BUSINESS INTERRUPTION ATTORNEYS SERVING ALL OF LOUISIANA
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit New Orleans and all of Louisiana hard.
Thousands of businesses have been shuttered to assist in the effort to bend the curve and stop the coronavirus from spreading.
Local businesses have lost significant income as a result of a stay at home orders. As a business owner, you have put your blood, sweat, and tears into your business.
At this time, you should do everything possible to position your business for success once things return to normal.
The insurance industry has signaled that it intends to deny all business interruption claims arising from COVID-19.
As discussed below, there is good reason to believe that many claims should be accepted and paid.
DO YOU HAVE BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE?
Many commercial property insurance policies contain business interruption coverage that provides money in the event your business is forced to close or reduce operations.
Business interruption insurance can help to pay for numerous business expenses, including:
- Income your business has lost due to being closed.
- Income lost due to reduced operations
- Rent that you lost because your property could not be used.
- Employee wages.
- Relocation expenses to move to a temporary location including additional rent incurred to continue business operations.
- Loan payments.
- Business taxes.
- Business overhead expenses.
The coverage offered under your commercial insurance policy could be the difference between sustaining your business and losing it.
Our attorneys are here to provide a free policy review to discuss your options.
OTHER FORMS OF COMMERCIAL BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE
Some commercial property insurance policies include other types of coverages that may provide money for lost business income:
- Contingent Business Interruption: This type of coverage is triggered when you incur business losses caused by disruptions in your business’s supply chain.
- Civil Authority Coverage: You may be entitled to payment for business losses when the government forces you to close or limit operations.
ARE COVID-19 BUSINESS INTERRUPTION CLAIMS COVERED?
Do not trust your insurance company’s interruption of your policy.
The insurance industry is presently holding billions in premiums that it would prefer to distribute to its shareholders than pay claims.
Here are some reasons why many business interruption claims will ultimately be paid in Louisiana.
- Some insurance policies do not exclude damage caused by a virus or pandemic. The absence of a direct exclusion strengthens the argument for coverage.
- Some states have enacted legislation retroactively voiding virus exclusions in commercial policies so the insurance industry will have no excuse to pay these claims. It is unclear if similar legislation will be enacted in Louisiana. We recommend filing a claim to preserve your right to compensation.
- Some policies tie business interruption coverage to physical damage or loss. The coronavirus physically impacts property because it has the ability to physically impact property.
- Numerous state and local governments have declared that COVID-19 constitutes a physical threat to property.
- Courts in Louisiana have held that damage caused by substances that are invisible to the naked eye – lead, noxious fumes, and asbestos fibers – are considered property damage. This supports a claim that COVID-19 business interruption claims should be covered.
MAKING INSURANCE COMPANIES KEEP THEIR PROMISES
Insurance recovery is a large focus of The Johns Law Firm’s practice.
We have assisted hundreds of policyholders in the wake of natural disasters and catastrophic events and are here to assist Louisiana businesses to navigate through the business interruption claim process.
The insurance industry has already declared that it will aggressively fight Covid-19 business interruption claims.
In Louisiana, an insurer owes a duty to its insureds to adjust, handle, and pay claims in good faith.
Our attorneys have prosecuted bad faith insurance claims throughout Louisiana and are often called on to handle cases in other states.
HOW MUCH MONEY ARE YOU ENTITLED TO RECOVER?
Business interruption coverage is much broader than simply lost profits.
The language in your insurance policy will determine the various items that may be covered.
If you are uncertain about the items that are covered by your commercial property insurance policy, you should consult with a qualified insurance attorney to help determine the scope of coverage under your insurance policy.
In some cases, items such as lost profits are not entirely clear. For example, COVID-19 may have struck at a time when you expected unusually high profits.
Your business may also have additional future losses due to the cancellation of various events.
Some businesses will be impacted by supply chain disruptions that can cause extensive long-term problems for your business.
We take the time to fully understand how the coronavirus has impacted your business so we can format the best strategy for your claim.
It may be necessary to work with a CPA to fully determine your losses to make the best claim possible.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY TO MAKE A CLAIM?
It depends. Some individuals are comfortable with the insurance claim process and are capable of submitting their own claims.
However, business interruption claims are complex.
An experienced insurance attorney can provide value to assist you in making the best claim possible and handling disputes that may arise with your insurance company.
An experienced insurance attorney can assist a business in the following ways:
- Evaluating an insurance policy to frame coverage issues in the insured’s favor.
- Informing the insurer of all relevant case law, regulations, and legal authorities pertaining to both coverage and quantum issues
- Creating a proof of loss with all the necessary documentation needed to support your claim for coverage as well as for the dollar amount of the claim.
- Advising the insurer of the possibility of bad faith and extra-contractual risks to the insurer.
- Meeting deadlines required in the claim process.
- Continuing to monitor the claim for legal violations committed by the insurance company.
- Informing the insurer of the potential liability exposure that may be incurred should the claim be denied.
- Providing a credible threat that the policyholder is willing to escalate a claim to litigation.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CLAIM IS DENIED?
First, don’t be surprised. The insurance industry has already indicated it intends to deny COVID-19 business interruption claims.
The fact that your claim is denied does not mean you have a bad claim.
Once your claim is denied, you can always ask that the insurance company reconsider the denial.
However, in all likelihood, you will need to retain an attorney to handle your case.
The insurance industry has already proclaimed that it does not believe it is obligated to cover COVID-19 claims.
If this continues to be the case, your only option is to fight back.
HOW MUCH DOES A BUSINESS INTERRUPTION ATTORNEY COST?
Our law firm offers different fee options to commercial policyholders.
Many businesses prefer the attorney to handle the claim on contingency in which the attorney is paid a percentage of the total recovery.
Other clients prefer other fee options, including hourly and flat-fee arrangements.
Our law firm offers free policy reviews and complimentary consultations and strives to provide fee options that fit your situation.
Need Help? Contact The Johns Law Firm
Our law firm is here to assist you in this time of crisis.
We can help you in a number of ways including complimentary policy reviews, filing claims on your behalf, and assist you after your claim has been denied.
Please contact us at (504) 273-0444 or through our request form to schedule a free consultation.