June 29, 2020
June 22, 2020
- PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Forms Updated and Streamlined
- Nevada Division of Insurance to Disallow Policy Exclusions Related to COVID-19
- CDI Announces New Order Regarding Workers’ Compensation Premium Savings for CA Businesses Affected by COVID-19
june 15, 2020
june 10, 2020
- Note to the SBA: Debtors in Bankruptcy Are Eligible for PPP Loans
- California Modifies the Tolling of Statutes of Limitations in Civil Cases
june 8, 2020
- CCPA Enforcement Date Fast Approaching Regardless of COVID-19
- Hotels in California May Be Days Away From Reopening: What Hoteliers Need to Know
June 4, 2020
may 29, 2020
may 28, 2020
- House Introduces Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 in the Wake of COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims
may 27, 2020
- Hoteliers Beware: a Return to Business Post-Pandemic Brings With It Potential Legal Liability
- House Contemplates Revisions to the Paycheck Protection Program
may 15, 2020
may 14, 2020
- U.S. House Democrats Introduce HEROES Act, a New $3T Stimulus Package
- SAFE Banking Act for Cannabis-Related Businesses Included in the HEROES Act
may 12, 2020
may 8, 2020
- Treasury and the SBA Issue Guidance Regarding the Employee Retention Credit
- Businesses Reopen in Los Angeles County as Stage 2 of California’s Statewide Plan Begins
- Update: Large Employers Required to Pay Coronavirus-Related Sick Leave Under New L.A. County Ordinance
may 6, 2020
- SBA Extends PPP Certification Safe Harbor to May 14
- A 2008 Redux: IRS Provides Temporary Cash/Stock Dividend Relief for Publicly Offered REITs and RICs
- EPLI Insurance and Employee Benefits in the Age of the Coronavirus
may 5, 2020
- Update: PPP Guidance Issued by the SBA and U.S. Treasury at Odds With the CARES Act—Michelman & Robinson Files First-of-Its-Kind Lawsuit Challenging FAQs
- NAIC Issues Business Interruption Data Call in the Wake of COVID-19
may 4, 2020
- PPP Guidance Issued by the SBA and U.S. Treasury at Odds With the CARES Act—Michelman & Robinson Files First-of-Its-Kind Lawsuit Challenging FAQs
may 1, 2020
april 29, 2020
- Planning for Your Employees' Return to the Workplace
- Los Angeles Hospitality Workers Among Those Thrown a Potential Lifeline
april 24, 2020
- Attention Cannabis Businesses: Hope May Be on the Horizon for Federal COVID-19-Related Relief
- California Department of Insurance Issues Notice Granting Tax-Filing Extension in Response to COVID-19
- SEC Approves Amendments to Nasdaq and NYSE Continued Listing Requirements Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
April 23, 2020
april 21, 2020
- Additional Funding Is on the Way to Resurrect the PPP
- Certifying Your PPP Loan: Proceed With Caution
april 17, 2020
april 16, 2020
- Employment in the Wake of Coronavirus: EEOC and OSHA Guidance Allows Employers to Go Where They Could Not Go Before
- New Yorkers Ordered to Stay at Home Even Longer Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
- Paycheck Protection Program Funds Exhausted
april 15, 2020
- Attention Insurers: the CDI Has Ordered You to Fairly Investigate All Business Interruption Insurance Claims Caused By the COVID-19 Outbreak
April 14, 2020
- Insurance Companies Have Been Ordered to Provide COVID-19-Related Premium Relief to Businesses and Drivers in California
- What to Do If Your New York Business Has Been Deemed Non-Essential
APRIL 13, 2020
- IP Deadlines and Fees Extended Under the CARES Act
- Employment in the Wake of Coronavirus: Reintegrating Your Workforce in the New Normal
APRIL 10, 2020
- You Successfully Applied for and Received a PPP Loan Under the CARES Act: Now What?
