Business interruption insurance helps cover lost income and expenses when a company unexpectedly has to close because of a large-scale event like a pandemic or government orders. You can use the insurance money to pay rent, taxes, payroll, and loans.
Filing a claim for coronavirus-related business interruption can be complicated. Many business owners are getting immediate denials from their insurance companies even though they have a legitimate claim covered by their policy. You should file your claim as soon as possible. Even if you’re denied, you may still have legal options to fight that decision. If you do not file a claim in time, you won’t have any legal recourse.
The attorneys at Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. have created this step-by-step guide for business owners to file their business interruption claims.
1. Review your policy in detail:
If you don’t have a full copy of your policy, call your agent or insurance company and ask for it. It is important that you understand the coverage limits, coverage time frames, type of losses covered, policy exclusions, and limitations.
2. Determine the notification period:
Many policies require the policyholder to notify the insurance company of a loss within a certain time frame. It is important that you strictly adhere to these time frames. If you do not file within the time frames indicated in the policy, your claim may be denied. Be sure to document your claim notification/submission in writing by sending a letter or an email to your insurance agent or insurance company.
3. Document your losses & practice careful record keeping:
You must be prepared to provide the insurance company with the information necessary to prove your losses. Your insurance company is not going to take your word for what you’ve lost. It will be important that you document your losses and be able to present those losses in an organized manner.
Be sure to document those additional expenses you are incurring as a result of COVID0-19 such as facility cleaning, hiring security, protective equipment, additional advertising or marketing to announce a closure or any other additional expense you incurred due to COVID-19,
Be prepared to show documentation of your business and property losses. For instance, you must be able to show in your books and records, documentation of your loss of income, and payroll expense. You must be able to show through receipts, estimates, or appraisals, the value of damage to property. Your business’s books and records will be evidence of your losses, so it is important that they be in good order. Further, most policies provide the insurance company with the ability to inspect a business’s books and records and have them audited.
Be prepared to track and document business that has been canceled or lost as a result of COVID-19. This would include losses such as canceled orders, lost orders, orders you could not take/fulfill, canceled events, or the like. The importance is to be able to track the business you did not get due to COVID-19.
4. Document employees with symptoms or COVID-19
Document if any employee demonstrated symptoms of COVID-19 or had a confirmed case of the illness. If it can be shown that the employee’s illness required your business to be closed, you may have an argument that there was physical damage to your business space sufficient to qualify coverage under your policy. Further, if confirmed COVID-19 cases in close proximity to your business forced a closure, you will want to document this as well.
5. Document governmental orders
You will want to document any governmental order which prevented your access to our business or forced shutdown. In April, Florida issued a Shelter in Place order for all non-essential businesses.
6. Claim Denials:
It is very likely that your claim will be denied. You have a right to know why your insurance claim has been denied. Denials may be for a valid reason. However, if you receive a denial letter with no explanation or if the explanation does not seem right, it could be that the insurance company has wrongfully denied your claim.
7. Low settlements:
It is not uncommon for an insurance company to offer a low settlement in hopes that an insured will not contest the true value of their claim. You have the ability to contest the insurance company’s valuation of your claim
If You’ve Been Denied – Get Help
The attorneys at Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. are helping Sarasota business owners fight insurers over wrongful business interruption insurance denials. You can contact us for a free review of your policy to see if you have a legitimate claim.
About Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A.
Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. is a national trial law firm with a reputation for successfully litigating against huge U.S. corporations. Trial attorneys Michele Stephan, Altom Maglio, and William Christopher head up the Coronavirus Business Interruption Insurance Litigation team out of the Firm’s Sarasota office. Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. also has offices in Washington, D.C., and Seattle, WA.
Contact us at 888.952.5242 or learn more about our firm at www.mctlaw.com