Montgomery County Business Interruption Lawyers
Generating consistent and reliable revenue is what keeps a business alive enough to maintain its operations. Very few business owners can suspend their operations without sustaining a massive financial blow. Now, the global coronavirus pandemic has put caused thousands of businesses to close their doors in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Establishments across the United States both large and small have been forced to stop their operations due to “shelter in place” or “stay at home” orders.
In desperation, more and more business owners are turning to their insurance companies for help. As a result, there has been a huge wave of business interruption claims being filed across the U.S. Some of these insurance companies may attempt to deny these claims by citing various untested policy exclusions and limitations. These positions are unfounded in the courts so that doesn’t mean you aren’t still entitled to coverage. If you are having issues filing a COVID-19 business interruption claim, then it’s imperative you seek counsel from an experienced insurance attorney.
Attorney for Coronavirus Business Interruption Claims in Montgomery County, Texas
The coronavirus has forced the U.S. economy to be at a standstill. Filing a business interruption claim with your insurance company may be the only way your business can survive for many businesses. If you are facing obstacles obtaining business interruption loss coverage, then it’s within your best interest to contact LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC.
Our lawyers at LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC have over 30 years of experience we want to utilize for your case. With our skills and resources, we can uncover all your legal options so you can receive the coverage your business needs. Call us at (888) 306-2119 to set up your first consultation free. LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC accepts clients throughout the state of Texas including Montgomery County, Dallas County, Harris County, and Collin County.
Overview of Montgomery County Business Interruption Claims
- What is the Purpose of Business Interruption Insurance?
- Reasons Why Your Insurer May Deny Your COVID-19 Claim
- What Should I Do If My Business Interruption Claim was Denied?
- Montgomery County Legal and Insurance Resources
What Is the Purpose of Business Interruption Insurance?
Business interruption insurance is usually purchased alongside a commercial property policy or a business owner’s insurance policy. However, some people purchase a stand-alone policy for specifically business interruption claims. The purpose of business interruption insurance is to provide coverage for profit or income loss due to a natural disaster, unfortunate situation or other covered peril. The insurer doesn’t reimburse the policyholder for physical repairs such as water or fire damage. The policy will instead compensate the policyholder for any profits they lost while their business was being restored.
Business interruption coverage usually indemnifies for loss of revenue that would have been earned if the business wasn’t forced to shut its doors. What defines and triggers coverage relies on the insurer and the type of coverage negotiated. While this is true, most business interruption policies are triggered when physical loss or damage occurs to the insured property by a covered peril.
There are different types of business interruption coverage available depending on the policy and insurer. These include the following:
- Business Income Coverage: The gross profit or loss of the business without calculating taxes, and continuing normal operating expenses such as payroll;
- Extra Expense Coverage: Any type of extra expense that is above and beyond the normal monthly costs. Must be used to restore the business at either the original or temporary location;
- Contingent Business Interruption Coverage: Income or profit loss 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 COVID-19 Business Interruption Claim was Denied?
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed American lives dramatically but has had a serious economic impact on nearly every industry. Many businesses both big and small have been required by their local and state governments to shut down in fear of spreading the virus. Many would think that a pandemic constitutes as a covered loss for a business interruption claim, but unfortunately an insurer may still deny a COVID-19 related claim for various reasons.
Does COVID-19 Count as Physical Loss or Damage?
Although policies differ depending on the insurer, most business interruption policies trigger coverage when there has been “direct physical loss or damage to” the insured property. As a result, some insurance companies are now taking the position that the introduction of a virus does not constitute direct physical loss or damage to the insured nor is it a covered peril. Consequently, this stance gives insurers reason to deny COVID-19 business interruption related claims. The policyholder, on the other hand, is now left with little to no options while they struggle to keep their business alive.
It’s important to know that even if your insurer denies you coverage you may still be entitled to compensation. Currently, 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 argument in U.S. courtrooms for years. In fact, there are still many outstanding issues as to the nature and extent of what’s required to determine physical damage. Additionally, the coronavirus pandemic is so unusual and new, it’s difficult to determine what the economic impact will be and the best way to mitigate the risks.
Insurers who dispute or deny coronavirus related business interruption claims by using this unfounded position is not on the side of the policyholder. Instead they are attempting to use an untested argument so they can avoid providing the full coverage they owe their clients. If you are in a similar situation where your insurer denied your COVID-19 business interruption claim, then we highly encourage you to gain legal counsel. You can hire a skilled and experienced insurance attorney to examine your policy and determine if there’s a strong argument for coverage. If there is, they can guide you on what the next best step is to receive the coverage you’re entitled to.
COVID-19 Virus and Bacteria Exclusion
The coronavirus pandemic isn’t the first-time insurers have encountered losses related to viruses or infectious diseases. In the early 2000’s, another illness shook the world known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARs). Afterwards, many insurers reviewed and edited their policies to implement “communicable or infectious disease” or “virus” exclusions so they can avoid providing full coverage for virus or other pollutant related losses.
It’s important to understand that although these exclusions exist many are untested in the courts. It’s very possible a judge may consider these exclusions inapplicable when we are experiencing a worldwide pandemic. The best way to determine if you have a virus exclusion or not is to have someone with extensive experience in insurance law to analyze your policy. For that, we highly recommend you seek a skilled insurance law attorney. They can examine your insurance policy thoroughly and determine if you have an argument for coverage.
My Coronavirus Business Interruption Claim Was Denied, What Do I Do?
Having a thorough and clear understanding of your policy is the first step to determine if your coverage extends to coronavirus related losses. Because of this, we encourage you to get in contact with your insurance broker or agent and ask them if you could receive a copy of their policy. It’s possible they may try to dissuade you from obtaining a copy by stating “there’s no coverage” for COVID-19 related losses. Disregard them and insist on a copy of the policy once again. Your insurer may attempt to deter you, but they must provide a copy of your policy if your request it.
After you’ve acquired your copy, you will want to get in contact with an experienced insurance lawyer. They can then analyze your insurance policy carefully and determine whether your case is strong enough to pursue. If your business needs assistance with examining your policy, drafting and presenting a claim, or fighting a denial, consult the lawyers at LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC.
Montgomery County Insurance and Court Resources
Montgomery County District Courts – The Montgomery County District Court handles all court divisions including civil cases in which at least $200 are being disputed for damages. Access the site to learn more about their court rules, locations and what is on the court docket.
Montgomery County Clerk – The County Clerk is the official historian of the Montgomery County Courts and handles all documents related to the court. You can visit their site to request public records, search up a court record or to find directions to their location.
Texas Department of Insurance – The Texas Department of Insurance regulates insurers in the state and holds them accountable if they violate the Insurance Code. The department is also in charge of administering the Texas worker’s compensation system by the Labor Code.
Texas Insurance Code – All legislation related to insurance law in Texas can be found in the Insurance Code. Access the statutes to learn what Texas defines as a bad faith practice, your rights a policyholder and how long you must file a claim against your insurance company.
The Woodlands Business Interruption Attorney in Texas
Receiving business interruption coverage can be what saves your livelihood from the coronavirus pandemic. Don’t wait another moment to obtain the coverage you’re entitled to and call LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC. We have an extensive background in insurance law with over 30 years of practice.
Get in touch with us by calling (888) 306-2119 and we will set up your first consultation free today. Do what’s best for your business and let us review your policy for any possible coverage. LeMaster & Ahmed, PLLC practices throughout the Montgomery County area including Conroe, Magnolia, The Woodlands, Splendora, New Caney and Pinehurst.