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Risk Management Bulletin


By July 1, 2012No Comments

Any company that has customers on its premises is vulnerable to slip-and-fall claims: A con in which criminals stage “dangerous” situations so they can fake a tumble and claim compensation for their injury.

Because slip-and-fall claims can easily be legitimate, every business needs to either carry coverage against this exposure or self-insure against it.

According to the National Insurance and Crime Bureau (NCIB), the number of suspicious slip-and-fall incidents rose more than 10% from 2010 to 2011, costing businesses hundreds of millions of dollars — not to mention driving up insurance rates — ultimately paid by customers in the form of higher prices.

A large percentage of these scams, often run by organized crime, target retail stores. Although there are a number of variations on the con, one common type involves a two-member “accident team.” While one person keeps lookout, the second pours a liquid or a piece of debris in a store aisle and then pretends to take a fall. At this point, the lookout appears to” “help the victim” and volunteers to act as an eyewitness, After telling store personnel that their injury might need medical care, the victim waits for a few days and then returns to demand (pricey) compensation under threat of a lawsuit.

In all too many cases, the store owner will pay up as a cost of doing business, rather than face the hassle and cost of litigation — not to mention the negative publicity involved. According to insurance experts, that’s one reason why most victims avoid reporting questionable slip-and-falls to the police — which makes the extent of these crimes even harder to measure.

If you carry slip-and-fall insurance, it makes sense to stand up against what you believe are phony claims: The insurance company will pick up the tab for providing a legal defense against litigation and reimburse you if you should lose.

If you don’t have this valuable protection, we’d be happy to find the best coverage for you at the best price. Of course, you should also report any suspicious claim to the NCIB nationwide fraud line at (800)-TEL-NICB.