Harris County Business Interruption Lawyer
Harris County has always been a hot spot for small and large businesses to set up shop with a consumer population of nearly four million to attend to. However, due to the coronavirus global pandemic thousands of Harris County businesses are shutting their doors to in fear of exposure or spreading the virus even further. The crisis has put millions of people in tight financial binds who are now looking to their insurers for business interruption coverage.
Business interruption insurance typically indemnifies for profit or income loss due to some sort natural disaster or other covered peril listed in your policy. To most, it makes sense the coronavirus situation would be covered in most business interruption insurance policies. Unfortunately, insurance companies are still discovering ways to dispute full coverage or deny the claim altogether. If have filed a business interruption claim for COVID-19 and are facing issues with your insurance, then we highly suggest you retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Claim Lawyer in Houston, Texas
If you are facing issues with your insurer for disputing or denying your COVID-19 businesses interruption claim without justification, then get in contact with LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC. We have spent more than 30 years combined fighting for the interests of policyholders in Texas. As skilled litigators, we know what it takes to go up against large insurance companies and the effective arguments needed to receive coverage. Call LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC and let us be aggressive advocates for you and your business.
Contact us now at (888) 306-2119 and we will set up your first consultation. LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC represents policyholders throughout the greater Houston and Harris County area including Spring, Pasadena, Humble, Tomball, Bellaire, South Houston, La Porte, Cypress and Jersey Village.
Overview of Harris County COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims
- What is Covered by 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?
- Harris County Insurance and Court Resources
What is Covered by Business Interruption Insurance?
Business interruption insurance covers loss of income or profit after a business is forced to suspend its operations because of a disaster, unfortunate situation or other covered peril. It doesn’t provide compensation for physical damages such as a broken roof or water damage. The policy is designed to reimburse the policyholder of any profits they lost due to the suspension of their daily business operations.
The coverage you receive depends on the policy you purchase and your insurer, but there are four common types of business interruption coverage. These include the following:
- Business Income Coverage: Net profits or losses before taxes and continuing normal operating expenses, it does include payroll.
- Extra Expense Coverage: Extra expenses that are considered above and beyond the normal monthly overhead to restore a business to a new or original location.
- Contingent Business Interruption Coverage: Coverage for income you lost due to property loss or damage at a supplier’s or customer’s location. For instance, this coverage may compensate you if you own a flower shop and your supplier’s location suffers a fire, preventing the supplier from fulfilling your flower orders.
- Civil Authority Coverage: This type of coverage would compensate you for loss of income or extra expenses as a result of the government denying a policyholder access to their business due to a covered loss at a location owned by another person.
Can I Get Business Interruption Coverage during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Coronavirus has changed American lives drastically over the last few months, both physically and economically. Governments across the nation have forced businesses to shut down and gave them little to no options on how to regain their revenue. The pandemic has caused many people to turn to their commercial insurance policies for support. Over the last few months a flood of COVID-19 related claims were filed with insurance companies. Unfortunately, many insurance companies have found ways to deny business interruption coverage.
Unclear Definitions of “Direct Physical Loss or Damage”
In many commercial property insurance policies, any business interruption coverage is triggered if the policyholder’s insured property sustains “direct physical loss of or damage.” Because of this, some insurance companies are now claiming that the introduction of the virus does not constitute direct physical loss or damage to the insured nor is it a covered peril under the policy. By taking this stance, these insurers can give only partial coverage or deny COVID-19 related business interruption claims altogether. This leaves policyholders with nearly no options and a struggling business with no support.
It’s important to keep in mind that courts across the country haven’t settled on a uniform rule for what determines physical loss or damage. There are still various outstanding issues as to the nature and extent of what’s required to determine physical damage. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic is such a novel event it’s hard to calculate the economic impact and how those risks should be mitigated going forward.
Insurers who dispute or deny COVID-19 related claims using these unfounded arguments are not seeking the best for their clients. These insurers are instead using unsupported and untested arguments so they can avoid full responsibility for your coverage. That is why if you are having difficulty obtaining business interruption coverage, then we urge you to gain legal representation. An experienced insurance lawyer can comb through your policy to determine if there’s a solid argument for coverage.
COVID-19 and Virus and Bacteria Exclusions
In the early 2000s, another respiratory virus rocked the world. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, also known as SARS, came along around early 2003 and many insurance companies took note of how the influx of business interruptions claims they received during this time. As a result, these insures reviewed and edited their policies to include a “communicable or infectious diseases” exclusion. This is so they could avoid providing coverage for virus or other pollutant related losses.
An exclusion may exist within your policy, but that doesn’t mean you should give up trying to pursue coverage. The majority of virus exclusions are untested in the courts and may be considered inapplicable during a worldwide pandemic. If your insurance company claims has a virus and bacteria exclusion, we suggest you get in touch with experienced legal representation. With the help of a dedicated and knowledgeable insurance lawyer, you can uncover all your available legal options.
What Do I Do If My COVID-19 Claim Was Denied?
The first step to finding out if you have an argument for coverage is to have a clear understanding of your insurance policy and if coverage extends to COVID-19 related losses. You can receive a copy of your insurance policy by getting in contact with your insurance broker or agent. It’s important to know the insurance agent or broker may try to discourage you by stating that “there’s no coverage” for COVID-19 losses. Don’t worry about that and keep on insisting on your copy. Your insurer is obligated to provide you with a copy of your insurance policy if you requested it.
You will then want to get in touch with an attorney with extensive experience in insurance law as soon as possible. A skilled insurance lawyer can examine your policy thoroughly and see whether you have a case or not. If your business needs assistance with analyzing your policy, drafting and filing a claim, or fighting a denied claim, consult LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC.
Harris County Insurance and Court Resources
Harris County District Courts – The Harris County District Courts handle all types of court cases as well as civil cases where claims of $200 is disputed for damages. You can access their site to find their docket schedules, court rules and directions to their court locations.
Harris County Clerk – The Harris County District Clerk performs duties assigned by the Texas Constitution oversees all the documentation and files related to court proceedings. If you file a suit against your insurance company, you may have to visit the Harris County clerk.
Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) – The Texas Department of Insurance regulates insurance companies by ensuring they are following the rules in the Insurance Code. They also are in handle the administration of the Texas’s worker’s compensation system as provided by the Texas Labor Code.
Texas Insurance Code – Visit the official website for the Texas Insurance Code to read the state’s legislation regarding insurance. Access the statute to see what Texas defines as an unfair settlement, the statute of limitations to file a bad faith claim and other relevant information.
COVID-19 Insurance Claims Attorney in Harris County, Texas
Has your business been forced to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic? If so, then it may be beneficial for you to seek legal counsel. You could be eligible for business interruption loss related to the virus depending on the guidelines of your policy. To learn more, call LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC. Our business interruption claims lawyers can give you excellent legal advice and inform you of all your possible options so you can receive coverage.
Get in touch with LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC for assistance obtaining the coverage you’re entitled to. You can reach us at (888) 306-2119 and we will set up your first consultation free of charge. We represent clients throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area including Pasadena, Humble, Cypress, Tomball and South Houston.