After the upscale sports bar was forced by the government to close its dining room doors to customers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, NIEUW Group, the company that owns the bar, filed a business interruption claim with its insurer, Seneca [Source: Eater Washington DC]. Unfortunately, the New York-based insurance carrier denied NIEUW Group’s claim on April 2nd. The company, which also owns Manhattan Proper and Proper West, both in NYC, decided to respond more aggressively to the denial notice their insurance carrier had sent them.
Six days after receiving the denial letter, NIEUW Group filed a lawsuit against Seneca in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia’s civil division.
In its lawsuit, NIEUW Group “seeks a judgment against its insurer to cover losses incurred during the government-mandated ban on going out to eat and drink.” The lawsuit argues that “a publicly-enforced dine-in ban is fair game for claiming coverage because its policy includes a “Civil Authority Coverage for Business Income” clause.” Eater spoke with Will Strozier, a co-owner of Proper 21, regarding pending litigation and was told that the company has been paying monthly for coverage, “on time and in full. “Strozier also said, “Now that we have a case where our business is interrupted how can we expect not to be covered?”
The co-owner explained to Eater that “reliance on a ‘virus’ as a reason for coverage denial is misplaced.” He said that his “establishment is not currently closed because of a virus and no employees or customers tested positive. We are closed because a government order has directed us to do so.” Proper 21 has been closed since St. Patrick’s Day and chose not to offer takeout and delivery services as it would cost the company more in operations than they would make in sales, according to Strozier.
How do I get my insurer to cover my business interruption claim if the company already denied it?
Because viral exclusions have become rather common in business interruption policies, business owners who have been denied coverage will likely need to hire a District of Columbia insurance claim denial lawyer if they want to stand a chance at getting their insurer to pay. Although some business interruption policies might include exclusions for viruses, bacteria, and pandemics, that doesn’t necessarily mean your policy won’t provide coverage for the losses your business has incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, if your insurance company denied your business interruption claim but you believe you are entitled to coverage, you should consider contacting USAttorneys.com so that you can be connected with a District of Columbia insurance claims denial attorney in your area.