May 8, 2020
Due to local or statewide stay-at-home directives and other pandemic-related changes in day-to-day operations, small businesses across the country have suffered significant financial losses, and some have even been forced to close.
One solution business owners are turning to is filing an insurance claim for damages, but, unfortunately, many of these claims are being denied by insurance companies. If your business interruption insurance claim was denied, you may feel that there is no hope for compensation. However, there may be a solution: Get an attorney experienced in fighting insurance claim denials on your side.
Commercial insurance claims related to losses during COVID-19 have been denied for a number of reasons. For example, some policies include viral exclusions that allow insurance companies to deny coverage in virus- or bacteria-related matters. Other policies may have ambiguous language concerning viruses that insurance adjusters are using to support their decisions.
The reality is that insurance companies may automatically deny a business interruption claim during the coronavirus pandemic regardless of the absence or clarity of a viral exclusion policy—all with the assumption that business owners won’t have the knowledge or resources to fight the rejection of their claims.
Contacting an attorney as early as possible after receiving an insurance claim denial will give business owners the best chance at fighting an unfair decision. Here are five reasons why it is important to have an experienced attorney review your case.
Insurance policies are purposefully and necessarily long, complex documents. Determining whether business losses incurred during COVID-19 are covered is not a straightforward matter. Instead, it requires a thorough examination of your policy and may also involve legal issues outside of the scope of the document itself.
Qualified legal counsel with extensive knowledge of how to read and interpret commercial insurance policies can help you verify whether your losses are covered.
Insurance policies often have strict time limits. These deadlines may concern when the damages occurred as well as how soon losses must be reported in order to be eligible for coverage. Additionally, there may be state laws in place detailing how long a business owner has to sue an insurance company in response to an insurance claim denial.
An attorney can help you navigate the complexities of your commercial insurance and business interruption coverage quickly so that you meet any time limits detailed in your policy.
Commercial insurance policies contain a list of exclusions that are not covered. Many have a list of pollutants and contaminants that are excluded from coverage, and others include an additional viral exclusion policy covering biological contaminants.
However, some of these exclusions are ambiguous. For example, the terms “bacteria,” “microorganism,” or “microbe” may not cover viruses, because these terms relate to living things and viruses are not considered to be alive.
Ambiguity almost always favors the insured, and an attorney can help you identify and use ambiguous language to your benefit.
Attorneys don’t just file legal papers and give advice on your case; they can also handle all communications with the insurance company.
Insurance adjusters know that you are overwhelmed and dealing with both the financial losses of your business as well as stressful everyday life during a pandemic. They know you do not have the time or energy to constantly check in with your case or argue with their attorneys for fair compensation. Leave the burden of communicating with the insurance company to your lawyer.
Insurance companies hire teams of lawyers and adjusters to deny, delay, or underpay valid coverage claims.
An experienced attorney will act as your advocate during settlement negotiations—or in court, if necessary—and insist that you are appropriately covered for your business losses.
If your business has suffered losses related to COVID-19 and you are struggling to receive compensation from an insurance company, contact the Indianapolis Insurance Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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