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Commercial policyholders should file business interruption and workers compensation claims for coronavirus-related losses immediately, regardless of concerns over policy exclusions, a brokerage claims expert said.
While early indications from insurers suggest many of the claims stemming from the coronavirus pandemic will be denied due to policy exclusions, the final determination will likely be left to the courts, said David Chmiel, senior vice president, national director of claims at Hub International Ltd. in Chicago.
Of the business interruption and workers compensation claims filed to date, “less than 5% have had initial declinations at this time,” he said during a webinar on the coronavirus that Hub produced on Tuesday.
“One of the many things that we have learned about this process in a short amount of time is that timing is of the essence and delays could inhibit the ability to secure coverage,” Mr. Chmiel said.
Most policies require prompt notice be given of a claim, and coverage may be denied if policyholders delay notifying their insurers of a claim, he said.
Policyholders should not assume that their claims will be denied, he said. Not all policies exclude pandemics or viruses. In addition, the claims sector is in “unchartered waters” in relation to coronavirus claims.
“Past case law is limited when it comes to business interruption cases that involve total or partial closings like we have at this time with this pandemic. The application of coverage may eventually be decided by judicial systems,” he said.
More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.