A growing number of U.S. courts are ruling against employers who’ve filed insurance claims for business interruption coverage stemming from government-ordered coronavirus shutdowns.

The Insurance Information Institute reports insurers have won more than a dozen cases since May, with judges ruling that the policies only kick in if a property sustains physical damage. The business owners had argued that the coverage should have started when local or state governments issued stay-at-home orders that hampered their ability to operate.

A couple of Charleston-area cases are still pending in federal court. Black Magic Cafe says its losses started on March 17, when Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a temporary halt to dine-in services at South Carolina restaurants.

The historic Calhoun Mansion at 10 Meeting St., now known as The Williams Mansion, sued its insurer after a McMaster executive order shut down museums.



Charleston cafe takes on insurance firm in fight over coronavirus claims

A bill that would have required insurance carriers to cover coronavirus-related business losses — co-sponsored by Sen. Sandy Senn, a Charleston Republican, and Sen. Marlon Kimpson, a Charleston Democrat — was introduced in the S.C. Statehouse in April but went nowhere.

Recent court rulings indicate the local cases might be a losing cause.

For example, Judge Thomas Thrash last week dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by restaurant in Georgia, ruling that a government stay-at-home order did not cause the business to sustain direct physical loss of or damage to its insured property or surrounding premises.



Owner of Charleston's historic Calhoun Mansion suing insurer over COVID-19 claims

Similarly, a U.S. District Court judge in Florida last month dismissed a trade show display company’s claims, saying “the plain language of the policies reflect that actual, concrete damage is necessary.”

And in another ruling in California last month, Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo ruled against a pair of barbershops, stating: “Most courts have rejected these claims, finding that the

As we move toward the colder months, entire industries are still suffering from one of the greatest recessions in history. As businesses deal with the decline in revenue and profits, the fall out of COVID-19 is far from over. It’s still unclear how long it will take to recover from the rapid shutdown of businesses and job loss. The Carlson Law Firm has been steadily working to inform businesses about their insurance policies and what they could likely cover.

If your business is suffering revenue or profit losses, understanding what you need to do is important to get the compensation you are owed.

Industries most affected by COVID-19
As a major travel destination with a billion-dollar sports team, San Antonio has felt the ripple effects of COVID-19.


Hotel Industry
As conferences, conventions, and leisurely travel plans have slowed, the San Antonio hotel industry has suffered significantly from COVID-19 losses. On a national scale, occupancy rates are less than 50%—well under what most hotels need to survive.

Entertainment
The sports world has adjusted to the current pandemic by holding events without fans. The NBA’s bubble is just one extreme example of how some areas of entertainment are adapting. It has, however, been much more difficult for the movie theater industry to adapt. Months of closures, direct-to-streaming options becoming more common, fewer movies showing in theaters, and less attendance, the theater industry may be more reliant on business interruption policies than others.

Healthcare Industry
Many people are avoiding hospitals and clinics to avoid contracting the coronavirus. As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, hospitals have taken major hits because elective surgeries aren’t happening. Elective surgeries account for a significant portion of hospital revenue. In addition, dental clinics and other health clinics are also taking substantial losses from the historic financial decline in healthcare

Lloyd’s has launched a new “first-of-its-kind” business interruption policy for small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), specifically designed to protect them against IT disruption or downtime.

Parametrix Insurance offers simple and reliable coverage by removing the traditional indemnity trigger that most insurance policies today use. Instead, the new solution uses a parametric trigger, meaning that the policy automatically pays out if a customer’s critical IT services – such as cloud, e-commerce or payment systems – are disrupted, said Lloyd’s in a statement, noting that this will significantly reduce the time insurers spend assessing a loss or adjusting a claim.

The new product is led by Tokio Marine Kiln (TMK) and supported by other members of Lloyd’s Product Innovation Facility including RenaissanceRe. It is the first off-the-shelf parametric IT downtime policy tailored towards SMEs, said Lloyd’s.

Yonatan Hatzor

“Businesses have shifted to managing most of their critical IT operations by using third-party service providers, thereby increasing their vulnerability to disruption,” said Yonatan Hatzor, co-founder and CEO of Parametrix Insurance.

“As a result, critical technology downtime has become the fastest growing risk for businesses today, whether you are a technology company or not. On top of this, the existing claims process in the field is complicated, expensive and time consuming,” added Hatzor.

“Parametrix’s approach addresses all these issues, providing a solution that saves both time and money, while making tech insurance accessible to new business segments. We are thrilled to launch the first ‘off-the-shelf’ parametric insurance product for IT downtime,” he said. “This is a great milestone for us, and we are grateful to TMK, Howden and Lloyd’s Product Innovation Facility for helping us to develop our product and providing us with valuable insights and support along the way.”

“We know that insurance products and services have to evolve to respond to the challenges of