Commercial Property Claims Storm Damage / Wind / Hurricane – Including Business Interruption
In 2017, Hurricane Irma battered Florida bringing widespread business losses again to Port Saint Lucie. The last year of major wind losses had been some 13 years earlier from Hurricanes Jeanne and Frances. Hurricane Irma produced billions of dollars of commercial property losses and related commercial property insurance claims. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation found the Port Saint Lucie area to be a heavily affected by hurricane claims with roughly 17,000 hurricane insurance claims in Saint Lucie county and Martin County combined.
Commercial Property Insurance Damage Claims from Storm Damage – Wind Damage – Hurricanes
There are eight (8) main coverage forms to consider when speaking of commercial property insurance coverage:
Building and Personal Property Coverage
This is the insurance that covers your building and business personal property against damages from causes like fire windstorm (hurricane claims), hail, vandalism, sprinkler leakage, etc.
Builders Risk Coverage
Builders Risk is similar to Building and Personal Property Coverage but is used to insure buildings against losses while they are under construction.
Business Income Coverage
Business Income Coverage protects against losses of income resulting from damage to covered property from a covered cause of loss like a Hurricane or fire claim. These can be complex claims and are discussed in more detail below.
Extra Expense Coverage
Where Business Income replaces the lost profits, some businesses, due to their nature, would suffer irreparable harm which would kill the business for good. These kinds of businesses, to survive a claim like a Hurricane or Fire Claim might need to immediately relocate or contract the work to others. Extra expense is discussed more below.
Legal Liability Coverage
If your business takes the property of others into your care, custody and control in the course of your business, this cover protects you when you damage their property due to your negligence.
Condominium Association Coverage
Similar to Building and Personal Property Coverage but is used to insure buildings and personal property of a business condominium association
Condominium Commercial Unit-Owners Coverage
Similar to Building and Personal Property Coverage but is used to insure buildings and personal property of a business condominium unit owner
Leasehold Interest Coverage
Protects a business from loss of a favorable lease when there has been damage to the premises by a named peril
Business Interruption Insurance
Physical Loss or Damage Requirement
What is Extra Expense Coverage?
The Period of Restoration
Under most newer ISO forms, the “period of restoration” typically begins either 72 hours after the time of any direct physical loss or damage that triggers business interruption coverage or immediately after the time of any direct physical loss that triggers extra expense coverage. Some forms incorporate a defined “waiting period” which is usually a certain number of days.
The “period of restoration” typically ends on the earlier of: 1) the date when the property should be repaired/replaced with reasonable speed and similar quality; or 2) the date when business is resumed at a new permanent location.
How Much is the Recovery Under a Business Interruption Policy?
The amount that may be recovered under a Business Interruption cover will depend on a number of factors. One of the most important factors is whether the policy is a “valued” policy or an “open” policy. Valued policies are less common, though in certain sectors (such as loss of earnings related to Ocean Hull & Machinery) they can be common. With a valued policy, the calculation is much more easily made, but it is possible that the agreed value may be quite different than the actual loss. For this reason insurance companies do not favor valued policies.
It is more likely that the insurance policy is an “open” policy. In an “open” policy, the insured’s “actual loss sustained” during the period of indemnity is the measure of recovery. The “actual loss sustained” is typically defined as the reduction in earnings less normal charges and expenses that do not continue during the interruption of the business, plus continuing expenses.
WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK!
When your business property has been damaged and your business interrupted due to a Hurricane or other severe storm, there are few more difficult or stressful times. You will have continuing expenses that you still must pay even though the revenue has disappeared or significantly reduced. The insurance company will probably have an experienced claims adjuster or an expensive attorney on their side. They might try to lowball your losses and hope that you will quit fighting and accept less than you are entitled.
Todd C. Passman, P.A. handles Hurricane and Storm Damage Commercial Property Insurance Claim cases serving Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida, and surrounding areas.