Improving the cadence of claim reporting can improve the rhythm of the outcome

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Dance risk management news - Vol. 1, 2017

An analysis of 2016 claims reported by Markel's Dance Program policyholders found an average gap of 24.5 business days between the date of loss and the date it was reported to the claims department. While there are a number of factors that may attribute to this gap, studies show that the later claims are reported, the more they cost to resolve. There are a number of positive outcomes that can result from taking steps to close this gap.

You can help control the costs of claims by immediately reporting discovered damage to your property, and any allegation of property damage or bodily injury that is made against your business, even if the allegation is not an official claim. Timely reporting of incidents may also have a positive impact on your overall cost of insurance. 

Timely claim reporting has many other benefits:

  • It allows claims managers the opportunity to gather accurate information while it is still fresh in everyone’s mind. This facilitates a meaningful liability analysis to prepare a plan for an effective defense, if necessary.
  • It helps preserve evidence and potential testimony while all involved are available. 
  • It reduces the opportunity for someone to commit insurance fraud --a crime that costs consumers billions of dollars each year.
  • Timely claims reporting can help reduce unnecessary costs associated with vehicle storage fees and rental car bills.

Reporting claims promptly is part of your insurance contract.

As the holder of an insurance policy, you have a contractual obligation to report claims as soon as possible. A good rule of thumb is to report losses within 24 hours of the occurrence and no later than 72 hours of being made aware of the situation. Many times, insureds are not aware of an incident until they receive suit papers advising of a potential claim. In these cases, notify your insurance agent immediately.

A claim won't go away because you don't report it.

Far too often, insureds try to handle an accident or loss themselves, only to end up notifying the insurance company after a judicial judgment has been entered against them. The insured then presents the claim to the insurance company, expecting to receive payment for the judgment cost, legal expenses, and court fees. Such delays could jeopardize your coverage.

If you fail to report claims promptly, you may receive a letter advising you that your insurance company is “reserving their rights” while investigating the claim, which may lead to a potential coverage denial for late reporting. You may have to hire your own attorney to defend you if a suit is filed, leading to time away from work and out-of-pocket expenses.

Follow these three steps to report a claim.

Step one: Report all claims

Immediately report all claims to your agent or to Markel Claims by emailing, calling 800-362-7535 , or faxing 855-662-7535, with a copy to your Agent.

The new claim notice should include the following:
  • Policy number
  • Insured and claimant names with contact details
  • Date of loss, location and description of loss
  • Current location of insured items, if known
  • All pertinent documentation necessary to properly evaluate the claim (police reports, photos, etc.)
  • For after-hours emergencies such as death, serious bodily injury, or catastrophic      property damage, immediately call Markel Claims.
  • Report all claims involving theft, vandalism, or other crimes to the police when they occur. Get the police report when possible

Step two: Get the facts

  • Write down how and exactly where the accident or injury happened, along with the time it occurred. 
  • Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved. If possible, take pictures at the scene.
  • For serious property claims, take the necessary steps to preserve the damaged property and mitigate any further damage. Make temporary repairs when necessary, and keep all receipts.

Step three: Copy and submit all correspondence

  • Copy all accident-related correspondence, and mail the originals to Markel. This includes reports, statements, bills, and letters.
  • Send all correspondence as soon as you receive it—don't let it pile up.
  • Reference your policy number and claim number on each document.
  • If you receive any type of legal papers, immediately call Markel Claims. If possible, fax the documents to us. 
  • Correspondence related to open claims may also be submitted via e-mail to

Note: All new claims should be sent to

Complying with the terms of your insurance contract is a great way for you to take charge of managing your insurance costs. It is important to train your employees to report accidents and potential claims to the manager as soon as they happen. Make this training a part of your new-hire process and provide frequent reminders to current employees.

Prompt reporting also provides you the opportunity to consult with seasoned claims professionals that help reduce you potential exposure should you get sued. Learn more about how to avoid admissions against interest by accessing Markel's Risk Management Library.

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The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us at or your attorney if you have any questions. The article may not be linked to, copied, reproduced, republished, posted, or distributed in any way by non-policyholders of Markel®, without permission.