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The Big Question We All Have: Do Commercial Policies Cover Coronavirus/COVID-19 Losses?

Coronavirus COVID-19 Spreading Around the Globe

The recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted all of us, forcing schools and businesses to close as we wait out the spread of infection. During this time, we have been overwhelmed by the positive influences of others, and are proud to be part of a community that reaches out to those who may be struggling in a crisis.

Did you know that one lawsuit has already been filed in New Orleans claiming that contamination to the property counts as property damage, and is therefore covered under the policy? The case will set a precedent for future claims, and we are preparing to fight against insurers who take advantage of responsible policyholders who refuse to risk their customers’ health. Want to know more about the details of this case and how it may affect your business? Call us at (281) 549-8911, or contact us and we’ll call you back right away. 

The High Cost of Coronavirus (COVID-19)  for Business Owners

Business income loss is the most costly factor in the majority of commercial insurance claims. When a company is forced to close its doors, it loses the necessary income from customers needed to pay employee salaries, rent and mortgages, advertising costs, and other ongoing expenses. While suspending business operations for a few weeks can be invaluable in minimizing the effects of coronavirus, some businesses simply will not survive the total or partial loss of income.

Industries that are typically hit hardest by forced closures include:

  • Hospitality businesses such as hotels, motels, spas, and resorts
  • Restaurants and coffee shops
  • Travel providers such as airlines, cruise ships, and car rental companies

Could Coronavirus  (COVID-19) Trigger Business Income Coverage?

Business interruption insurance (BII) is a standard coverage in most commercial property damage policies. If your business is damaged in a fire, hurricane, or even by a leaking pipe, BII pays to replace normal operating costs and out-of-pocket expenses. However, this usually only kicks in once the property has been damaged in some way that requires repairs.

From an insurer’s point of view, reduced income due to a pandemic is not covered under BII because the property has not been damaged. On the other hand, business owners may disagree, arguing that potential contamination on the property counts as damage and can be used to trigger coverage.

This is why a thorough review of your commercial policy is necessary. Our attorneys can examine your coverage to determine whether you may be owed payment under a general plan or through policy extensions such as:

  • Civil authority coverage. This insurance provides payment when a local, state, or federal authority orders businesses to shut down due to unsafe conditions. While it is generally used to protect the public from the effects of a natural disaster (such as flooding or wildfires), coronavirus may qualify for this coverage since it has been deemed a national emergency.
  • Communicable disease or pandemic coverage. This insurance clause has existed for years in hospitality and healthcare policies but was adopted by other businesses after the SARS pandemic. It pays for additional expenses caused by communicable diseases, such as the costs to clean the property.
  • Additional coverage. Every policy is different. You may have special coverages that aren’t mentioned above. Once we are able to see your policy, we will explore all of it with you to know whether you have the ability to recover.

How Our Commercial Policy Review Works

We can give you legal advice related to business interruption and shutdowns, and there is absolutely no need to travel to our offices—we can do everything virtually. If you have lost business income due to the coronavirus quarantine, you can access an insurance policy review in three easy steps:

  1. Contact us by phone or through our online form
  2. Send us a copy of your commercial insurance policy by email
  3. Schedule a followup call after we have reviewed your business interruption and shutdown coverage to discuss your options

The best way to battle the unknown is to arm yourself with information. Simply fill out our contact form to get your questions answered by one of the experienced insurance claims attorneys at the Voss Law Firm.

Our law firm understands that everyone has a duty to help each other in difficult times, lessening the impact on friends and neighbors in any way they can. In this spirit, Attorney Bill Voss is offering a policy review for companies that have been forced to close due to coronavirus, helping local businesses determine whether they can make a claim for business interruption coverage.

 

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The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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