As a former law professor with experience teaching at the University of Oklahoma, Arizona State University, and Washington and Lee University, Attorney Patrick Luff is often asked to share his experiences and insights with other members of the legal community, whether through publications or speaking engagements. During the COVID-19 crisis, Attorney Luff has focused his attention on the business owners struggling to get business insurance coverage, publishing an in-depth article on the topic for the April 2020 edition of Trial News Magazine.
Trial News Magazine is well-known as the flagship publication for the American Association of Justice (AAJ), and it regularly showcases opinions and insights from top attorneys across the country. Attorney Luff’s article, titled “Helping Business Owners Weather COVID-19,” explains which insurance coverages and exclusions may for commercial insurance policyholders during the pandemic.
In the article, Attorney Luff details three main things that every affected business owner should look for in their commercial insurance policy:
- Business interruption coverage: Although business interruption coverage typically limits losses to those caused by “direct physical damage,” there is some precedent to suggest that other losses – such as loss of function or “threatened loss” – could fall under this category. COVID-19 contamination may be treated in a similar way, depending on your jurisdiction and policy.
- Civil authority coverage: Civil authority coverage accounts for income losses related to government mandates. Because insurers have previously denied coverage on the basis that specific businesses were not ordered to close, there is a strong chance that this coverage could apply to non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Microorganism exclusions: After the SARS outbreak in 2003, many insurers wrote explicit language excluding damage from microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. However, these terms vary dramatically – and different local courts have taken very different interpretations. This is another area where it is important to read your policy closely with the help of an attorney.
At The Ammons Law Firm LLP, Attorney Patrick Luff is leading the charge to help those seeking business insurance coverage after COVID-19 losses. If you have suffered serious economic damage due to the virus, our Houston legal team can carefully review the terms of your policy and help you understand your options.
Contact our experienced team at (281) 801-5617 today for a free consultation in Houston, Texas or beyond.