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gillumhouse

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A cut and paste from the Business Insider: An attorney explains why struggling businesses should apply for money from their insurance companies right now — and how to do it
Jennifer OrtakalesMay 5, 2020, 10:02 AM
Small businesses are filing insurance claims for business interruption during coronavirus, but many insurance companies are denying their claims.
This has led to a series of class-action lawsuits and government intervention.
Civil litigation attorney Jason Kellogg said business owners should file their claims now, even if they think they'll be denied.
Small businesses across the US are turning to their insurance companies for emergency funding to get them through the coronavirus outbreak. Even though many insurers may deny claims or discourage business owners from even applying, ongoing litigation and legislative proposals could reward those that apply now with a payout later down the road.A series of class-action lawsuits is raising the question of what losses are covered during a pandemic.Many insurance companies updated their policies after the 2003 SARS outbreak to exclude coverage for viruses. If insurance companies accept these new coronavirus claims, the magnitude of losses could lead to a very expensive payout they couldn't cover. But some state and local governments are pushing insurance companies to cover claims related to COVID-19, albeit to lift a brunt of the financial burden from their own shoulders.The lawsuits and government intervention could force insurance companies to address the problem together, either by lobbying or reaching a settlement. One possible outcome could mirror the recent opioid settlement, in which companies deny liability but give a large payout to plaintiffs.Civil litigation attorney Jason Kellogg told Business Insider that there are two clauses within common policies that allow companies to file a business interruption claim. The first is physical damage, whether by a natural disaster, accident, or crime. Although many insurance companies are telling customers that viruses and bacteria don't count as physical damage, some states are saying they should. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida have proposed bills that characterize COVID-19 as physical damage because the virus can stay on surfaces for prolonged periods of time.The second route is a declaration by civil authority to close the business, such as when state and local governments mandated closures of non-essential businesses. It's common for this civil authority clause to require property damage to be covered.Kellogg said any business that can prove interruption should file a claim. "The worst that can happen is you get a denial, but at least you've preserved your claim," he said. But don't wait — file your claim as soon as possible, or your insurance company could automatically deny it for a lack of immediate notice.Here are the steps Kellogg said businesses should take if they want a chance to get money from their insurance company.Step 1: Keep your records
Keep careful financial records to show the impact the interruption has had on your business. This is important even if you have negative revenue or go out of business. You'll need these records to file any claim and back it up later. "You don't have to prove your damages now. All you have to do is say your business has been interrupted and prove it at a later date," Kellogg said.Step 2: Look for a virus exclusion in your policy
If your insurance policy has a virus exclusion, know that your claim probably won't be approved, but file it anyway. "That's going to be a much tougher claim," Kellogg said. Even if your claim is denied now, you may be able to benefit later from the ongoing litigation and legislative proposals.Step 3: Talk to a lawyer
If your claim is denied, talk to a lawyer about your next options. They may suggest submitting additional documents or help you dispute your insurer's decision. "There are ways to escalate an insurance claim without actually filing a lawsuit," Kellogg said.An attorney explains why struggling businesses should apply for money from their insurance companies right now — and how to do it
 

Morticia

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Good info. Our insurance agent told us to file a claim.
 

GoodScout

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Our insurance agent told us a pandemic wasn't covered under our business interruption insurance. I documented the conversation and got him to say so in an email.
I'll wait and see, but suspect it'll probably be one of those class-action suits where the lawyers make $2.8 million and I get a check for $3.27.
 

Tom

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Good info. Our insurance agent told us to file a claim..
ditto. Not covered, but a possible way to get something if gov't uses insurers to dole aid.
 
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