Insurance is a tricky business. Sure, people usually know the types of incidents that necessitate an insurance claim (fires, floods, leaks, etc.), but when something happens in a co-op or condo and an insurance claim is filed, few really understand the nuances of what happens at each step from incident to resolution.
Whether it’s dealing with structural or cosmetic damage from construction work, a slip-and-fall in the lobby, or water damage from a leaky roof, the normal course of action finds a building’s manager filling out the relevant paperwork, submitting it to the insurance company and awaiting the compensation check.
But that’s not always a smooth process, and not always where the process ends.
“A super, porter, doorman, manager or board member may be the first to see or be notified of an incident. The building must have a procedure in place as to who should prepare the ‘initial written report.’ Once this is prepared, it should be sent to the managing agent to be reported and sent to the insurance broker,” says Barbara Strauss, executive vice president of York International Agency, LLC in Manhattan. “It is a condition of the insurance policy that the insurance company must be notified ‘as soon as practicable’ of an occurrence or an offense which may result in a claim.”
While a managing agent usually sends the insurance broker an incident report which is generated on-site, there are times where people who have suffered a claim contact the building’s broker directly.