- Safer at Home Order in L.A. Extended to May 15
- Maintaining Your Trade Secrets During the Coronavirus Crisis
APRIL 9, 2020
april 8, 2020
- Congress Looks to Bolster the PPP With Another $250B in Funding
- U.S. Treasury Provides Further Guidance to PPP Borrowers and Lenders
- L.A. Mayor Amends COVID-19-Related Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
april 7, 2020
- Clarifying the Paycheck Protection Program: Payment of Insurance Premiums and Loan Forgiveness under the CARES Act
April 3, 2020
april 2, 2020
april 1, 2020
March 31, 2020
march 30, 2020
- Large Employers Required to Pay Coronavirus-Related Sick Leave Under New L.A. Ordinance
- Insurance Coverage Potentially Triggered by COVID-19
- Attention Insurers: CDI Orders Mandatory Call for Business Interruption Coverage Information in the Wake of COVID-19
- DOL Is Requiring Employers to Post Families First Employee Rights Notice
March 27, 2020
- A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Coronavirus-Related State Assistance Programs: Who is Giving What to Whom (Part II)
- IRS Releases “People First Initiative” Temporarily Adjusting and Suspending Key Compliance Actions
- HHS Relaxing Enforcement of HIPAA to Facilitate Sharing of Information During the COVID-19 Crisis
March 26, 2020
march 25, 2020
march 24, 2020
- Navigating the Coronavirus Pandemic: a Critical Business Review Checklist
- SBA Loans for Companies Impacted by Coronavirus
- SEC Relaxes Federal Proxy Rules for Annual Meetings
march 23, 2020
- Federal Reserve Responds Boldly to Coronavirus-Related Economic Downturn
- The Number of Jurisdictions Implementing Stay-at-Home Orders Is Increasing Exponentially
- Michelman & Robinson’s Guide to Coronavirus-Related Paid Sick Leave and Unemployment Insurance Laws in the Tri-State Area
MARCH 21, 2020
- New Jersey Orders Its Residents to Stay Home
- “Essential Businesses”— What if I am Stopped?
- The IRS and States Provide Tax Relief in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic
MARCH 20, 2020
- New York Governor’s PAUSE Order
- Illinois Governor’s Statewide Stay-at-Home Order
- Force Majeure Clauses in Commercial Real Estate Contracts
MARCH 19, 2020
- SEC Provides Regulatory Relief for Public Reporting Companies
- Student Loan Borrowers Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief, At Least Temporarily
- California Governor's Statewide Stay-At-Home Order
MARCH 18, 2020
- "Shelter in Place" Orders
- Telecommuting in the Age of Coronavirus
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act Just Passed by the Senate and Signed Into Law by the President
MARCH 17, 2020
- M&R Coronavirus Risk Mitigation Team: A Multi-Disciplinary Legal Team Ready To Immediately Address A Host Of Coronavirus-Related Issues for Businesses, Quickly And Holistically
MARCH 16, 2020
MARCH 5, 2020
Insurance Coverage Potentially Triggered by COVID-19
MARCH 30, 2020
While the coronavirus pandemic has yet to peak, the outbreak has already left its mark in countless ways, one of which is its impact on businesses, large and small, and the people operating them. Losses related to COVID-19 are occurring at breakneck speed, which leaves many wondering: might some of these hits be covered by insurance? Here, Michelman & Robinson answers some of your coverage questions.
Q. I’ve had to shutter my business by virtue of the stay-at-home order issued in my state. I’m not sure how long I’ll be closed, and cannot begin to fathom how much revenue has already been—and will continue to be—lost. Can I make a claim under my business interruption coverage?
A. This seems to be the question on every business person’s mind these days, whether they own and operate an “essential business” that is still open or a “non-essential business” that has been forced to close due to the coronavirus crisis, at least temporarily. The answer is “it depends.”
Business interruption is first-party coverage typically triggered by physical damage to property owned by an insured company (think natural disasters like hurricanes). What is important to understand is that coverage for business interruption is dependent upon policy language, and business interruption provisions tend to differ from policy to policy and endorsement to endorsement. That being said, if business interruption coverage is included in your insurance policy, and, as written, it requires “direct physical loss” to company property to trigger its terms, it is unlikely that a loss of revenue due to COVID-19 can serve as the basis for a successful claim.
There is more bad news for business owners. Many policies that include business interruption coverage have “virus” exclusions. Of note, oftentimes these exclusions indicate something else; for instance, that losses resulting from “microbes” are excluded. Some might read that as not having any relevance to COVID-19, but in the policy’s fine print, the definition of “microbes” (or whatever other similar term may be used) could potentially include “viruses.”
