Forensic Accountants are accounting professionals that specialize in calculating insurance claims. Customarily, they work on the side of insurance companies. When the insurance company retains them, their task is to calculate the claim with an eye toward minimizing the claim amount. After all, who is paying their fees?
You may be a business that has suffered a disaster or significant insured loss. In these types of losses, business owners typically have Business Interruption and Extra Expense coverage in their Business Owners Policy. This covers the loss of income and extra expense incurred by the business when their business operations are interrupted by a covered loss.
The biggest challenge for a business owner after a loss is keeping the business operation alive and moving forward. The disruption of operations makes that job very difficult. Then, when you add on the responsibility of preparing, documenting and submitting an insurance claim, it can be overwhelming for the business owner. Remember that your job as claimant is to submit a very accurate claim that maximizes your recovery.
So, my recommendation is to make your life easier by surrounding yourself with claims experts that are working for YOU, not working for the insurance company. And that team of experts should include a forensic accountant.
I do not recommend using your in-house accountants or your everyday business accountant to calculate your claim. Although they will likely assist a forensic accountant with your financial data, they do not know the methods of calculating an insurance loss. That could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To find a competent forensic accountant in your area;
1. Use your computer and search for “Forensic Accountant” and your city or zip code.
2. Contact some of the larger accounting firms in your area and ask them if they do forensic accounting. If they do not, ask for a referral to firms that do.
3. Contact the Certified Public Accountant Society in your area for a referral.
Once you’ve found forensic accountants in your area, call them and interview them with the following questions:
1. How many years have they done forensic accounting?
2. Ask for a list of satisfied customer with phone numbers for verification.
3. Ask about their fee schedule.
4. Ask to meet them to see if your personalities are a good fit.
5. Do you have any conflict of interest with my insurance company?
The fees incurred for a forensic accountant are usually considered covered expenses for claim preparation.
With this information, you should be able to retain the best accountant possible to calculate your business loss.