COVID-19 BUSINESS INTERRUPTION CLAIMSAre you insured?
Is your business closed or your income reduced due to the Corona Virus? Your business insurance policy may afford you coverage. More often than not, businesses purchase insurance because their landlords require it. Some businesses purchase it because they know that with such a policy, they can weather a forced closing of their business. In Florida and other disaster-prone states, business owners insure against the lost income brought about by hurricanes, floods and tornados. In most cases, the eventuality of a pandemic was not thought of, but surprisingly, a large percentage of business insurance policies may afford coverage for your COVID-19 claims.
Insurance companies know that the law requires a strict interpretation of insurance policy language, meaning that in most cases, if a loss is not excluded, it is probably covered; and if the language is ambiguous as to whether a claim is covered, the tie goes to the runner and the insurance company has to pay the claim. Even better, if the insurance company denies a claim and loses in court, there are laws that require them to pay their customers’ legal fees and costs.
Whether a claim is covered first requires a considered reading of the insurance policy. Lawyers who handle these claims work closely with their business owner clients, their accountants and in some cases, forensic accounting experts in order to document the loss and perfect the claim. As with other natural disasters, the insurance companies get overwhelmed with claims and typically, their first response to a claim is to deny it. Strong legal representation can convert a denial into a check, be it by negotiations or legal action. However, unlike other catastrophes, the insurance industry has never been exposed to such a pan global number of claims, the duration of which spans such a long period of time. While it is not right, it is understandable that the insurance companies will only pay the wheels that squeak the loudest; and with many claims being resolved with legal fees included in their payments, there every reason to immediately make such claims and no reason to delay. In fact, it is highly likely that some of the smaller carriers may not have sufficient reserves to pay all of their rightful claims.
The process starts with an analysis of each policy. No two companies have the same language and each policy needs to be evaluated on its own merits. At Sobel Legal, we are accepting clients who have legitimate business interruption claims and are offering a free initial consultation and policy review. Face to face meetings are not required; and in most cases, we can communicate by phone, zoom and e-mail.
If your business has been damaged by the COVID-19 closures, at Sobel Legal, we are here to help.
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