Business Coverages and COVID-19

The future of parties? Venetian Masquerade, “The Ridotto in Venice” by Pietro Longhi, courtesy of Wikipedia

While it is true that the current insurance regime has never been tested by a pandemic like COVID-19, and this leads to a great deal of uncertainty – there is a lot of misinformation being disseminated by the media, and this can unfortunately lead to businessowners not receiving their due coverages.

Here are the major points to be aware of at this time:

If you think you may have a claim of some kind, file a claim.

Often businessowners are unsure if they have a valid claim for weeks, months, or even years, but by the time a month goes by, you may have already missed your allowable filing period (varies by policy and by state). If you aren’t sure, file the claim anyway. If your claim is incomplete or inadvertently inaccurate, you can always go back and make corrections. If you never file at all, it will be too late.

Not all business coverages are alike.

In fact, all policies are different. Even if the same exact policy form is issued to two different businesses, the specific facts attributed to each business will change the analysis used when determining the policy coverages. The narrative being pushed by the media suggesting that “business interruption coverage is not available, due to ….” is not accurate. In fact, because COVID-19 is unprecedented, court interpretations and legislative action will be needed before the meaning of many of the policy clauses can be ascertained. However, this does not mean your policy won’t be paid in the short term. Depending on your specific policy and your specific situation, you might be paid sooner, rather than later. Do not let the media be your legal advisor.

Get advice.

Have someone with an insurance law background review your policy. Do not simply accept what your insurance company tells you. Insurers are scrambling to find plausible methods for denial of coverage, because they are very worried about their profitability. They are delaying decisions and defending themselves in several high-profile lawsuits. Do not lose any sleep about their position – they are very savvy and will take care of their own business. You take care of yours.

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