Denied Business Interruption Coverage in Miami? Not so Fast.

Many businesses across South Florida are being told by insurers that your business interruption policy does not cover events related to the COVID-19 pandemic, because either the policy specifically excludes pandemics or viruses, or there has not been actual “property loss.” Our team at Acle Law has researched and assembled what a complaint against an insurer might look like regarding the latter, and we believe strong arguments can be made that in fact coverage does exist.  

 

No matter your business type, we are all facing dire circumstances due to the pandemic. Closures, local and statewide shelter-in-place orders, and strict social distancing regulations are impacting our entire economy and way of life. As a result, South Florida policyholders are facing the dilemma of whether to make a claim against their business interruption insurance policy in light of the government’s forced closure of non-essential businesses.

 

If your policy excludes pandemics, epidemics or viruses, you likely will face an uphill battle to obtain coverage absent of any legislation to address pandemic-related exclusions. Certain states are considering this already and we expect more to follow. However, insurers and their lobbying groups will certainly mount constitutional challenges to any such legislation.  

 

If your policy doesn’t exclude pandemics, then typically a successful claim requires physical damage to your property that has causes the interruption to your business. The question before the courts and the legal system now is “has the COVID-19 pandemic caused physical damage to property? Some courts have held that contaminants or pollution could fulfill this “physical damage” requirement, but more in-depth analysis of your policy’s language is needed to see whether COVID-19 is sufficient enough to bring forth a claim.

 

Our attorneys at Acle Law are urging policyholders to be proactive and aggressive in pursuing business interruption coverage. Some immediate steps you can take include:

 

  • Carefully review the language of your policy to determine whether exclusions are present or not.
  • Collect and maintain proof of interruption/loss – document all relevant government communication and executive orders, financial losses, and remediation costs while maintaining a log of all individuals that enter and exit your premises (including all deliveries).
  • Work with your attorney to carefully draft your claim prior to submission to ensure the language is sufficiently broad enough to better your chances of receiving coverage.
  • In the event you are denied coverage, work with an attorney to evaluate whether to litigate. And remember, typical policies will have a statute of limitations for filing a claim.

 

We don’t know what the coming days and months will bring, but Acle Law will be here whenever you need us. We may be a team of property insurance lawyers, but we’re people first. Your neighbors in your community and we’re in this with you. Call our Miami property insurance claim attorneys at the Acle Law Firm today at 305-447-4667 or visit Acle Law for a free consultation.