When a storm damages the roof of your church or someone is injured in a fall on your property, we know your concerns go much deeper than filing an insurance claim. You have lots of questions, and we have the answers you need. If you don’t see the information you’re looking for here, be sure to talk with Adventist Risk Management. We will help you.
Q: HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CLAIM WILL BE COVERED?
A: Policyholders are encouraged to check with their Adventist Risk Management Account Executive any time they have questions relating to their insurance policy. At the time you have a claim, however, questions relating to the claim should be directed to the Claims Department, because the first step in our claims handling process is to determine if coverage exists for the loss and if so, how much.
Q: HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO HANDLE MY CLAIM?
A: Adventist Risk Management handles claims pro-actively, while keeping in mind the importance of carefully documenting losses and resolving the claims properly for our customers. Every claim is unique, and the length of time it takes to resolve each one will depend primarily on the circumstances of the loss as well as how quickly information is provided to Adventist Risk Management and/or an assigned adjuster. The ability for Adventist Risk Management to reach someone from your church with authority to discuss the claim is essential.
Q: WHAT’S A DEDUCTIBLE?
A: If a loss is covered by insurance, a deductible is the portion of a loss that must be paid by the insured party before the insurance company starts paying the costs. For example, if you have a covered loss of $4,000 and your policy carries a $1,500 deductible, you’ll pay the first $1,500 and we’ll pay the remaining $2,500.
Q: I DON'T THINK MY LOSSES WILL EXCEED MY DEDUCTIBLE. SHOULD I STILL FILE A CLAIM?
A: Even if you aren’t sure what to do, it’s always a good idea to report any potential losses to your insurance provider. In some cases, events that start out as minor accidents can quickly turn into much more, when additional injuries or damages are reported at a later time. Your Adventist Risk Management Claims Examiner is available to talk things over any time you have questions.
Q: WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION ABOUT MY LOSS RIGHT NOW? SHOULD I WAIT TO FILE A CLAIM?
A: No. Adventist Risk Management encourages policyholders to contact us immediately when a loss occurs. Even if very little information is known, we’re here to help identify the information that’s needed as we work on your claim. The sooner we learn about your loss, the quicker we can begin to help your ministry recover from it.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY PROPERTY SUSTAINS DAMAGE?
A: Notify the Claims Department as soon as possible. If it is not an emergency situation, prepare the claim form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
to begin processing. Even if the loss occurs over a weekend, report the claim immediately by calling the 24/7 Hotline at 888-951-4276, option 2. If it is an after-hours emergency, we will get an adjuster to your site as quickly as possible and assist you with immediate information on how to handle your loss. Provide a detailed description of what happened, including information about the extent of damage.
Q: CAN I GO AHEAD AND MAKE SOME REPAIRS TO MY PROPERTY?
A: After you thoroughly document the damages (especially with pictures and descriptions), you can make any necessary repairs to protect your property from further damage. It is a requirement of your insurance policy that you do everything you can immediately to prevent further damage to your property. If the initial loss is covered by your policy, these repairs are generally covered as well, subject to your deductible.
Q: DO I NEED TO FILE A POLICE REPORT IF MY PROPERTY DAMAGE WAS THE RESULT OF A CRIME?
A: Yes, contact the police in cases where the law has been violated, such as theft, burglary, vandalism, auto accidents, or suspected arson and obtain a copy of the police report to send in with your claim.
Q: WHAT IF I NEED TO REPORT AN EMERGENCY CLAIM?
A: If your claim requires immediate attention, you may contact an Adventist Risk Management Claims Examiner directly by calling 1-301-680-6870. Claims representatives are available at Adventist Risk Management 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Thursday. If your claim requires immediate attention and our office is closed, call the 24/7 Hotline at 1-888-951-4276, option 2 to speak with a live person who will take your information and get it directly to a Claims Examiner. The more information you are able to provide, the more quickly the assistance you need can be identified and provided to you.
Q: WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER I SUBMIT MY CLAIM?
A: Our claims department will acknowledge your claim as quickly as possible, usually within a day or two of notification. You can ensure immediate response if an email address is provided when you submit your loss. Our experienced staff will gather any other information needed and assist you in resolving your claim as quickly as possible.
Q: HOW MANY ESTIMATES SHOULD I GET?
