Florida Insurance Commish: Business interruption insurance may not cover COVID-19 losses

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A pandemic loophole panics businesses.

Businesses may not get what they expected when they bought business interruption insurance to guard against shutdown.

That was the sobering message on Friday from Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) Commissioner David Altmaier to a subgroup of the Governor’s Re-Open Florida Task Force.

Altmaier told the Agriculture, Finance, Government, Healthcare, Management and Professional Services committee that many businesses relying on business interruption policies will be disappointed.

The policies insurance owners bought in case of disaster, he said, doesn’t handle the current COVID-19 crisis.

“All business interruption policies are written differently,” but most do not address a “pandemic such as COVID-19.”

“Policymakers around the world grapple with this issue,” he added, which is an “issue not only in Florida but nationwide.”

Around the country, litigation abounds, and OIR is “closely monitoring” it, amidst the usual challenges.

“In the short term,” Altmaier said, “we’re encouraging insurers to find new ways to do business.”

OIR is looking for other “emergent risks” for the insurance sector, with an eye toward the “impact of litigation related to COVID-19.”

“That is something that will always impact the insurance industry,” he added, joining the call to push for liability exemptions.

Beyond these issues, he spotlighted steps dating back to Mar. 6 to try to remove barriers to testing for COVID-19, which drove insurers to waive cost-sharing for testing, with more than half paying co-pays for treatment through at least June.

Altmaier also noted moves for emergency filling of refills, pushes for insurance companies to address continuity of business plans during this period, and attempts to provide guidance for treatment of policy holders.

Included in the conversation were pleas for payment flexibility so that cancellations and non-renewals are curbed.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com


3 comments

  • Get Real

    April 24, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Y’all crazy if you think insurance gonna pay for this. No insurance company would agree to cover every business closing from a pandemic.

    • Dirk Langlotz

      April 26, 2020 at 7:04 pm

      I have had to file multiple BI claims in the 41 years of our family business. 1 fire, Hurricane Opal, Gulf oil spill, and Hurricane Michael. 4 claims and no coverage. This will be claim number 5, so yes you’re correct. I believe the math is 3000-1 that a BI claim is paid out. You’re better off going to a casino with your 401k than ever expecting an insurance company to pay a BI claim!!

      • Mark Kulda

        April 27, 2020 at 2:59 pm

        So why did you keep buying the coverage if you knew it was never going to pay out. Nobody forced you to buy it. The fact is BI coverage is good but it doesn’t cover everything and the biggest problem with this article is that the Commissioner says people aren’t getting the coverage they expected. But if business owners READ their policy, they’d know what was in it and there would be no surprises. Business Interruption coverage requires there to be physical damage to premises. And since 2006, the policies have excluded viruses. So nobody should be surprised, if you read the policy. It doesn’t cover what you hope is listed. It covers what is actually listed in the policy, which is easily known by reading it.

Comments are closed.


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