COVID-19 presents a worldwide health threat, and businesses grapple with its economic effects as well.
Forced business closures and lockdowns have resulted in economic devastation in Mississippi.
Many business owners thought they might avoid financial ruin by relying on business interruption insurance.
This coverage is usually found in property insurance policies.
Business owners diligently paid premiums in preparation for such a scenario as they now face.
However, some insurance companies have denied business interruption insurance claims. If you feel that your business interruption insurance claim was unfairly denied, Harris Law Firm, PLLC, may be able to help.
Our attorneys are helping businesses throughout Mississippi challenge business insurance interruption claims during this unprecedented time.
If you would like to speak to one of our insurance attorneys, contact us for a free consultation. Otherwise, keep reading for more information on denied business interruption insurance claims.
What Does Mississippi Property Insurance Cover?
Mississippi commercial property insurance usually covers damages like fire, burglary, vandalism, windstorms, hail, and natural or manmade disasters. Commercial property insurance policies typically list several exclusions, including acts of war, pollutants, and floods.
Many commercial property insurance policies include business interruption coverage. Business interruption coverage usually applies to physical losses or damage to property.
For instance, business interruption coverage would pay a business owner for lost income while they closed their business to repair fire damage.
Since property is not usually physically damaged due to COVID-19 shutdowns, insurance companies are denying business interruption claims.
However, you face many of the same damages that you would if a natural disaster physically impacted your business.
COVID-19 business damages may include:
- A loss of revenue,
- Loss of customers, and
- Loss of inventory (such as food spoilage).
Remember to mitigate damages to the best of your ability to present a persuasive case. This means that if you can do things like deliver food or goods curbside, it will reduce your economic losses.
What Are Defenses to Claim Denials?
An experienced insurance attorney may be able to use legal strategy to counter a denied business interruption insurance claim in Mississippi.
Tangible Damage Not Required
For instance, many jurisdictions around the country have held that tangible damage to a building is not a required element of physical loss. If you are unable to use your business’s building as you intended, some courts see this as a physical loss.
Contingent Coverage of Supply Chain Disruptions
Contingent business interruption coverage is another coverage option that can be added to a commercial property insurance policy. This contingent coverage applies to disruptions in the supply chain.
For instance, if vendors, truckers, or supply chain workers are impacted, a business could claim the losses resulting from the disruption.
Insurance Company Has Burden of Proof on Exclusion
Mississippi law places the burden of proving that your circumstances are excluded from the policy on the insurance company.
That means the judge is likely to rule in your favor unless an insurance company presents a strong case for the exclusion.
For instance, if the insurance company relies on a policy exclusion for viruses or contaminants, then the insurance company should have to prove that the virus was present in your business.
How Can a Mississippi Insurance Attorney Help?
We can help many types of businesses challenge an unfair denial of a business interruption claim. If you own one of the following companies and your business interruption insurance claim was denied, contact us for more information:
- Restaurants, and
- Retail business owners.
After you contact us, we’ll set up a free consultation. During that meeting, you can share your experience, and we’ll explain your legal options. If you decide to have our attorneys advocate for your rights against the insurance company, we’ll follow these steps to resolve your claim:
- We will read your policy and explain all the fine print;
- We’ll research local and state ordinances that required you to close your business;
- We’ll evaluate whether your case would be better for state or federal court;
- We will gather evidence of the economic harm your business suffered; and
- We’ll negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement or go to trial if necessary.
Just as this is an unprecedented health crisis, this is an unsettled time in insurance law. Navigating a denied business interruption coverage claim requires hiring a lawyer who will think outside the box.
You need an attorney who will argue for reasonable interpretation of property insurance policies in light of the present crisis.
Start Challenging Your Denied Business Interruption Insurance Claim Today
At the Harris Law Firm, PLLC, we’ve been helping clients challenge insurance company claim denials for nearly 40 years. We’re passionate about getting to know our clients and advocating for their rights.
We understand that these are stressful times—your business and finances are on the line. You need an attorney to help you recover a fair insurance settlement, and we want to do just that.
If you had a business interruption insurance claim denied, give us a call for a free consultation. We’ll review your case, advise you of your legal options, and advocate for what you deserve. You owe us nothing until we win your case.