COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims Gain Widespread Approval in Europe

In recent weeks, small businesses across Europe have seen an uptick in approved business interruption claims filed due to COVID-19 shutdowns. With people being forced to stay in their own homes to stay safe from the deadly virus, small businesses have suffered financially due to the sudden and massive drop-off in sales. Business interruption insurance policies are meant to provide financial backing when a company cannot conduct business due to an unforeseen disaster or government-mandated shutdown. At first, insurers resisted the idea that the coronavirus pandemic was a qualifying disaster, but that trend seems to be changing in Europe.

A few European countries with promising trends and changes are:

  • France: The AXA insurance group has started paying hundreds of restaurants in France business interruption claims. A court ruling was required to convince the company to make the decision, though.
  • Switzerland: Helvetia Insurance, a Swiss company, reported it had paid out insurance claim settlements to “most” of its hospitality industry policyholders, like hotels and motels. Many of the policyholders are from Switzerland, but there were also apparently payouts in Germany and Austria.
  • United Kingdom: The Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. has stated that it is planning to bring lawsuits against various insurance companies after numerous small business interruption claims were denied for unclear reasons. The lawsuit aims to clarify the policy definitions, but it could potentially be the first step in collecting settlements for denied policyholders.
  • Germany: Hospitality businesses in Germany can receive business interruption loss benefits more consistently due to a new agreement between the government and major insurance companies. Reportedly, the government will cover 70% of business interruption losses and insurers will cover at least 50% of what remains.

Will Business Interruption Changes Reach America?

With so many countries and companies in Europe using new and creative methods to get business interruption claim coverage to small businesses in need, many businessowners in the United States are hoping the encouraging trend will cross the pond. But is there any reason to be hopeful for such changes in America?

Currently, insurance companies are still fighting to deny business interruption claims wherever they can. Some have been taken to court and lost, but others have prevailed due to legal loopholes and gray areas in their policies. Methods other than litigation can be used, like arbitration behind closed doors, but even that does not guarantee a businessowner’s financial hardships will be corrected.

For the time being, businessowners in America need to assume they have to fend for themselves when it comes to holding insurance companies accountable for their own business interruption policies. Of course, fending for yourself doesn’t mean facing a challenge alone. You can team up with insurance claim attorneys to build your claim, help with filings and inquiries, and challenge unjust denials.

Businessowners in Philadelphia can turn to Golomb & Honik, P.C. for step-by-step assistance with a coronavirus business interruption claim. As the team who filed one of the first business interruption lawsuits in Pennsylvania, we are considered leaders in business interruption claim litigation. To date, we have represented more than 500 businesses from all industries and sectors, and we have already filed nearly 100 lawsuits in their names.

Our team has also won more than $2 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients, including major victories in class actions and multiple nine-figure settlements. See what we can do to help your business during this unprecedented time by calling (215) 278-4449. We are still working with new and returning clients by switching the majority of our practice to remote and online technologies during the ongoing lockdowns.

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