Maximizing Your Claim Dollars

Published Friday, January 04, 2019

Here are some “best practice” tips to help you maximize the amount you can recoup from a cost recovery claim.

  1. Make sure to include all consumables. You’re probably listing the absorbents your crew used at the accident scene. Did you know that you can also charge for replacement and/or depreciation of item such as gloves, jaws of life, scene lighting and generators? For a complete list of gear that can go into a claim, please reach out to Charlene Conrad (her contact information at the end of this article).]

  2. Update your rates. When you first signed up for the Response Recovery program, you entered your labor, equipment and consumable rates into our system. If you’re not updating those figures regularly, you may be undercharging on your claims. We recommend that you update your rates twice a year to take into account inflation and increased labor and material costs.

  3. Consider adding restocking and equipment hose down time. This charge can be added to your per-claim preparedness cost, billed in time increments (for example, 15 or 30 minutes) or charged as a minimum fee (for example, a one hour minimum).

  4. Don’t forget about traffic control. It’s commonplace for construction companies to charge for traffic control near their job sites. You can do the same thing. Many fire departments list traffic control as a separate charge on their claim and treat it as an additional cost on top of the response itself.

  5. Bill for non-MVA incidents. There’s a lot more to the Response Recovery program than motor vehicle accidents. Many of our customers also bill for lift assists, fire inspections, utility stand by and false alarms. Talk to us about all of your billable activities. The chances are good that we’re equipped to handle them for you.

  6. List your rates in your ordinance. It’s much easier for an insurance adjustor to approve the charges on a cost recovery invoice when the fees you charge are listed in your department’s ordinance or resolution. This makes recovery activity transparent, decreases denials and gets claims paid faster.

  7. Craft a district resident billing policy. Should you charge a district resident for your department’s response? The answer is, “It depends.” Some departments won’t bill a district resident or their insurance company at all. Others will bill the resident’s insurance company, but give the resident a pass if the claim is denied. However, many departments have exceptions to their blanket charge policy if the resident has been grossly negligent—for example, the incident involved a DUI, driving with a suspended license or reckless driving. We’re happy to work with you to craft a district resident billing policy, including exceptions, that works for your community.

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