Loss History FAQ
- What IS “loss history”?
Loss History, also called Loss Runs, Historical Claims Information, Claims History or Customer Claims Experience is to your insurance what your Motor Vehicle Record (DMV printout) is to your personal driving license. The claims, or incidents in which your carrier paid out on your behalf, are listed, along with dates, and amounts paid and often limited information about the event. This is normally an underwriting factor, which can affect insurance rates for at least three to five years from the date of incidents listed on the history, if any.
- I have never had a claim. Do you still need this document?
Yes. Although we of course take every insured at face value, the carriers will need documented evidence for their file, in case of an audit performed on them. Even if your loss history shows nothing to be reported, the carrier(s) will still require this document.
- If I’ve never had a claim, how can my company provide me a list of claims?
The carriers will simply list “none to be reported” or something similar indicating you are claims free for the time referenced.
- I know about all my claims; can I just write them down for you?
While this would be helpful for our file and to give more detail on losses sustained, which could help underwriting accept your policy for quote or apply additional discounts, this is not considered Loss History, as required by the carriers. True loss history will have your name and business name if applicable, policy period(s) the coverage was in force, any and all claims during this time, with amounts paid or to be paid and will also have an issue date. This date must be within 60 days of current policy expiration to be considered valid for quoting purposes. See sample loss history here.
- I have loss history from last year; can I just give you that?
Unfortunately, no. The carriers require updated loss history for review as claims information and amounts change, and can be reported after the fact for up to five years or more in some states. For this reason, carriers must review recently issued loss history and this is considered 30-60 days from current policy expiration, depending on carrier, program and account specifics.
- Why can’t the carrier just give me a quote before I got through the trouble of getting my loss runs?
The carriers use many factors when underwriting a policy, including things like vehicle type and use and driver record and experience. A key factor in reviewing a business that has already been insured for any time is to review their previous claims experience, and determine what is known as loss ratio. Loss ratio is a bit more complicated, and each carrier has their own formula for application to their rates, but in general it is the amount of premium you paid in, versus the amount of claims they paid out for your policy. This factor is a large contributor to rates and acceptability and so they cannot issue anything more than a tentative figure without confirming this information.
- I don’t feel comfortable with others seeing my loss history; it feels private.
While we can understand this stance, and you don’t have to disclose this to customers or governing bodies in most states, it is a very important underwriting factor. Attempting to hide or refusing to disclose will not help you secure a better rate and may in fact make it impossible to get any rate at all.
- I have a large or several losses on my record; do I have any chance of a quote or fair rate?
Yes, you still can qualify for programs, even without perfect loss history. While several in a short time or very catastrophic incidents are of course going to give carriers reason to decline to quote, it is an understood fact that accidents happen, even to professional companies. There are sometimes other determining factors about claims or claims history that can allow for carriers to quote and bind accounts with seemingly unprofitable loss ratio. Providing accurate and detailed information is your best bet at a fair rate if you do find yourself less than ideal in terms of losses, as hiding information or claims is not only illegal, but puts the policy in jeopardy of being cancelled or voided if misinformation is later discovered.
- Where can I get my loss history?
You can request loss history from your current broker, or from the carrier(s) directly. If you need help with this, contact our office with a list of your previous carriers and policy numbers and we can help you in requesting them.
- What if I don’t know my policy numbers or carrier names?
Without one or the other you will have a hard time. You can usually find both by locating old policy documents such as the actual policy, insurance cards, certificates of insurance or permit filings. You can also attempt to contact the broker at the time and request this information from them as they should have it on file for at least five years*.
*California insurance law; contact Dept. of Insurance in your state to find out more.