Need info/advice on dealing with insurance company

I accidentally damaged a customer’s property in my shop. I opened a claim with my insurance company before showing the damage to my customer, thinking that was the right thing to do. When I sent the company the customer’s contact info, I asked about closing or voiding the claim if the repair was less than my deductible, thinking I could just pay directly for the repair. The response was that the ins. co. would take care of paying the customer and then pass appropriate charges (my deductible or portion thereof) on to me.

The customer is inclined to not get the repair done and not ask for compensation, and has not responded to the ins. co. yet. The co. is asking for further contact info. I’m not sure what to do now. It would be helpful to me to have some insight into the co.'s position. Do they need the customer to tell them no compensation is desired? Any advice on what I should do, or not do, at this point?

The relationship is: You pay the insurance company to protect you from financial losses, in this case from a customer wanting you to pony up for some damage you caused. The insurance company has an obligation to you to pursue such exposures and attempt to make them go away. If they do NOT put forth a reasonable effort to pursue such exposures, then they are potentially in breach of their contract with you, and that’s bad news for them.

That said, they can’t make anyone take their money. If the damaged party insists they are not damaged, or at least aren’t interested in being compensated for their damage, then it puts the insurance company in an odd situation. They wanna protect you, but there’s nothing to protect you from. And the customer whose very existence poses a threat, doesn’t always feel the same dedication to put their lack of desire into writing just to make everyone feel better.

I wouldn’t give them more of the customer’s contact information, because [privacy]. But you might try asking the customer to communicate with the insurance people.

Disclaimer: I work for an insurance company, but not in claims, and I don’t speak for said company.

I think the end result is that you’ll end up with 1 claim on your loss report, but $0 incurred, so I don’t think it will ultimately be harmful to you. At this point, I don’t see any way of “voiding” the claim with the company; at my place, we would only do that if the claim was submitted in error (like, wrong policy number), which is a pretty high bar to hurdle.

The customer, whom I trust thoroughly, would be happy to accept a favor from me (no money involved) as compensation. Would it be helpful, or at least not harmful, for either or both of us to tell the co. that?

It would likely quiet the situation down if customer just told the insurance people, “Thank you, no.” Even better if the customer put that into writing. That a way the company can close their file and not have to worry about customer coming back to YOU in 22 months, and then YOU coming after THEM for not taking care of the problem.

I see no possible benefit in telling the insurance company this. It suggests there is some form of payment required to settle the claim, which just complicates things. The company might worry that you’ll ask for compensation for your time/services.

If your customer is willing, having them inform the company that no compensation is required seems like the easiest way to close this.

I agree.

Yeah - kinda touchy, if I sense the relationship betw you and the customer. But depending on the value of the loss, if the clmt forgives the damage, OR accepts a “favor” from you in return, it would be nice to get some documentation. Maybe a simple “receipt” for the “favor” in complete satisfaction for the unfortunate “damage” that occurred in your shop.

(Not your lawyer!)