Due to recent events our Commercial team has been very busy dealing with insurance claims and ensuring ongoing insurance cover for properties. What have we learnt? James Bangerter, Commercial General Manager, outlines what our commercial team have been working on over the last few months in relation to insurance claims and risk assessors visiting properties.
It is four months down the track from the extreme weather events that we experienced at the end of January and beginning of February, and reinstatement work at many hard hit properties is still in progress and is likely to be for a few months yet.
Insurers were caught out by the weather events as much as anyone else, and their usual claims processes and loss assessing resources were not able to cope. Most insurers and brokers had very good online claim provisions so we were able to submit claim applications on behalf of our clients quickly. Appointment of loss adjusters was however very slow which left landlords, tenants and property managers unsure of the best process. We were all encouraged to move forward with our own solutions regarding clean up and thankfully we have not had many instances of insurers questioning the decisions made at the time. It still made for a nervous and stressful time for all involved though!
Understandably, it appears insurance companies are being more vigilant when it comes to renewing policies, and they are all expecting valuations to be carried out to ensure properties are fully covered for such events in the future.
There is also a trend of premiums increasing (which everyone was expecting), but one thing landlords need to be aware of is the change to excesses applied to flooding/water ingress. It is definitely recommended that you review this and possibly go to the market if you see this impacting your policy too adversely.
Over the last month we have also noticed insurers sending risk assessors through commercial properties and they are assessing gutters and drainage more seriously than they possibly did in the past.
It is apparent that insurers are increasing premiums, reviewing excesses and assessing risk more often and will expect commercial property owners to do everything they can to mitigate risks. These are things Property Managers should be advising on and communicating any risks identified during their annual inspections. From our perspective, future claims will be carried out with increased confidence and we will be more educated and confident on how to work through the clean-up process.
Let’s hope we don’t see so many 100 year events in one year again!
General Manager – Commercial Property
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