April 19, 2021

Volume XI, Number 109

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April 19, 2021

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April 16, 2021

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Insurance Coverage for Businesses Affected by Evolving COVID-19 Government Orders

Evolving government orders will affect the way many retail businesses operate and the potential insurance available for losses and expenses. For instance, on April 28, 2020, the State Health Officer of Alabama issued an Order allowing some businesses to reopen, but under strict sanitation and social distancing guidelines. Retail stores, for example, will be allowed to reopen but must maintain a maximum occupancy rate of 50%. While a partial opening may restore some level of activity, because these businesses must operate at a reduced capacity, their operations will not return to normal. Beyond that, while some states are loosening social distancing requirements, others have extended them. Indeed, on the same day that Alabama announced its partial reopening, the Governor of Massachusetts extended the closures of non-essential businesses. Regardless of location, many businesses will likely sustain substantial losses because of these orders, and will incur expenses to comply with evolving requirements and operational guidelines.

Most commercial property policies cover loss of business income and extra expenses incurred due to an interruption to normal business operations. For a discussion on the relevant coverage issues, please reference the blog post by Syed S. AhmadSergio F. Oehninger, and Yaniel Abreu of Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. The post is titled “No Mask, No Service – Evolving COVID-19 Orders May Support Insurance Coverage for Retailers’ Losses” and was published on the Hunton Retail Law Resource Blog on April 28, 2020. Among other things, the blog post discusses how (i) the presence of COVID-19 on insured property may constitute physical loss or damage under commercial property policies, (ii) evolving governmental orders can implicate civil authority coverage, and (iii) insureds may recover losses from business interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more generally.

As discussed in the blog post, there are many avenues to insurance recovery for retailers and other businesses impacted by the economic downturn from COVID-19. Importantly, all policyholders should carefully analyze their policies and understand the various coverages comprising their insurance program. This will allow policyholders to identify and pursue all potentially available insurance.

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Copyright © 2021, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 122
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About this Author

Syed S. Ahmad Insurance Coverage Attorney Hunton Andrews Kurth Washington, DC
Partner

Syed represents clients in connection with insurance coverage, reinsurance matters and other business litigation.

Syed has been admitted to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, US District Court for the District of Columbia and US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. 

Relevant Experience

  • Advised clients on COVID-19 insurance claims for business interruption, contingent business income (CBI), extra expense, civil authority, ingress/egress, D&O, and general liability...
202-955-1656
Sergio F. Oehninger Insurance Coverage Attorney Hunton Andrews Kurth Washington, DC
Partner

Sergio represents companies in complex insurance coverage and bad faith disputes nationally and internationally.

Sergio counsels multinational corporations on insurance coverage and risk management issues arising in various industries – including financial services, retail, energy, technology, real estate, construction, and hospitality.

His insurance coverage advice focuses on risks such as: cyber and data breach; commercial general liability; directors and officers; professional liability; employment practices; property and casualty; business interruption;...

202-955-1854
Yaniel Abreu Insurance Lawyer Hunton Andrews Kurth Law Firm
Associate

Yaniel advises companies in complex insurance coverage matters. This involves analyzing the company’s risk profile to limit exposure and maximize recovery.

Yaniel handles insurance coverage disputes involving directors and officers, errors and omissions, cyber and commercial liability policies. He conducts comprehensive coverage evaluations tailored specifically to each client’s business operations. Taking into consideration the company’s risk profile, he advises clients on risk management and mitigation strategies. In addition to formidable preemptive efforts to minimize the...

305 810 2504
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