Washington D.C. Business Interruption Insurance & Loss Attorneys
Immediate help with coronavirus and COVID-19 insurance claims across DC and West Virginia
When disaster strikes, your first concern is for the safety of your employees and staff. Then, you turn to your insurance policy to deal with any financial losses. Your business insurance policy is meant to reimburse you for losses incurred in catastrophes like fires or burglaries. This also includes business interruption insurance, which helps recover financial losses when your business is forced to close during one of these types of incidents.
Currently, many business owners are putting their insurance policies to the test as the COVID-19 pandemic halts, pauses, and shutters companies across the Washington, D.C. area. At Paulson & Nace, PLLC, our attorneys can work with you to understand the details of your policy and whether or not you have a valid claim. Our goal is to help our clients through this difficult time.
Business interruption insurance explained
Business interruption insurance is typically part of an overall business insurance policy and covers losses from damages resulting from disasters and other catastrophes. When you choose a policy and pay your annual premiums, you do so on the good faith your insurance provider will take care of you when you need them.
Right now, however, the country is experiencing an unprecedented disruption in the economy due to the current COVID-19 and coronavirus pandemic, and many business owners are suffering. As a business owner yourself, you may be preparing to file a business interruption insurance claim and have concerns. Does your insurance apply to coronavirus-related losses? Do you have the correct coverage? What if your claim is denied?
These are all valid questions. Many policyholders assume their business insurance will be there for them no matter what. However, after the 2003 SARS outbreak, many insurance companies took serious note when a court awarded the Mandarin Oriental Hotel a multimillion-dollar settlement. After the hotel was reimbursed $16 million in claims, insurance companies began adding exclusions to their policies that barred reimbursement for communicable diseases.
Understanding what your business interruption insurance covers
Business interruption insurance is meant to reimburse you for any loss of income and other expenses after what’s called a “covered” or “named” peril affects the operation of your business. Examples of covered perils include fire, hail, explosion, vandalism, theft, freezing, and falling objects. Policyholders should periodically check their policies to ensure they have the necessary coverage for their business.
When a peril affects your business operations and you suffer losses, your business interruption insurance is designed to reimburse you for:
- Lost income, which includes lost revenue and destroyed or lost merchandise
- Other expenses, including temporary relocation and other necessary costs
Keep in mind that business interruption insurance only covers the operating expenses of your business. Damage to property is covered under your regular business insurance policy.
Some business owners also add contingent business interruption insurance for extra protection.
The attorneys at Paulson & Nace can help you review your policy and understand what options you have as a business owner in these uncertain times.
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How does business interruption insurance apply during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The current coronavirus pandemic sweeping through our nation is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Small and large businesses alike are closing their doors amid health and safety risks. Many states, counties, and towns are working at home, self-isolating, and restaurants and businesses are closed. Nobody is escaping the effects, and business owners are suffering great economic loss.
As the owner of a company, you may be looking into your business interruption insurance right now. In order for you to have a valid and successful claim, it must meet two requirements:
- The loss must result from a covered cause, meaning it can’t be listed in any exclusions in the policy.
- There must be a direct physical loss or damage to your business property.
Number two is where your insurance claim may get complicated. The COVID-19 pandemic may slow down or even halt your business. It may decrease your revenue and your income. However, in technical terms, the insurance company may inform you that this does not meet the definition of physical damage.
In some cases, coronavirus and other contagious diseases do cause physical damage or loss to a business. For example, you may experience business interruption if your premises become contaminated and uninhabitable due to COVID-19 exposure, resulting in closure for disinfection and sanitization. Additionally, business interruption by “civil authority,” meaning the government imposed a restriction or quarantine on it, prohibits physical access to your business, causing interruption.
What can I do if I have a coronavirus-related business insurance claim?
As of now, there are no formal or federal directives regarding COVID-19 and business insurance coverage. However, the federal government has already reached out to four major insurance coverage carriers and urged them to cover business interruption losses from COVID-19. Members of Congress who penned this message believe this coverage would “help sustain America’s businesses through these turbulent times, keep their doors open, and retain employees on the payroll.”
Here at Paulson & Nace, PLLC, our attorneys are always available to answer your questions and alleviate your concerns. We have a long history of advocating for consumers and business owners when they need someone in their corner. Our legal team is staying current on the COVID-19 pandemic for our clients and ensuring your rights are protected throughout.
Trusted help with business interruption insurance in Washington D.C.
The uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic has many business owners wondering what will happen next. Talk to the attorneys at Paulson & Nace, PLLC for knowledgeable guidance about your business insurance and how you can ensure you have a valid claim during this crisis. Contact us today by calling 202-463-1999 or filling out our contact form. We are proud to represent businesses throughout Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.