Business Interruption

We are living in unprecedented times due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Individuals are being instructed to stay home for weeks and even months, and businesses in every industry are struggling under the sudden and massive loss of consumer revenue and having certain businesses having to close their doors due to Government mandates.

Has COVID-19 seriously impacted or closed your business? Have you been forced to close locations, reduce work staff, or dramatically alter your working conditions to comply with government orders?  Or have you had to close your doors due to a suspected or confirmed case of virus and paid sums to disinfect, clean, and return your business back to a safe and working order?

We have partnered with a very powerful plaintiff’s champion firm (Lieff Cabraser) to take on and pursue recovery from the insurance companies who are denying business interruption claims submitted by companies like yours, who have been badly impacted by the COVID situation.  

If you would like us to look at your business interruption insurance policies and potentially represent your company(ies) in that regard, we would be happy to fight for you and try to help.  Our fees on that matter would be a contingent percentage, and there would be no out of pocket expense to you.

 

What is Business Interruption Coverage?

Business Interruption Insurance can help replace any income your business loses if you can’t open for a time after a covered loss, like property damage.

 

Your business income insurance may also cover civil authority. This means if you have to close down because a government agency prevents access to your business, your policy can help replace your lost income.

 

What Is Covered by Business Interruption Insurance?

If a covered loss forces your business to shut down, this interruption insurance helps cover your operating expenses, like:

 

  • Revenue you’d typically make if your business was open.

  • Mortgage, rent and lease payments for the space where your business is located.

  • Loan payments that you need to make during that time.

  • Payroll for your employees.

Am I Covered Under My Current Policy?

This is the core issue at hand — many insurers are denying coverage and arguing that the government-ordered Covid-19 shutdown is outside the insurance coverage under existing policies. Businesses conversely argue that the virus-mandated closings are exactly what such insurance policies were contracted to cover. Resolution will depend on the courts’ interpretation of policy language, which can vary from policy to policy and insurance company to insurance company.

My Claims Were Denied — What Do I Do Now?

Our lawyers feel strongly that many claim denials are improper, unsubstantiated, and even predatory, if not collusive (the result of an improper agreement among insurers to deny all Covid-19 coverage). You should contact a lawyer immediately to discuss your rights and options, along with the particulars of your insurance policy. 

Am I Covered If My Policy Includes “Business Interruption”?

Many insurers are denying claims even where policies specifically mention business interruption. If you have filed a claim and been denied coverage, you should discuss your situation with a lawyer as soon as possible. Some of your claim rights can be lost if too much time passes. You should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can.

What If My Insurance Includes A “Virus or Disease Exclusion”?

Proper resolution of your claims still requires formal review of your policy’s language by a court (rather than relying on the self-interested interpretation of your insurance company). Exclusions are generally interpreted narrowly rather than expansively, and often against the insurance company. As noted above, if your claim has been denied, you should absolutely speak to a lawyer with experience in litigation against insurers as soon as you can.

 

What Should I Do If I Haven’t Made A Claim Yet?

Claims need to be filed in as timely a manner as possible, but if you have not yet made a claim for business interruption as a result of the coronavirus, you should talk to a lawyer before filing your claim. An insurer’s response will focus on precisely how you describe your shutdown and your losses, and making the strongest case you can in your initial claim can influence the successful outcome of your policy claim. Our lawyers will be happy to review your policy pre-claim at no cost to you. Contact us today for more information.

 

  • If you have filed a claim and been denied, contact us today about your rights and recovery options.

  • If you have not yet filed a claim, you should file your claim as soon as possible, but first make sure you have the entirety of your insurance policy at hand and review it carefully before making your claim. We are happy to assist you in reviewing the language of your policy to maximize your chances of a quick and successful claim outcome.

  • Continue to keep careful and detailed records of all business losses.

  • Memorialize all interactions with your insurance company, whether written, telephonic, or in any other format. The details of your insurer’s denial and resistance to properly paying claims can be meaningful and persuasive to the court in future litigation.

Have further questions? We're here to help! 

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WOLF WALLENSTEIN & ABRAMS 

 TEL:  310.622.1000 | FAX: 310.457.9087 

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