Businesses purchase business interruption insurance in case damage from a disaster makes conducting business as usual impossible. When disaster strikes, the survival of many businesses are contingent on receiving timely payments from their business interruption insurer. Unfortunately, insurance companies often deny business interruption insurance claims, forcing policyholders to pursue a long and costly appeals process.
Businesses in the Gulf Coast states have taken an economic blow as a result of the hurricanes in the region in 2005. The damage in these states has also adversely affected businesses in other parts of the country that rely on materials and goods from suppliers in the Gulf Coast. Many local businesses and out-of-state businesses purchased business interruption insurance but have found that getting their claims paid is difficult.
Because a policyholder’s ability to recover business-interruption losses largely hinges on having coverage for the peril that caused the loss, one early dispute could center on whether the water that inundated New Orleans after two levees failed after Hurricane Katrina is a flood as defined in policy language. This means that if you purchased business interruption insurance but did not purchase flood insurance, it is likely that your claim would be denied.
Even policyholders that have both wind and flood coverage are facing problems recovering their business-interruption losses because of the evacuation of New Orleans for what likely will be months. An exclusion in many business-interruption policies bars coverage when a policyholder loses its market. Insurers will deny business-interruption claims because New Orleans’ population is largely gone indefinitely.