Charter Flight Companies May Not Recover From a Hurricane Without Property Damage Insurance
No matter how big or small your charter flight company is, it can all be swept away when a hurricane strikes. From a single aircraft operation to a sprawling commercial carrier, all businesses that carry passengers or goods in the air should protect themselves from a sudden weather event—including securing enough income replacement to survive a devastating storm. Attorney Bill Voss explores the many forms of hurricane insurance coverage for owners of planes, helicopters, airfields, and other commercial and private aircrafts.Hurricane Insurance Considerations for Charter Flight CompaniesA natural disaster can cause millions of dollars in commercial losses, and operators should examine their insurance policies carefully to determine what will (and will not) be covered in the event of a hurricane. It is a good idea to purchase coverage tailored specifically to the needs of your business; for example, a rental policy with a high enough limit to cover the loss of every rented aircraft at once.That said, owners are more likely to collect adequate compensation if their policies include:All-risk hull damage. Hurricanes can damage planes in the air, on the ground, or even secured in a hangar. Property damage insurance for an aircraft, commonly called hull coverage, typically comes in three different forms: ground only, taxiing, and all-risk. While all-risk coverage is typically the most expensive option, it pays for property damage when the plane is not in motion, in motion on the ground, or in flight.Depreciation. Insurers who pay the actual cash value of covered items will subtract any depreciation before issuing payment, which may be far less than the amount it will take to replace the item. However, a replacement cost value (RCV) policy will provide the full amount necessary to replace covered items with those of “like” kind and quality.Flood losses. Private flood insurance usually will not cover storm surge flooding caused by a hurricane. If your business is located in a flood-prone area, you should purchase coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to cover the costs of water damage to aircraft and runways.Commercial vehicle damage. Planes may be the foundation of your business, but hull damage insurance won’t pay to replace your commercial vans, shuttles, stair platforms, trucks, or taxis. A comprehensive commercial auto policy will pay to replace vehicles damaged by fallen tree limbs, standing flood waters, or other effects of a storm.Rented aircraft. If you do not own all of the planes in your charter, you should have a hull damage policy for each rented craft with a limit that will cover the replacement value of each one.Aircraft in transit. If you regularly lend your aircraft to other pilots, you may wish to invest in inland marine insurance. This coverage will pay for any damage to your property while it is away from your primary location, such as being towed to an alternate airfield, used to perform stunts for crowds at air shows, or on display in a museum.Seasonal business insurance. Commercial carriers make a great deal more during the winter holiday season than in the spring, while sightseeing tours make most of their profits in the summer months. Any company with a “busy season,” including charter flight operations, should invest in seasonal business insurance to protect against profit losses for certain days or weeks of the year.Business interruption coverage. Business income loss is the most costly factor in the majority of commercial insurance claims. Any enterprise that is forced to suspend operations loses money every day, both in lost profit and in the costs of making necessary repairs. Business interruption insurance pays to replace the normal projected income of a business, allowing you to pay for operating expenses (such as payroll, aircraft rental, advertising, opening a temporary location, and other out-of-pocket expenses.If you are having trouble getting the insurance coverage you paid for after a hurricane, the Voss Law Firm can help. Simply fill out the form on this page to get your questions answered by one of our experienced insurance claims attorneys, or learn more about filing a claim in our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Physical and Non-Physical Hurricane Damage to BusinessesWhat to Do If a Hurricane Claim Value Comes in Too LowWhat If You Are Hit by a Hurricane But Don’t Have Flood Insurance?
