recommend reporting any incidents over to us so that we can assist with its progress and to keep you fully protected.
Who Makes the Claim?
Your customer makes the claim against you, you cannot claim on your own policy - you do of course need to report the matter to us, but the claim is brought by the person whose property is damaged. The legal owner of the damaged item brings the claim.
How are things decided?
You have to be found to have been negligent in your actions for a successful claim to be brought against you, this combined with economic factors decides the route that the claim takes. Due to the legal nature of the policy, this can take more time than a simple household claim but is always dealt with efficiently and with the utmost care.
How is a settlement made?
Once liability has been proved or accepted, then the insurers will proceed to settlement and this is another area to understand. Legal Liability policies in the UK (not just for cleaners, but for all types of business) are settled on an indemnity basis which means it is not "new for old" - the premise being that the customer is put back into the position they were in before the damage occurred - either by repair/replacement or financial compensation - so if they have had a five-year-old carpet damaged, then they are only entitled to the value of a five-year-old carpet.
Are claims defended?
YES! both Gleaming and our insurer partners will always defend your position where you feel that you have not acted negligently. There are claims denied when the circumstances are not proven - we will always try to protect your professionalism and good name, and of course your claims experience.
When do I pay my excess?
Every public liability policy has an excess for claims arising from Property Damage and our policy is no exception. However, only when the whole process has been dealt with and the insurers have reached an agreement to settle with your customer will they ask for the excess from you.
The claims process is often simple and straightforward, and by the same token, it can get very complicated and difficult. The staff at Gleaming Insurance have been dealing with cleaning contractors for over 20 years and have seen every circumstance you can imagine - our expertise and knowledge working in partnership with your insurer mean that you are getting the best possible assistance when the worst happens.