Whether it is a hurricane or some other catastrophic event, Louisiana business owners have seen it all. Countless small businesses have been forced to shut their doors in recent years due to circumstances entirely outside of their control. Business interruption insurance exists to compensate those business owners for their losses. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always deal fairly when it comes to these claims.
If your business was forced to close due to a natural disaster or some other form of emergency, you might be entitled to benefits through your business interruption policy. An attorney could help you file your Louisiana business interruption claim and pursue the benefits you deserve.
How does Business Interruption Insurance Work?
Business interruption insurance is usually treated as an add-on to a standard commercial property insurance policy. In addition to providing the standard coverage that comes with property insurance, like the cost of repairing a damaged building, this additional coverage could help a business recoup other expenses after a natural disaster.
Business interruption insurance pays benefits based on a number of different types of damages – known as perils. While these policies might not mention hurricanes by name, many of the perils covered by this type of insurance stem from hurricanes and tropical storms. Some common examples include:
- Wind damage
- Disruption of power
- Road damage or obstruction
- Damage to infrastructure
- Curfews or government-mandated closures
Additionally, damage caused by flooding could also be covered depending on the language of the policy.
Two Elements That Affect Your Claim
There are two elements that adjusters look for when processing a business interruption claim. Each of these elements must be present; otherwise, the insurer is likely to deny the claim.
First, the closure of your business must be related to physical damage to your place of business. For example, a tree falling through your roof is a valid reason that would prevent the public from entering your premises.
Second, the damage to your building must result from a covered peril. This boils down to the language of your insurance policy. For example, if you do not have additional coverage for flood damage, the closure of your business due to flooding might not result in financial compensation.
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What does Business Interruption Insurance Cover?
- Business interruption insurance covers a broad spectrum of financial losses. These losses are all tied to the unexpected closure of your business following some kind of catastrophic damage to your place of business.
- Business Profits. Recovering lost profits is one of the central purposes of business interruption claims. These profits are based on earnings in previous months.
- Relocation costs. If your business is forced to temporarily relocate while your original location is closed for repairs, these benefits could pay for those expenses.
- Debts and Taxes. The proceeds from your business interruption claim could pay your tax obligations or other creditors.
- Wages. This type of insurance could help you cover the wages for your employees so that they do not miss out on a paycheck while you are forced to close your doors.
There are many factors that could go into determining what your compensation might be. Policy limits and exclusions could diminish your recovery or bar you from obtaining benefits entirely. Alternatively, the effort of your attorney could increase the chances that your claim is successful.
Common Issues With These Claims
Despite the hardship that business owners go through in the wake of a hurricane, insurance companies will often do what they can to deny valid claims. Insurance adjusters frequently deny claims on the basis that damages are excluded under the policy. They might allege that damage was caused by flooding even though you have little doubt it was wind damage.
Insurance companies have also been known to drag their feet whenever possible on these claims. Adjusters understand that business owners are desperate, and they believe they can secure low settlements by allowing more time to pass.
An attorney could help you protect your business by aggressively pursuing the benefits you deserve. This could include ensuring that you file your claim on time, negotiating directly with the insurance company for your settlement, and holding adjusters accountable when they act in bad faith.
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Reach Out to Us About Your Louisiana Business Interruption Claim
For many Louisiana companies, business interruption insurance claims are the best answer for staying afloat after a natural disaster. The premiums for this insurance can be costly, which only makes the fact that insurance companies might wrongfully reject your claim more frustrating.
If you are worried about being treated fairly by your insurance company, now is the time to seek out legal guidance. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine is ready to advocate on your behalf. Our team knows what is at stake, and we will work tirelessly to help you save your business. Call 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation right away.
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