December 09, 2014
Missouri Department of Insurance experts will be at the Ferguson Community Center on Friday
Jefferson City, Mo. - Insurance experts from the Missouri Department of Insurance will be back in Ferguson on Friday to meet with impacted business owners. Representatives from the department will be at the Shop Ferguson Listening Forum beginning at 8:30 a.m. and at the Eastern Missouri's Business Legal Clinic beginning at 10 a.m. Both events will be held at the Ferguson Community Center.
Recently, the Missouri Department of Insurance sent a team of insurance experts to meet with the St. Louis Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) to discuss outreach efforts for business owners in Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area. The department offered guidance to the local chapter of insurance professionals of how they can assist their policyholders who may have been impacted.
"We will continue our efforts in the St. Louis area to conduct outreach to let business owners know that if they have questions about their insurance or claims, they should contact us." said department Director John M. Huff. "It's also important that the insurance industry be proactive and contact their policyholders who may have been affected."
Huff said impacted businesses who have insurance questions or concerns about their claims should contact the department at 800-726-7390. He also said policyholders should be wary of anyone offering to review insurance policies for a fee.
The Department of Insurance offers these tips for impacted business owners:
- Contact your insurance agent's or company's toll-free claims number as soon as possible.
- If you have lost your company's contact information, the department may be able to help you locate it. Visit insurance.mo.gov or call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390.
- If your business suffered physical damage, make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. For example, a broken window should be boarded up to keep out rain. Otherwise, further damage will likely not be covered by your insurance policy. Keep the receipts for materials you buy so you can be reimbursed.
- Don't let contractors inspect your property if you're not watching. Some unscrupulous companies will cause damage to drive up the repair cost, and your insurance company will likely not cover the additional cost.
- Don't pay the whole repair bill in advance. Pay in full only when the work is completed according to your agreement.
- Be suspicious of anyone who offers to get you more money for your insurance claim. A public adjuster, who is required to be licensed by the department, may solicit you. Public adjusters will require part of your claim settlement as payment for their services. In general, consider hiring a public adjuster only if you reach an impasse with your insurance company. Consumers also may want to contact the department prior to hiring a public adjuster.
- If your business suffered a financial loss because it was forced to close, ask if your policy includes business income coverage.
- Keep receipts and records for any costs you incur to produce or reproduce financial records. These expenses may be covered under the "extra expense" coverage.
- If you believe your insurance company has not handled your claim properly, file a complaint with the department. It will determine whether your insurance company has followed Missouri law in processing your claim.
Business owners can refer to the department's "Small Business Insurance" Web page, which offers information on commercial property, business interruption insurance and more.