Despite exclusions, file a claim now

(WCTV)
Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 5:54 PM EDT
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By: Mike Vasilnida | Capitol News Service

April 14, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- The private insurance market is bracing for a mountain of claims ranging from workers compensation to business interruption, even though a pandemic is excluded from most policies.

The state and some local governments are now ordering some coverages anyway, raising the question of fairness.

Most business interruption policies exclude pandemics and require that there be physical damage to the businesses location to qualify, but at least one Florida county’s emergency order declares that the virus is causing physical damage to the business.

Experts like Chip Merlin, a Policy Holders Attorney, said if you have the coverage file now.

“The first duty that the owner of an insurance policy has it to report a loss. And they have to do that promptly, immediately, within a reasonable time after they are shut down,” said Merlin.

Insurance Consultant Lisa Miller offered the same advice.

“Even though you have language that clearly excludes it,” said Miller.

She believes the Federal Government will set up a fund to cover some business losses.

“There’s a 30-some page proposed bill sitting in Congress right now that would set up a federal fund to pay these claims,” said Miller.

And people who think they got infected at work may be able to get help through Workers Comp insurance.

A state memo urges insurers to cover employees who get infected including first responders.

“Basically telling all carriers that they should advocate and consider doing this with their policies,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

All those we spoke with said protecting your rights now is important.

“And when you start talking about probabilities and odds, who knows what’s going to happen with various state legislatures,” said Merlin.

In the end all of us are going to pick up the cost of this pandemic.

Either through higher taxes because of a government bailout, or because we fund a guarantee fund that bails out bankrupt insurance companies.

Insurance expert Lisa Miller believes the federal bailout fund for business interruption could be as much as $500 billion.