Mark Roman | May 12, 2020 | Articles
Business Owners Who Are Struggling Due to COVID-19 Could Be Able to Receive Insurance to Cover Their Losses
Like many “non-essential” businesses, we’ve been asked to close our offices to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus. Though this has come as an inconvenience, we consider ourselves relatively lucky, overall. Our team has settled into a work-from-home arrangement and despite some disruptions to our process (and the courts), we are able to continue providing services to our clients and community. Other business owners who cannot do anything from their homes have seen their revenue drop to 0 over the past few weeks. Expenses have not done the same—meaning some small and medium businesses are now facing the question of whether they can afford to open back up once they’re allowed to.
Government resources for small businesses have been hard to get and loan funds were quickly exhausted due to high demand. If you didn’t receive the funding you applied for, or if it wasn’t enough, there might be another way for you to receive help. Our attorneys are working with small and medium business owners to determine whether they may be eligible to make a claim with their insurance. If you have lost income due to the pandemic, you could be able to recover damages through your business interruption insurance.
Understanding Your Insurance Options
Business interruption insurance coverages are varied. Depending on your insurer and the product you opted for, various disruptions or damages may or may not be covered. Some contracts are especially complex, as insurers add a laundry list of exclusions to their coverage. That means the contract will lay out specific instances your insurance does cover—for instance, hurricanes or fires—but it might also include specific circumstances that could invalidate your claim.
Though the shutdowns in response to the novel coronavirus are truly unprecedented, this is not the first time businesses have faced losses due to an infectious disease. Some insurers noted the way SARS affected economies—though Americans hardly experienced any disruptions—and decided they did not want to end up holding the bill should another similar outbreak occur. Many of these companies added specific exclusion clauses noting they would not cover losses caused by infectious diseases.
It is fully legal for an insurance contract to refuse coverage for losses caused by outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics. U.S. regulators had to approve this change before business insurers were allowed to update their contracts and, though it is possible their decision to do so will face scrutiny in the future, these companies did get permission to deny claims that fall under this umbrella. However, not all exclusion clauses are equally comprehensive and specific. Our attorneys can evaluate the language used to see whether you may still be able to bring a claim for pandemic-related losses.
What to Do If Your Claim Was Denied
So far, many insurers who have received claims for pandemic-related business losses have made it a policy to deny them without further consideration. They may be doing this because of an exclusion clause, or because they believe there is nothing in their contract that will require them to cover your losses. We understand being in this situation is frustrating. However, one should never assume an insurance company’s claim denial is conclusive.
Our team has helped many parties challenge an insurer’s refusal to pay after accidents, negligence, and other losses. Legally, your insurer must prove they are contractually authorized to deny your claim. We can help you ask for their reasoning and combat it using evidence from their contract and other legal arguments. Even if you have already asked for compensation from your insurer and been turned down, we urge any affected business owner to have a discussion with our attorneys about your rights before taking any major steps.
We’re Ready to Help You Right Away
Though some states and communities are starting to lift stay-at-home orders, we are committed to protecting our clients and their families as well as our team members. Our firm has switched to fully remote operations and plans to maintain them until we’re sure it is safe to invite customers to visit us in our office.
In the meantime, we are offering our services via phone, email, and videoconferencing. Our team is taking advantage of the latest technologies to ensure we can offer our full range of services in a manner that is safe and convenient for you.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers has over 60 years of combined experience and a passion for helping people like you take on insurers who unfairly refuse to pay. We’re also board-certified trial lawyers—so should your case go to litigation, you will have a highly trained courtroom representative to argue your case.
Contact the Clearwater Personal Injury Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Clearwater. We have four convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655