In the midst of certain States all across the U.S. shutting down due to COVID-19, there is a battle brewing between business owners and insurance companies. This fight that is still in its “sparring” stage, and the argument is over whether insurance companies are going to pay business interruption claims based on COVID-19 shut downs.
1. What is Business Interruption Insurance?
The Missouri Department of Insurance describe this type of policy as follows: “When a business is damaged by weather, vandalism or another cause, the consequences can be numerous: in addition to costly repairs, sometimes the business can't continue, at least temporarily. A typical property damage policy will cover the cost to repair or replace buildings and equipment, but it will not cover the other financial effects the business is likely to experience during its downtime…For this, many business owners buy business interruption insurance, also called time element or business continuity coverage.”
2. How do I know if I have a claim?
First, of course, you must have paid for this type of coverage through your business' insurance company. If you have this coverage, you can move to the next step.
Second, you will need to be able to show economic loss. Given the state of the U.S. economy and the mandatory shutdowns of non-essential industries to slow the spread of COVID-19, this element should not be hard to meet.
3. How does my claim get paid?
This is the tricky part! You will need to win the argument that the language in your business interruption insurance coverage requires your insurance provider to pay a COVID-19-related claim.
Early projections estimate that the economic loss resulting from COVID-19 to be in the hundred of billions of dollars, if not trillions. Due to this, insurance companies will do everything in their power to avoid paying these claims.
4. I think I may have a claim, but what do I do next?
This war will be won with which side makes the best argument to the Courts that insurance policy language either does, or does not, provide coverage. Missouri courts have previously held that if the language of the policy is vague or ambiguous as to a particular issue, then the insurer must provide coverage to the insured.
Showing this will require dense document review, a task you do not want to take on alone. Undoubtedly, you will be fighting an army of well-trained insurance defense attorneys, as the insurance companies attempt to set precedent with the Courts to avoid paying these claims.
But there is hope for your claim! The Cooper Law Firm will be offering free insurance policy consultations to help you determine whether you should file a business interruption claim. Our attorney has fought and won insurance battles for years. The Cooper Law Firm can help you fill in the financial gaps while you focus on getting your business back on its feet.
Call us today at 573-803-0124 or email at [email protected] to schedule your consultation.