Pennsylvania business owners pay for business interruption insurance coverage to protect themselves from disasters that disrupt their operations. Claims are filed when disasters interrupt their business and result in significant financial loss and damage. The widespread negative impact of the coronavirus is an unprecedented disaster and has affected many companies for a prolonged period. Statewide mandated closures across the nation and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have severely strained businesses.
The volume of business interruption claims filed due to COVID-19 has been staggering. At this time, it is still unclear if every insurer will honor claims based purely on the pandemic. You need the assistance of an attorney with decades of experience and knowledge of the insurance industry. Our Pennsylvania coronavirus (COVID-19) business interruption claim attorneys are dedicated to fighting for your rights. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 for a free, confidential consultation to review your options and fight to get your business interruption claim covered.
How Business Interruption Insurance Works in Pennsylvania for Coronavirus Closures
Part of the general liability and property damage insurance most businesses carry is an additional policy intended to cover events that interrupt a business’s operation. Business interruption insurance will typically compensate a business owner for the loss of income due to a disruption of operations caused by physical damage, a catastrophic event, or another necessary interruption of business.
Under most policies’ terms, the policy only covers a business for losses suffered during a defined period of time known as the “period of restoration.” The “period of restoration” is the reasonable amount of time a business would need to replace or repair the damaged property before resuming operations.
Depending on the policy, additional coverage could include compensation for expenses that a business would have customarily incurred if it were still in operation, including utility payments and internet service bills.
While business interruption insurance policies cover a wide variety of events, they usually require some physical damage or destruction of property. There are some exceptions, such as a mandatory shutdown by a civil authority, which might not require physical damage. However, many policies also have limitations and restrictions. For example, most policies will not cover damage due to a natural disaster such as an earthquake or flood. Additionally, a temporary interruption is rarely covered; a disruption may have to last over three days before the policy will come into effect.
Unfortunately for many Pennsylvania businesses, it is common for business interruption insurance policies to have specific exclusions for disruptions caused by viral epidemics and diseases. It is vital to have our seasoned attorneys review your policy to help determine what hurdles must be overcome to receive compensation for your COVID-19 business interruption case.
Pennsylvania Business Interruption Claims Because of the Coronavirus
Typically, business interruption policies only cover claims with “property damage,” as in damage to the physical premises where your business operates. Unless your business suffered property damage, your insurance carrier is likely to reject your case. When your business is interrupted because of a fire, it is easy to conclude that there was actual physical property damage. Fortunately, “property damage” could also include the loss of the use of your property. Therefore, if your business property is unusable for an extended period because of a shutdown, it could meet the policy definition. This could cover shutdowns ordered by a civil authority, which might be the way to get your claim covered if your business closed because of COVID-19.
To get coverage, the event that caused your interruption must be covered under your policy. Known as the “covered peril,” business insurance policies are generally very specific about what types of perils that are covered. There are two types of policies, known as “named peril” and “open peril” policies. A “named peril” policy will specifically list the causes and events covered by the policy, while an “open peril” policy will cover any event unless it is expressly excluded. Unfortunately, after the SARS pandemic, many insurers began to include specific exclusions for viral epidemics.
If your business was interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, you have more than enough work trying to maintain your business. The Reiff Law Firm has over forty years of experience handling complex insurance claims. We will assist you in collecting the necessary information and documentation to support your claim, including financial records, bank statements, payroll records, and any critical records required to prove your loss or expenses. Our experienced attorneys will also prepare to take further legal action if your claim is wrongfully denied.
Pennsylvania Laws and Solutions for Companies Affected by COVID-19 Business Interruptions
Due to the large-scale impact of the coronavirus on businesses throughout the nation, several states have introduced legislation that would compel insurance companies to ignore viral exclusions written into their business interruption policies. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has introduced one such bill.
House Bill 2372 is currently being reviewed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Insurance Committee. If the bill passes, it will require insurance companies to cover claims based on business interruptions caused by global pandemics. Additionally, coverage would retroactively provide compensation for interruptions dating back to March 6, 2020.
Call Our Pennsylvania Coronavirus Business Interruption Claim Attorney for a Free Consultation
Pennsylvania business owners are suffering through an unprecedented national shutdown. “Stay at home” orders have required companies to cease operations across the Commonwealth. Now, after paying insurance premiums for years, many business owners are unsure whether their policies will compensate them for the losses they currently face. If you had a claim denied, immediately contact our Pennsylvania coronavirus (COVID-19) business interruption claim attorney. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000 for a free, confidential consultation to review your options.