Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Encourages Lawmakers to Fill the Business Interruption Insurance Gap
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic caused tremendous disruption to businesses in Florida—many companies were forced to scale back or halt operations altogether. Business interruption insurance is designed to provide companies with some financial protection if they are unable to operate. However, for a number of reasons, many companies have had their COVID-19 business interruption claim denied.
Recently, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis wrote an open letter to the state’s congressional delegation asking them to fix the holes in business interruption policies. Here, our Miami business litigation lawyers provide an overview of the Florida CFO’s letter and explain what you should do if you believe your business interruption claim was wrongly denied.
Florida CFO Letter: More Support is Needed to Fill the Business Interruption Gap
In his open letter, CFO Jimmy Patronis stresses that he has been in close contact with many small business owners across the state of Florida. As a former restaurant owner himself, he stresses that he understands the enormous strain that COVID-19 is putting on many small and mid-sized businesses.
From there, CFO Patronis highlights the fact that many small business owners are complaining about their inability to access business interruption insurance coverage to help them cover basic operating expenses. At the same time, insurers are noting that their policies were not underwritten to handle this level of claims. He emphasizes that neither policyholders nor insurance companies anticipated something like COVID-19 and the extensive government shutdowns.
CFO Patronis states that he does not believe that Florida should retroactively alter business interruption insurance policies—he views that idea as an unfair punishment to insurance providers. However, he notes that business owners—particularly small businesses—need additional financial relief to cover the losses caused by the pandemic. CFO Patronis stresses that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a positive step—but, he also notes that it is likely inadequate in its current form to fill the hole left that many business owners through their interruption insurance would fill.
Important Caveat: Some COVID-10 Business Interruption Claims Should Be Approved
Unfortunately, many businesses are struggling to get financial support for their interruption policy. Some claims are being denied because policies contain active exclusions for “pandemics” or “viruses” or claims are being rejected because they require “physical damage” and the insurance company argues that COVID-19 does not qualify.
Still, it is important to understand that not every claim is being rejected outright. The specific language of the policy matters. Do not assume that you have no avenue for compensation through your business interruption insurance. An experienced attorney can review your policy and explain your options.
Call Our South Florida Business Interruption Insurance Lawyers for Help
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business interruption attorneys are experienced, results-focused advocates for clients. If your business interruption claim was denied, we can help protect your rights. Call us now for more information. Consultations are always confidential. We represent business owners in Miami, West Palm Beach, and throughout the whole region.