COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims Lawyer in Florida
As the global pandemic unfolds, nearly all of us are sheltering in place and spending minimal time outside our homes. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has also jeopardized the survival of countless businesses. Even though the state of Florida is in phase one of its reopening, many non-essential businesses remain closed. Even essential businesses that have remained open have seen drastically reduced foot traffic, putting their futures in doubt.
If you’re a business owner, you want to be proactive in these uncertain times. While you will certainly want to apply to programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, you’ll also want to check your business insurance policy to see if you have business interruption insurance coverage.
What is Business Interruption Insurance Coverage?
Business interruption insurance coverage is for policyholders that lose income due to a disaster or other covered peril. It is typically an add-on for your business owner’s insurance policy or commercial property insurance. You’ll need to read the fine print of your business interruption insurance policy, but disasters or other covered perils can include things like fires, storms, falling objects, and more.
One of the key differences between business interruption insurance and property insurance is that business interruption insurance covers both the physical damage to the business and the profits that would have been earned if the interruption had not occurred. Your policy might also contain coverage for the extra expenses you will incur if you need to temporarily relocate your business as a result of the covered perils.
How Business Interruption Insurance Works
If your business has purchased business interruption insurance and a covered peril has occurred, you will probably file a claim with your insurer. You will need to document the damage your business incurred (either through photos or video) and keep any repair receipts. Along with this, your insurer will undoubtedly require you to reduce the potential for further losses following the business interruption. In some situations (such as after a fire or storm), this means you’ll need to make immediate repairs to prevent more damage to your business.
Is COVID-19 a Covered Peril Under My Business Interruption Insurance Coverage?
These days, this is a key question. Unfortunately, the short answer is, “It depends.” Much of it comes down to the language of your policy. Some policies specifically exclude coverage for lost revenue due to a pandemic. That said, other policies don’t contain this exclusionary language. Even if your policy does not specifically say pandemic or something similar, you may have a strong argument that your business interruption policy includes losses from COVID-19.
Already, some Florida businesses have sued their insurance companies, claiming that their insurers have not paid out a COVID-19-related business interruption claim. While this litigation is ongoing, the fact remains that you may have a strong claim for coronavirus-related business interruptions, even if your insurer says otherwise.
I Heard that Lawmakers are Calling for Insurance Companies to Cover COVID-19-Related Losses. Is this true?
Recently, there has been news about lawmakers and policymakers working to compel insurers to cover business interruption claims arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Several state lawmakers have even proposed legislation. That said, no statute in Florida currently compels insurance companies to cover COVID-19-related losses in business interruption insurance claims.
How Do I Proceed If I Feel My Business Losses Should Be Covered?
If you believe your business interruption coverage should cover your COVID-19-related losses but your insurer says otherwise, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney. A business interruption attorney can take the reins of your claim and help you get the compensation you deserve.
To be clear, hiring a business interruption attorney doesn’t necessarily mean you will proceed with litigation. Litigation might be the best option in certain circumstances, but negotiating for a settlement may be the best strategy in other scenarios. Ultimately, your business interruption attorney will evaluate the merits of your claim, understand your objectives, and develop the best strategy for you and your situation.
What Does My Business Interruption Attorney Need to Get Started?
To get started, your business interruption attorney will definitely need to see your business interruption insurance policy. He or she will take an extremely close look at the language of your policy, as it will go a long way in determining the merits of your claim. You will want to share evidence of your business’s closure and, when applicable, its reopening. Finally, try to estimate how much your business has lost due to the closure.
These are great first steps you can take before meeting with your attorney. Meanwhile, continue to save receipts and compile other objective evidence during the claim process.
What If I Can’t Find My Business Insurance Policy? How Can I Get It?
Luckily, this is relatively straightforward. If you don’t have a paper or electronic copy of your business insurance policy, simply visit your insurance company’s website. You should be able to find your policy there. If you can’t find it, call your insurer. They can send you your insurance policy via email or mail.
How Can Louis Law Group Help?
At Louis Law Group, we have a team of experienced, motivated, and friendly attorneys that would be happy to handle your business interruption insurance claim. Whether you’re a new business owner or have been operating your business for decades, our attorneys can be fierce advocates as you negotiate with (or litigate against) your insurance company.
We’re confident we can help you get the settlement you deserve. To speak with one of our attorneys, click here. You can also call (954) 676-4179 for a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.