If you’re a business owner whose business has lost revenue due to government-ordered shutdowns or a health-crisis related slowdown, you may be considering filing a business interruption claim. If you are, you may have also encountered a whole raft of terms and concepts relating to business interruption insurance that you’re not fully familiar with, and are unsure of how they might affect your claim.
We’re here to help cut through the confusion. Here’s what you need to know:
What Is The “Virus Exclusion”?
An exclusion is a clause in the insurance policy that lays out specific scenarios in which the insurer would not have to pay your claim. Ever since the SARS epidemic of 2003-2006, many insurance policies have carried a virus exclusion, meaning that the insurer would not have to pay for the physical damage to the building caused by a virus contamination.
Insurance companies however are invested in having potential claimants believe that the virus exclusion (or the similar “microorganism” exclusion) is much broader than it actually is. If your insurer has told you that your policy contains a virus exclusion, and therefore your claim is invalid, don’t believe them. This is complex law, and it is far from a settled matter at this point in time. Always get a second opinion from a qualified attorney.
Should I File A Claim Under “Civil Authority” Coverage?
The short answer is no. Not that there’s anything wrong with this kind of claim, – Civil Authority coverage provides compensation to businesses that have been shut down by order of the government, and your case might qualify. It’s just that in the early stages of the claims process it’s important not to unnecessarily limit the scope of your claim.
If you file for compensation under specific coverage and the insurer finds a way to deny it, you may miss out on compensation altogether, even though your contract includes other kinds of coverage that may apply. That’s why when you file, you should be as general as possible.
Mark Nation, one of the country’s leading insurance recovery attorneys, recommends sending a letter to your insurer that includes the language “I am hereby presenting a claim for all coverage available under my business policy” to cover all potential coverage bases.
When Should I File A Claim?
RIght away. If your business has taken or is continuing to take losses there’s no reason to wait until you have an exact figure of just how bad the damage is. You want to alert the insurance company of your intention to file a claim as soon as possible to avoid potentially missing on any deadlines.
Keep your language simple. You have damages, and you are filing a claim under all coverages available in your policy.
Can I File If I Got Money From PPP?
Some insurers have argued that the business interruption claims of businesses who received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program are invalid because their losses have already been made up. However, even if your insurer makes this claim, that’s not the end of the story.
That’s because the money you received from the federal government is a loan, and potentially one that you will have to pay back in the future. That means that your loss would still be a loss. So even if you’ve taken PPP money, go ahead and file that claim.
Can A Lawyer Help Me Get My Claim Paid?
Absolutely. Whether you’re about to file or have already filed and had your claim denied, Morgan & Morgan’s Insurance Recovery Group attorneys can help you fight for the claim payout you deserve. Even if you think the insurance company is right, let us look it over for free with our Second Look program. We still might be able to help you get your claim fulfilled.
Morgan & Morgan has recovered over $7 billion for our clients to date, and we’d like to fight for you too. Call today for a free consultation. You’ll never pay anything up front, and you’ll only ever pay at all if we win for you.