On March 31, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that the state’s stay-at-home order will be extended until April 30, 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing guidelines have also been extended nationally through the end of April.
The Governor’s order will effectively close many businesses, as only those businesses deemed “essential” are allowed to remain open. Click here to download the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity's Essential Businesses and Operations list.
Given these drastic but necessary steps to protect the public health against the novel coronavirus, many small businesses are asking the question of whether or not there is insurance coverage for their business losses during this “stay-at-home” time. The answer is complex and varies, and will ultimately depend upon your unique factual circumstances and the specific language of your insurance policy.
Business interruption or business income coverage may be included in your commercial property policy. Most business interruption coverage responds only when a direct physical loss of or damage to the insured’s premises or that of a supplier results in a suspension or reduction of operations – this will be a difficult requirement to satisfy in the context of a mere stay-at-home order because there is no apparent physical loss or damage to property.
However, some business interruption coverage may respond when an order of a “civil authority” prohibits access to the insured premises, which might be the case here. Another key issue is whether a policy exclusion might apply. Many commercial property policies include exclusions for losses caused directly or indirectly by virus or bacterium. These are common, but not every policy is the same, so it is important to evaluate your particular policy.
Navigating these waters is stressful, and I am able to develop client-based goals and implement solutions for your business (even on a remote basis) on these complex insurance issues. Additionally, I can assist you in building a business continuity plan for your particular needs.
Feel free to contact me for a complimentary consultation at email@example.com or by phone at (312) 627-4052.
About Matthew J. O’Malley
Matt is a member of the litigation practice group and advises his clients on litigation strategies, skillfully representing them through all phases of litigation. Matt has a track record of success in both bench and jury trials. He focuses on the client’s resolution goals, whether that is achieved through trial, settlement conference, mediation or arbitration. Matt serves his clients in a variety of complex litigated and non-litigated matters, including actions for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, indemnity and contribution, professional malpractice, personal injury, general corporate, LGBT issues, employment discrimination and civil rights violations.
About Tressler LLP
Tressler LLP is a national law firm headquartered in Chicago, with eight offices located in five states - California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Tressler attorneys are experienced counselors and advocates who appear in state and federal courts, and in governmental proceedings, throughout the United States. Many Tressler attorneys devote their practice to the representation of the insurance industry in coverage analysis and resolution, litigation, underwriting consultation, product development, claims management and reinsurance. Tressler attorneys also represent clients in commercial litigation, employment, local government law, corporate transactions and intellectual property law. Contact us to learn more.