Filing a claim
In the event your area experiences a wildfire event, it is highly likely it will be monitored by your insurance agent and Markel. Pre-loss documentation, such as video recordings and pictures of buildings, business personal property inventories, should be up to date and included as part of your evacuation materials. Working with your agent is a great resource to understand what might be necessary to help with documentation, if you should need it.
Learn more on filing a claim
Responding to claims early, effectively, and tactfully is at the heart of our responsibility as an insurance company. Our claims associates are experienced professionals who are committed to providing high quality claims handling through fair and timely resolution. Your satisfaction with the processing and outcome of your claim is our top priority. Learn more about our claims expertise.
It will be natural for your business to want to rebuild and return to day to day business as soon as possible but it is extremely important that you take precautions beforehand. Consider incorporating these safeguards into your recovery process:
Proceed with caution
- In order to return safely, check with local authorities to determine when they have indicated it is safe to access your property. Be prepared ahead of time and have a pre-determined checklist of items you want your recovery team to complete before you summon your remaining employees to return to your workplace.
- Have your recovery team take personal protective equipment such as hard hats, protective eyewear, leather gloves dust masks, and heavy duty boots with thick soles. You will also probably need additional supplies such as phones / cameras (to document damage), brooms, shovels, and other clean-up supplies, drinking water for the recovery team and other supplies. (You should determine these needs beforehand and have them assembled in an off-site location prior to the wildfire.)
Investigate for any signs of structural damage
- Building features can shift or collapse in a fire – you should check for any obvious signs of movement in ceilings, roofs, walls and passageways. Check doors and windows for functionality. If you have any doubts or if there is clear damage, engage the services of a structural engineer to determine actual damage and to record the damage for your insurance claim(s).
Check for hazards and lingering signs of fire
- As you access your property, look for hazardous conditions such as live wires, sharp metal objects, broken glass and gas leaks or flammable liquids. Also look for any areas with enduring hot pockets such as festering, smoking rubble, charred walls, burnt trees and the like as they can spark another fire.
Is there a danger of mudslides or floods?
- Wildfires can dramatically affect the terrain around your property and increase the risk of mudslides or floods even with a moderate rainfall. The devastation of surrounding trees and vegetation dramatically increase potential floodwaters during a rain event. Take heed and exercise the necessary precautions to protect your assets. Learn more about preparing for floods.
Determine the condition of your systems
- As soon as it is safe to do so, check your water supplies, sprinkler systems, fire pumps and alarms and your security systems. Determine if you need to post watches in areas where protective systems are down. Initiate repairs to get your protective systems up and running as soon as possible.
- Before restoring your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems – check to see that airborne particles, soot and ashes haven’t accumulated inside any of your HVAC systems.
- Assess your electrical and mechanical operations. Before returning any of your operations back to service, contact a qualified person to examine them to assure they are safe to return to service.
Plan and initiate salvage and repairs.
- In order to prevent further damage to your facilities and interior contents, contact the contractors you’ve contracted with beforehand and begin your salvage operations and repairs.
Focus on the safety, health and sanitation for your returning employees.
- Follow the guidance from your local health authorities and do not use water until an “all safe” is determined. Adhere to the guidance and advice from your local health authorities.
Wildfires have consumed millions of acres and thousands of properties in recent years. They often begin unnoticed and spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, homes and businesses. Wildfire safety starts with preparation well before you see or smell the smoke. You can reduce your risks by preparing early – before the flames strike.