The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has had a dramatic impact on business owners around the world. In the United States, many of these savvy businesspeople are covered by business interruption insurance. Business interruption insurance is typically part of a first-party property insurance policy and it provides coverage when damage to your business prevents you from opening for a period of time.
Unfortunately, nearly every insurer is uniformly denying business interruption claims regarding COVID-19. While some insurance companies may be able to cite valid exclusions, many claims are valid, and coverage should exist.
At Rhine Law Firm, P.C., we take this battle seriously. Insurance companies are asking for COVID-19 test results to prove “physical loss” and damage inspired by the virus before they extend coverage to policyholders.
We disagree with this tactic and believe that if you lose ability to access or use your property, you are suffering a physical loss and should be covered.
Nevertheless, we will need to take a closer look at your policy to determine how we can help you.
Most insurance policies in the United States are all-risk, which means they cover any peril that is not specifically excluded. If a situation prevents you from using your business, your insurer should compensate you for lost income unless your policy clearly declines coverage for that situation.
Your policy may contain business interruption and extra expense coverage, which is often called business interruption coverage. You have to pay an extra premium for this coverage. This insurance will pay you lost income incurred when your business operations are suspended in full or part along with the expenses you would not have otherwise had to pay.
The insurance companies claim that their insureds must prove that their premises were physically damaged by the coronavirus in order to have coverage under the business income and extra expenses coverage. We disagree and are filing suit based upon several theories including one relying on a series of cases that indicate loss of access to or use of the premises constitutes “physical loss” and triggers coverage.
For help proving a property damage claim, look no further than our firm.
Many policies have exclusions that mention viruses. However, not all “virus exclusions” should be effective, in our opinion. At this time, we are not accepting cases where the policy has an endorsement named, “Exclusion of Loss Due to Virus or Bacteria,” and contains ISO number CP 01 40 07 06. These endorsements were inserted into polices in 2006 after the SARS outbreak of 2003. However, other policies have different exclusions, that are easier to deal with, and we will accept those cases. The point is: even if your insurance policy has a virus or infectious disease exclusion clause, you may still be able to recover insurance benefits. It all depends on the exclusion.
Further, many insurers offer specific inclusions for pandemics and communicable diseases. If you paid extra for this coverage, your insurance company has no excuse to withhold compensation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. This declaration should be enough to trigger any pandemic-related business interruption insurance.
If your insurer refuses to pay, call us at today.
Another clause that could protect you during the COVID-19 pandemic is “civil authority coverage.” This coverage provides compensation when an executive order or another act of government prevents you from accessing your business.
With stay-at-home orders in place across the United States, many businesses have been forced to shut their doors. Business owners with civil authority coverage should have valid claims.
If you do not have civil authority coverage, you could still be eligible for insurance benefits, as long as acts of government are not specifically excluded from your policy.
If you’re unsure, you can always discuss your case with our team.
Before you get in touch, get a copy of your policy, including endorsements and exclusions, from your agent. Once you email us, we can schedule a free evaluation, where you can tell us how your business was impacted. We recommend keeping a written log and all relevant receipts to make this easier.
We can also help you make a demand under your policy. This will be the first step of any legal action we take together.
All insurance companies are bound by the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which means they must honor their end of the contract you share. Sadly, insurers sometimes violate this covenant and act in bad faith to protect profits.
Our legal team is here to right wrongs and fight for your best interest. We are experienced in complex civil litigation and are confident taking on this largely unprecedented battle with insurance companies nationwide.
Put over 30 years of skill and experience on your side and get the personalized attention you deserve.
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