Have you suffered business losses due to COVID-19?
Has your insurance company refused to honor your business interruption claims?

 

Cohen Milstein and Gibbs Law Group recognize the importance of your privacy and personal data. Information provided in this survey is confidential and will not be shared or sold.


Overview

Many small businesses are being told by their insurers that their business interruption insurance, which is intended to replace business revenue lost due to a disaster, does not cover COVID-related losses.

If your business interruption claim has been denied, you still may be entitled to benefits. Contact us to learn more about the steps we are taking to compel insurers to cover COVID-related business losses, or learn more about our practice here.

Which businesses may be most vulnerable?

This issue is affecting a wide variety of small businesses across a number of industry sectors—mostly brick and mortar businesses that depend on a high volume of customer traffic, including restaurants, bars, hotels, salons, gyms, and numerous other retailers and service providers. 

Does my business insurance cover losses due to COVID-19?

This is a complicated question. If a policy covers building closures due to an order by a “civil authority,” you may be covered if your business was forced to close due to a shelter-in-place order.

However, some policies may contain a physical loss requirement, which may be more difficult to navigate. With these types of policies, you may have to prove that your business suffered a physical loss due to COVID-19.

The bottom line is that every policy is different and should be evaluated as such. If you believe your recent business losses should be covered, please contact us to discuss your claim.

Losses Typically Covered by Business Interruption Insurance

When small businesses purchase business interruption insurance, they typically intend to cover the risk of a variety of losses:

  • Projected unearned profits.
  • Operating expenses and other fixed costs, including replacement machinery.
  • Temporary business re-location costs.
  • Employee wages, including benefits.
  • Unforeseen expenses, beyond fixed costs, such as re-training expenses.
  • Financial losses resulting directly from a civil authority order mandating the closure of business premises.
  • Business taxes.
  • Loan payments.

Businesses that thought they were being responsible by securing business interruption coverage are now finding themselves unfairly burdened with damages and costs resulting from their insurance company’s failure to cover losses resulting from COVID-19.

What Government officials have to say about insurance companies honoring their policies

Many officials are now urging insurance companies to take business interruption claims more seriously. According to the Insurance Journal, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a notice requiring insurance companies to fairly investigate all business interruption claims resulting from COVID-19 losses. The Journal quotes the Commissioner in saying,

I want to be absolutely clear that insurance companies need to fairly investigate all business interruption claims as they would during any disaster… Policyholders deserve all the services, coverage, and benefits they are due under their policy.

The Insurance Journal also reports that President Trump made a statement regarding Business Interruption Insurance. According to the article, the President claimed that, unless the insurance policy excludes pandemics, the insurer should pay. The Journal further quotes the President in saying,

You have people that have never asked for business-interruption insurance and they have been paying a lot of money for a lot of years for the privilege of having it and then when they finally need it, the insurance company says ‘We’re not going to give it’ … We can’t let that happen.


Contact Us

The Cohen Milstein attorneys investigating this matter are Geoffrey Graber (admitted in California and the District of Columbia) and Eric Kafka (admitted in Missouri and New York). Learn more about our Business Interruption Insurance Coverage Task Force here.

In addition to completing the contact form above, please feel free to contact us directly with any additional questions.

Shireen Hamdan, Paralegal – shamdan@cohenmilstein.com

Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
1100 New York Avenue, NW
Suite 500, West Tower
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: (888) 240-0775 or (202) 408-4600