2020 – A boom in business interruption claims?
COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on the financial position of countless businesses worldwide. Can insurance provide relief under a claim for business interruption?
As the novel coronavirus pandemic develops, the financial impact on business remains uncertain. Indeed, whilst some sectors of the economy – for example, technology and pharmaceuticals appear to be thriving, others such as hospitality, retail are suffering greatly. Despite the vast stimulus packages offered by governments across the world to support businesses through this difficult time, many continue to fall through the net, succumbing to an environment of uncertainty that currently pervades the global economy. But are these businesses using all the tools at their disposal to survive this crisis? One potential solution that may have been overlooked is insurance.
Making the most of insurance
The purpose of insurance is to reduce a business’s exposure to the effects of particular risks. Policyholders may be unaware however, that such risks may well include a pandemic that has brought global economies to a halt. Whilst a pandemic may not fulfil the property damage provision of a standard business interruption policy, which would typically cover perils such as fires and floods, it may fulfil provisions within the cover for non-damage extensions. Assuming that the non-damage extensions are not otherwise excluded from the insurance programme, claims could be pursued under the following clauses: notifiable/ contagious disease, contamination, loss of attraction, cancellation of events, public authorities and more. Of course, since no one business interruption policy is the same, each claim must be assessed on its own merits. It is essential for policyholders to review their policies in detail to determine the indemnity to which they may be entitled.
Using experts to bolster claims
When it comes to preparing business insurance claims, third-party experts can provide critical support. This can range from legal advisers advising on policy coverage and determining the most relevant and most promising course of action, to financial advisers assisting in the quantification of financial damages.
Looking at the case of financial advisers more closely, specialist forensic accounting and insurance expertise can enhance the quantification of financial losses sustained. Over the past twelve months, we have been supporting policyholders with quantifying the financial losses resulting from business interruptions due to the pandemic. Appointing independent expertise in assessing the claim provides a level of comfort that ensures economic losses are fully substantiated which will help to satisfy insurers of the veracity of the claim. Indeed, the very independent nature of these experts testifies to the objectivity of the claim.
As the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to be felt by many businesses across the world, it is essential that they avail the tools at their disposal to sustain their businesses. One such instrument of importance is insurance, which can throw a lifeline to those businesses that continue to struggle. Independent claims preparation experts can prove indispensable in the interactions between insurance provider and policyholder, facilitating the claims process and even going so far as to increase the chances of success.
Sareena Bamrah, director, Accuracy