Everyone who has ever opened up their own business knows that you can’t run a business without taking risks. To eliminate or mitigate this risk, however, business owners purchase insurance. One type of insurance a business may, and should, purchase is “Business Interruption Insurance” – which replaces lost income and extra expenses when business operations are involuntarily suspended, interrupted, curtailed, or when access to the premises is prohibited because of direct physical loss or damage to the property, or by a civil authority order that restricts or prohibits access to the property. This coverage is standard in most all-risk commercial property insurance policies.
Haeggquist & Eck, LLP is representing businesses who have purchased business interruption insurance as part of their commercial property and have had their claim for losses denied. ABC News recently spoke to our firm and our client about these claims. You can view the news clip and article here.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, business owners who have been paying premiums for this coverage let out a big sigh of relief, reasonably believing their business losses would be covered. The insurance companies, however, have categorically denied their claims, typically with no good faith investigation into their claims. As such, businesses are now filing suit, asking courts to require insurance companies to abide by the language of the policies and provide coverage to their policyholders.
As months pass without any financial help from insurance companies, businesses struggle to stay afloat. Marc Bennett of Pappy’s Barber Shop here in San Diego has had to dip into his savings account to keep his business alive. Although Marc’s business is slowly getting back on track, he knows he is in for a tough battle, as evidenced by many of his fellow barbers permanently closing their doors.
Hundreds of business interruption cases have already been filed in the United States and abroad. Because of the common issues of fact and law in these claims, and substantially similar policy language, many of these cases have been brought as class actions.
Additionally, bipartisan groups in Washington D.C. and several states have introduced legislation requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for losses related to COVID-19 for policyholders who purchased business interruption coverage.
Businesses are taking action to get the coverage they paid for. In New York, Times Square went completely dark on May 26th to draw attention to the plight of businesses across the country who are being denied this important coverage – coverage for which they have paid premiums for years.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
If you have a commercial property insurance policy, you may have business interruption insurance. You may have a claim for coverage even if you have a “virus exclusion” in your policy, or your insurer cites other reasons for denying coverage.
Let us help you receive the coverage you paid for. If you would like to receive a free, no-obligation evaluation of your rights to seek insurance coverage for your business’ losses, please contact Haeggquist & Eck, LLP at (619) 342-8000, or contact us online.