Collin County Business Interruption Lawyer
The global coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to thousands of business operations across the United States. Businesses in every industry have been forced to close their doors indefinitely in an effort to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the virus by local and state governments. The novel public health crisis has put millions of business owners in an uncertain financial bind with little to no options. Naturally, these business owners are turning to their insurers in search of business interruption coverage to keep their livelihood afloat.
Business interruption insurance covers profit or income loss related to a natural disaster or other unforeseen event that’s been listed in your policy. The insurance is designed to put your business in the same financial position it was prior to the loss. However, insurers are finding ways to dispute full liability or outright deny coronavirus business interruption claims. If you are having issues obtaining business interruption loss coverage related to COVID-19, it’s highly encouraged you seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Claims Lawyer in Collin County, Texas
Are you having difficulty obtaining business interruption coverage related to COVID-19? If so, it may be in your best interest to contact LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC. Our experienced insurance attorneys have over thirty years of collective litigation experience.
You can reach us at (888) 306-2119 to set up your free consultation. We will sit with you to examine your policy and discuss your legal options. LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC represents policyholders throughout the Plano and Collin County area including McKinney, Allen, Anna, Farmersville, Lowry Crossing, Nevada, Princeton and Blue Ridge.
Overview of Collin County Business Interruption Lawyer
- What is Business Interruption Insurance?
- Can I Get Business Interruption Coverage During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
- What Should I Do If My COVID-19 Claim Was Denied?
- Insurance and Legal Resources
What is Business Interruption Insurance and What Does it Cover?
Typically, business interruption insurance is purchased as a part of a commercial property or business owner policy and in rare cases, as a stand-alone policy. The policy provides coverage for profits or income loss due to a natural disaster, unfortunate situation or other covered unforeseen event. The insurance does not provide compensation for physical repairs such as flood or fire damage. Instead the purpose of the policy is to reimburse the policyholder of any profits they lost due to the suspension of their business operations.
Business interruption insurance is designed to help business owners recover quickly from forced closures. The coverage typically indemnifies for loss of revenue that would have been earned if there had been no business interruption. What is defined as coverage and what triggers it varies depending on the insurer and the type of coverage negotiated. However, many policies trigger business interruption coverage when physical loss or damage occurs to the insured property by a covered peril. The damage must then result in quantifiable business interruption loss during the period it takes to restore the damaged property.
Depending on the policy, there are various types of coverage available under the category of “business interruption” insurance. These include:
- Business Income Coverage: The net profit or loss of the business before taxes as well as continuing normal operating expenses such as payroll;
- Extra Expense Coverage: Any type of expense that is above and beyond the normal monthly overhead of the business and is used to restore the business at either the original or temporary location;
- Contingent Business Interruption Coverage: Compensation for income lost due to property loss or damage that occurred at a customer’s location or supplier’s location.
- Civil Authority Coverage: Coverage for loss of income or extra expenses as a result of the government actively denying access to your business due to a covered loss at a location owned by someone else.
Why Was My Coronavirus Business Interruption Claim Denied?
The COVID-19 outbreak has drastically changed how millions of Americans run their daily lives and businesses. Both local and state governments have implemented “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders which have forced businesses to fully or partially suspend their operations. As a result, thousands of business owners are filing business interruption loss claims with their insurance companies. Unfortunately, some insurers have found various reasons to delay, dispute or deny coronavirus business interruption claims.
Coronavirus and The Physical Damage Requirement
It’s common in many policies for business interruption coverage to be triggered by “direct physical loss or damage to” the insured property. Some insurers are now arguing that the introduction of the virus does not constitute direct physical loss or damage to the insured nor is it a covered peril. Therefore, insurers have denied these claims. This leaves policyholders, who are already struggling to keep their businesses afloat, without the coverage they paid for and were promised.
However, it’s important to understand there is no uniform rule for what determines physical loss or damage. The meaning and interpretation of “direct physical loss or damage” has been a developing debate in courtrooms across the U.S. for years. There are still a lot of outstanding issues as to the nature and extent of what’s required to determine physical damage. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic is so novel it’s difficult to determine what the economic impact will be and how the risks should be mitigated.
Insurance companies who take this unfounded position to dispute or deny coronavirus related business interruption claims are not looking out for their policyholders. They are instead using an unsupported argument to avoid providing the full coverage their clients are entitled to. So, if your insurer has recently disputed or denied your COVID-19 business interruption claim, then we highly suggest you seek legal representation. An experienced insurance attorney can examine your policy and determine if there is a strong argument for coverage. They can then negotiate with your insurer both in and out of the courtroom as to why your claim was within policy terms and conditions.
The Virus and Bacteria Exclusion for COVID-19
When Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARs) took the world by storm in the early 2000’s, it caused many insurance companies to review and edit their policies. Many insurers implemented “communicable or infectious disease” or “virus” exclusions to avoid coverage for virus or other pollutant related losses. Even if an exclusion exists within your policy, it’s important to remember that the majority of virus and infectious diseases exclusions are untested and might be considered inapplicable during a pandemic.
Every policy is different and requires individual examination and analysis by someone with extensive experience in insurance law. So, it’s highly recommended that you seek experienced legal counsel to evaluate your business interruption policy in detail. A skilled insurance law attorney can determine if there is a strong argument for coverage in your policy and advise you on what the next best step forward is.
What Should I Do If My Coronavirus Business Interruption Claim was Denied?
It’s imperative you have a clear understanding of your insurance policy to determine if your coverage extends to COVID-19 related losses. To do this, your first step is to get in contact with your insurance broker or agent and ask them if you could receive a copy of your policy, if you do not already have one. Remember the insurance agent may try to dissuade you from obtaining a copy by saying that “there is no coverage” for coronavirus related losses. If this happens, pay no heed and insist on a copy of the policy again. Insurance companies are obligated to provide you a copy of your policy if you request it.
Once you’ve acquired a copy of your policy, you will want to get in contact an attorney with extensive experience in insurance law. An insurance lawyer can then conduct a thorough in-depth analysis of your policy and determine whether your case is strong enough to pursue. If your business needs assistance in analyzing your policy, presenting a claim, or fighting a denial, the lawyers of LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC are here to help.
Collin County Insurance and Legal Resources
Collin County District Courts – The Collin County District Courts is where all civil suits occur where the minimum claim amount involved is at least $200. Access their site to view their docket schedules, where the court is located, as well as their court rules.
Collin County Clerk – All relevant court records and documentation are filed and given by the Collin County Clerk’s Office. You can access their site to learn more about how to access court records, request public records and pay a court-related fee.
Texas Department of Insurance – The Texas Department of Insurance oversees insurance companies to ensure they are following the regulations set forth by the Insurance Code. They also manage administration for the Worker Compensation Systems as provided by the Texas Labor Code.
Texas Insurance Code – Visit the official website for Texas laws and legislation to read the Insurance Code to read more on insurance laws and standards. Access the site to learn more about unfair settlement practices, when an insurer is liable and other important information.
Plano Attorney for COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims in Texas
If you’re having difficulty obtaining coverage for your business interruption losses, then it’s within your best interest to contact LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC. We have decades of insurance law experience we can apply to your case. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to help your business receive the coverage it needs to survive the pandemic.
You can get in touch with LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC by calling (888) 306-2119 and we will set up your first consultation free today. LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC practices throughout the Collin County area and throughout the Plano area including Allen, Anna, Blue Ridge, McKinney, Weston, Murphy and Lowry Crossing.