Business Lobby Splits With Small Businesses on Interruption Insurance
The consequences of quarantine and shutdown during this COVID-19 pandemic have been dire not just for the general public, but for businesses large and small that have found themselves in these unprecedented circumstances. Businesses all over the US have felt the effects of huge decreases in business and profits. This has left many to look toward protection they purchased in the form of insurance, more specifically, business interruption insurance. But as fast as these claims came in, the denials followed. With so many hurting, lots of small businesses have looked to their state legislatures to force insurance companies to cover their losses from coronavirus. And, oddly enough, the group that usually represents small business in these matters, the US Chamber of Commerce, has come out against forcing insurance companies to pay up.
In this frustrating time, these businesses affected by COVID were relying on the business interruption insurance they purchased to pull through. After all, that was the whole point of buying it in the first place. Yet, they have been met with denial after denial. Despite the disputes between many hurting businesses and insurance companies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has become a force of opposition rather than an ally for these small businesses.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Fails Small Businesses
Across the country, all kinds of businesses ranging from small mom-and-pop operations to large companies look to the United States Chamber of Commerce, and its state and local chapters, for the representation of their interests in our country’s government. The Chamber of Commerce, which is the largest lobbying group in America, normally is considered a small business ally when it comes to situations where they need someone to speak on their behalf to the government. But currently, the interests of insurance companies seem to have taken precedent.
While many businesses face incredible losses and the prospect of shutting down permanently in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chamber of Commerce said in a letter to Congress that allowing the government to rewrite contracts to cover coronavirus losses would be unconstitutional and would leave the insurance industry in ruins. Additionally, leadership in the Chamber of Commerce has voiced fears that the intervention of the government in the rewriting of insurance contracts can cause disruption of the immutability of contracts in other areas, both past and future.
Business Interruption Insurance Denial Controversy
This statement has caused an immense stir among the many businesses that expected their ally to act on their behalf. The major controversy this letter addresses is the prospect of several states, as well as the federal government, considering bills that would close a loophole insurance companies have been using to deny business interruption insurance claims.
The loophole in question consists of fine print in many insurance company’s policies that stipulate that coverage may be denied in the event that business interruption comes as a result of viruses. This loophole was actually included in many insurance company’s policies as a result of the business disruption caused by the SARS epidemic in 2003 that caused many companies significant losses. This loophole is part of the policies that many businesses have agreed to and paid premiums on for quite some time.
Many businesses have paid these premiums to the insurance companies without ever needing their help till now, only to find out this fine print loophole is the only thing keeping them from getting the help they need to stay afloat.
On the other hand, there are also many businesses that have also been dealing with problems regarding their business interruption coverage despite having all-encompassing policies. Ultimately, the insurance world is fighting tooth and nail to keep their money in their pockets and out of the hands of businesses in dire need of assistance they have paid for.
Government Intervention in COVID-19 Business Interruption
Due to the number of business interruption claims currently filed, and the ramifications of what would happen if so many businesses went under, both the federal and state governments have looked to resolve the matter by possibly introducing bills that would seek a compromise between insurance companies denying coverage and businesses in need.
President Donald Trump issued a statement in support of small businesses getting compensated by their business interruption policies, stating:
“You have people that have never asked for business interruption insurance [payouts], and they have been paying a lot of money for a lot of years for the privilege of having it, and then when they finally need it, the insurance company says, ‘We’re not going to give it.’ “We can’t let that happen.”
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State Approaches to Business Interruption Insurance Compromise
Several states have looked to provide at least some semblance of aid for businesses struggling without business interruption insurance coverage. States like California have called for insurance companies to fairly investigate claims filed by businesses fully and totally. Several other states, such as Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, have considered the introduction of legislation that would mandate limited coverage for business interruption in an effort to prevent the insurance company fears of emptying of their funds and to appease businesses with at least some financial assistance.
Claims over Business Interruption Insurance Coverage
The current circumstances we find ourselves in are unprecedented. We have record unemployment, insurmountable business losses, and gripping economic uncertainty caused by this coronavirus pandemic. Some 33 million Americans and counting are out of work while one in four businesses face permanent closure. To put that into perspective, roughly 7.5 million businesses could end up closing permanently as a result of this pandemic.
Many of these businesses have diligently paid insurance premiums for years without ever looking to their insurance carrier to provide coverage, which has netted these insurance companies billions in profits. Now, when they are needed most, they are denying much-needed coverage which seems to circumvent the entire purpose of the institution.
While the fine print has led many businesses to be denied coverage, that does not mean that they have to suffer in silence. Dolman Law Group can assist your business in fighting back by taking legal matters into your own hands through litigation. These unprecedented circumstances should not hold you back from getting the coverage that you need. Let Dolman Law Group help you to explore possible avenues to getting your business interruption losses covered.
Fighting for Local Businesses Suffering from COVID-19 Lockdowns
Despite many insurance companies’ attempts to discourage the filing of COVID-19 business interruption claims, Dolman Law Group is aggressively pursuing claims on behalf of small businesses across the State of Florida. At Dolman Law Group, we will review your commercial insurance policy at no cost to you. Importantly, you will not pay us a penny unless we are able to recover from your insurer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unbelievable amount of suffering and loss amongst the population, both emotionally and fiscally. Small businesses have put their faith in many insurance companies that have failed to provide the services that they promised. When taking legal action over the denial of business interruption claims, or if you simply have questions regarding a possible claim, Dolman Law Group can provide you with award-winning representation and advice that can give you the edge you need in ensuring the insurance companies do not take advantage of your situation.