Making a big difference to a business insurance claim

Published March 22, 2013

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Sometimes we get involved in a claim where the outcome makes a critical difference to our client. This happened recently, when we handled a very difficult claim for a graphic design consultancy. The incident could have had a ruinous effect on the company’s trading and the owner is absolutely convinced that, if we hadn’t taken over the claim, he would have gone out of business.

An unlucky combination of events

As so often happens, the problem was caused by an unlucky combination of unforeseen events. Firstly, the consultancy had been growing fast and needed to move to new premises. During the course of the move, its main computer server was accidentally dropped and badly damaged. The data was completely inaccessible – and this comprised all the business’s current work as well as clients’ back catalogues.

The firm’s business interruption insurance stipulated that data had to be securely backed up. The consultancy had stringent dual back-up procedures: an intrinsic storage system on the server, which was of course affected by the accident, and a separate duplicate back up. And unfortunately this second back up had stopped working.

How could it continue trading?

The most important thing was to continue trading and, to do this, the consultancy needed to recover this data quickly. It found a specialist which could do this in a couple of days, but at a very high price. Cheaper alternatives existed but would take longer, jeopardising the future of the business.

The insurer initially refused to cover either the business interruption or the cost of restoring the data because the data back-up procedures had failed. However, we put forward a number of counter arguments: in particular, we demonstrated that proper back-up procedures had been taken and that, if a claim was put in for business interruption rather than data recovery, this would result in a far higher settlement.

Back to business

After protracted negotiations, the insurer agreed to pay the maximum possible under the terms of the insurance policy for data recovery plus the cost of a new server. But, more importantly, there was only a short interruption to the company’s trading and it was able to survive this potential catastrophe.

This claim wasn’t easy. The owner was in no doubt that the claim was too complicated and technical for him to handle by himself and that we made all the difference between survival and going out of business. It’s stories like this which make our job so satisfying.

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