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COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims

Toronto Insurance Attorneys With 55+ Years of Experience

By purchasing business interruption insurance, business owners are generally prepared for emergencies that will keep them from operating their businesses. Without this valuable insurance, a fire, flood, or another natural disaster could force them to shut their doors permanently. Sadly, some natural disasters trigger the insurance industry to act inappropriately.

According to the Insurance Journal, the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is one such disaster. Policyholders have already filed a class-action lawsuit against Canada’s top indemnity insurers, which have been refusing to pay claims by citing “force majeure,” or flat-out denying valid claims.

If you are struggling with an insurance company’s failure to honor its contract, Jewell Radimisis Jorge, LL.P. may be able to help. Discuss your situation with us at (647) 360-6685 today.

What Is Force Majeure?

Force majeure is a legal clause in most contracts that frees both parties from liability when an unforeseeable circumstance prevents the parties from honoring their agreements. Lawyers across Canada argue that the COVID-19 pandemic should not trigger force majeure because we have previously seen illnesses such as SARS, MERS, and Avian flu sweep the nation.

Some policies even offer coverage specifically for infectious diseases, so a situation that is worse than insurers expected is not the same as one they did not see coming and cannot overcome.

If your insurer cites force majeure, consult our Toronto insurance lawyers immediately!

Understanding Your Policy

The Insurance Bureau of Canada explains that most policies do not offer business interruption coverage for pandemics. Nevertheless, the Bureau also specifies that some special policies, including stand-alone business interruption contracts, may be activated by the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic in March 2020.

For many business owners, coverage will depend largely on their policy type:

  • Some policies only cover named perils, which means if your policy does not specifically name infectious diseases and/or pandemics as perils, you will not have coverage.
  • On the other hand, a comprehensive policy covers loss and/or damage covered by any peril, unless specifically excluded.

The language of your policy will be crucial in determining whether or not you are entitled to coverage.

At Jewell Radimisis Jorge, LL.P., we can take a closer look at your contract and help you take legal action against your insurance company if necessary.

What About the Physical Damage Requirement?

Most insurance policies require proof of physical damage to trigger business interruption coverage. This is important because business interruption insurance works by accounting for your lost earnings and extra expenses during a “period of restoration,” which can last for up to a year.

Your insurance company may deny your COVID-19 claim based on a lack of physical damage, but what it is really citing is “structural damage.” Businesses sustain physical damage without structural damage all the time. For example, consider toxic gases, asbestos fibers, and contaminated air or soil. If your business is physically unfit for use, you should have a covered period of restoration.

COVID-19 risks and contamination should be able to meet the physical damage requirement in many policies, but you will need our attorneys to help make your case. To get started…

Contact Jewell Radimisis Jorge, LL.P. Today

The COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented effects on the global economy, but that does not mean insurance companies get to collect premiums and deny coverage.

For assistance with business interruption claims in and around Toronto, look no further than Jewell Radimisis Jorge, LL.P.

Call us at (647) 360-6685 today or click here to schedule your free case evaluation.

We are available 24/7 and look forward to lending legal support during this difficult and uncertain time.

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