Were You Denied for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Claim in Pennsylvania?
The coronavirus has placed an unforeseen and unprecedented burden on many business owners throughout the commonwealth. Due to orders by the Pennsylvania government, non-essential businesses have been shut down. This has left owners scrambling to pay ongoing expenses and salaries without income. Many have filed business interruption claims through their insurance providers only to be denied. The Reiff Law Firm’s Pennsylvania coronavirus business interruption claim lawyers discuss what options are available for businesses struggling with their circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Business Interruption Insurance in Pennsylvania for COVID-19
If you are a Pennsylvania business owner with a business insurance policy, it most likely includes a business interruption policy. Business interruption insurance is complicated, as it is designed to cover hypothetical losses, such as the net income a company would have earned or spoiled inventory they could not sell during a gap in operations. The question on nearly every business owner’s mind is whether their policy cover interruptions and losses directly attributable to COVID-19.
What Does Business Interruption Insurance Cover for Coronavirus Interruptions?
Typically, business interruption insurance will cover actual physical loss or damage your business suffers due to a covered event. For example, a fire at your company’s building could be covered, allowing you to claim damages for losses while your business can’t operate.
Sometimes, business interruption insurance includes specific provisions to cover losses from a disruption in a supply chain. Usually, this does not require actual physical damage. If you were denied coverage for a COVID-19 business interruption claim in Philadelphia or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, our attorneys might be able to appeal your denial. If your policy specifically addresses disruptions in the supply chain, this kind of interruption should be covered even without physical damage to the premises.
Insurance policies also usually cover interruptions caused by the actions of a civil authority. If the federal or local government restricts access to your business, such as through a quarantine shutdown, then it might be possible to receive compensation through a claim without demonstrating actual physical damage to your property.
Can Pennsylvania Companies File Business Interruption Claims Based on the Coronavirus?
Whether your specific insurance policy will cover claims arising from the COVID-19 pandemic will usually depend on the interpretation of the language in your policy. Unfortunately, after the SARS epidemic, many insurers crafted their policies around exclusions for viral pandemics and diseases.
The first obstacle to overcome is determining whether a loss resulting from the coronavirus includes an actual physical loss as defined by your policy. As discussed above, most insurers do not cover losses from closures to contain or mitigate the spread of viral infection. However, the exact wording of your policy is critical in determining whether your case should be covered.
Certain business interruption policies offer a wide range of coverage, including coverage for losses directly related to communicative viruses or diseases like the coronavirus. If the language does not explicitly deny claims related to viral outbreaks, your case might also be covered.
Even if there is no exception for viral outbreaks in your policy, your insurer might still deny the claim because there is no physical damage. You might still be able to get this claim covered under a government shutdown clause, which might not require physical damage to get your business interruption losses covered.
What If My Business Interruption Claim Was Denied Because of Coronavirus?
The Reiff Law Firm has over forty years of experience handling complicated insurance matters, and we can assist your business during this unprecedented time. If your policy does not specifically include or exclude viral pandemics and your insurer contends that your losses due to COVID-19 are not covered, you still have options.
Some courts have held that property that is unusable due to contamination falls under the definition of “physical loss” under a typical business interruption policy. A related argument could be made that COVID-19 is a contaminant that should trigger coverage, especially if an infected employee or customer caused the contamination. Additionally, an argument could be made that the shutdown was a direct result of action by a civil authority rather than the virus itself. Our Pennsylvania business interruption attorneys are prepared to use any legal means necessary to fight the denial of your claim.
Pennsylvania is Considering Legislative Help for Businesses Interrupted by COVID-19
Several legislative bodies are considering bills that would limit the exclusions insurers can use to deny coverage for interruptions caused by the coronavirus. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives introduced House Bill 2372 to assist business owners struggling through the pandemic. Under the provisions of the bill, insurance companies would have to provide business interruption benefits dating back to March 6, 2020, for Pennsylvania companies negatively impacted by COVID-19.
At the time of this article, this bill is still pending. It is important to contact our seasoned attorney if your insurance claim was denied rather than relying on this bill.
If Your Business Interruption Claim was Denied in Pennsylvania, Call Our Attorneys Today
Under the best of circumstances, operating a successful business is difficult. Now, while many businesses are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, business owners are struggling more than ever. After paying their insurance premiums for years, many owners are being denied because their insurer argues that they do not cover COVID-19 closures. If your claim was denied, you need the aggressive representation of our Pennsylvania attorneys for denied COVID-19 business interruption claims. Call the Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 246-9000 for a free, confidential case consultation.