Articles Tagged ‘Business inventory’

Filing Insurance Claims Can Be A Daunting Task

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Filing a personal property insurance claim can be a daunting task. When someone has just experienced a devastating loss from a fire, theft or natural disaster, they are ridden with high emotion and stress. This makes it extremely difficult to compile and process a thorough insurance claim.

A home or business inventory document will serve as a valuable reference for anyone as they list their items that must be replaced. Unfortunately, according to a HomeInsurance.com survey, only about 40% of homeowners have a home inventory.

The survey also found that of those who do have an inventory, only about half of them have any receipts. Another unfortunate piece of information is that about 25% don’t have photos of their contents nor a backup copy located anywhere but in their home! Those who do have a list admitted that they were more than a year old.

As I speak with insurance agents, they state that their experience would indicate that these numbers are high. They believe that the vast majority of their clients do not have any information at all, even though they encourage each one of their policyholders to create an inventory.

Many aren’t aware of the need for homeowners, renters and business owners to have a thorough, detailed personal property inventory. Until one experiences a disaster, it’s rare to pay attention to insurance, let alone a document to help support an insurance claim.

Visit any insurance company website and you’ll see statements that you should have an inventory of your belongings. The insurance claim process will be much easier. Imagine sitting at someone else’s house – or a hotel room – after your home was destroyed. You will be required to list every item you want replaced. You’ll need to list all of your clothes, jewelry and shoes. You’ll be required to list all of your electronics and appliances, every piece of furniture, decorative items, dishes, and bake ware. Garages can become a catch-all area, but you’ll want all of those items replaced. Many people can’t remember what was in their home, of items used every day, let alone items that are stored in the garage and possibly used just once a year.

You will also be required to list the replacement value of each item. If you don’t have a model number available, it will be very difficult to prove the value. There are large variances in TVs, computers, power tools, appliances, etc. When you can’t prove that they are of higher value, you will have no option but to accept the settlement offered.

Another key issue is how many you have of specific items. The majority of people underestimate how many CDs, DVDs, video games and items of clothing they own. This often results in tens of thousands of dollars not received just because the disaster victim didn’t know what they owned.

The insurance claims process can be very daunting … but it doesn’t have to be. Having a home inventory can lessen the pain, speed up the process and result in a much more equitable insurance settlement.

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

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TEN THINGS A BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU

Friday, April 13th, 2012

We often share how to keep your house and belongings safe from burglaries, fires and natural disasters. As nationally certified home inventory professionals, and victims of two burglaries, we know the value of having a thorough inventory of your house and business contents.

Today we’re sharing tips from a retired Detroit police officer. This is a twist from our normal safety tips, as these are words from burglars themselves.

Here are 10 things a burglar won’t tell you:

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste… and taste means there are nice things inside.
4. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
5. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it.
6. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.
7. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.
8. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom – and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there, too.
9. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door – understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.
10. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters (don’t take me up on it).

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

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5 REASONS INSURANCE AGENTS REFER HOME INVENTORY SERVICES

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Why would an insurance company want their policyholders to have an inventory of their belongings?

This is a question we’re often asked when talking to people who are interested in starting an inventory business with the guidance and advice through the Hartman Inventory Systems and becoming an member of the Hartman Inventory Group.

We’ve asked that same question to agents, regional managers, area directors and corporate executives. Every single person answered that an inventory will help the policyholder maximize their claim. Visit any insurance company’s website, and you’ll find this information for all to read. They encourage personal property inventories for their commercial and homeowner policyholders. To many, it sounds counter-intuitive. Most suspect that the insurance companies don’t want to pay out, so why suggest an inventory?

You’d think that insurance agents would rather their clients not recover well after a disaster. After all, having an inventory to refer to results in a much higher dollar settlement. Nevertheless, here are the top 5 reasons why they encourage their customers to do so:

1. Honesty When your agent tells you it is important to have an inventory, suggests that you create one, or refers an inventory service professional, they are being honest. They know the company will require a list of the items you want replaced, so you’ll recover better if you have this information. And they also know how difficult it will be if you don’t.

2. Customer Service If you don’t have an inventory, then need to file a claim, there is little they can do to help you remember what you owned. This will be between you and the adjuster, not your agent. Your agent knows that part of good customer service is educating you and making sure you realize the importance of having this information documented before you need it.

3. Saves the agent time and frustration Consider how much smoother a claim will be if you have an inventory. Then think of the stress, strain, and turmoil you’ll experience if you don’t have the photos and written report to help you complete the claim process. Agents spend a great deal of time with disaster victims because of repeated phone calls in which they receive requests for assistance and advice. They also find themselves fielding many complaints when their customers discovered they needed an inventory and state they were never told to create one.
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DEALING WITH DISASTER – KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS AFLOAT

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Catastrophes happen on a daily basis, and all companies must have a plan in place to stay in business. You might be a new company, with just a few months under your belt, and having invested your life savings to pursue your entrepreneurial dream. Or possibly you are a well-established, extremely successful business owner. Either of these scenarios – and all those in between – could be at risk of survival if your business is destroyed. Often the destruction happens in seconds. A fire, earthquake, tornado or other disaster can and does happen.

Are you prepared? A business continuity plan is essential. The Houston Area Research Center cites these statistics in support of the investment of time and money into creating a plan:

35–40% of businesses without a continuity plan never reopen when disrupted by a disaster.
Every dollar spent on disaster preparedness saves $7 in recovering disaster related economic losses.

Your ability to reopen quickly is imperative. The sooner you are back in business, the less you’ll suffer from lost revenues. Customers will be retained because they are aware you’re down time will be minimal. And, extremely important, is how this will impact your employees. As a business owner, you’ll want to get them all back to work so they don’t experience a financial hardship for their families.

When creating your business continuity plan, there are many questions to ask and then answer. Here are my top 10:

1. What disasters could we face (natural and man-made)?
2. What operations are critical to open quickly?
3. Do we have a data backup in place to be able to access our records from any location?
4. Who are our key resources (utilities, insurance agent, CPA, etc.)?
5. Who are our key suppliers and do they have a business continuity plan?
6. Do we have a relationship established to ensure we will be one of the first served if we experience a wide-spread disaster (tornado or flood vs. one-building fire)?
7. Where can we set up a temporary location, and who will direct the process?
8. What supplies, inventory and equipment will be needed immediately?
9. Is our employee call chain up to date, and does each employee know what their role is in our disaster plan?
10. Do we have an inventory of all of our assets so we can complete an insurance claim quickly and thoroughly, and maximize the claim for proper financial recovery?

Though this is just the tip of the iceberg in business continuity planning, it is a good start to begin the necessary steps for preparedness. Without a plan, the odds are far greater that you will not re-open if you’re forced to close.

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

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