“These North Texas businesses bought insurance, only to learn coronavirus-related losses aren’t covered”
Abraham Salum had no choice but to close the restaurant he’s owned for 15 years in Dallas’ Knox Henderson area.
The safer-at-home orders issued in March by the city and Dallas County to limit the spread of COVID-19 devastated his business. The chef and owner of Salum restaurant filed a claim under his business interruption insurance policy. It was quickly denied, even though local authorities had shut him down.
…Dallas-based law firm Thompson Knight issued a recent client alert, saying such policies typically require “physical loss” or damage to property.
Shelley Glazer, a Thompson Knight lawyer, said policyholders are arguing that the coronavirus “sticks to surfaces” and “stays airborne,” which has caused damage. She said litigation could drag on for years.
“They are just starting to percolate through the courts,” she said about the lawsuits. “Only time will tell as to how it sorts out.”
Small business owners like Salum say they don’t have years — they need help now.
Vandelay Hospitality Group LP, a Dallas restaurant company that does business as Hudson House, said in its lawsuit against its insurer that policyholders are being “forced to accept low-ball settlement offers” out of the fear that “their insurer will drag out proceedings well past the insured’s ability to remain financially viable.”
Glazer noted that lawmakers in Washington are working on two bills that could help businesses.