DO NOT LET YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY GET AWAY WITH DENYING YOUR CLAIM FOR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION FROM COVID 19/CORONAVIRUS
A lot of businesses are suffering thanks to COVID-19. Whatever customer base isn’t sick or in fear of being sick is diminished thanks to the stay-at-home mandates many states, such as the state of New Jersey, have mandated. While the mandate is good for public health, it can be devastating to several small businesses starved of potential business for the last several months. Thankfully, business interruption insurance is there to relieve some of the burdens left behind by the pandemic. However, many insurance companies are refusing to pay their fair share of coverage.
Business interruption insurance coverage is generally intended to cover losses from interruptions to a company’s operations, including lost revenues and other expenses such as rent and payroll. These business interruption policies provide “all risk” insurance coverage. In all risk policies, ALL RISKS are covered unless they are specifically excluded. If the insurance company is claiming coverage is excluded, it is their burden of proof in court to prove that the coverage that you have for a claim under an all risk policy is excluded.
Business interruption also covers events cancelled due to governmental ordered closures. The stay-at-home mandate in response to Covid-19 falls under that umbrella. Insurance coverage is designed to cover the potentially enormous costs and lost profits from events cancelled due to these mandates.
Despite companies paying for insurance coverage and the need for that coverage money, insurance companies across the country are unfairly denying these claims. If your business has been shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you should speak with an attorney with knowledge of insurance coverage issues. Your insurance company might very well do anything not to pay on your claim – money they owe you.
THE INSURANCE COMPANIES DENYING THESE BUSINESS INTERRUPTION CLAIMS ARE WRONG
Despite the overt damages done by COVID-19, insurance companies are finding new ways to evade their payments. One tactic is to twist the language of their claims. Many insurance companies claim that, since the pandemic isn’t physically damaging the business that it cannot be considered physical loss or damage. Until such a day dawns where the COVID-19 pandemic smashes in your windows, the insurance company refuses to acknowledge a pandemic that has killed over 100,000 people in the United States alone “physical damage.” If this sounds absurd, that’s because it is. It’s also legally unsound logic.
Contrary to what they say, however, many court cases hold that the loss of use of property does constitute physical loss or damage for purposes of an insured business asserting that its policy covers the claim. You don’t need to have your company physically damaged for it to count as a physical damage. Unless stated otherwise in the text of your coverage, if you cannot operate your business property, business is interrupted.
OUR OWN INSURANCE BUSINESS INTERRUPTION STORY
Let us tell you a brief story as to what happened to our law firm. Our law firm revenue, like other businesses, went down after New Jersey’s Governor Murphy ordered a shutdown of non-essential businesses. We have paid our business interruption policy for years without ever submitting a claim. We immediately put our insurance company on notice of a claim and within a day we received a denial of our claim without the company doing any investigation.
How can you deny a business interruption claim with this shut down when our policy covers business interruption coverage for a government ordered shutdown? The insurance company had no good reason for the outright denial. We spent years paying thousands of dollars for a service that, when needed, was withheld. When challenged on their decision, their lack of investigation, and their refusal to reciprocate on the money we spent for their coverage, the insurance company denied and delayed. Our law firm is filing suit.
PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS - FIGHT BACK NOW!
For many companies, the threat of insurance companies denying your coverage might seem like an apocalyptic adversity for your business. How can you keep afloat if your insurance company is letting your life jackets deflate? Thankfully, there are many things you can do to keep your business afloat in these trying times – and we can help.
Free Evaluation. We will review your insurance policy for free to determine whether the language in your policy covers the claim. You have nothing to lose by our attorneys reviewing your policy.
Be First, Not Last. There is no guarantee on funding available for your business. You want to file your claim as soon as possible to increase the likelihood of recovering your losses. Some states, such as New Jersey, have proposed legislation that prevent insurance companies from denying these claims and mandating coverage for business interruption due to the coronavirus pandemic. You want to be first in line if such legislation is passed so you can ensure you receive your money before the financial well runs dry.
Notify Insurance Company of Claim. All policies have a requirement of notifying the insurance company in the event of a claim. If you fail to timely file a claim, the insurance company does not have to pay it even if you have a valid claim. You want to make sure you have the proper language in the claim when you put your insurance company on notice
Preserve and Document. Our attorneys will send the notice of claim and preserve your rights to collect under your policy. Proper notice will build the foundation for a bad faith claim against your insurance company if/when they improperly deny your claim.
If you feel your business is suffering under COVID-19 and your insurance isn’t helping you keep afloat, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens & Cammarota, LLP today for a FREE Consultation. Give us a call at 973-870-0434 or email us at Info@scura.com.