The COVID 19 pandemic has caused businesses to suffer many losses which are continuing. Businessowners Policies generally provide coverage for these losses, such as Business Income, Extra Expense and Civil Authority coverages. Insurers are, however, denying these claims as not covered under the Business Policy. As a result, Haggerty, Goldberg is filing lawsuits on behalf of these businesses against insurances companies. Answers to frequently asked questions are set forth below.
If you are a business and have a Businessowners’ Policy, you have Business Income, Extra Expense and Civil Authority coverages which may apply to the business losses you have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related governmental Orders.
You should tell your agent that you want to make a claim. He or she will probably tell you that you have no coverage. Tell him or her to make the claim anyway. If they refuse, call the insurance company yourself and make a claim. That claim will be denied.
No. Insurance companies are denying all of these claims. They will not voluntarily pay these business interruption claims.
All Businessowner Policies require that there be physical damage or loss to the insured property for this coverage to attach. We are maintaining the position that the COVID-19 pandemic has, in fact, caused damage and loss to the insured property. We are working with medical, legal and insurance experts to establish the pre-requisites for coverage.
Many policies also have a virus exclusion. In that situation, the insurers contend that this virus exclusion bars recovery. We maintain the position that a pandemic is not within the scope of any virus exclusion.
These specific legal coverage issues have not previously been addressed by the Courts. These issues are of first impression.
Insurance companies will not voluntarily pay COVID-19 business interruption claims. In order to recover, you will need to file a lawsuit. We are filing class actions and individual lawsuits against insurance companies to recover benefits for which you have actually paid a premium. These benefits are due and owing to you.
Starting a lawsuit against an insurance company is not a basis for cancellation of your policy.
Premiums are based upon the amount of monies historically paid by a company. If the Courts order insurance companies to pay these business interruption claims, premiums will go up, whether you file a claim and lawsuit or not. Others are filing lawsuits. If you don’t pursue a claim, you may not be in a position to recover.
There are various efforts by state governments to require insurers to pay these claims. To date, no new Legislation has been passed. Passage of such Legislation does not appear to be realistic in the near future. It is uncertain what will happen. A question then exists as to whether any such law would be constitutional. Imposing a requirement of payment by these insurers for these claims retroactively may be unconstitutional.
On the Federal level, there has been some discussion regarding initiative, but nothing has been formulated. At this time, to recover you will need to file a lawsuit.
After making a claim, which will be denied, get your policy and the denial letter and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We will contact you, review the matter, prepare a Complaint and file a lawsuit. If you have any questions, email us or all Jim Haggerty at 215-219-8145.