Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order to counter the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. With closures last year throughout the state for many businesses, owners and operators are facing more than employee layoffs — they are fighting for their livelihoods.
The loss of business and the sheer uncertainty of both the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the 30-day timeline have raised more questions than answers. Unfortunately, not all businesses will be able to survive. However, those businesses with “business interruption” coverage in their insurance policies may offer them an avenue to recoup some of their lost revenues during this down time.
Understanding business interruption and how the policy clause relates to COVID-19 is difficult. Commercial property insurance that includes business interruption coverage is designed to compensate owners for lost revenues from forced or unforeseen closure. Although some of these policies include clauses to cover losses when a government agency stops a business from operating, this insurance typically covers weather-related incidents that can be held directly responsible for physical loss to property, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and windstorms.
But as fear and the reality of losing income mounts from shutdowns and recommendations for social-distancing continues, business owners with interruption clauses in their commercial property insurance policies want to know if a virus can cause physical damage.