What To Do When a PI Claim Is Made
It is the one thing every business person dreads. They receive a letter or email of complaint from a customer. They are unhappy with your work and are bringing a formal claim for damages against you. We have spoken to many clients at this time and it is never a pleasant time for them. Thankfully, the experts at ProfilePI are ready to help manage the situation and guide you through the process.
Below are some simple steps that you need to know when a claim is made against you.
You must notify your insurers as soon as reasonably possible once you have received a claim, or are aware of a matter that could give rise to a claim. An unhappy client expressing their dissatisfaction with your company might be something that turns into a claim at a later date.
Beware, some policies have strict criteria on notification, insisting on notifying within just a few days. Notifying outside this deadline could allow insurers to avoid the claim. If in doubt you should always notify insurers and do not be concerned what impact it might have on renewal premiums.
Once you have notified insurers, their claims team will start dealing with the matter for you. They should offer to check any correspondence you send to the complainant as well as requesting more information from you about the matter in hand.
As general rule, you should not admit any liability at this stage, nor enter into any heated exchanges refuting the claim. Simple acknowledgement is all that is required and we encourage you to remain dispassionate about the situation and view this as a simple matter of business to be resolved.
If however you receive a complaint of a minor nature, dealing with it in-house quickly, is often the simplest way to manage dissatisfaction of clients. In many cases, resolving the matter ensures you retain their custom. Once formal claims progress that is usually the end of a working relationship.
Open and transparent communication with claims handlers and solicitors is crucial. Try to respond promptly to all requests for information – they will want to build a case to defend your business, so assist them in every way possible.
This is a good time to review all files and record keeping. Ensuring you have detailed files, copies of correspondence, signed contracts and terms of business, will help defend your record against the complainant.
Claims can often take a while to resolve. Be prepared for this and try to remain patient during the process. After claims handlers or solicitors have responded to claims, it can be weeks or even months before they come back with a response, if at all. Insurers will keep files open on claims for over six months before considering the matter closed, often without a response from the claimant.
If a claim is settled on your behalf by insurers, do not see this as an admission of wrong doing, but simply the commercial realities of managing claims.
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