Contrary to the hundreds of commercials running every single day in America, insurance carriers are NOT on your side. Even if you really like your broker or have had a good experience with your provider in the past, the truth is that all insurance companies care about one thing—and it's not you. Insurers simply do not make profits by paying out, and will always try to deny claims if they think they can get away with it.Look for These 7 Key Phrases in Your Insurance Claim DenialIf an insurer intends to deny coverage, it is obligated to provide a specific reason why coverage was denied. You absolutely need to speak with an insurance attorney if you receive a letter from your insurance carrier that contains ANY of the following language:"The damage is cosmetic." Damage to the appearance of a property is not necessarily minor, especially for businesses. Cosmetic damage can also be a sign of damage beneath the site, such as missing roof tiles that allow water to enter the structure."The damage amount is under your deductible." Insurers may lowball the cost of repairs, essentially telling you that paying out of pocket will be cheaper."The damage is caused by wear and tear." Insurers may cite "wear and tear" to deny claims for older properties, even if they are in good shape."Lack of maintenance caused the damage." Insurers often improperly cite maintenance defects as a cause of damage, but accurate and thorough maintenance records can help dispute an insurance denial."Improper installation caused the damage." If changes have been made to the property, an insurer may attempt to blame the damage on manufacturing or installation defects."The damage was not caused by a covered peril." Policyholders are given the benefit of any ambiguous language in a policy, so if the policy is unclear about which perils are covered, the insurer may be compelled to cover damages."The damage occurred outside of the policy period." Insurers may attempt to blame a denial on pre-existing damage. However, most insurance companies will inspect the property prior to selling the insurance policy—and if the inspection shows that the property was in acceptable condition, the insurer may be forced to issue payment.Insurance companies have a legal duty to act in good faith when handling customer claims, including performing a careful investigation of each claim and issuing timely payments. If you are having trouble getting the insurance coverage you paid for, the Voss Law Firm can help. Simply fill out the form on this page to get your questions answered by one of our experienced insurance claims attorneys, or learn more about filing a claim in our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.If you have any questions contact us online or call us at (281) 549-8911.Related Links:Time Element Coverage for Commercial Insurance PoliciesHow Customers Can Identify a Bad Faith Insurance CompanyBenefits of Working With an Insurance Attorney on a Claim Denial
The Big Question We All Have: Do Commercial Policies Cover Coronavirus/COVID-19 Losses?
The recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted all of us, forcing schools and businesses to close as we wait out the spread of infection. During this time, we have been overwhelmed by the positive influences of others, and are proud to be part of a community that reaches out to those who may be struggling in a crisis.Did you know that one lawsuit has already been filed in New Orleans claiming that contamination to the property counts as property damage, and is therefore covered under the policy? The case will set a precedent for future claims, and we are preparing to fight against insurers who take advantage of responsible policyholders who refuse to risk their customers’ health. Want to know more about the details of this case and how it may affect your business? Call us at (281) 549-8911, or contact us and we’ll call you back right away. The High Cost of Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Business OwnersBusiness income loss is the most costly factor in the majority of commercial insurance claims. When a company is forced to close its doors, it loses the necessary income from customers needed to pay employee salaries, rent and mortgages, advertising costs, and other ongoing expenses. While suspending business operations for a few weeks can be invaluable in minimizing the effects of coronavirus, some businesses simply will not survive the total or partial loss of income.Industries that are typically hit hardest by forced closures include:Hospitality businesses such as hotels, motels, spas, and resortsRestaurants and coffee shopsTravel providers such as airlines, cruise ships, and car rental companiesCould Coronavirus (COVID-19) Trigger Business Income Coverage?Business interruption insurance (BII) is a standard coverage in most commercial property damage policies. If your business is damaged in a fire, hurricane, or even by a leaking pipe, BII pays to replace normal operating costs and out-of-pocket expenses. However, this usually only kicks in once the property has been damaged in some way that requires repairs.From an insurer’s point of view, reduced income due to a pandemic is not covered under BII because the property has not been damaged. On the other hand, business owners may disagree, arguing that potential contamination on the property counts as damage and can be used to trigger coverage.This is why a thorough review of your commercial policy is necessary. Our attorneys can examine your coverage to determine whether you may be owed payment under a general plan or through policy extensions such as:Civil authority coverage. This insurance provides payment when a local, state, or federal authority orders businesses to shut down due to unsafe conditions. While it is generally used to protect the public from the effects of a natural disaster (such as flooding or wildfires), coronavirus may qualify for this coverage since it has been deemed a national emergency.Communicable disease or pandemic coverage. This insurance clause has existed for years in hospitality and healthcare policies but was adopted by other businesses after the SARS pandemic. It pays for additional expenses caused by communicable diseases, such as the costs to clean the property.Additional coverage. Every policy is different. You may have special coverages that aren’t mentioned above. Once we are able to see your policy, we will explore all of it with you to know whether you have the ability to recover.How Our Commercial Policy Review WorksWe can give you legal advice related to business interruption and shutdowns, and there is absolutely no need to travel to our offices—we can do everything virtually. If you have lost business income due to the coronavirus quarantine, you can access an insurance policy review in three easy steps:Contact us by phone or through our online formSend us a copy of your commercial insurance policy by emailSchedule a followup call after we have reviewed your business interruption and shutdown coverage to discuss your optionsThe best way to battle the unknown is to arm yourself with information. Simply fill out our contact form to get your questions answered by one of the experienced insurance claims attorneys at the Voss Law Firm.Our law firm understands that everyone has a duty to help each other in difficult times, lessening the impact on friends and neighbors in any way they can. In this spirit, Attorney Bill Voss is offering a policy review for companies that have been forced to close due to coronavirus, helping local businesses determine whether they can make a claim for business interruption coverage.Related Links:Time Element Coverage for Commercial Insurance PoliciesCan I Prepare My Business Interruption Claim by Myself?Do I Need Business Interruption Insurance?
