The owners of more than 10 bars and restaurants in Washington, D.C. forced to close by the government to stop the spread of the coronavirus filed lawsuits against their insurance companies saying they desperately need their insurers to honor their business interruption claims or else the businesses may have to close their doors for good.
Insurers have been rejecting these claims, saying the businesses’ policies don’t cover closures due to pandemics. Furthermore, insurance companies claim they’ll go broke if they honored the claims filed by the restaurants and bars.
Business interruption insurance is a part of a business owner’s policy. It helps cover bills and payroll if the business is forced to close due to a disaster. Typically, these disasters include damage caused by tornadoes or hurricanes. Some insurance policies actually say in writing that their policies exclude closures due to viruses or pandemics. But many do not. Yet, these insurance companies are still refusing coverage.
And it’s hurting businesses across the country.
“I want to be there for my customers,” Tiffany MacIsaac, pastry chef and owner of Buttercream Bakeshop, told the San Antonio Express News. “But if I could avoid doing that and just be home and know that I was safe, I mean it’s kind of a no-brainer because all of the rent and everything would be covered by the interruption insurance.”
Federal and state lawmakers have joined the fight, with several introducing bills that would require insurance companies pay business interruption claims for businesses that have closed and suffered losses due to COVID-19.
Beasley Allen is actively pursuing cases with clients whose insurance companies denied their business interruption claims. Dee Miles, Head of our Consumer Fraud Section, Rachel Boyd and Paul Evans are spearheading this litigation for our firm. They would like to talk to you about any potential claims.