When Mark Moerdler, executive vice-president of MDY Advanced Technologies, in Fair Lawn, N.J., learned that $90,000 worth of computers andequipment had been stolen from his $4-million software and systems-integration company, he figured all he had to do was conduct an audit on the extent ofthe theft and file the claim with his insurers. Not so. Put off for nearly a year and repaid much less than he had expected, Moerdler offers this advice tosmall-business managers:

?   When you negotiate coverage, get a full description in writing of whatever documentation the insurer will require should you have anyclaims.

?   Comparison-shop based, in part, on claims-filing procedures.

?   Don't act alone. "Bring in a lawyer at the first sign of delay," advises Moerdler. "I wasted months by not involving our lawyer until the insurer offered us a 50 cent-on-the-dollar settlement."

?   Take serious measures if your insurer is uncooperative. What finally goaded MDY's insurer into action, says Moerdler, was a threat to report the incident tothe New Jersey insurance commissioner, which would have gone into the company's permanent record.