The Coronavirus global pandemic has significantly impacted not only individuals throughout the world, but businesses and their employees’ livelihood. While the United States is promising nearly $1 trillion or more in bailouts to large businesses and banks in an attempt to soften the outcome, this will only positively affect so many small businesses, and will certainly not trickle down far enough to ensure the everyday working American’s future is protected. With an uncertain timeline ahead for the economic impact, many businesses may fail, resulting in an ever-growing unemployment rate, and a frightening time for those directly affected.
I would like to offer some hope to those businesses that are facing closures for an extended period of time. Premier Claims is a Nationally Licensed and Operating Public Adjusting Firm that advocates on behalf of the policyholders and business owners for their property and business insurance claims. While many insurance policies only cover direct physical loss to buildings and property, many policyholders may have extensions of coverage in their policies that covers the cost of lost revenue during business interruption. There may also be further coverage for business interruption based on a civil authority shutdown.
To explain this further, let’s go through what business interruption coverage and civil authority coverage are. Business interruption coverage typically allows for recovery of lost income and associated extra expenses. This coverage requires the interruption result from direct physical loss or damage of the insured property cause by a covered peril. As many states mandate businesses too close, they are specifically referencing that this is being done, at least in part, due to the damage the virus is doing to the property. This is opening up the door to potential business interruption claims.
Civil Authority coverage is intended to apply to situation where access to an insured’s property is prevented or prohibited by an order of civil authority issued as a direct result of physical damage, caused by an insured peril, to other property in the proximity of the insured’s property. This coverage also is opening the door to potential claims.
Whether or not you are going to have coverage is very dependent on your policy. Many policies have an exclusion of loss due to virus or bacteria. These exclusions generally mean that the carrier will not pay for loss or damage caused or resulting from any virus, bacterium or other microorganism that induces or is capable of inducing physical distress, illness or disease. If your policy has this type of exclusion, then recovery under business interruption or civil authority will generally not be a possibility.
In various states across the country, bills are being proposed which aim to create business interruption coverage for COVID-19 related claims despite virus exclusion. While the constitutionality of these bills is being raised, it’s clear that how these coverages apply may be a moving target for the foreseeable future. The best thing you can do right now, is to review your insurance policies and see if coverage is available. If an exclusion does apply, then you should monitor some of these bills if applicable to your state.
During this time our firm will be conducting complimentary policy reviews and assessments to assist those affected by these business closures. In addition, Premier Claims is dedicated to reducing our fees in handling the claim in cases where coverage exists, and a claim can be filed. We’re here to let businesses and commercial property owners know that we are a resource.
Don’t lose hope. We’re here to help. Please reach out to us to request your policy review to see if you qualify – all that’s needed is a copy of your current, full policy, and we’ll get to work in assisting you and your business immediately.
Contact information: email@example.com or 877.219.0049
Written by Nick Andersen General Council