No-one wants to have to make a claim against their protection policy. But, when you do, you want it to be as painless as possible.
Yet many policyholders do not take the simplest of steps required to do just that — and it can blow out the time taken to get things back to normal from perhaps as short as a week, to many months.
So, what are the secrets to ensuring a painless claims process? We asked Auckland based Loss Adjuster Debra Young to comment. She is part of the team at Mainland Claims Management who are independent Loss Adjusters engaged by providers such as Capricorn Mutual to manage claims.
A Loss Adjuster’s role is to assess and manage claims ensuring the Member receives their entitlements as per the protection wording and to validate the loss.
Take out the right protection
Debra’s first tip to ensure a painless claim starts at the time you take out the protection, ensuring you have taken out the correct coverage.
It’s important you are honest with your Risk Account Manager and correctly value your assets or you may find you are under protected at claim time.
“One example is the employee’s tools of trade,” Debra said. “(The standard coverage) is $5,000 per employee, and up to $10,000 per event. However, $5,000 to replace tools and equipment is not very much and if there are more than two employees you will likely require a higher limit of protection.”
Keep an up-to-date asset list
Next, make sure you have a comprehensive asset list which you update every time you make a new purchase for home or your business.
“Capricorn Mutual requires the original proof of purchase receipts for the damaged or lost items,” Debra explained. “If you cannot provide original receipts, we’re going to have a challenge validating the claim.”
Not having an asset list is the major reason for delays in processing claims. Debra gave an example of one business owner who had to photograph the tools he found amongst the ashes in his burned-out premises, to try to prove ownership after a fire.
Debra recommends using a secure web-based service to store copies of all your receipts and photos of your assets. Some services will even allow you to add serial numbers, photographs, and other information.
At the very least, Debra suggests storing electronic copies of all your receipts in the cloud — not just for your business, but for anything you buy for your home, too.
Every time you buy a new tool or piece of equipment, update your asset list and store the receipt electronically. Do it as soon as you buy the item, so you don’t forget.
Photograph or video everything
What if you don’t have receipts?
“If you don’t have the original purchase receipts, we suggest you photograph all your tools and equipment including serial numbers where present and open drawers and cabinets and either video or photograph all your belongings both commercial and domestic” Debra said. “That is a starting point and upload the data to a cloud-based asset register.”
“That way at least you have evidence of ownership.”
Debra said it is important the photos or videos clearly show exactly what an item is, including any serial numbers, brand names and model information.
Read your SOP and PDS
It might not be the most fun you’ll ever have, but carefully read both your Schedule of Protection (SOP) and your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
The SOP sets out the cost of and level of any protections granted to you. It also details the applicable excesses and government charges as well as any special conditions applicable to your protection. The PDS is an important legal document that contains information and details of the protection, including for Members with Capricorn Mutual. It is designed to help you understand all you need to know about your protection provider, for example, Capricorn Mutual so that you can make an informed choice about whether or not to join a protection provider like Capricorn Mutual and apply for protection.
“It’s really important that you read the two documents together and understand them,” Debra said. If you don’t understand them, talk to your Risk Account Manager.
Painless claims are possible
By following Debra’s advice it’s possible to get your claim processed quickly and painlessly. Unfortunately, it’s advice many people don’t take seriously enough until it’s too late.
That can needlessly turn a process that should take days or weeks into one that can take months.
What you do next is up to you!
AU: Products sold through Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd (ABN 93 111 632 789) are: (i) discretionary risk protection products issued by Capricorn Mutual Ltd; and (ii) general insurance products issued by a range of insurers and brokered through Capricorn Insurance Services Pty Ltd. Before deciding to acquire any product you should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available from Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd to see if the product is appropriate for you. Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 460893) of Capricorn Mutual Ltd (AFSL 230038) and Capricorn Insurance Services Pty Ltd (AFSL 435197).
NZ: Products sold through Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd (NZBN 9429041139813) include discretionary risk protection and general insurance products. Discretionary risk protection is issued out of Australia by Capricorn Mutual Ltd. Before deciding to acquire discretionary risk protection you should consider the Product Disclosure Statement to see if it is appropriate for you. This can be obtained from Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd by phoning 0800 555 303 via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting website capricornrisk.com. General insurance products are issued by a range of insurers and are available through Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd as a member broker of PSC Connect NZ Limited. Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd is a registered financial services provider (390446) and a corporate Authorised Representative (No. 460893) of Capricorn Mutual Ltd (AFSL 230038).