COVID-19- BUSINESS INCOME LOSS AND GOVERNMENT ACTION
Despite the staggering economic losses suffered by small businesses across the United States as a result of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, insurance companies have taken the position that these losses are not covered by business income or business interruption policies. However, several State Governments and the Federal Government are considering various proposals to make new laws that would grant coverage to small business owners with business income insurance.
The State of New Jersey is considering a bill that would require insurance policies to cover business income losses even if the policy contains a virus exclusion if the business employs less than 100 persons in the State of New Jersey. Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina are among the States that have followed the lead of New Jersey with similar bills pending that would address business losses due to the coronavirus. Other proposals include the establishment of a fund to reimburse the insurance companies for indemnity payments that the insurance companies might not otherwise have had to make.
While the regulation and interpretation of insurance is normally a matter of state law, the Federal Government, through the United States Congress, has the power to intervene in the insurance industry on the grounds that insurance is part of interstate commerce. Several lawmakers have urged insurance companies to provide coverage for business losses suffered by small businesses. President Trump has also indicated his view that business losses should be covered. The House of Representatives has proposed a new law that would require insurance companies to provide coverage for business losses in the event of a viral pandemic under certain circumstances.
Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia recently addressed small business owners facing financial catastrophe and permanent closure with the following message:
“Many of you probably do not think you have business interruption insurance,” Gov. Justice said. “And the insurance companies, especially the great, big, gigantic insurance companies they would look right at you and say ‘You don’t have any coverage.’ Don’t stop there. Get your best accountant, your best lawyer, your very best advisor and push it to the limit because many of you have coverage and you don’t know you’ve got it.”
Governor Justice is right. DO NOT TAKE “NO” FOR AN ANSWER! If you are a small business owner in Kentucky that carries business income insurance, contact the Ron Aslam Law Office for a free consultation to determine whether you are entitled to coverage for your business losses. An insurance policy is a contract. You have faithfully held up your end of the bargain by paying your premiums. Our attorneys have been trained in cutting edge responses to the denial of coverage for business interruption losses. We are constantly monitoring for any new developments. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.