Imagine that a customer slips and falls in your store. The customer doesn’t seem badly injured. You ask if they need anything, they say they think they’re OK, and they leave. You’re relieved that it wasn’t more serious. Over the next week or two, you don’t think about the incident much – until you receive a letter in the mail. The customer is suing. Although they didn’t seem to have any injuries at the time, they’re now claiming serious back injuries, and they’re blaming your store’s allegedly negligent practices for contributing to the accident.

By this time, your memory of the incident has faded. You don’t think the floor was wet, but now you can’t be sure. The customer didn’t appear to be hurt, but you don’t have a statement from them. You call your insurer to report the claim, something you were hoping to avoid.

At this point, the insurer might not be too happy with you. The problem isn’t that the incident occurred. It’s that you didn’t report it immediately. When a claim happens, prompt reporting is an essential part of risk control.

Steps After an Incident

If a slip-and-fall or other incident occurs at your store, your immediate response can make a difference in the outcome.

  • Help the customer. Make sure they’re OK.
  • Arrange for medical care if needed.
  • Gather witness statements and contact information.
  • Take photographs of the area and obtain security camera footage.
  • Contact your insurer to report the claim!

Report Claims That Day

When you’re running a business, the day can get hectic. Non-essential tasks may get pushed off to the next day – but reporting a claim is not non-essential. Claims should be reported as soon as possible. That means the same day, not whenever you get some free time.

Don’t Dismiss Incidents

You don’t always know right away if an incident is going to result in a claim. Go ahead and report it. When it comes to liability, your insurer wants to know about any potential problems. Time is of the essence, so don’t wait until you know you have a problem. By then, valuable time will have passed.

The Benefits of Prompt Reporting

Reporting claims promptly can reduce the overall cost of the claim.

  • The insurer can help with risk management. Your insurer may have tips to help you get the situation under control.
  • The investigation can start immediately. Memories fade quickly, so it’s important to interview people as soon as possible. It’s also important to take photographs and collect video footage of the store conditions at the time of the incident. If you wait, valuable security footage may have been recorded over.
  • Finally, your policy may require timely reporting. Don’t risk your coverage by keeping information from your insurer.

Download our Prompt Incident Reporting Safety Tip and regularly train and monitor your team to ensure best practices are followed. Talk to the grocery insurance team at RiskPoint Advisors to ensure you have adequate protection against this costly exposure.

Joe Scarpello Melissa Johnson
253.444.5584 253.444.5654
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