On the bright side, some policies that include business interruption coverage do not require “direct physical loss” and do not impose “virus” exclusions. In fact, some insurance contracts offering business interruption protection specify that “loss of use” constitutes property damage. If this is true in your case, coverage for your coronavirus-related losses of business revenue may well be available.
In addition, it should be mentioned that some policies that include a business interruption provision provide coverage for “Governmental Denial of Access.” Given the several stay-at-home orders in place nationwide requiring certain businesses to close or otherwise limiting access to them, you may be covered for resulting revenue loss if your policy includes such language (but only if the policy does not require property damage or include a “virus” exclusion).
Regarding “direct physical loss” and “virus” exclusions, the state legislatures in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio have introduced bills that would retroactively eliminate the requirement of “direct physical loss” and “virus” exclusions from business interruption coverage. M&R will monitor those states to determine if any of these bills are passed and signed into law.
Lastly, if your policy does support a successful claim for business interruption losses, you must be able to calculate your damages due to the pandemic. Bottom line: your records will be critical. Understand that lost profits means net revenue, so your company could have a measurable loss where income only drops a bit, but costs skyrocket.
Q. What if one of my customers or employees accuses my company of causing their COVID-19 diagnosis?
A. While causation in this instance would seem to be a significant hurdle for your customer or employee, you could likely find coverage in your Commercial General Liability policy if faced with a lawsuit that includes such an allegation. CGL coverage is typically triggered when a business is sued in the wake of an occurrence that causes someone to suffer either “bodily injury” or “property damage. In the circumstance presented, COVID-19 would qualify as “bodily injury,” unless, of course, you were sued after continuing an activity that you know is spreading the coronavirus. If such were the case, coverage would probably be excluded because the “bodily injury” would have been caused by an “intentional act.” Also, as discussed above in connection with business interruption coverage, your CGL policy could possibly include a “virus” exclusion, so it is important to carefully review the policy’s terms.
Q. I’ve been forced to cancel a two-day series of seminars that I’ve planned for my clients, which required me to pay a site fee and deposits for hotel bookings, catering, and similar costs. Do I have any recourse?
A. If you have event cancellation insurance, you may be covered for event-related losses of revenue or expenses stemming from a cancellation that was beyond your control. To be clear, if you purchased such a policy after you knew about the COVID-19 outbreak, you may not be covered because a cancellation as a result of the coronavirus would have been a known risk. In any event, as with all policies, you must review yours carefully for applicable exclusions (“virus” and the like) and mitigation provisions that could require you to reschedule your seminars (assuming, of course, that you have bought this type of coverage in the first place).
Q. What if shareholders sue my business because its value has decreased by virtue of the coronavirus crisis?
A. Directors & Officers policies cover companies, officers, and directors for acts of their corporate boards. If your board allegedly failed to take action to mitigate against the risk of your company’s value falling in the wake of the onset of COVID-19, a resulting lawsuit could be covered by your D&O policy. Note that these are claims-made policies, which means that timing is critical. Also, some D&O policies provide a defense at the insurance company’s cost, some do not, and others subtract from policy limit the amounts spent on the defense. The takeaway: your D&O policy should be reviewed, and while doing so, take a look for any applicable exclusions (e.g., “viruses”).
Q. Do professionals have insurance coverage available to them for COVID-19-related claims?
A. Yes, most professionals carry Errors & Omissions coverage that could apply to lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. In the current landscape, the most common types of claims would involve litigation against health care professionals for failing to properly diagnose or treat patients. Still, there are other scenarios that could put E&O coverage in play. By way of example, consider a business that has lost a significant sum of money because of a state-mandated closure. That business then makes a first-party business interruption claim (addressed above) that requires a calculation of damages. If the company in question relied on an accountant over a period of years, and that accounting professional is unable to prove the company’s profits/losses because he or she failed to keep historically good and accurate records, there may be fodder for an E&O claim against the accountant.
We are working diligently to keep our clients up to date on coronavirus-related developments. Nevertheless, these developments are changing daily and, in some cases even hourly, so it is important that you make sure you are dealing with the most current information. That being said, this alert is not offered, and should not be relied on, as legal advice. You should consult an attorney for guidance and counsel regarding any specific concern or situation.