The COVID-19 pandemic is more than just a public health crisis. Actions taken by the federal government and state governments across the nation to slow the spread of the virus have been devastating to the economy. This has led many business owners to seek compensation for business interruption insurance.
The Harrisburg COVID business loss lawyers at Schmidt Kramer are available to discuss your business loss claim in a free consultation. Many claims may be denied because business interruption insurance policies are often used after a business suffers physical damage. Our attorneys may be able to help you appeal and pursue the compensation you need to keep your business alive.
Your consultation comes with no obligation to take legal action if we validate your case, and our attorneys are not paid unless you get paid. Partner Scott Cooper has helped many people in Pennsylvania obtain insurance compensation. He has been selected for Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for 10 consecutive years.
Call today to schedule your free consultation. Phone: (717) 888-8888.
Do Business Interruption Policies Cover the COVID-19 Pandemic?
This is the question on the minds of many business owners who are unsure if their businesses will survive the shutdown and slowing of the economy. Unfortunately, the answer depends on the specifics of your insurance policy, which is something you should strongly consider reviewing with one of the Harrisburg COVID business loss lawyers at Schmidt Kramer.
For the most part, business interruption insurance policies provide compensation for physical damage to a business, such as damage from a natural disaster, like a bad thunderstorm or winter storm. The damage prevents the business from operating, hurting revenue and the income of the owner and others who work at the business. You may need to prove a direct connection between the physical damage and the financial damage.
Many business owners have all-risk commercial property insurance, which often covers any property damage or loss that is not specifically excluded in the policy.
Your lawyer may be able to argue the virus has physically damaged your business, as customers who enter the business could touch something and become infected with the coronavirus and spread it to others. Customers could also cause damage because they could touch things or breathe on things and spread the virus. However, the insurance company may say it is easy to disinfect surfaces to prevent the spread of the virus.
One possible exclusion you may come up against when filing a claim is for viruses and pandemics. Insurance companies took steps to protect themselves after the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak that happened in 2003.
It is possible your policy contains a provision that covers revenue loss caused by a shutdown ordered by a civil authority, such as the governor or officials in your city or county.
However, businesses that defy shutdown orders could hurt their chances of recovering compensation that may be available. Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman warned that many business interruption policies have provisions that exclude coverage for illegal acts or conduct.
What Compensation Could My Insurance Policy Provide?
The purpose of business interruption insurance is to provide compensation for expenses you rack up and the monetary losses caused by the interruption of your business. Each policy is different, but they generally provide compensation for things like:
- Lost revenue during the shutdown
- Loss of profits
- Property taxes
- Payment for employees
- Electric bills
- Phone bills
- Utility bills
- Cost to reopen your business
- Cost to relocate your business
- Loan payments, such as on a commercial loan
The compensation available will depend on the terms of your policy. The duration of these benefits will also depend on the terms of your policy. For example, compensation may be available for one year or a certain amount of time after your property is restored and your business can reopen.
The Harrisburg COVID business loss attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are available to discuss your situation in a free consultation. Our goal is to recover maximum compensation to help you keep your business going.
Complete a Free Case Review form to get a call back from our firm.
Reasons Why Business Interruption Claims May be Denied
There are many reasons why insurance claims may be denied. Below, review some of the most common reasons why business interruption claims are denied, as insurance companies are being flooded with claims because of the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19.
You Filed a Claim After the Deadline Passed
Insurance policies have deadlines for filing claims. You have a certain amount of time after a loss to file a claim and attempt to recover compensation. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your chance to seek compensation.
We understand you may still be racking up losses and bills, but you can get the process started and continue to add up your losses and bills. It is important to get the process started as soon as possible.
There is No Property Damage
As stated earlier, business interruption insurance policies are generally used to recover compensation for physical damage to a business. Insurance companies may use this as a reason for denying a claim. However, the Harrisburg COVID business loss lawyers at Schmidt Kramer may be able to overturn a denial. We have the resources and experience to challenge insurance company denials in court.
Your Policy Contains Exclusions for Things Like the Coronavirus
It is possible your policy specifically excludes claims made about pandemics, viruses or bacteria. These exclusions may not be enforceable, and courts may overturn them. That is why you should discuss the situation with a licensed attorney as soon as possible.
Your State Did Not Issue a Stay-at-Home Order
This should not apply in most situations in Pennsylvania, as the governor issued a mandatory shutdown of non-essential businesses and a stay-at-home order.
If your insurance claim is denied for any reason, you may still be able to obtain compensation. Contact Schmidt Kramer to find out how we may be able to help you. We know how devastating the economic slowdown has been to so many businesses in Pennsylvania and throughout the country.
We do not get paid unless we help you recover compensation, and the initial consultation is free of charge, so there is no risk to you.
Documenting Your COVID-19 Losses
While contacting a licensed attorney is one of the most important steps you can take if your business has suffered during the pandemic, there are other things you can do to assist your attorney. For example, keep track of the expenses and financial losses your business has suffered and is continuing to suffer. This will help your lawyer pursue the full value of your claim.
These are some documents to keep track of to help your lawyer:
- Purchase orders
- Documentation of revenue before the shutdown, including revenue during the same period as the year before
- Bank account statements
- Profit and loss statements
- Utility bills
- Documentation of extra expenses you have racked up during the shutdown
You may also want to write down a summary of events leading up to the shutdown and other things that have happened with your business. The sooner you do this the better, as your memory could quickly fade over time.
Call Our Harrisburg COVID Business Loss Lawyers Today
Compensation from a business interruption insurance policy may be the last hope for business owners who are struggling because of the pandemic’s effect on the economy.
Unfortunately, obtaining compensation may be difficult, as the insurance company may say your losses are not covered. It is possible your insurance policy has specific exclusions for viruses and pandemics. That is why it is so important to contact an attorney as soon as possible, even if you have already filed a claim or had your claim denied. We are prepared to manage the legal process, which may include going to court to pursue compensation from the insurance company.
For more than 40 years, our firm has been helping Pennsylvania residents recover compensation for damages, often from insurance companies. Scott Cooper is representing the owners of two restaurants in their lawsuits over denied business interruption insurance claims. These are believed to be the first lawsuits of their kind filed in Pennsylvania.
Call our firm for legal help at: (717) 888-8888