Supermarkets are often hard to insure. There are at least three reasons for that: First, the number of coverages they need can be daunting. Second, the number of employees (workers compensation) and customers (general liability) that have to be covered can be even more daunting. Third and most important, the sheer number of claims they may incur and have to manage can be downright terrifying. If you think that sounds odd, consider just these four sources of claims:

  1. Slips and falls. Whether those slips and falls occur inside the store from spills and wet spots — or outside the store from ice, snow, and cracks or other defects in walking surfaces — the supermarket could have to manage claims for injuries to knees, ankles, hips, elbows, or skulls.
  2. Injuries to employees from loading, unloading, and other lifting tasks. Those kinds of tasks can lead to back strains, other muscle strains, tendon and ligament injuries, and more.
  3. Injuries to employees from cleaning and other equipment. Floor polishing machines and industrial vacuums can cause scrapes, lacerations, muscle strains, and other injuries.
  4. Spoilage from power outages or other reasons. Storms and aging power grids can cause power failures resulting in the loss of perishable inventory.

In any of those situations, the attendant claims have to be managed and adjudicated.

Connecting the Dots

To manage all those (types of) claims, you can record, manage, and adjudicate each claim separately. If you do, you’ll learn what your loss costs are, but you won’t be able to connect many dots.

Alternatively, if you adopt a flexible platform that constitutes one source for all of your claims information and gives you a disciplined process and workflow, you’ll be able to:

  • Track all your loss costs
  • Identify the trends suggested by types of incidents, their locations, their causes, and their related claims
  • Determine ways to anticipate and, therefore, to mitigate such incidents in the future
  • Better manage your overall risks, regardless of their types or their corresponding incidents and claims
  • Lower your overall loss costs and, thereby, lower your liability, property, and workers compensation insurance premiums.

We don’t want to tell you what to do. But if it were our supermarket, we know what we’d do. And remember: You can’t manage what you don’t track.

Oh … uh … you missed a spot on aisle five.

You can tell you’re really deep in the claims weeds when you start thinking about subrogation. Since we are deep in the claims weeds, we have to think about it.

To put it simply, just in case you’re not deep in the claims weeds, subrogation refers to an insurance company’s seeking reimbursement for the costs of a claim from the party — or the insurance company of the party — responsible for damages that precipitated the claim. If responsibility is established and documented, subrogation can begin at any point in the process of settling a claim.

Here are some examples from a few different industries:

  • Property/Casualty. A cement truck careens around a corner at 90 miles an hour, on two wheels, and t-bones the car you’re driving. By some miracle, you’re not injured. But your car has to be removed from the scene with a dust pan and a squeegee. The driver of the cement truck is determined to be at fault by virtue of the facts that (A) he was exceeding the posted speed limit by 60 miles an hour and (B) driving a cement mixer on two wheels is permissible only in movie stunts and monster-truck shows. The cement truck driver’s insurance should pay for the cost of finding and replacing your car. But that process is held up because the cement truck driver’s insurance company is also contending with the fact that the cement truck driver filed a workers comp claim, contending he had trouble controlling the vehicle because his vision was damaged from falling into the cement mixer. Under those circumstances, your insurance company would pay to find and replace your vehicle. Then it would seek reimbursement from the cement truck driver’s insurance company for the cost of your claim, including your deductible, the dustpan, and the squeegee.
  • Construction. A plumber is tricked by an electrician into biting a live wire. The plumber suffers burns to his face and ends up with a terrible perm. While the perm will grow out, he files an injury claim with his company’s insurer for the burns to his face. The electrician is determined to be at fault for professional negligence and for playing a practical joke in an inappropriate setting. The plumber’s insurance company uses subrogation to seek reimbursement from the electrician’s insurance company for the plumber’s injury, for playing a practical joke in an inappropriate setting, and for shaving the plumber’s head since he opted not to let the perm grow out.
  • Hospitality: The chef in a restaurant bets a waiter he can’t jump over a patron’s table without disturbing anything. The waiter takes him up on it. Since the waiter had pounded 12 shots of Jose Cuervo at the restaurant’s bar before his shift, he miscalculates his take off, fails to get the necessary speed and elevation, and plants his lead landing foot in the patron’s clam chowder. The patron suffers burns from the hot chowder and files a liability claim against the restaurant. He then goes to the emergency room (ER) to be treated for his burns. His ER visit is covered by his medical insurance. Since the waiter was determined to be at fault for improper execution and being over the legal blood-alcohol limit, the restaurant’s liability insurance is responsible for paying the patron’s liability claim and for comping him another bowl of chowder. And since the patron filed a liability claim against the restaurant, his medical insurer subrogates the cost of the ER visit to the restaurant’s insurer.

It’s Not That Hard

Chances are your claims won’t be anywhere near as complicated — or absurd — as the ones above. Nevertheless, we built subrogation capabilities into Cloud Claims to make sure you’d be able to cut through the weeds and handle anything that comes your way.

You and your claimants will be happy we did.