Commercial policyholders may have significant insurance claims for property damage, loss of business income, and extra expenses incurred to continue or resume operations due to the damage sustained in the rainstorms and resulting floods. Because of the significant flooding that occurred, businesses must take extra precautions in assessing their coverage. Although storm rainwater damage is usually covered by property insurance policies, these same policies often do not cover damage due to flooding. Businesses should be cautioned that insurance companies will inevitably try to attribute as much damage as possible to being caused by the flooding instead of the rainstorms in order to minimize any payments they must make toward claims. Coverage for losses, however, will ultimately come down to the language found in the insurance policy itself.
In order to assert and protect their rights under their insurance policies, businesses should move quickly to determine whether they have an insurance policy that provides coverage for business losses and property damage caused by the rainfall and the resulting floods. Many business property insurance policies exclude damage from flooding, but other policies, such as business income insurance policies, may provide coverage for some or all of a business’ damages. The language of the policy is key and the language can vary from policy to policy. Businesses should seek input from an experienced professional who is qualified to assist them in making that assessment.
Be aware of other available coverages
In addition to coverage for direct damage to the property of a business and any business income losses as a result of that damage, policies will often include coverage arising from loss of income caused by damage to or destruction of property owned by others, such as suppliers and customers. This contingent business income coverage varies widely, with some provisions limiting coverage to “direct” customers or suppliers and other provisions covering customers or suppliers “of any tier” (e.g., customers of customers). With ongoing global supply chain issues still impacting numerous industries, it is important that policyholders afford themselves this coverage if available.
Service interruption coverage is another type of coverage that policyholders should take advantage of if available. Service interruption coverage is designed to provide coverage for business income losses attributable to the dislocation of utility or telecommunications services. Losses as a result of service interruptions may be particularly prevalent owing to the rainstorms because they caused widespread power and communication outages.