COVID-19 & Business Interruption Insurance

Lawyers and insurance industry experts expect billions of dollars in insurance claims for business interruption and loss related to the Coronavirus pandemic. Businesses of all sizes, from airlines to small restaurants, are facing staggering losses as government orders require them to close or substantially reduce their business activities.

If you are having trouble determining whether your business is insured against loss from the COVID-19 crisis, you are not alone. Insurance policies are notoriously difficult to read.

The first step in determining whether business loss due to COVID-19 is covered under a policy is to analyze which losses fall within the policy’s “grant” of coverage. Sometimes a policy will refer to “business interruption coverage.” Sometimes it will refer to coverage for “civil authority” or “extended business income.” Or the policy may use other terms to describe coverage that may apply to loss of business income due to an unexpected interruption to business, like the coronavirus.

After determining that the policy grants or may grant coverage, the next step is to evaluate the policy’s “exclusions.” The exclusions are provisions that limit or may completely nullify terms that otherwise would appear to grant coverage for a loss.

Very often, the interpretation of an insurance policy requires a detailed analysis of applicable statutes and court decisions. Laws vary by state.

Once a business determines that it has coverage (or arguably may have coverage), it must give its insurance company notice of the claim. Policies frequently include specific terms for giving notice that a business must follow closely. Likewise, the business must be sure to give its insurance company notice of a claim promptly. An experienced attorney can help a business submit its insurance claim in a way that maximizes its success in obtaining coverage.

Too often, the insurance company denies the claim even though coverage exists. Insurance companies know that, by denying claims, many businesses will give up and not pursue the coverage they purchased. When that happens, the business may have a claim for breach of contract against the insurance company.

In addition, when an insurance company denies a claim in bad faith, the business may recover not only the benefits that the insurance company should have paid but also the additional damages, harms, and losses caused by the bad-faith denial. For many types of insurance, Colorado businesses are entitled to recover up to three times the benefits that the insurance company should have paid, together with their costs and attorneys’ fees, provided the business proves that the insurance company wrongfully delayed or wrongfully denied a claim.

Attorneys at Keating Wager are among the most experienced in the state in prosecuting claims against insurance companies. Keating Wagner has recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of businesses and individuals whose claims were wrongfully rejected by insurance companies. We help our clients obtain the insurance benefits they deserve while maximizing their total recoveries.

If you or your business has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and believe you may have insurance coverage for your loss, call us. We are available for an initial consultation regarding your claim at no cost, and we offer differing fee arrangements to fit our clients’ needs.