The Easiest Way to Avoid Getting Burned by Insurance

Posted on by Greg Palya

The easiest way to avoid being burned by insurance

I always ask the salespeople around the office for content to write about. I mean, they are the ones talking to prospects and clients all the time, so they should know the topics our buyer personas are interested in.

Now getting participation is hard, but one comment really knocked my socks off.

John Coleman, a retired firefighter, former fire inspector, and current ABCO Fire Protection salesman, said “You should write about these companies getting caught with their pants down”.

Excuse me…please tell more.

Here’s what John told me about companies getting burned…by themselves!

John explained to me that it’s super important for companies to pay attention to fire inspection rules and laws, or else they’ll be in violation of the contract they agreed with their insurance company.

When you sign a contract for property insurance, you agree to:

  • Have a fire alarm that covers the entire insured premises
  • Have an evacuation procedure
  • Have the correct number of fire extinguishers per sq. ft.
  • And many, many others

So What Do All Companies Do?

They hire a local fire protection company, who knows all the state fire and building codes, but also knows the extended rules of a commercial property insurance policy.

It’s not always the case, but some insurance companies have their own requirements, such as:

  • A fire alarm monitor must report to authorities
  • You must have a backup battery on a fire alarm system

So What Can a Company Do to Make Sure They Don’t Burned by Their Insurance Company If a Fire Occurs?

The first step is to keep up with all fire inspections. Some fire protection companies will have an automated system to make sure they show up when it’s time for inspections, but some do not.

If you chose a fire protection company, and you chose to not setup automated inspections, be prepared to be left unprotected if a fire occurs.

Insurance companies have been around a long, long time, and they know every trick in the book to get out of payment. They will know instantly, by seeing your records with a fire protection company, that your inspections were past due.

The second step to make sure you are covered by commercial property insurance if you have a fire…is to report all added machinery and extensions of your building to your insurance company, as well as your fire protection company.

If your initial policy said you are covered for 2000 sq. ft. and for $1M in assets, the second you add another plant, or add another form of equipment, is the time you are no longer covered for those extensions (and possibly the entire building).

So What Are the Two Most Probable Causes of a Building Fire?

“Electrical and grease are the two most probable causes” John stated.

Buildings that have a restaurant are the highest of risk. Some buildings have grease management systems, but they are never cleaned and tested regularly, causing them to be fire-happy.

When insurance companies find out about an out-of-date fire suppression inspection, subrogation begins. Think of how much time, effort and money is invested into legal battles. You’ve already lost your business, and now you’ll never get your premiums because you either forgot, or you tried to cut costs by not having a fire protection company inspect your system.

Believe us, it’s a lot cheaper to have your kitchen hoods, alarms, sprinkler systems and extinguishers inspected when it’s due.

Important Note: A fire can take you out of business! Restoration alone takes 3-6 months. In the meantime, your customers will go elsewhere for service, leaving you desperate to rebuild your clientele.

Conclusion

No one wants a fire to occur in their building, and certainly no one thinks it’ll happen to them, but with so many operations happening, you just never know.

The easiest way to make sure you are covered 100%, 100% of the time, is to setup automatic inspections with a fire protection company who knows state and building fire codes.

And then be honest with them about your assets, extensions, and the contract you signed with your commercial property insurance company.


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