A: For most losses, the adjuster assigned by your Claims Examiner will put together an estimate for repairs and work closely with contractors/vendors to ensure a fair resolution for your claim. If you have a preferred contractor, it can be very helpful to have a second estimate for comparison purposes. If no adjuster is needed for your loss, two repair estimates by qualified contractors will be required when your property is damaged.
Q: HOW CAN I HELP SETTLE MY CLAIM QUICKLY?
A: If your building, contents or personal property are affected, you'll need to submit a complete list of damaged items. Your examiner will also need to verify the value of the damaged items, so the more information (original invoices, specific brand and model information) you provide, the faster we can process your claim.
Q: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SHOW PROOF OF OWNERSHIP FOR STOLEN PROPERTY?
A: This is where a documented property inventory becomes invaluable. Of course, purchase receipts are ideal, but if those are not available, other items that prove ownership can include owner’s manuals, product packaging, appraisals, titles of ownership, and photographs or videos that show the items in your facility or being used by you. Your Claims Examiner will work with you to help you gather the needed information to prove your loss.
Q: HOW WILL THE EXAMINER ASSESS THE PROPERTY DAMAGE?
A: For more serious losses, you'll need an on-site inspection by an independent adjuster to help establish the full extent of your damages and give you firsthand guidance to settle your claim. Your Claim Examiner will assist with this.
Q: HOW CAN I BE SURE THE EXAMINER WILL PROVIDE A FAIR ESTIMATE?
A: Contrary to popular perception Claim Examiners don't look for ways to minimize your damages. Their job is to establish the true extent of damages resulting from the claim and find as much coverage as possible in the insurance policy. Your full cooperation will enable Claim Examiners to do their job quickly and fairly.
Q: WHAT IS A LIABILITY CLAIM?
A: A liability claim is a demand for money made by someone who is not the insured to compensate him or her for injuries or damages. It is sometimes received in the form of a lawsuit. A liability claim is made against a person whose acts allegedly cause injury to another person or damage to another person's property. A person (or organization) is liable (responsible) for injuries or damages if he is "negligent"(a legal term). A person is legally negligent only if he fails to use the amount of care considered reasonable in a particular situation, and that failure results in an injury or damage (just because someone is injured on your premises or at one of your sponsored activities doesn't mean you're legally negligent and liable for his injuries).
Q: WHAT IS PREMISES MEDICAL COVERAGE?
A: This coverage is to protect you in the event that a person is injured on your premises or at your activity and pays without regard to legal liability (negligence) on your part. This is also called “no fault” coverage. This portion of your insurance policy pays only medical bills and does not pay any money to a claimant (unless the claimant can prove they paid a provider already).
Q: WHAT DO I DO IF MY MINISTRY MIGHT BE SUBJECT TO A LIABILITY CLAIM?
A: Contact Claims immediately if there is an accident, or if you become aware of anything that indicates there might be a claim. Don't acknowledge or deny responsibility when an accident occurs. Avoid making statements such as, "We'll take care of everything." Instead, say, "We'll report this injury to our insurance company, and they'll be in touch with you."
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF SOMEONE IS INJURED ON OUR PROPERTY?
A: See that appropriate emergency medical care is provided immediately. Notify Adventist Risk Management Claims Department (email email@example.com
, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904, and phone number 301-680-6870). If requested by the injured person or family, provide them with contact information for ARM Claims.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE SUES OUR MINISTRY?
A: If you receive a summons and complaint, notify Adventist Risk Management Claims Department immediately so that we can evaluate and respond to protect the good name and assets of the denomination.
Your church or ministry will receive two documents from the plaintiff's lawyer: the Complaint (a description of the lawsuit), and the Summons (a legal requirement for your response within a specified time period). Generally, you have 20 days to file an answer. In some states, the response time can be a little longer.
However, if you fail to file an answer within the time limit, the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) may move for a default judgment. When a court enters a default judgment, it means that the plaintiff wins by default just because the opposing party did not show up and defend against the allegations made, and the defendant (the person against whom the lawsuit was filed) usually has little opportunity to defend its actions at that point, even if it did nothing to cause the alleged injuries/damages. (It may also be that the defendant's insurance company would not cover any monetary award that the court requires the defendant to pay to the plaintiff since they never had a chance to contest the suit).