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Business Loss Insurance Lawyer

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We Handle the Full Range of Business Damage Insurance Claims

Insurance coverage provides much-needed financial protection for a business. If something unexpected happens, the right insurance policy can help to fill the gap. When we think about insurance, we typically think about a policy that covers property damage and medical bills. If you have business damage insurance, you can count on your insurer additionally covering things like interruptions to your business operations, loss of rent, loss of other income, payroll costs, and more.

Trying to navigate an insurance claim at the same time that you are trying to get your business back on track can be complicated, especially when the insurance company is unwilling to cover significant issues for which you know you are entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, insurers can be challenging to work with. This is where a business insurance attorney comes in handy, like the team at Bernheim Kelley Battista, LLC. Contact a business damage insurance lawyer today for a free, confidential consultation.

Types of Business Damages

Damage to a business can come in a wide variety of forms. It is crucial that all companies have the right insurance coverage to suit their particular needs. Some notable examples of business damage that may be insurable include:

  • Physical damage to property, such as fire, storm damage, theft, and vandalism.
  • Business interruption caused by a shutdown of operations due to damage or other events.
  • Cyber attack damage, including hacking, data breaches, and the loss of electronic data.
  • Employee dishonesty, including theft of company property or money by employees.
  • Product liability, such as damages caused by defective products.
  • Vehicle damage, including collision and theft of company vehicles.
  • Reputational damage, including loss of brand image due to negative publicity.


Causes of Business Interruptions and Damages

Investopedia describes business interruption insurance as coverage that replaces a company’s lost income in a period of suspended or reduced operations following a disaster. There are many causes of business interruptions and damages that can trigger a business interruption claim. Some common causes include:

  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and wildfires;
  • Man-made disasters such as fires, explosions, and terrorism;
  • Power outages and loss of utility services;
  • Cyber attacks and data breaches;
  • Severe supply chain disruptions;
  • Government-mandated shutdowns and closures; and
  • Health pandemics and outbreaks (complex).

What Coverage Is Offered For Business Interruption?

Business interruption insurance is meant to protect business owners against interruptions to their income due to issues covered by their policy. This means that the policy will pay out for things like payroll, operating expenses, and other costs that would have been taken care of by income. However, there are often specific exclusions for viral and bacterial issues, meaning that pandemic-related business closures do not typically allow for a business owner to file a claim. Though, there are some exceptions. The most common things that a business owner can expect to be covered by their business interruption insurance are as follows:

  • Profits;
  • Fixed costs such as rent and utilities;
  • Temporary relocation to a new location;
  • Property damage;
  • Additional expenses related to the covered event;
  • Wages;
  • Loan payments.

Components of Business Damage Insurance Claims Process

Did your business sustain significant damage? Whether it is physical damage, such as fire on the premises, or corresponding loss, such as lost profits related to a temporary suspension of operations, you may have a claim for benefits through an insurance policy. Business damage claims are complicated. An experienced fire damage insurance lawyer can help. The business damage insurance claims process may involve the following components:

  • Documentation of the Loss: This includes photographs, invoices, and any other evidence of the damage incurred.
  • Policy Review and Proof of Coverage: The policyholder must provide proof that the damage is covered under their insurance policy.
  • Calculation of Total Damages: The policyholder must provide a detailed estimate of the cost of repairs or replacement of damaged property.
  • Claim Submission: The policyholder must submit the claim to their insurance company, along with all required documentation and information.
  • Investigation and Adjustment: The insurance company will investigate the claim and make an adjustment based on the policy terms and conditions and the evidence provided.
  • Negotiation and Settlement (If Necessary): If the policyholder and insurance company cannot agree on the amount of damages, they may engage in negotiation or mediation to reach a settlement.
  • Business Damage Claims Litigation (If Necessary): If the policyholder and insurance company cannot reach a settlement, the policyholder may file a lawsuit to recover damages.

To learn more, schedule a free consultation with us today.

Common Reasons for Denied Business Damage Insurance Claims

A business insurance claim could be denied for a wide range of different reasons. Some of the most common reasons why businesses see their claims denied by insurance companies include the following:

  • Inadequate Documentation: Failing to provide sufficient evidence and documentation of the damage can lead to a denied claim. Be proactive and detailed-focused.
  • Exclusions in Policy Coverage: Some damages may not be covered by a business damage insurance policy, such as acts of war or even a pandemic.
  • Bad Faith Settlement Practices: Unfortunately, some commercial insurers may delay, underpay, or even outright deny claims in bad faith.

What is a Bad Faith Claim?

A bad faith claim is a legal dispute in which an insurance company is accused of failing to act in good faith towards its policyholder. This can include denying a valid claim, failing to thoroughly investigate a claim, delaying payment, or offering an unfair settlement. Policyholders who believe their insurance company acted in bad faith can file a lawsuit to recover damages. A bad faith insurance claim may be actionable under Florida Statutes § 624.155.