Protect Your Hospitals and Outpatient Health Care Centers From Fire Damage
Fires in medical facilities can place complex and time-sensitive burdens on business owners and administrators. While your priority may be to keep your hospital or small clinic open without any business interruptions, the challenges and costs of rebuilding can force closures and financial instability. Attorney Bill Voss addresses the most common causes of fires in health care centers, and offers insight on potential insurance extensions that can strengthen your commercial property damage policy.Common Causes of Fires in Hospitals and Health Care CentersAccording to a recent report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 5,700 fires in medical facilities between 2012 and 2014. Nearly a third of these fires were unconfined, spreading beyond the room of origin and causing widespread structural damage. In addition to numerous deaths and injuries, fires in health care centers and hospitals resulted in nearly $5 million in property losses per year.The major causes of these fires included:Cooking equipment. The vast majority of hospital fires were caused by food preparation, with cooking activities accounting for 68% of all hospital fires. These fires occurred most frequently during the day, peaking during lunchtime meal preparations (between 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm).Trash fires. Fires in incinerators, compactors, and trash bins composed 10% of hospital fires.Heating and fuel. Fuel burners, chimneys, and other heating elements caused 5% of all hospital fires.Electrical malfunction. Electrical fires, such as those sparked from faulty wiring or defective appliances, caused 22% of all unconfined fires over the two-year period.Fire Insurance Claims for Medical Facilities May Be UnderpaidThe best way to ensure fair coverage after a fire is to carefully tailor your policy to the specific healthcare services you provide, ensuring your policy limit will be enough even in a worst-case scenario. Without appropriate and adequate coverage, a fire damage claim may be underpaid or outright denied.Insurance selections that may provide additional benefits to hospital administrators or solo practitioners include:Building ordinance coverage. Even if a fire is contained to a single area, hospitals and clinics are required to adhere to safety regulations that can prevent them from admitting patients until repairs are complete. Building ordinance insurance provides payment for the increased costs of building code upgrades and health department compliance.Equipment breakdown. The mechanical breakdown of specialized equipment such as CAT scan or MRI machines could easily put your claim over the policy limit. Expensive diagnostic equipment, patient beds, scanners, and other machinery may be covered under a separate deductible or protected under an endorsement for specialized medical equipment. If your medical facility leases medical equipment from a vendor or lending hospital, a rental insurance policy can ensure that you do not pay out-of-pocket if these items are damaged.Water damage. Once the fire has been extinguished, administrators may be forced to pay for the effects of flooding due to firefighting efforts. Check your policy to ensure that internal flooding costs will be paid for, or determine whether water damage from firefighting is covered under cleanup costs.Inland marine insurance. A fire that occurs offsite can still damage your property if it is on the move. Also called transportation and cargo insurance, inland marine insurance covers pay any goods or property damaged in transit to another location.Business interruption insurance. Business interruption insurance is vital for any commercial enterprise, as it replaces lost income while policyholders perform repairs. Business income coverage can help you retain employees and staff members, cover the costs of canceled procedures, and help retain patients until you are able to reopen.If you need help getting payment for your losses after a fire, the Voss Law Firm can work to get you full and fair compensation to make repairs and reopen your doors. Simply fill out the form on this page today to get answers to your questions from our commercial insurance claim attorneys.Related Links:How to Get a Fast Settlement After Commercial Property DamageWhy Every Large-Loss Fire Insurance Claim Is DifferentHow Business Owners Can Manage Large-Scale Fire Losses
Amusement Park Owners May Have Trouble Filing Flood Damage Claims
Owners of leisure properties often have airtight commercial liability insurance to protect them from lawsuits, but may not apply this same diligence to property damage coverage. Attorney Bill Voss explores vital coverage options to protect fun parks, arcades, or tourist attractions when flood waters rise.Flood Damage Coverages to Consider If You Operate a Tourist AttractionThe first thing business owners must know is that most private commercial Insurers will not cover flooding caused by storm surge, hurricanes, or other natural disasters. Owners should purchase an additional policy for flooding damage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to ensure they will be covered in an extreme weather event.In addition to an NFIP policy, owners may want to consider policy endorsements that can offer further protection from a flood, such as:Cleanup and biohazard coverage. Waterparks may be contaminated by flood waters, requiring draining all existing pools and refilling them with clean water before reopening. A policy extension for cleaning and drying services can help offset the increased costs of ensuring the park