BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Are you concerned about business interruption and whether your insurance covers you?
Here in the Hudson Valley, the coronavirus has spread rapidly. The state and local governments have responded with closure of non-essential businesses and “shelter in place” orders. Some businesses have fallen in the middle, open but restricted. This has meant that businesses of all kinds have experienced sudden losses of income. If you are such a business, and you paid for “business interruption insurance”, you may have coverage which will pay for some, or maybe even all, of your losses.
This coverage is designed to compensate you for your lost income as well as any additional expenses that your business may have incurred during a period when your operations are interrupted because of a covered loss. The policy language and scope of coverage can vary significantly. Some policies cover “all risks” that are not specifically excluded while other policies cover only specified losses (e.g., a fire, hurricane, or flood). Having your complete policy in-hand and then having it reviewed, QUICKLY, is essential if you have had your business interrupted.
Does your business have a legitimate, covered business-interruption claim? The answer depends on the specific circumstances regarding your loss and the terms of your insurance policy. If you are a business owner, you, your broker and/or attorney should review the policy language. Policies typically require that you, the insured, give notice of any and all claims promptly, and in some cases within 30 or 60 days after the loss.
This coverage can be triggered by “physical loss of or damage to” the your business property. If the coronavirus has made contact and thus there is a hazardous substance on your business property, that may be considered damage thereby triggering coverage.
Has your supply-chain been impacted? This too may be covered.
The governmental closing of non-essential businesses, and other governmental orders, may trigger coverage under policy provisions covering losses arising from an “order of civil authority.” Restaurants that have been forced to close their doors to customers may be able to get coverage during the suspension of their “normal operations”.
Some policies exclude coverage as the result of a bacteria. Of course, Covid-19 is a virus and if only bacteria is excluded, damage due to a virus might well be covered.
1. When in doubt, submit a claim.
2. Start documenting the claim as soon as you are done reading this article.
3. Don’t be discouraged if your claim is initially rejected. Everyone is navigating through a new world and persistence can pay off.
If you don’t get satisfaction, consider consulting a lawyer so that all of your options can be explored.
This is not intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.
Robert M. Lefland is Senior Counsel and primary attorney in charge of civil litigation and Personal Injury at J&G.
He can be reached by calling 866.303.9595 toll free or 845.764.9656 and by email .
He is available by appointment on Saturday’s.
If you need his immediate attention, you can reach him on cell.