Business Insurance Coverage and Coronavirus

Is your business covered if you have to close for an extended period?

On Wednesday March 12, 2020, The World Health Organization (WHO) identified COVID – 19 (Coronavirus) as a pandemic.

The virus has now spread to 114 countries, sickened more than 125,000 people and caused at least 4,500 deaths.
As a result; the stock market has seen a 20%+ reduction in value, international travel has been effectively halted, Schools and Universities, restaurants, retail establishments, public venues, gyms and athletic facilities have been directed to close.

Business interruption and other losses due to the continued global spread of Coronavirus are projected to total in the billions of dollars.

How do you find out if your insurance coverage will reimburse you for the loss of income and extra expenses a result of this?

Typical property insurance policies may provide coverage for a loss of income and the extra expenses related to the spread and community/government response to Coronavirus.

These coverages, specifically Business Interruption Insurance, covers a business when their operations are disrupted as a result of a covered loss. In addition, many policies provide coverage for Contingent Business Interruption in the event that a business’s customers or suppliers operations are disrupted, and this causes a loss of income to the business even though their ability to operate is not disrupted.

Most commercial insurance policies that include Business Interruption coverage are triggered by an event that causes direct physical loss of or damage to insured property. An insurance company may not agree that Coronavirus meets the direct physical damage criteria and subsequently may decide that coverage cannot be extended as result. Although courts have not agreed on what constitutes a physical loss, many have found that “contamination” and other incidents that make a property unable to be used for its intended use to be considered a physical loss and allow an insured to collect for a loss of business income as well as the extra expenses associated with that loss.

It should be noted that each insurance company and each jurisdiction may look at the circumstances differently and determine an alternative result. There are policies that include endorsements for communicable diseases that may not include the criteria of physical damage. These policies and endorsements often include other requirements such as; the suspension or shutdown must be ordered by a local, state or federal Board of Health or Government Agency which has jurisdiction over the business operation, the shutdown is as a result of a communicable disease and the illness is present at your particular premises.

Most commercial property insurance policies provide coverage for business income losses that occur as a result of a “Civil Authority” prohibiting access to the Insured’s premises. Many policies do not require that there be direct physical damage to the insured property.

In many cases, a declaration that limits access to your property by a federal, state of local government authority could trigger coverage for your loss of income.

It is important to review your coverages with your insurance agent or broker, as well as a professional Public Adjuster to determine whether your policy provides coverage as a result of Civil Authority and Communicable Disease.

We are living in uncertain times, but in many cases, businesses can turn to existing property coverage to offset some of the resulting income loss and extra expenses.

How to make sure your business is protected

Recommended Insurance for Small Businesses

What happens when your small business is surprised by severe damage or a catastrophe, whether it’s from a storm, fire or unexplained event? Do you have the right insurance coverage? How do you make sure your business is protected?

What’s your next move?

Clarke & Cohen has been in the business of helping businesses for 99 years. We’ve learned a lot along the way and this is what we recommend you will need as a small business owner:

Property Coverage if you own the building.
This should not only cover the amount you paid for your building and the amount left on the mortgage, moreover, it should also cover a complete rebuild of your property in the event of a total loss. Additional coverages such as demo and debris removal and increased costs due to codes is available and should be added to your coverage.

Business Personal Property Coverage.
This includes stock, inventory, furniture and fixtures, equipment and supplies. If the contents you own are destroyed by fire or water, it’s important to have coverage for your inventory to help with maximum recovery. You can buy specific coverage on computers and electronic data processing equipment as well.

Business Interruption Coverage or Loss of Income.
Depending on the type and size of the loss, a business could be without a building or property for many months or even years. By having the correct amount of business interruption coverage, you could continue to be paid as if you were fully operational. Additionally, you could be paid to move your company to an alternate location while your original location is repaired. You can also get coverage for an extended period. During this time your business will be getting back to the level of income it was at prior to any catastrophic event.

In case of a loss, immediately call your public adjuster and have them visit your site.

That way, the adjuster will evaluate your loss. By having your public adjuster obtain a copy of the Insurance policy, he or she will be able to see what is covered. That allows them to move forward expeditiously with your claim. In a perfect world, your public adjuster reviews your policies when you acquire them.  It provides you assurance you are maintaining the correct coverage for your needs.

By working with a public adjuster, you do not have to deal with the insurance companies directly allowing the adjuster will do all the ‘heavy lifting’.

At Clarke & Cohen Public Adjusters, located in Bala Cynwyd, PA, when you hire us, you get more than just an advocate.

You get an entire team of experts who understand your specific needs and will guide you through the difficult insurance world. This team may include a general contractor who will prepare a replacement cost estimate using current costs of materials and labor and understands the value of your property. It may also include a forensic accountant who will help with income loss.  They will make sure everything is accounted for. Our adjusters have extensive experience with all kinds of property losses. We are here to help you navigate the entire claim process for maximum policy payment.

Contact us when you need a Public Adjuster at 610-668-0144. Emergency Service available 24/7.

Recovering from your loss after a fire in 2020

Recovering from your loss after a fire

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate task of dealing with a building or household fire and your insurance company, you know what a fight it becomes to get fully compensated for your loss.

What most people may not know is that there’s an ideal option to help you navigate the difficult process of recovering from your insurance carrier after a fire causes damage to your property in 2020.