is free of microbial contamination and safe for swimming.Rental insurance. If your operation relies on rented vehicles, rides, animals, or equipment, you may be forced to repay vendors if their property is damaged. Rental insurance can pay to replace machinery, food trucks, trailers, tents, and other paraphernalia on loan.Inland marine coverage. If you run a mobile carnival, funfair, or traveling festival, you should secure your property with inland marine insurance to cover damage to any items damaged while in transit.Refrigerated goods coverage. Food and drinks may be contaminated by flood waters or washed away completely, preventing you from offering concessions to your visitors. Refrigeration and spoliation coverage can pay to replace lost perishable food items.Seasonal and special event insurance. If your business makes most of its profits at a certain time of year, a flood can mean the loss of a disproportionate amount of your yearly profits. Seasonal insurance can provide additional payment for a covered loss during peak operations, while event cancellation coverage can replace lost revenue for special events (such as weddings) that were canceled due to flooding.Business interruption insurance. Business income protection is one of the most valuable forms of insurance, as it replaces lost profits for up to six months after a covered event and allows operations to continue during the restoration period.If your flood damage claim has been denied, a commercial insurance attorney can help you get fair payment for your losses. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Hurricane Damage Claims for Amusement Parks and Tourist AttractionsHow Hail Damage Affects Carnivals and Amusement ParksWhat Business Owners Need to Know About Flood Damage Insurance Coverage
Our Attorneys Are Dedicated to Giving Back to the Community
The Voss Law Firm is dedicated to helping real clients solve real problems and not just legal ones. In addition to helping individuals and business owners resolve their insurance claim issues, attorneys Bill Voss and Scott Hunziker are honored to assist others through various philanthropic opportunities locally, nationally, and internationally.Our Attorneys Devote Time and Resources to Worthy CausesMost law firms participate in some form of charity for the tax breaks and the boost to their public image. At the Voss Law Firm, we put our money where our hearts are, raising and donating funds that will be used to meet the needs of our local community. We consider social awareness an important factor in our mission and purpose, and social responsibility is a key principle to our success.More than simply donating money, attorneys Bill Voss and Scott Hunziker are proud participants in local charity drives and social projects to benefit the public good. Attorney Bill Voss personally takes part in many charitable bicycle rides around Texas (including the MS-150 to benefit The National Multiple Sclerosis Society). He encourages others to take an active role in the foundations and charities they believe in.Events and Charities We Have Supported in the PastWhile our firm is proud to provide financial donations, our staff members have earned the trust of their community through promoting literacy, donating food to the hungry, and building affordable housing. We have made contributions to many worthy organizations, including the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity, God's Little Children, Little Footprints, UNICEF, and the American Heart Association.Our staff members have also contributed their time and effort to many different charitable endeavors, including:Montrose Street Reach. There are over one thousand homeless children and teenagers living on the streets of Houston, many of whom have been victims of trauma and abuse. Members of the Voss Law Firm delivered Christmas gifts to the children of Houston through Montrose Street Church, Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Houston, and Joe Williams Ministries, bringing holiday cheer to vulnerable members of our community.Angel Reach. This outreach program provides resources and tools for at-risk children and youth to transition from foster care to living and working as productive adults. Attorney Bill Voss gave 50 Kindles and Amazon gift cards to the organization, hopeful that the children would be able to use them for studying and advancing their future education.The Red Cross. Attorney Bill Voss and attorney Scott Hunziker have seen firsthand the importance of the organization in their own hometown and across the nation. When families and businesses have been destroyed by natural disasters, the Red Cross provides relief for people who are injured or displaced from their homes. With their unique vision of what “help” really means, the Voss Law Firm participates with gusto in all that the Red Cross stands for. The firm encourages donations to the Red Cross by pledging to match 100% of any donations up to $1,000.The Brain Treatment Foundation. When the opportunity arose to organize an offshore fishing trip experience in Costa Rica for former service members, it was a true honor and an experience the whole firm was very proud to be a part of. The Freedom Alliance and The Brain Treatment Foundation came together with the Voss Law Firm to help wounded service members from the Army Rangers, the Army Special Forces (Medic), and a Recon Marine, creating wonderful memories for the brave soldiers who served our country.Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Mr. Voss and those in his firm are avid supporters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and we encourage others to join in supporting the goals of this nonprofit organization. The Voss Law Firm is a proud sponsor of the foundation’s One Walk program, the largest type 1 diabetes event in the world, and the organization’s top fundraising event.BAPS Walk Green. BAPS Charities is an international organization dedicated to providing relief, education, healthcare, and fun events for children worldwide. One of its many efforts is the Walk Green, an annual walkathon in 70 cities across North America to raise funds for The Nature Conservancy. Our firm sponsored the event, and staff members participated in the walkathon to support the preservation of nature for future generations.Our insurance claims attorneys have a national reputation for obtaining exceptional results in the most complex cases, as well as operating with the highest ethical principles. By putting morality ahead of pretense, the Voss Law Firm demonstrates its commitment to making a difference not just to its clients, but to everyone. To learn more about our firm, sign up for our free monthly newsletter using the form on this page.Related Links:The Voss Law Firm Partners With the Hands of God FoundationThe Voss Law Firm Sponsors America on Track EventWeekly Insurance Claim Update: Spring Cleaning
Maximizing a Tornado Insurance Claim for Damage to Your Construction Company
If you spend your life building homes, businesses, or other structures, you are going to receive a lot of calls after a tornado strikes. Unfortunately, a failure to secure adequate insurance for your business may not put you in the best place to help others after a storm. Attorney Bill Voss explores vital tornado insurance coverages for general contractors and home improvement companies, helping them secure the funds they need to get back to work after a storm.Policy Extensions That Can Help Contractors Recover from a TornadoThe best way to avoid denials or underpayment on a tornado damage claim is to tailor your policy to the specific type of work you perform, ensuring that your coverage will pay for the likeliest and most costly forms of damage. For example, you may wish to consider endorsements that will protect your:Heavy equipment. Consider the most expensive equipment you use every day. Would you be able to offer your services if your grinders, saws, hydraulic lifts, or power tools were not working? If your property damage policy limit is insufficient to cover the replacement cost of these items, you may need a special equipment endorsement can provide additional funds.Rented equipment. Both small and large construction firms rely on rented equipment from time to time, but these items are generally not covered under a standard property damage policy. Rental policies can pay to replace any equipment on your property that is under a long-term lease or short-term rental from a third-party.Commercial vehicles. Whether you have a single pickup truck or a fleet of business vehicles, a commercial auto policy is vital for repairing the damage caused by a tornado. If you select comprehensive coverage, you may even be able to collect payment for non-collision losses (such as tree limbs falling on a windshield).Profits. Business interruption coverage is the most important coverage for any commercial enterprise. Business income loss insurance will continue to pay your operational expenses for six months after a loss, allowing you to pay your employees, order additional building materials, or even rent a temporary business location.How to Get the Most Out of Your Tornado Damage CoverageAs tornado damage can result in large losses, contractors and building companies in high-risk areas may want to purchase policies that allow for additional funds. For example, you may be able to collect more on your claim if you have selected:All-risk coverage. All-risk property damage policies are usually more expensive than basic coverage, but they provide payment for many perils excluded under cheaper policies. An all-risk policy may cover damage related to natural disasters, interruptions in utility services, or even data loss and vandalism in the aftermath of a storm.State-specific storm coverage. Private insurers may not extend tornado coverage to companies located in high-risk areas, so business owners may need to purchase a policy specifically to cover these perils. For instance, businesses located along the Texas coast may need to secure tornado coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).Extra expense coverage. Extra expense coverage is actually an extension to business income loss insurance, and pays for any additional expenditures incurred during rebuilding. Owners can be reimbursed for any measures they take to reduce the total amount of loss, such as site cleanup costs, advertising to retain clients, or hiring temporary workers to respond to increased storm damage projects.Umbrella insurance. If the total amount of your claim has exceeded the policy limit, umbrella coverage offers an additional amount above and beyond the maximum claim limit. This can be invaluable in large-loss situations, and even allow businesses to avoid extended closures or financial restructuring due to a single adverse event.If you are having trouble getting fair payment from a commercial insurance company, the Voss Law Firm can examine your policy, investigate your losses, and fight on your behalf. Simply fill out the contact form on this page today or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Three Calls to Make Immediately After a Tornado Damages a BusinessWhat Contractors Need to Know Before a Hurricane StrikesHow Do I Settle an Insurance Claim for Wind Damage?
