An inventory manager at a restaurant steals high-end food items. A payroll employee tampers with paychecks. A disgruntled customer “accidentally” slips and falls, threatening to sue for negligence. Restaurant and retail store owners face threats to their businesses from every direction. In fact, from theft alone U.S. businesses lost an average of $1.13 million in 2016, with small and midsize businesses taking a disproportionate hit, representing 68 percent of the cases.
In cases of theft, the business owners get stuck with the losses and their only recourse is to terminate the employee. And when it comes to purposeful “accidents,” the best they can do is cross their fingers and hope it doesn’t happen again. A better option is filing an insurance claim to recoup some of the losses, but often this doesn’t go far enough because there is a lack of legally submissible evidence.
So how does an employer deal with their insurance adjustor in a way that stacks the deck in their favor? Proof. Because insurance is often the only way an organization can recover funds or fight off a potential disastrous legal claim, it is imperative to bolster their case using indisputable evidence.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Whether it’s a criminal case or a civil legal proceeding, business owners must be prepared to assume the burden of proving their losses. Insurance claims adjusters are notoriously detail-oriented. They have to be, since their job is to minimize as much as possible the amount of money paid on a claim or, if the opportunity arises, to deny the claim altogether.
They’ll call on business owners to produce documentation of ownership, value (in cases of theft), and claimed damages among other information. For even the most experienced risk management teams, proper and timely claim submission is a max-effort undertaking, requiring careful deliberation and technical know-how.
Most claims start with an allegation or complaint. It may originate from a formal complaint from a witness, an observation from the year-end auditors, or even a confession. The ensuing steps in the claim process involve establishing facts, and corroborating those facts, and building a timeline with evidence.
While written documents and statements are essential to the process, few things are as valuable as incontrovertible video evidence.
The Role and importance of video in reclaiming what is yours
When it comes to maximizing the potential payout on an insurance claim, accuracy and thoroughness are essential. It can be tempting for a store or restaurant owner to enlist the support of employees to provide statements supporting the claim.
But eyewitness accounts have proven repeatedly unreliable and not sufficiently convincing for claims adjusters. In fact, psychologists have found that memories are reconstructed rather than played back each time we recall them. Witness statements can often be biased or otherwise influenced by the situation. It may even change if they’re asked to repeat it.
Standard systems reports—like those from point of sale systems or other databases—rely exclusively on transactional data, providing only limited insight into an alleged loss incident. Together, standard reports and eyewitness accounts will tell a skewed, often incomplete or inaccurate, version of the truth.
Video has no such challenges. It’s the great truth-teller, providing the context and intelligence around and event or incident that written reports and secondhand accounts simply can’t provide. Of course, we’re not talking about the grainy, black-and-white footage from antiquated video surveillance systems.
Today’s video intelligence solutions are end-to-end platforms featuring next-gen hardware and fully integrated software that unifies data from various sources to provide complete visibility and transparency across a store or restaurant operations. HD analog and IP cameras provide time stamped high-definition picture and high-fidelity audio capture every detail, even in low light with night vision capabilities.
More important, cloud-based systems like DTT’s MyDTT Enterprise Management Portal, enable store owners to search and recall stored footage instantly, from any device, and compare it side-by-side with transactional reports, witness statements, and other supporting information to tell the whole story completely and accurately.
Bad things happen to good store owners. And when they do, video evidence to support an insurance claim is often the fastest and most effective path to start the road to recovery.
Schedule a free product demo to learn more about how DTT can help protect your business against loss and low-value insurance claims.