May 06, 2020

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Coronavirus-hit small businesses frustrated by the situation.

Federal aid is drying up, so small businesses are looking to insurance companies for help, and they aren’t getting it.

A restaurant is Washington has slapped an insurance giant with a class action lawsuit for refusing to pay a COVID-19 claim they filed as part of their business interruption insurance coverage.

GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar is sandwiched in a Washington neighborhood steps away from the White House. Springtime in the nation’s capital is the peak season for cherry blossoms and it is a time of year when the town blooms with tourists visiting the nation’s monuments.

But instead of being packed with guests, GCDC had to close its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic after to-go orders didn’t bring in enough business. Bruce J. Klores, owner GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar told FOX Business they saw sales drop over 90 percent.

. . .

The lawyer bringing the class action suit, Geoffrey Graber a Partner at Cohen Milstein, told FOX Business that he’s heard the same story from hundreds of small business owners around the country.

"We've talked with hotel owners," Graber explained. "We've talked with people who own gyms. Nightclub owners, you name it. We've talked with a lot of different small business owners, medium-sized business owners around the country. And they all tell the same story: They've made claims for the insurance that they purchase, that they paid their hard-earned dollars for ... And none of those claims are being honored. None.”

. . .

Around 34 percent of small businesses in the United States pay for business interruption insurance, according to data from the Insurance Information Institute. And many of them are having trouble getting their COVID-19 claims paid too.

But the primary national trade group for insurers, American Property Casualty Insurance Association estimates only a third of businesses who have business interruption insurance actually have pandemic coverage.

Graber disagrees.

“Businesses like Bruce’s have got business interruption insurance for just these type of circumstances ... It covers situations almost all the time, where there's been some type of civil order that shuts the business down or prevents people from coming in ... the insurance carriers are denying these claims across the board," Graber said.

The complete article can be accessed here.