CORONAVIRUS INSURANCE CLAIMS for Businesses impacted by Coronavirus-related closures and losses
If you own a business and you purchased business insurance, then you may be able to turn to your insurance company for help. Most business insurance policies contain coverage to insure you for losses due to a business interruption. Business interruption coverage is an often complicated area of insurance law, and understanding the language of your particular policy is the first step in the process of determining whether or not you have coverage and then providing your insurer with an opportunity to honor their commitment to reimburse you for your losses.
Many insurance policies require you to file your claim within 30 to 60 days of sustaining a loss. When that date begins, however, is subject to interpretation. For many businesses the claim will be made while the loss is still ongoing. Restaurants, for example, may be allowed to re-open but only allowed to operate at 1/2 capacity by order of local/state/federal government regulations.
Contact your insurer immediately to begin the claims process. Please confirm in writing that a claim was made – email, fax or letter is fine. The following is a draft letter that can be copied directly from this website and sent to your insurance company:
INSERT YOUR NAME AND CONTACT INFORMATION
INSERT AGENT/ADJUSTER NAME
INSERT INSURANCE COMPANY NAME
INSERT INSURANCE COMPANY ADDRESS
RE: Claim for Business Interruption and Business Losses Due to Government Order
To Whom it may concern (OR INSERT ADJUSTER/AGENT NAME):
My name is INSERT NAME and I own/operate INSERT BUSINESS NAME. On INSERT DATE our business had to [CLOSE/DRASTICALLY REDUCE OPERATIONS] due to local/state/federal orders.
Our business loss began on INSERT DATE and continued through [INSERT DATE/PRESENT DAY.]
As a result of this closure/drastically reduced operations we sustained business losses in the amount of $INSERT ESTIMATED LOSSES. We purchased a policy of insurance through your company to cover us for business losses and we request that you open a claim for us under our policy(ies) immediately and let us know any and all documentation and/or releases that you need to evaluate our claim and make a decision on our claim for this business loss.
Please write to me at [insert email address/fax number] and let me know if there is anything further needed from us to complete your claims investigation and please let us know your decision in writing also.
INSERT NAME OF PERSON MAKING CLAIM.
Please remember that the voicemail instruction that “calls may be recorded for quality assurance purposes” often means that they only save calls that might be detrimental to your case. Please communicate in writing – email/fax/letter – with your insurance company so that the accuracy of all communications is not in question and the rights and responsibilities of both you and your insurer are clearly memorialized in writing. In Alaska, your insurance company must respond in writing to any writing from you which expects a reply within 10 days and they must complete their investigation and decision on your claim within 30 days or they must inform you why their evaluation of your claim is not complete and an expected date of completion.
Any denials of coverage must set forth the specific reason for the denial and the policy provision(s) they rely on for the denial of coverage for your claim.
ONCE YOU GET YOUR RESPONSE FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY – IF IT’S ANYTHING BUT AN UNQUALIFIED ‘YES’ AND PAYMENT FOR YOUR LOSSES, WE WILL EVALUATE YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE DENIAL FOR FREE AND AN ATTORNEY WILL RESPOND TO YOU WITH RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WHAT, IF ANYTHING, YOU MAY WANT TO DO TO RESOLVE THIS DENIAL.
1. First, you need to get a complete copy of your insurance policy or policies for your business. You can always get a copy of your policy from your agent or you may also directly call your insurance company and request that they send one to you immediately.
2. The full name of your business, contact person name and contact information – must include email for case communications.
3. The date your business closed
4. The reason for your closure (local/state/federal/other)
5. Was your business actually contaminated by Covid-19; could your business have been contaminated? This question is very important – most policies after 2006 have an exclusion for closures due to viruses because of the 2006 SARS coronavirus. More on that later.
6. Business information to establish value of loss: profit, payroll, prior tax filings etc…
7. The denial letter from your insurer for your business loss claim.
Please Email these 7 items to Denial@907covid.com and include your policy, denial letter and supporting documentation as attachments. We will evaluate your case for free.
Loss not caused by “direct physical loss of damage to property.” It remains to be seen how Alaska courts will handle the defense of no direct physical loss of damage to property, as courts have been split throughout our country on what constitutes physical losses where these are allegedly required to trigger coverage.
Many policies now contain “virus exclusions”, although careful reading of these exclusions often reveals that they are limited to bacteria, or would only be triggered in the event that the closure of your business was due to the virus itself actually being physically present at your location. Again, the specific language of your policy and the facts of your case will be evaluated by an attorney so that we may advise you on how to proceed.
Civil authority coverage – most business policies will have coverage for civil authority closures (this means where your business is closed by order of a government entity). Please note that after 911, many of these claims were denied because the closures had a profound effect on the restaurant and hotel industry, but were not directed at them specifically. The same cases that were once devastating to policy holders may now work in the favor of policy holders in this pandemic because it is clearly government action that closed us all up, regardless of whether there was a virus present or not.
We help good people after bad things happen. If you own a businesses impacted by Coronavirus-related closures and losses, then call our Anchorage office location today. You can get a free free, no risk evaluation of your potential claim. Call 907-569-6633 to arrange an appointment, or fill out an easy online form.