COVID-19 & Business Closures
In March of 2020, the United States began responding nationally to the widespread COVID-19 virus pandemic. As as result, Orders were placed across the country shutting down, and effectively devastating, our businesses and economy. Prior to the pandemic, many of these businesses had purchased insurance policies specifically covering "business interruption". Business interruption is a type of insurance coverage for businesses who suffers losses resulting in a disaster. These policies can cover, among other things: lost revenue, employee wages, rent or lease payments, taxes, relocation costs, and loan payments. Such loss may come from disaster-related closures of the businesses facility(ies), physical damage to the business, and/or a rebuilding process or required clean up after a disaster.
Making a Claim & Claim Denials
Insurance companies across America are denying businesses their rightful business interruption coverage resulting from COVID-19. In 2018 alone, the insurance industry had net premiums totaling $1.22 trillion. Their knowledge of the potential economic affects on businesses has been demonstrated, and continues to be, since the SARS discovery and outbreak in 2003 and later the Swine flu in 2009. Therefore, insurance companies have known of the potential effects viruses such as COVID-19 would have on business and the economy.
Currently, businesses are in one of two categories and each should act accordingly to protect their legal rights:
Business Owners with Business Interruption Policies Who Have Yet To File a Claim. Prior to making a claim, we encourage you to consult an attorney to avoid using claim language that may limit your potential recovery or trigger exclusion clauses in your policy. Careful analysis of your policy coverage and exclusion provisions will be key to determining your potential coverage and asserting your legal rights.
Business Owners with Business Interruption Policies Whose Claims have been Denied. Even if your claim has been denied, your claim may have been wrongfully denied and you may have a right to coverage. Legal advice and analysis is crucial in determining if your claim was wrongfully denied.
Insurance Policy Types
There are two major types of insurance policies related to business interruptions:
All-Risk Policies: this type of policy covers the insured from all the possible risks that the business could be exposed to, except those specifically excluded in the policy. Therefore, in the absence of an applicable exclusion, courts in the past have interpreted policies as covering such non-excluded risks. In other words, if it is not expressly excluded, there is a strong argument that these risks are covered by an All-Risk Policy.
Named Perils Policies: this type of policy provides coverage on losses incurred to your property or business from hazards or events that have been specifically named in the policy. In a Named Perils Policy, the burden of proof is on the insured to demonstrate that the risk is covered. Even if you have a Named Perils Policy that does not include, for example, viruses, this does not mean that you are not entitled to coverage.
What Our Attorneys Can Do For You
You may be entitled to compensation for insurance coverage you have diligently acquired, but have yet to make a claim or have a claim that has been wrongfully denied. In an effort to fight the unethical business practices of these insurance companies, the following firms have teamed up to assist those businesses affected: Matthews & Associates, Freese & Goss, and The Flores Law Group. Our firms know insurance companies will aggressively defend their position that these claims are not covered based on policy language they have drafted. We nevertheless have the resources and creative powers to launch a strong initiative to help American businesses recover their losses. One of our qualified Business Interruption Claims Attorneys can carefully review your insurance policy and your losses, and aggressively pursue viable claims. With 150+ years of combined experience in business insurance claims, our team includes many seasoned trial lawyers who will fight the insurance industry for you.
If you own a business and have been denied claims by your insurer over the government-ordered Covid-19 shutdown, please contact Freese & Goss today for a confidential, free legal consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do.