Galveston County Business Interruption Lawyer
Galveston County is full of diverse businesses which give the county character and help it thrive economically. The majority of these businesses never have the luxury of a day off and must have constant and dependable revenue to keep their doors open. The novel coronavirus, however, has put a wrench in thousands of businesses both large and small across the United States. Many business owners have had their hands tied financially as their state and local governments administer “stay at home” orders thereby forcing them to suspend their operations indefinitely.
These nationwide closures have caused thousands of business owners to turn to their insurers in hopes they can receive some sort of business interruption loss coverage. Business interruption insurance provides coverage for profit or income loss related to a natural disaster or other covered unforeseen event. The purpose of business interruption insurance is to put the policyholder in the same financial position prior to the loss. Unfortunately, some insurance companies have attempted to dispute or deny COVID-19 business interruption claims for various reasons. If you are having difficulty with your insurer regarding your business interruption loss coverage, it’s within your best interest to gain legal counsel.
COVID-19 Insurance Claims Attorney in Galveston, Texas
Is your insurance company disputing, delaying or denying your COVID-19 business interruption claim without a valid reason? If so, they could be acting in bad faith and liable for the coverage you’re entitled to. Learn all your available legal options by getting in contact with the experienced insurance attorneys at LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC.
LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC can effectively represent your interests utilizing our 30 years of insurance law knowledge. Call us today at LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC to set up your first consultation free of charge. We practice throughout the Galveston and Galveston County area including but not limited to: Kemah, Dickinson, Hitchcock, Santa Fe, La Marque, and San Leon.
Overview of Galveston County Business Interruption Lawyers
- What Does Business Interruption Insurance Do?
- Why Did My Insurance Deny My COVID-19 Business Interruption Claim?
- What Should I Do If My Insurance Denies My COVID-19 Claim?
- Galveston County Court and Legal Resources
What Does Business Interruption Insurance Do?
Policyholders typically purchase business interruption insurance alongside their commercial property policies or through a business owner’s policy. Although some do purchase a stand-alone business interruption policy instead. The purpose of business interruption insurance is to provide income or profit loss coverage due to an unforeseen event listed within their policy. It’s important to remember the insurance policy is not designed to provide coverage for physical repairs such as roof damage. What it does instead is compensate the policyholder for any profit or income loss they suffered because they were forced to close their business.
Business interruption coverage typically indemnifies for loss of revenue that would have been earned if there had been no unforeseen event. However, what is defined as coverage and how that coverage is triggered relies on the insurer and the details of the policy. Although policies can differ, many business interruption policies trigger coverage when physical loss or damage occurs to the insured property or covered peril. To receive compensation, the policyholder must have suffered quantifiable business interruption loss during the period it takes to restore the insured property.
Insurance companies offers various types of coverage for business interruption policies, which include, but are not limited to the following:
- Business Income Coverage: The net profit or loss of the business without taxes as well as daily normal operating expenses. It can include payroll;
- Extra Expense Coverage: Any type of expense that is outside of the normal monthly costs of the business and is for the restoration of the business;
- Contingent Business Interruption Coverage: Coverage for income lost due to a supplier or customer suffering from property loss or damage;
- 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 Did My Insurance Deny My COVID-19 Business Interruption Claim?
The coronavirus public health crisis has put many industries in jeopardy. With both state and local governments implementing “stay at home” orders, it doesn’t leave much room for businesses to maintain their monthly expenses. Due to this, insurance companies are being flooded with thousands and thousands of business interruption claims. As a result, some insurers have found various reasons to dispute or deny a COVID-19 business interruption claim.
Does COVID-19 Fulfill the Physical Damage Requirement?
Many business interruption policies state that coverage can only be triggered if “direct physical loss or damage to” occurs on the insured property by covered peril. Although many businesses have been forced to close their doors, some insurers are arguing that the introduction of a virus does not constitute direct physical loss or damage to the insured nor is it a covered peril. This allows insurers to dispute or deny COVID-19 related claims and leaves policyholders with little to no options.