Property Loss Consultants

At Clarke and Cohen, we are Property Loss Consultants/Public Adjusters who assist property owners when your home or business is damaged by a fire and you need to make an insurance claim.

The services we provide include:

  • A detailed review of your insurance policy, identifying your coverages, including discussing any and all endorsements in the policy that may affect your recovery.
  • Assist in locating a remediation company to clean up the damage and protect the property from further damage. That protection is the responsibility of the insured.
  • As required, review all financial documents for any loss of income or business income claims.
  • Secure advanced payments after an initial meeting with your insurance company. This speeds up the payment process and enables you to start clean up and repair work without spending out of pocket.
  • Recommend the appropriate experts needed for proper presentation of your claim.
  • Provide contactors and estimators to prepare all dwelling/building claims and estimates for remediation and/or repair.
  • Identify personal property experts to itemize your personal belongings and business personal property in order to present a comprehensive content list and personal property claim.
  • Guide you through the process of preparing Loss of Use and Additional Living Expense claims.
  • Meet with you, once all claim preparation is completed, to review the claim documents before submitting all of the paperwork, content lists, building and dwelling claims and financial losses to the insurance company.
  • Consistently keep you aware of what is going on in the process of the claim.
  • Review with you any/all settlement offers on the claims presented so you can make an informed decision on settlement.
  • If a lender is named on the policy, we assist you through the process of dealing with your mortgage company which can be taxing and complex.

What’s your next move?

Contact us at (610) 668-0144 to talk to us about a claim when you are recovering from your loss after a fire.

Shore and Mountain house preparation for Winter

It’s time to leave your vacation home!

What should you do for shore and mountain house preparation for the winter?

Your shore or mountain home has been a flurry of activity all summer, but now it’s time to close for the season and get it ready for the elements ahead. With the onset of hurricane season wind and rain, followed by the brutal winter freeze, there are many steps to take to get your summer home protected from the elements.

Here is what you need to do to prepare your shore or mountain home for the winter:

  • Check your home’s heating and air conditioning systems. HVAC maintenance involves changing filters and have your HVAC contractor check that all systems are a go.
  • Protect your pipes. See if there are any exposed pipes in need of insulation. Turn off your water supply to avoid any burst pipes or flooding from leaks. Open cabinet doors during very cold periods to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Disconnect garden hoses and drain those, too.
  • Clean your Chimney. Remove any nests and check your flue damper to make sure it opens and closes properly. If you haven’t had your fireplace cleaned for a while, schedule a chimney sweep to come and clean it for you.
  • Gutters should be cleaned out from debris and leaves. Clogged gutters can contribute to ice damming and cause basement flooding when snow melts. Clear out your gutters to avoid any unforeseen problems.
  • Have a Roofing contractor safely inspect your roof for any missing shingles or leaks.
  • Check the Weather Stripping on all doors and windows and replace the sealing, caulk or stripping where you see it dried, cracked or peeling.
  • Protect your Outdoor Living Space by bringing in or covering your furniture, drain any water features or fountains and clean up and cover the barbecue grill.

Once all of your systems are cleaned up and winterized, you can rest easy at home knowing your investment property at the shore or mountains is safe.

We are your severe damage experts and are here with advice to help you avoid future problems. Contact Clarke & Cohen at (610) 668-0144.

Winter is Coming

It’s already here but is your home or business ready for the extreme cold?

Winter is Coming.

With the impending deep freeze on the way, home and business owners should prepare prior to the extreme cold. Cold weather emergencies and severe damage can happen and may put a damper on your dreams of warming up by the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate in hand.

You may not be able to take every step listed below preventatively, however, by being aware of the havoc that extreme temperatures may cause, you will be an educated property owner with the gift of knowledge on your side.

Here are crucial steps you can take to minimize a potential disaster:

  • Repair roof leaks and clear rain gutters to prevent ice dams which can form and cause your gutters to clog.
  • Remove tree branches that could fall on your house or other structures during a storm. If you have older trees, it’s a wise idea to have an arborist inspect any suspicious trees.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year. The chimney is the highest point of the house so it is likely to have the most damage with high winds or heavy rain during a storm.
  • Hire a contractor or engineer to check the structural ability of your roof to withstand heavy weight from the accumulation of snow, ice or water.
  • Clear drains both on the ground and on upper level decks of debris and leaves.
  • Make sure to insulate pipes. Pipes that are exposed to exterior walls and areas that are not heated could freeze.
  • Insulate walls and attics, caulk and weather-strip doors and windows, and install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
  • Allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing pipes.
  • Fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and make sure to keep the area around the vent clear.
  • and furniture. Some space heaters, especially taller ones, may tip over, potentially causing a fire hazard.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. Your fire extinguisher doesn’t last forever so replace an older model. Manufacturers suggest replacing them after 5-15 years.
  • Learn how to shut off water in your home in the event a pipe burst. Teach your family how to shut off your water in case you are away during a storm.
  • If you have a vacation home or will be away from your home for an extended period, be sure to drain the pipes and winterize the plumbing. Maintain the heat at 60 degrees.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Run paddle ceiling fans on low in reverse to circulate warm air.

If you experience structural damage of water damage resulting from a storm or extreme cold, call Clarke & Cohen at 610-668-0144 or 1-800-487-5897 to help you navigate your insurance claim. Our team of experts will respond immediately and provide personalized service 24 hours a day/7 days a week to resolve your residential or business insurance claim.