Winter is one of the busiest times of the year for farming and rural insurance claims but how best to handle an incident and the resultant claim is always up for debate, unless you are a claims manager.

“All businesses have insurance and we always hope it is not needed, however when it is, it is important that businesses understand the best way to handle the incident, as this will make any resulting claim as pain free as possible,” said Kiel Selby, claims manager for H and H Insurance Brokers.

As it is an economic risk for insurers, they do of course have preformulated processes to go through, so being are aware of the information that may be needed is key. Here Kiel offers some advice to businesses and individuals as to how to deal with an insurance issue, make the claim, and achieve an early and fair settlement:

• If it involves people, make sure everyone is safe – and quickly consider if you or anyone else needs the emergency service.

• Take precautions to prevent further damage, such as moving driveable vehicles to a safe place.

• If there has been a theft, notify the police immediately. Dial 101 for non-emergency calls and make sure you get a crime reference number as the insurer will need this.

• Gather as much information as possible, the more information you have, the better equipped your broker / insurer will be to handle your claim quickly.

• A picture is worth a thousand words:

– Images of damage coupled with a full written estimate of repair help speed up the settlement of a claim.

– Pictures of the incident location, especially showing the aftermath of an accident, can be of great assistance in establishing liability.

– Consider investing in CCTV for your property and buildings.

• Look for independent witnesses – many claims have been won on witness statements alone.

• Never ever admit liability or fault.

• Report any claim to your insurer as soon as it happens.

• Forward any further third-party correspondence you receive as soon as possible.

Keil concludes: “Whilst we will do as much as possible to deal with the claim, there will always be paperwork to complete. So, to avoid delay in getting the claim paid, sign and deal with this as soon as it received. In many circumstances, insurers will appoint loss adjusters to review the claim and agree on any settlement, so it is important that you cooperate with them fully.

Whilst this may all seem like common sense, we know that parts of the process often get missed when things go wrong and panic sets in. We recognise this, and that is why we have invested heavily to support clients through the claims process and make sure everything is being done to get valid claims paid as quickly as possible. We work very closely with all our insurers to make the claims process as painless and speedy as possible. As a result, over 98% of all our claims are paid.”

With a focus on farm and commercial insurance, H&H Insurance Brokers operate across northern England and the Scottish Borders.

“Having to make a claim usually means something has gone wrong and it can be a stressful time, so we work very hard to support clients throughout the claims process. Once the claim is lodged, it’s my job to liaise with the insurance company and make sure that claims are processed as efficiently as possible and payments made at an early stage.”