Even though the nation is “phasing open,” most businesses have already suffered – and will continue to suffer – substantial business income losses as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. From government business closure orders to generalized public fear, livelihoods are being lost as a result of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.
Although insurers have already signaled that COVID-19 pandemic-related business interruption claims will be denied, it is critical that you do not make any assumptions about your own business’s coverage without a thorough review of your policy(ies). In most cases, even where policy(ies) contain “microbe” and “virus” exclusions, the most prudent course of action will be to file a “prompt” claim in order to preserve your rights.
Our legal team believes that litigation of these claims will likely focus on two primary insurer coverage positions/defenses: (1) denial of the claims based on lack of “physical loss or damage” to property; and (2) application of policy exclusions focused on the presence of “microbes” or “viruses.”
In prior insurance litigation, courts have found that public fears regarding health and safety can cause “physical loss” in the context of commercial property coverage, and also where civil authority orders cause a loss of access to the covered business resulting in limited business operations without any actual physical loss or damage to the covered property. Further, for insureds with policies containing either contingent business interruption coverage or civil authority coverage, physical loss to adjacent property within a certain distance of the insured’s property may have occurred when those adjacent premises were contaminated by COVID-19.
Additionally, although claims under insurance policies containing “microbe” or “virus” exclusions may present an “uphill battle” for insureds, we have yet to see a “pandemic” or other exclusion that appropriately addresses the COVID-19 global pandemic and resulting business cessation orders. Therefore, we are urging claimants to have their policy(ies) reviewed by counsel. There is no harm – and no cost – in having your policy(ies) reviewed and filing a claim(s).
We are taking an aggressive and unique approach to developing cases on behalf of claimants with a focus on ensuring that claims are filed “promptly” and “within a reasonable time” as is required by most business interruption policies.We are doing so on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no cost to you unless our team recovers monies on your behalf.
If you have not already filed a claim(s) with your insurance carrier(s), our legal team will review and evaluate your relevant insurance policy(ies). If we believe you have a valid claim under your policy(ies), we will assist you in filing claims with your carrier(s) or we will do so on your behalf. We anticipate insurance carrier(s) will deny our clients’ business interruption claims—not because these claims are without merit, but because the insurance industry has already signaled its coordinated and predetermined decision to deny these claims as a matter of course. If your claim(s) is denied without merit, we will prosecute that claim(s), on your behalf, on a contingency fee basis.
If you have already filed a claim and that claim has been denied, our legal team will evaluate your relevant insurance policy(ies), as well as the filed claim and claim denial. If we determine that your claim was denied without merit, we will prosecute that claim(s), on your behalf, on a contingency fee basis.
If your business is losing money due to a COVID-19 closure, it is important to know that you are not alone. Our legal team has decades of experience helping clients through complex insurance claims and litigation.
For a free review of your business interruption claim, please contact Ventura Law online or call (203) 800-8000 today. Our legal team serves business interruption claimants nationwide.