Shutdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted an unprecedented number of business income and business interruption insurance claims. Many claims have resulted in litigation and require judicial intervention to determine whether private insurance carriers owe policyholders indemnification for pandemic related losses. Private insurance carriers that have denied the claims, in large part, argue that they did not underwrite coverage for the pandemic and assert that pandemic coverage is much too unpredictable to underwrite. Private carriers contend that a government-backed insurance program is necessary to mitigate the economic impact resulting from pandemic claims.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted real estate owners and developers. Real estate owners and developers have sustained business income losses in the form of lost rents at commercial properties, service disruption, labor and/ or material shortages, to name a few. Questions about whether the virus caused “direct physical damage,” as well as whether specific “virus exclusions” on policies, have provided hurdles to coverage under existing schemes, click here.Those that have filed lawsuits against their insurers seeking coverage under current policy terms are having mixed results, at best. Click here to view SDV’s Litigation Tracker. A predictable source of indemnification for future pandemic-related losses would greatly relieve business disruption and, ultimately, the impact on the economy. However, the question remains, who will pay for such massive losses?