Hurricane Ian Business Interruption Insurance Claims

Once business and property owners begin to recover from the storm, they should also prepare to bring these losses to their insurance companies: Take stock of losses, plan their response, and examine their insurance policies and their recovery options. There will be many questions. How are we going to pay to repair damaged property? What is the quickest way to resume our business? Can we recover any of the profits lost when our business was interrupted, or our customers’ or suppliers’ businesses were interrupted? Are there any government funds, such as FEMA assistance, available to aid our recovery?

Business Interruption Claims in Florida are often denied & require expert assistance from expert insurance lawyers that have experience with policy analysis and statutes. These claims are often denied by insurance companies initially as a matter of standard business practice. Insurance companies are, for the most part, for profit organizations meaning they are incentivized to collect as much in premiums as possible while paying out on claims as little as possible. Businesses in Fort Myers, and across Florida are reviewing insurance policies to determine whether they qualify to bring a business interruption claim related to Hurricane Ian damage.

Hurricane Business Interruption Claim Qualifications in Florida

To bring business interruption claims in Florida the business must first review the language in their policy. Insurers use various definitions and qualifications when writing a policy, in some part to make understanding the policy easier. However, by using precise and limiting language the insurer also makes it more difficult for policy holders to file a claim. Insurers will point to this language when denying a claim and hope that the policy holder will not challenge the denial. The insurance carrier will also include various “exclusions” in the policy. If an otherwise covered loss is related to one of the stated exclusions the insurer may point to that when denying coverage. Ultimately with so many opportunities and reasons for carrier to deny coverage for all claims it is often in the business owners’ best interest to consult with a law firm that specializes in insurance coverage, insurance bad faith, and specifically business interruption claims even before submitting a claim.

Contingent Business Interruption Coverage

Contingent business interruption insurance covers loss of earnings and certain continuing expenses resulting from a covered cause of loss to premises of third parties, such as suppliers or distributors for your business. For example, if your supplier sustained damage to their building and are closed because of storm damage, your contingent business interruption insurance could be triggered. The coverage would pay for the added cost to get replacement goods, for instance.

Like business interruption coverage, this type of coverage often requires “direct physical loss or damage” to the third-party premises. Another variant of this coverage covers losses due to the closure of something on which the business is dependent. Documenting the reason for the third party’s inability to deliver or perform can be challenging. So, it is important to retain documentation received from the third party and in some cases being able to timely request it.

Hurricane Ian Claim Denials

If your business interruption claim in Florida is denied it is important that you take additional action to preserve your rights under your policy. It will not be enough that the law firm or lawyers have experience negotiating with insurance companies. Interpreting insurance policies and applying case law is critical to determining the existence of coverage. Insurance companies keep track of which law firms have a track record of going the distance, proving coverage, and obtaining large recoveries for clients. Once your claim is denied it is important to research and choose the right lawyer to move forward with.

Conclusion

Williams Law, P.A. has represented commercial business owners in recovering property damage, lost earnings, certain continuing expenses, and extra expense claims from natural disasters, including fires, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Coverage determinations turn on the specific terms, conditions, and exclusions of the policies and controlling state law, which is why it is so important for business owners to work with experienced lawyers in assessing their insurance recovery ability. If your business has been damaged or destroyed as the result of the Hurricane Ian, we’re here for you any time at 1-800-451-6786.