Will My Business Interruption Insurance Cover My COVID-19 Related Losses?
This, of course, is the million dollar question right now (or how ever many $$$ it will mean to your business.) We've been hesitant to post an answer online because it's important that we have a conversation with each client about their particular situation and look at their specific policies. There is no single, simple, blanket answer for what's happening right now.
Here are a few key elements of the current situation to bear in mind:
1. We HATE that the answer in many cases is "probably not"
2. Business owners should not make ANY assumptions based on statement number one! You need to contact your agent and seek their counsel. You need to convey your particular details and they need to look at the language of your in-force policies.
3. We work for YOU, not the carriers. YOU are our client. And our job is to advise you and advocate for you. That is job number one as your agent.
4. After discussing the current pandemic's potential impact on our client's operations, our standard advice is: file a claim anyway. Even if it appears the policy has language excluding viruses, microbes, pandemics, or other such language, losses should still be measured (or logically estimated) and submitted to the carrier. In the instance that a carrier or a governmental decree changes the scope of what claims will be covered (despite policy language), won't you want your claim to be in that category of losses that suddenly get a green light?
We are in this with our clients and we are working hard to gather information and get answers. We're also listening to our clients and advising them. Our LBW staff is doing everything we can to find the best outcome for all of our clients. Although most of our team is working from home now – we are still “here” and we’re still working just as hard.
LBW's CEO Mitzi Like was recently interviewed on the topic of coronavirus and business insurance. To read the article published March 30, 2020 in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal click the link below (unfortunately, you must be a subscriber of the SFVBJ to access the full article. Apologies for this!) Insurance: Virus Often Excluded from Business Policies. Is Pandemic an Interruption?
For more information on COVID-19 and various policies potentially triggered by it, visit this blog post authored by Robert Berg at Michelman & Robinson Insurance Coverage Potentially Triggered by COVID-19
Visit the CA Department of Insurance website for more information: FAQ on business interruption insurance and other issues affecting California small businesses