Property Damage and Business Interruption Claims – is there an opportunity to influence the outcome of a coverage investigation at an earlier stage?

Go Back 02.1.23 INSIGHTS

“The first days or weeks after a major event can be strategically critical to the insured’s business and to the outcome of an insurance claimInsurers have the right to investigate policy coverage, but the manner of the investigation and an early reservation of rights can be the first sign that insurers have identified something that could limit coverage in part or in full…

There is an increasing trend for insurers and their representatives to ‘require’ a policyholder to attend an interview, sometimes lasting up to several hours or more with little or no information about the purpose behind the questions…

The policyholder should pause to consider why an interview is required, what information has been requested and the proper extent of their obligation to comply with the request.”

The short answer is, yes. More importantly, it can avoid serious coverage problems further down the line resulting from passive claims handling – requests to attend an interview is an obvious example.

In a world where insurance claims now have to be adjusted and paid within a “reasonable time” (which includes a reasonable period in which to investigate and assess the claim), the rules of the game have changed and policyholders should be more assertive in this new environment.

In the attached, we briefly discuss: monitoring insurers’ preliminary investigations; reservation of rights; handling an insurer’s interview request; and responding to express or implied allegations of dishonesty (amongst other issues).

Dan Brooks is a Partner of Wynterhill LLP.

This post is intended to provide guidance of a practical nature but does not contain legal advice or advice as to what action you should or should not take specific to your insurance needs or those of your business, or with regard to any particular situation.