Groomers, Veterinarians, and Animal Care Providers Need Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Insurance
Hurricanes can displace whole counties of residents, sweeping away homes, businesses, and even wildlife. For owners of animal and veterinary care services, a hurricane could mean the loss of much more than just bricks and mortar. Attorney Bill Voss explores hurricane coverage options that can protect kennels, shelters and rescues, groomers, veterinarians, and other pet-related businesses.Insurance Coverage Extensions for Animal Care ProvidersThere are many reasons a simple Business Owner’s Policy may not be enough to cover all of the losses caused by a natural disaster. For one thing, private flood insurance that pays to clean up and repair damage from a broken pipe or leaking roof will usually not cover storm surge flooding from a hurricane. If your business is located in a flood-prone area, you should purchase coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to cover the costs of extensive water damage.Animal care providers should examine their insurance policies closely to determine exactly how much they can claim for: Structural damage. The best property damage policies are tailored to the specific facilities and services of the business. A one-size-fits-all policy may not equally cover the immediate concerns of a veterinary clinic and a pet daycare center, so owners should check the policy carefully to determine what features are covered (the business structure and inventory within), and which may be excluded (outdoor signage and lighting, fencing, or outbuildings).High-value equipment. If your operation relies on equipment that will be extremely costly to replace—such as security systems, surveillance cameras, diagnostic machines, surgical tools, or cast cutting and molding tools—the loss of one or more of these could quickly place you over your maximum property damage coverage limit. of chosen by the policyholder—and anything lost beyond this set dollar amount may not be compensable.Data loss. Power and utility services may be lost for weeks after a hurricane, and sudden surges can cause the loss of both computer equipment and software. Computer coverage can cover water damage to computers and hardware, while electronic data loss can pay to replace lost customer records, media, data programs, and telecommunications equipment.Depreciation. If your policy covers the “actual cash value” of items, the company will pay only the estimated current-day value—often far less than it will cost to replace the item. On the other hand, a replacement cost policy will provide the full amount needed to replace inventory with items of like kind and quality. You and your insurance provider should agree on whether you will receive the full replacement value of lost items, or the replacement value minus depreciation.Mortality insurance. Customer pet coverage pays for injuries or death to boarded pets on your property or in your custody. Similarly, stock mortality insurance may cover the loss of injured or rescued animals lost while undergoing treatment in your facility. If your facility keeps or boards horses, you may also need equine coverage to cover all animals and their environments.Refrigerated goods. Small- and large-scale operations can suffer considerable losses from perishable food, plants, bedding, or medicines needed for animal livelihood. Spoiled goods insurance can pay to replace refrigerated inventory, live plants, or other perishable goods that were contaminated or ruined in the storm.Business income losses. Business interruption coverage is one of the most important forms of insurance, as it can pay to keep your business afloat as you attend to repairs. Depending on policy limits, business income insurance can replace six months (or more) of lost profits, allowing you to pay employee salaries, rent an alternate office location and business vehicles, and transport animals and operations to another site.If you are having trouble getting the insurance coverage you paid for after a flood, the Voss Law Firm can help. Simply fill out the form on this page to get your questions answered by one of our experienced insurance claims attorneys, or learn more about filing a claim in our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Hurricane Insurance That Can Help Rebuild Your Farm or OrchardWhat If You Are Hit by a Hurricane But Don’t Have Flood Insurance?Proof of Loss for a Flood Insurance Claim
Essential Flood Damage Coverages for Hospitals and Outpatient Health Care Facilities
Flooding can affect a single building or shut down whole communities, wreaking havoc through water damage, contamination, and ruined foundations. Medical centers are uniquely at risk in these disasters, since shutting their doors may force administrators to relocate their current patients and turn away those who require care. Whether your hospital is run by a board of governors or a solo practitioner, attorney Bill Voss explores common problems you may experience when making a commercial flood damage claim for your medical facility.You Need More Than a BOP to Cover Flood Damage CostsWhile a strong business owners policy (BOP) can be invaluable in some events, many private insurers will only cover certain kinds of water damage, such as damage from a roof leak or a burst pipe. Owners whose losses were caused by a storm surge or a natural disaster may find themselves paying out of pocket for their losses, or even declaring bankruptcy due to an inability to perform repairs.In order to fully protect your enterprise from flooding, you should purchase coverage for your healthcare center under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). These policies specifically cover flooding caused by an extreme