General liability insurance coverage is an essential component of business insurance, providing coverage if someone accuses your business of causing property damage or bodily injury. Slips and falls are some of the most common bodily injury claims filed against businesses.
Fortunately, there are many proactive steps you can take to mitigate slip and fall claims. OSHA suggests the following:
- Keep floors clean and dry
- Provide warning signs for wet areas
- Use non-slip mats and walkways for areas prone to wet hazards
- Keep walkways, passages, and exits clear of obstruction and floors in good repair
- Clean up and report spills and other slip hazards immediately
- Provide adequate lighting
- Eliminate uneven floor spaces if possible and mark any floor level changes.
All of these steps will help prevent slips, trips and falls for both your customers and your employees, but what happens when a trip and fall is intentional?
Real Life Examples of Slip and Fall Fraud
Slip and fall fraud has become a moneymaker for many criminals. In 2018, five New York men were charged with a fraud scheme of approximately $31,000,000 in false slip and fall claims. Some of the “victims” even went as far as to have unnecessary surgeries to increase the claim payout.
Here is another New Jersey resident who was caught on camera faking a slip and fall. Fortunately, the business owner had this surveillance footage and the claimant was required to reimburse the insurance company for the false claim.
How Video Can Help
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), video footage of accidents can help your insurer deny fraudulent claims. If you use video surveillance systems, NICB recommends that you:
- Post signs stating that video is in use
- Review video footage regularly
- Train employees on proper claim protocol and how to handle slips and falls
- Interview witnesses to any accidents immediately
- Let your insurance company know about any claims right away and provide any witness statements, victim statements, video surveillance, and any other information that would be beneficial to understanding the claim
- Do not negotiate with the victim – allow the insurer to investigate and manage the claim
The Trickle-Down Economics of Claims
You may be wondering why all this matters. If your insurer is paying the claims, why does it matter to you? When your business incurs claims, your insurance rates may be increased as a result. In the worst-case scenario, an insurer may choose to non-renew your policy; potentially forcing you into surplus markets with higher rates and lower coverages.
Higher insurance rates can cause a trickle-down effect for businesses. As a result of higher insurance rates, you may have to increase your prices, causing you to lose customers to the competition. Employees may not receive bonuses or raises which could cause them to look for other jobs. In extreme cases, it could even mean the loss of your business.
The only one who wins in a fraudulent slip and fall claim is the fraudulent claimant. You, the business owner, and your insurance company lose money and waste time trying to fight the claim. If it can’t be proven fraudulent, then even more money is wasted paying the so-called victim.
If you need help with assessing your business for slip and fall hazards or have any other questions concerning fraudulent claims, please contact your agent at BNC Agency.