Thankfully, there is no uniform rule for what determines physical loss or damage in the Texas Insurance Code or by the Department of Insurance. The meaning and interpretation of “direct physical loss or damage” has actually been a developing argument in the courts for years. Currently, there are still several outstanding issues as to the nature and extent of what’s required to determine physical damage. Not to mention the fact that the coronavirus pandemic is so novel it’s difficult to discern what the economic impact will be and how the risks should be mitigated going forward.
These insurance companies are using unsupported arguments so they can avoid providing their policyholders the fair and full coverage they deserve. An insurance company who takes this unfounded position is not on the side of the policyholder. If you are in a similar situation with your insurer, we urge you to seek legal representation. An insurance lawyer can comb through your policy to see if there’s any solid coverage arguments that can be used for your case. Your attorney can then represent your interests both in and outside of court. They can negotiate with insurance adjusters, collect evidence as to why the claim is within policy guidelines and go trial if necessary so you can get the best settlement possible.
COVID-19 Virus and Bacteria Exclusions
In the early 2000’s, another illness shook the world known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARSs). The SARs epidemic caused many insurers to implement “communicable or infectious disease” or “virus” exclusions as a way to avoid coverage for virus or other pollutant related losses. So, many policyholders may have their COVID-19 business interruption claims denied because there exists a virus and infectious disease exclusion in their policy.
Before you give up hope, it’s imperative you understand that even if an exclusion exists within your policy, the majority of virus and infectious disease exclusions are untested in the courts. They could even be considered inapplicable during a pandemic. So, don’t spend one second longer arguing with your insurance agent. Instead get in touch with an experienced insurance lawyer and have them examine your business interruption policy in detail. A skilled insurance law attorney can determine if there exists an argument for coverage and whether it’s a strong enough case to pursue.
What Can I Do If My COVID-19 Business Interruption Claim was Denied?
The first step to receiving coverage is to have a clear understanding of your insurance policy. You can do this by getting in contact with your insurance broker or agent and then asking them if you can receive a copy of your policy. It’s possible your insurance agent may try to dissuade you obtaining a copy by stating that “no coverage exists” for coronavirus related losses. Pay no heed to this and simply insist on a copy again. Remember an insurance policy is a contract and as a party to that contract you have the right to a copy of it at any time.
After you’ve acquired a copy of your policy, you will then want to get in contact with an experienced insurance lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will conduct an in-depth examination of your policy to determine if coverage extends to COVID-19 related losses. For a thorough and dedicated analysis of your policy, contact the experienced lawyers at LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC.
Galveston County Insurance and Court Resources
Galveston County District Courts – All types of court cases are handled at the Galveston County District Courts, which includes civil suits where at least $200 is being claimed or disputed in damages. Access the site to learn their docket schedules, who is appointed as judge, rules of the court and any other important information.
Galveston County Clerk – You can find all court records and documents filed and stored by the Galveston County Clerk’s office. Access the site to learn how to request court documents, search through public records and download forms you may need for court.
Texas Department of Insurance – The Department of Insurance regulates all insurance companies in the state of Texas and ensures they are following the statutes established in the Texas Insurance Code. The department is also head of administration of worker’s compensation systems as provided by the Texas Labor Code.
Texas Insurance Code – Visit the official website for the Texas Insurance Code to learn more about their laws to keep insurance powers in check. Access the site to what is a bad faith action under Texas law, the statute of limitation to file a claim against your insurer and more.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Lawyer in Galveston County, Texas
If you have been forced to shut down your business due to the coronavirus pandemic, then we highly encourage you to retain legal representation. You could be entitled to coverage for business interruption loss related to the coronavirus pandemic. Contact the attorneys at LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC to learn more about your legal options and guidance on how to file your claim so you can receive the most coverage possible.
The attorneys at LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC have decades of law experience we can utilize for your case. Let us be the aggressive advocates you need so you can save your livelihood. Call (888) 306-2119 now to set up your first consultation free of charge. LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC accepts clients throughout the greater Galveston County area.