weather event, such as a hurricane or rising tides.Once you have secured an NFIP policy, you may want to consider special policy endorsements that can offer further protection from a flood, such as:Building ordinance coverage. Once a building has suffered damage, the structure must be updated to maintain compliance with current building codes. Building ordinance insurance can pay to upgrade older structures, including the costs of installing ramps and elevators for patients in wheelchairs.Business vehicle coverage. If you rely on your own ambulances, patient or employee shuttles, delivery vans, or other business vehicles, these must be protected from both destruction and liability. A comprehensive commercial auto policy will cover non-collision losses, such as water damage to parked vehicles or windshield repair from fallen tree limbs.Special equipment coverage. The loss of one or more pieces of technical equipment could put you over your policy limit; you may want to consider covering certain items under a separate deductible. Your insurer may offer an endorsement for specialized medical equipment, such as diagnostic testing machines, patient beds, and other expensive items vital to your daily operation.Spoliation and service interruptions. Flooding may knock out power, wireless internet, municipal water, and waste disposal services, leading to loss of perishable items and increasing biohazardous waste. Utility and spoliation coverage can replace industrial items in industrial refrigerators and freezers ranging from food and drinks to blood bags and human organs.Rental coverage. If your facility leases its x-ray machines, dentist chairs, or other medical equipment from a vendor or hospital, any equipment not directly owned by the facility should be protected under a rental insurance policy. Inland marine insurance. This coverage, sometimes called transportation and cargo insurance, can pay to replace any goods or inventory that has been lost on its way to or from your facility. This could be medical supplies, custom prosthetics, or other items washed away by floodwaters or otherwise lost in transit.Business interruption insurance. Business interruption insurance is hands-down the most important form of commercial property damage insurance. Every day your doors are closed to the public, you lose thousands of dollars in business income—and if you have an entire community of hospitals, you could lose millions. Business interruption insurance can replace your lost income while you are performing cleanup and making repairs, including payroll expenses, projected income from canceled procedures, and out-of-pocket costs.Unfortunately, insurers often attempt to deny flood damage coverage by claiming that the event was an act of God or otherwise excluded from coverage. When this happens, a commercial insurance attorney can help you get fair payment for your losses. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:What Business Owners Need to Know About Flood Damage PaymentsWill My Business Need Legal Help to File a Business Interruption Claim?How to Know If Your Flood Damage Is an Act of God
Shannen Doherty Sues State Farm for Emotional Distress in Fire Insurance Claim
Insurers can go to extreme—or even illegal—lengths to underpay claims, causing undue stress for policyholders from all walks of life. Actress Shannen Doherty, who has been in an ongoing dispute with State Farm in relation to her 2018 fire insurance claim, has filed a new grievance against the company for its underhanded tactics and misuse of her personal information, causing her “enormous emotional distress.”Doherty Says State Farm’s False Claims Caused Emotional DistressShannen Doherty first clashed with insurance giant State Farm over the cost of repairs to her Los Angeles home, which was damaged in a 2018 wildfire. The 48-year-old actress, who is currently battling stage IV breast cancer, says State Farm lied about her smoking habits and damaged her reputation in order to pay less than the full amount of her property damage claim.The case against State Farm is scheduled to begin on March 3, 2020, and includes accusations of:Underpaying a valid claim. State Farm has issued Doherty a total of $1.1 million for repairs to her property, temporary housing, and furniture rental. However, the actress claims the damage costs are closer to $4 million, and is seeking additional payment to cover out-of-pocket expenses and to clear harmful soot and ash particles on the property that could exacerbate her illness and worsen her COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Accessing private medical records. In an initial deposition, a State Farm industrial hygienist claimed to have seen medical records indicating that Doherty continued to smoke cigarettes after receiving her latest cancer diagnosis. Doherty has denied the accusation, claiming that the contractor had no right to access her private health information nor the medical expertise to speculate about her condition.Publishing Doherty’s home address. Doherty claims that the insurer disclosed private details about her to the public, including her home address, placing the safety of the actress and her family at risk.If you are experiencing similar unfair treatment from an insurer, the insurance bad faith attorneys at the Voss Law Firm can help you fight to get the compensation you deserve from your policy. Simply fill out the contact form on this page today or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Insurers May Not Cover Smoke Damage, Upgrades, and Other Fire LossesThe Best Way to Fight Insurance Claim Denials Over Property DamageHow an Insurance Bad Faith Attorney Can Help a Delayed Claim
Do You Know What Retrocession Insurance Is and How it May Apply to Your Claim?
