Reading your insurance contact and not finding coverage for a loss- hearing from one of our insurance carrier partners that there is no coverage for your claim- relaying that unpleasant news to you, our client, is just about as bad as it gets for us. We are in the business of delivering good news- good results for our clients- not bad news. Delivering the “it’s not covered” news is not why we do what we do- if we were comfortable delivering bad news we would be working in a different profession. We do our level best each day to avoid this empty, hollow feeling that results from a bad outcome.
But, this seems to be a time when we have to deliver more bad news than we ever imagined. Your business interruption claim that has arisen out of the closing down of our economy by COVID-19 isn’t covered by most, if not all, property insurance programs. No matter how thorough we were, no matter how much experience we have, no matter how much technical knowledge we possess- there isn’t coverage for this virus driven business shut down and the interruption of your business that results. We, like you, are hearing from our industry experts telling us why this isn’t a loss covered by your insurance coverage. We, like you, are hearing from attorneys or other sources of legal expertise about how to look for coverage in your insurance programs where some coverage may exist. State legislatures debate retro-active changes to insurance contracts that mandate that insurance carriers pay these business interruption claims. The President says that his insurance coverage responded to past business interruption claims that his business incurred so- so should yours. Members of Congress write to the President advising him to clarify his statement and warning that now is not the time to try to re-write centuries old contract law upon which the insurance contract is based. I’m sure this debate will continue and I will guess that down the road solutions will be developed, but what about now???
I was talking with Kelly Kitchel or “Kitch”, as he is known to us- about a conversation he had with one of his clients and friends. We talked and debated about how to respond to the questions that were being asked. Near the end of the conversation, I said- tell them that if business interruption coverage had to respond to this event- the estimated business interruption loss is estimated to be about $350 billion per month and within 2 to 3 months the insurance industry would be bankrupt- think of the ramification if that happened. Kitch brought me back to reality by saying that his client and his friend isn’t too worried about the insurance industry having to declare bankruptcy sometime down the road- they are worried about the bankruptcy they are facing, today. Well said Kitch! I finished by asking him to tell them that we will help them in any way we can- but this sounds pretty hollow, doesn’t it?