The COVID-19 pandemic has hit all of us hard, changing everything from how we grocery shop to how we visit the doctor. It’s been a learning experience, and companies have had to pivot quickly to meet the needs of employees and customers in a world that’s become increasingly dependent on virtual work environments, online ordering, delivery services, telemedicine, and more.
Forced shutdowns of businesses across the country, though temporary, have done more than halt the spread of the virus. They’ve cost companies revenue, as customers have been denied access to businesses they relied on for products and services. Companies that were unable to make up business losses by shifting to online services were hit the hardest during the pandemic. All impacted companies have turned to their insurance policies for help recouping losses due to the “business interruption.”
Denial of insurance claims
COVID-19 has also brought about an important realization to insurance policyholders. One thing we’ve learned is that most insurance policies exclude coverage for losses related to pandemics—an unwelcome experience for business owners hoping to get some financial relief through insurance.
This exclusion applied to most, but not all insurance plans. Unfortunately, those carriers that didn’t have exclusions in 2020 have now added them for 2021 in an attempt to financially weather the growing influx of claims related to COVID-19 shutdowns.
Taking carriers to court
Some business owners have accepted the exclusion, while others have filed lawsuits against their insurance carriers. Courts have ruled in favor of companies in some cases, ordering insurance carriers to cover business losses related to lack of customer access to their products and services.
What’s to come
As more carriers are taken to court, the opportunity may arise for business owners and brokers to regain financial relief from carriers misapplying policy language in an effort to deny coverage.
At Odell Studner, we’re your source of current information and guidance on your insurance policy. We’ll help you forecast and avoid risk to plan for the successful future of your business. To learn more about us and the consultative services we provide, please contact us today.