If you watch television commercials, insurance companies are your friends. Take a look at their slogans. “You’re in Good Hands with Allstate”, “Like a Good Neighbor State Farm Is There”, Progressive – “Get the Support and Protection You Need” and Farmer Insurance’s “#SeenItCoveredIt.” All those taglines sound great. But just see what happens when you go to make a claim for business interruption caused by coronavirus.
For years, many insurance companies have collected billions of dollars in premiums for business interruption insurance. That is a type insurance that is supposed cover that the loss of income that a business suffers after a disaster. For hundreds of thousands of businesses that today means losses from coronavirus.
Although the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t cause physical damage like a tornado, most business interruption policies cover lost income due to physical damage or loss. Ask any hotel owner or shopping center whose has been ordered to close if they have suffered a loss.
After years of faithfully paying premiums, their insurance companies are now coming up with excuse after excuse as to why they don’t have to pay. It’s mostly B.S. (Click on the link to read all about how we help businesses with coronavirus business interruption losses.) Insurance companies are suddenly not acting like “good neighbors.”
We knew that we had a tough road ahead of us and are ready for the challenge. Many of our clients are barely holding on. Last week we were successful getting one hotel owner an emergency hearing with just one days notice. (No small feat even when courts are open).
Win or lose, businesses need help now. If help isn’t coming, they also need to know that as well. This week one policy holder in Pennsylvania asked the court to expedite his case against Erie Insurance. His story and how the insurance industry reacted is quite telling.
Joseph Tambellini operated a fine dining Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh. The restaurant bears his own name. For almost 2 months he has been unable to open his doors. Takeout might work better for a drive through pizza place but revenues are way down for Joe.
Fortunately, he has business interruption insurance. Well, he thought he was fortunate. Like so many other restaurants, his insurance company (Erie Insurance Exchange) denied his claim. (Erie’s slogan is “We help cover your life better.” They have done a horrible job covering his restaurant.)
With little income coming through the door and his business interruption claimed denied, Joe filed suit against his insurance company. Last week he asked the court to speed up his complaint. Getting a trial years from now is meaningless if his restaurant is long out of business.
Joe says his case presents issues of importance to “all citizens of the Commonwealth who are seeking recompense from their insurers for the losses, damage and expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the related governmental Orders.”
He also says that his restaurant is one of thousands of Pennsylvania small businesses that are seeking business interruption coverage for income lost because of government restrictions on businesses and safer at home orders. Like many businesses, he needs help from the courts now.
What did Erie say?
They say the case is a simple contractual dispute that should be heard through the normal course. Of course, they conveniently fail to note that the courts aren’t really fully functional right now and his case could take years. Many years if you add in appeals.
More telling, insurance giant American International Group Inc. (AIG) many others including the American Property Casualty Insurance Association and the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies took an unusual step of jumping into the fray to oppose Joseph’s application to speed up his case.
Why would the insurance industry care? The answer is easy. Delays help them. If the business goes under there is ales of chance that they will have to pay.
If ever there was evidence of the insurance industry’s true colors, this is it.
Insurance companies are your friends. They are not good neighbors. As one lawyer put it, “It’s a war out there and only the fittest will survive.”
Fortunately, in most states there are either insurance bad faith laws or caselaw that allow an insured to seek enhanced damages when an insurance company denies a claim without proper cause.
Are you the Victim of Insurance Bad Faith?
You’ve done everything possible can to protect your business. That includes purchasing business interruption or so-called “civil authority” coverage. You have the right to expect your insurance company will treat you fairly when you make a claim. So, when your business suffers a huge financial loss because of the coronavirus pandemic or some other loss and your insurance company ghosts you, we are here to help.
Every insurance company has an obligation of “good faith and fair dealing. Despite the cute slogans and TV commercials, most insurance companies are more worried about their profits. Their main goal, unfortunately, is to give you the least amount of money possible for your claim.
No matter where you live, if you are denied coverage, we are ready to fight back! Contact an experienced insurance bad faith lawyer. We fight for the maximum coverage and benefits due our clients and maximum damages when the carrier has wrongfully failed to pay.
For more information, contact us online, by email or by phone 202-800-9791. We accept cases in all states. Our practice is limited to claims in excess of $1 million. Smaller business interruption claims handled on a class action basis.