Suffered a loss? Here’s what to do now.

Your Adventist site has experienced a property loss. To get the best possible outcome, and get you back to the business of mission sooner DOCUMENTATION IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL.

We cannot stress this enough. Good documentation will help your site THE MOST in the event of a covered loss. Without it, you may be at the mercy of a loss adjuster’s ‘opinion’ of what happened which could result in a less favourable reinstatement outcome. It won’t be easy work, but it will be worth it for the best financial outcome.

When a property loss happens, we strongly recommend the following:

1. Notify RMS quickly.

First and foremost – Do not remove any damaged property, plant and equipment! Call RMS first and we will arrange for the damaged property to be viewed in situ by a loss adjuster or give permission to remove or move damaged property due to safety, to reduce further damage, or to recover. If the property, plant and equipment needs to be removed place in temporary storage, do not throw out.

We have made it SO easy to notify RMS of a loss. It takes only a minute to complete our simple Online Loss Notification form.

2. Before and After – photos and videos

Only if it is safe to do so, take photos and videos of any damage. This provides you with key evidence to give to assessors that could help prove that any damage is a direct result of the loss event. Send these images and videos to us to backup your claim.

If you have time before bad weather arrives, it helps to have photos and videos from in and around the property to show the current condition of the buildings both internally and externally, including fences, footpaths and shade sails – even the contents of any fridges or freezers.

3. Document everything, DAILY – Detail matters.

Write up a detailed account of everything you saw and heard, with respect to the damaged property. If you saw rainwater coming into the property, or any other damage, note down exactly what you saw. What did you hear? Did you hear a tree fall and impact something, or water pouring down the internal walls? Did you see hail shredding a shade sail? Just be sure to always give a truthful recount of what you heard and saw.

The most important thing is that your notes are “contemporaneous”. This simply means they were written immediately or as soon as possible after the event. If this is sent as an email to us at the time of writing, even better, as that provides further proof of your proactive steps to avoid delay.

Keep a daily diary and take notes of conversations, meetings, phone calls and any action points.

This type of evidence will often be given more weight than the judgement of someone coming out to the property weeks later and giving their opinion about what the loss event did or did not do to the property. It is why we ask you to notify us immediately of any loss event, or any event that might result in a loss.

Create a detailed list or an inventory of items damaged or lost. Ensure you have a way of finding invoices, receipts and/or photos of your site’s contents should an assessor ask for these to be provided, as this helps prove ownership (if necessary) and the cost to replace.

It is also worth tracking how much time site employees spend on claim related activity.

4. Evidence to support all costs. 

Any business continuity decisions must be supported with relevant documentation. Eg. work orders, time sheets, emails, invoices, quotes.  

An important word about inspecting a site after a significant weather event…

Where a site, such as a church that is only open on Sabbath, may have a storm on a Sunday evening, for example, any damage could potentially go unreported for another week until the next Sabbath service. It is helpful if a pastor, elder or senior officer is available to inspect a site only when it is safe to do so to ascertain if there has been any damage and report to RMS.

We must stress that in the event of a loss or natural disaster we would never expect you to put yourself or anyone else in harm’s way. If you discover that your Adventist site has fallen trees, power lines down, flooding, is under direct bush fire threat or structurally compromised please immediately seek the support of emergency services or the SES, please do not attempt to rectify the situation yourself.

When large scale loss events and natural disasters occur we work closely with our insurers and loss adjusters to restore every Adventist site impacted. Your claim will take time to resolve during these times. We’re thankful for your patience, cooperation and understanding, and appreciate greatly when you reach out to us as soon as possible after a loss.

Risk Management Service has helped the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its entities in the South Pacific through damaging and significant loss events since 1972. We are Adventist and we are here to support you. We hope and pray that you are safe, and that you never need to use any of the above information, but if and when you do, know that we will be here for you.