What are the Elements of a Bad Faith Claim?

Florida law, including the state’s Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act, provides potential legal remedies to policyholders—including businesses—that have had their claim delayed or denied in bad faith. To bring a successful first-party bad faith claim, a business will typically need to prove the following five key elements:

  • A valid insurance contract between the policyholder and the insurance company;
  • A duty of the insurance company to act in good faith toward the policyholder;
  • A breach of the duty of good faith by the insurance company;
  • There was causation because the company’s actions caused harm to the policyholder; and
  • Damages were suffered by the policyholder as a result of the insurer’s bad faith.

What Damages May I Recover in a Bad Faith Claim?

What a commercial policyholder can recover in a bad faith insurance claim depends on a wide array of different factors. A comprehensive investigation of the initial claim and the bad-faith settlement practices used by the insurance company is crucial. Damages that may be recovered in a bad faith insurance claim include:

  • Economic damages, including the actual cost of the covered loss and any additional expenses incurred as a result of the insurance company’s actions.
  • Non-economic damages, such as emotional distress and mental anguish.
  • Attorneys’ fees and court costs incurred in pursuing the bad faith claim.
  • Interest on any delayed payment of damages owed by the insurance company.
  • Punitive damages, which are meant to punish the insurance company for its actions and deter similar behavior in the future.

Tactics Used by Insurance Companies to Deny Claims

If you have ever filed an insurance claim for a car accident, home damage, or anything else, you may already be aware that filing a claim is, in itself, a simple process. You contact your agent to initiate your claim, at which point an adjuster is assigned to your case, and they investigate all aspects of your damages to compile a “fair” payment. During this time, they will submit requests for many documents, information, and statements about your business’ impact to ostensibly ensure that all of your needs are met. While insurance companies have their rights too, the reality is that they are for-profit businesses that are focused on their own bottom line—not what is best for policyholders. Here are some of the most common tactics used by insurers to deny business damage claims:

  • Delaying the investigation process;
  • Requesting additional information that is not required;
  • Claiming that the damage is not covered under the policy;
  • Arguing that the policyholder did not comply with policy terms;
  • Blaming the damage on poor maintenance or pre-existing conditions;
  • Disputing the amount of damages claimed;
  • Alleging that the damage was caused by a criminal act or intentional act;
  • Disputing the cause of damage or attributing it to an excluded event;
  • Suggesting that the policyholder failed to take preventative measures; and
  • Hiring a team of experts to discredit the policyholder’s evidence.

How Long Do I Have to Dispute an Insurance Claim?

It depends on several different factors, including the terms of your policy, the type of coverage that you have, and the cause of the damage. Many insurance policies require timely reporting of damage. Failure to do so could invalidate business coverage. Notify your insurer of the damage as soon as possible. If your claim is denied, consult with a home damage insurance lawyer right away.

Are Business Damage Claims Covered Under a Commercial General Liability (CGL) Policy?

The Insurance Information Institute (III) explains that a commercial general liability (CGL) policy “protects your business from financial loss should you be liable for property damage or personal loss.” It can cover a range of non-professional negligent acts. A CGL policy covers third-party damages that your company may be liable for. It does not cover damage to your property.

Can I Sue the Insurance Company for Denying My Claim?

Yes. A business can sue a commercial insurance company for denying a claim. That being said, it is crucial to consider several factors before taking legal action. If you feel that the insurance company acted in bad faith or was unreasonable in denying your claim, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Consult with an experienced business damage claims lawyer right away.

How Much are Settlements in Business Damage Lawsuits?

It depends entirely on the nature and scope of your coverage and the cause and extent of your damages. Business damage claims are highly fact-specific cases. As your policy and your situation are both specific to you, it is best to speak with a business damage claims attorney about what you can expect to recover damages for as you file your claim. Be sure to consult with a lawyer before accepting an offer from the insurance company to ensure that you have addressed all damages and that you are getting the most out of your policy

Contact Our Business Damage Insurance Attorney Today

We offer a free consultation for business owners and managers who are preparing to file an insurance claim against their business insurance policy. Filing a claim is a fairly straightforward process. Still, the issue is not with the ease of filing — the issue is the fact that insurance companies are focused on their own bottom line and profitability over your business’ needs, meaning they are looking to pay as little as possible. Working with an attorney will give you the space that you need to get your business back up and running without having to negotiate with your insurance adjuster for a fair settlement. At Bernheim Kelley Battista, LLC, we have what it takes to handle insurance claims. Call us now or contact us online to set up your free, fully confidential initial case review. We provide representation to commercial policyholders throughout the United States of America.

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