Do you own your own business? Has your business been affected by COVID-19? Have you reviewed your insurance policies to determine if you have coverage for the interruption to your business?
In Rhode Island and Massachusetts certain types of businesses have been ordered to close their doors and/or restrict how they do business. For instance, restaurants have been required to close their dine-in services, stores have been required to close completely unless they provide essential products. Business Interruption Coverage or Civil authority coverage may provide some type of recourse for you.
Business interruption coverage generally allows a business to recover certain losses in the event that the business suffers physical damage or loss that prevents it from operating its business, whereas civil authority coverage, generally allows a business to recover losses when the government issues an order that closes a business or prevents it from normal operations. Business interruption coverage could be available to a business that closed its doors to remediate possible COVID-19 contamination. Civil authority coverage, could be available if a government authority prohibited operation of a business.
Some policies sold to businesses operating in the restaurant industry may expressly address losses caused by illness. Some businesses may have event cancellation coverage available to them. It is important to determine whether your policy has business interruption coverage, if it has an express exclusion for pandemic-related losses or whether it ambiguous. In Rhode Island, the law is well settled that in situations in which the language of an insurance policy is susceptible to more than one reasonable interpretation, it is strictly construed against the insurer. Therefore, it is important that you have your insurance policy reviewed to determine if you possibly have a claim. Almost all insurance policies require the insured to provide prompt notice of a potential claim. Therefore, it is imperative that you review your insurance policy now and provide notice immediately to your insurance company of your claim. If you would like to have your insurance policy reviewed please contact the attorneys at KPR Law at 401-831-2900 and we will be happy to schedule a conference to discuss your business.