A growing number of New Orleans and Louisiana businesses are experiencing devastation in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Many of them also face another daunting challenge: filing insurance claims (and receiving subsequent denials).
Business interruption insurance is supposed to offer some protection against unforeseen circumstances like these– but that doesn’t mean that there’s a clear shot from asking for help to getting it. A seasoned attorney could help you with your claim or case. While you wait to get into contact with one of those, though, here’s a helpful rundown on handling business interruption claims due to COVID-19.
New Orleans: Tourism, Small Business, and Life as We Know It
Let’s be honest: small businesses and tourism ARE NEW ORLEANS. Current regulations have left our local restaurants, bars, and musicians devastated. Countless other individuals and companies– like groups who set up for festivals– are facing difficulties, too.
Not to mention that COVID-19’s timing couldn’t be worse. The crisis hit during one of the city’s busiest times of year– Festival Season.
Festivals that saw in tourists from around the globe– like Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest– have been canceled completely. Our local restaurants, hotels, and bars rely on these crowds day in and day out. They’ve taken massive hits by the government-mandated shutdowns imposed on the city.
The list of businesses and individuals in the service industry and beyond who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis can feel endless. It’s one of the key reasons why legal support is so critical at this time.
Oceana Grill: The First Business in America to File a Business Interruption Claim Due to COVID-19 Losses
Did you know that the first business in the country to file one of these claims was actually here in New Orleans?
Oceana Grill filed its suit against its insurance carrier on March 16 of this year. As the Plaintiff, the business sought a judgment that would require their insurer to offer coverage for business loss due to COVID-19.
The restaurant suffered financial losses due to a forced closure. The closure was part of our nation’s countrywide spread to halt the spread of COVID-19, but it still impacted Oceana negatively. The restaurant’s previous operating hours and capacity allowed for a near-constant flow of business.
Why Did Oceana File This Claim?
Oceana needed legal confirmation that their insurance policy would cover business loss due to COVID-19. The business argued that its insurance policy extended coverage from direct physical loss and/or a civil authority shut down due to a global pandemic virus.
Some legal professionals argue that most business interruption clauses will not cover business loss like this. Regardless, Oceana wanted to protect its own livelihood and pave the way for similar businesses to fight for their rights.
Current COVID-19 Restrictions
Oceana Grill is just one of many local establishments that have allegedly suffered financial loss due to COVID-19’s spread. The business anticipated tighter, extended regulations that would further impact profits. Oceana– along with many other local businesses– believes that they face true financial risk in the face of COVID-19 restrictions.
How Do I Get Compensation From My Insurance Company Even if They’ve Denied My Claim?
Nobody can tell you exactly how to ensure you receive compensation for business loss due to COVID-19-related interruptions. If your insurance company denies your claim, you’re going to need to partner with a seasoned attorney who can help litigate your case.
There are some basic tips that apply to all business interruption claims. If you aren’t sure where to start or what to do, try following these simple steps:
- Notify your insurance carrier as soon as you believe that you may have a business interruption claim
- Review your policy on your own; THEN
- Review your policy with a legal professional
- Taking the time to document losses that may not be covered could waste your time and money
- If you want to continue with filing for a loss that may not be covered anyway, you are more aware of the risk
- Practice immaculate recordkeeping
- Pre- and post-disaster
- Financial statements, invoices, receipts, utility bills, etc.
Can I Pursue Compensation for Other COVID-Related Losses?
Business interruption claims are just one avenue for businesses to pursue compensation for COVID-related losses. Lots of businesses are currently exploring other insurance policies to look for chances for help. If you want a legal professional’s help diving into any of these policies, never hesitate to ask:
- Directors and officers
- Environmental insurance
- Commercial general liability
- Event cancellation
- Management liability, errors, and omissions
Patience is Key
Remember: every aspect of global life has slowed down. We’re sure you see it now in your day-to-day life– and it extends to our legal system, too. Attorneys and legal professionals are working to help clients and litigate cases as regularly as possible. You may spend more time waiting than you’d like, but chances are that whoever you’re waiting to speak with is waiting for something else, too.
Alvendia Kelly & Demarest: Seasoned Business Litigation Professionals
Oceana began the groundwork for businesses to file interruption claims due to COVID-19. Now, it’s in business owners’ hands to take the necessary steps to bring legal action.
It’s crucial to have a law firm with experience on your side to help fight for what your business deserves. At Alvendia Kelly & Demarest, we have the knowledge it takes to stand up against insurance companies on behalf of small clients. Our experience representing small businesses positions us as the ideal partner to help those facing challenges and denials from insurance companies due to business interruption claims.
If you or somebody you know is currently struggling with a business interruption claim, contact us today or call us at 504-200-0000. We are prepared to litigate cases in court and help our clients pursue justice and peace of mind. Life is uncertain enough for all of us right now– you don’t need to be worried about your business, too.