Have you ever wondered how insurance companies are able to take on a huge amount of risks and still make money? It’s because insurers rely on a number of risk-sharing tactics to ensure that their profits are protected even when they have to pay out claims. Attorney Bill Voss explains how risk sharing protects insurers from large losses, as well as how it impacts your potential claim as a policyholder.What Is Retrocession Insurance?What many people do not know is that insurance companies buy insurance policies of their own, known as reinsurance. This ensures that the company will have enough money to pay out if a large number of claims come in at once.Once the first insurance company buys insurance to protect itself from a second insurer, the reinsurer also has the option to pass on its portion of risk to a third (or fourth or fifth) company—a process called retrocession.At this point, there are many different players in the insurance agreement:The Client is the person who purchases insurance coverageThe Insurer is the initial insurance company where the client purchases the insuranceThe Reinsurer is the reinsurance company that takes on part of the risk assumed by the insurer (also referred to as the cedent)The Retrocessionaire is the reinsurance company that takes on part of the risk assumed by the reinsurer (also referred to as the retrocedent)The Benefits of Retrocession InsuranceWhile retrocession insurance can be confusing, it is a great benefit to insurers because it adds another layer of protection to their businesses. When done correctly, retrocession reduces risk and the liability burden of the initial reinsurer by spreading out the risk to other reinsurance companies, giving your insurance company the benefit of:Investment profits. Insurance companies take the money they receive in premiums and invest it elsewhere, allowing them to grow their profits even further. As a result, they do not have all of their funds available at one time. Retrocession insurance allows insurers to invest their profits and still have funds available when a huge amount of claims needs to be paid out.Protection in at-risk markets. Retrocession is common in places that are prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes or tornados. Due to the prevalence of natural calamities, insurance companies might not thrive if they do not have access to reinsurance and retrocession. Client protection. If you are an insured client and your provider has reinsurance or retrocession insurance, your agreement with your insurance company is valid and binding even if the reinsurer or the retrocessionaire fails to reimburse the insurance company.How Retrocession Insurance Can Negatively Impact Your ClaimGenerally speaking, policyholders never know about retrocession insurance if the process is working properly. Once policyholders have paid premiums to an insurer, they may give little thought to where that money goes—until, of course, they experience sudden property damage and need to make a claim.The most common ways policyholders learn about retrocession insurance include:Spiraling. The more insurance companies engage in buying and selling insurance products, the more likely it is that they will accidentally buy back their own products.Unforeseen disasters. Even if companies have purchased reinsurance and retrocession insurance, huge storms have the ability to bankrupt insurance companies or leave them scrambling to pay out claims.Unfair denial of claims. An insurer that failed to ensure its partners were equipped to handle a large risk could simply attempt to deny your claim rather than admit that it cannot pay.If you are experiencing similar unfair treatment from an insurer, the insurance bad faith attorneys at the Voss Law Firm can help you fight the battles you need to fight to get the compensation you deserve from your policy. Simply fill out the contact form on this page today or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Reinsurance & Retrocession Insurance Glossary of Common TermsIs it Okay If My Insurer Has Reinsurance or Retrocession Insurance?5 Things Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know
Why Fire Insurance Claims for Charter Flight Companies May Be Underpaid
As the owner of a charter flight company, you likely have a robust liability insurance policy to protect yourself from passenger and pilot lawsuits. However, you could be at risk of even greater losses if you did not take the same precautions with your property damage insurance. Attorney Bill Voss explores the differences in various fire damage insurance coverages for airfields and charter flight companies, allowing owners to make changes to their policies before it’s too late.Fire Insurance Considerations for Charter Flight CompaniesThe amount you receive for your fire damage claim will depend on the insurance options you select to cover your charter flight operation. If your policy is not tailored specifically to the type of business you run, you may find your claim underpaid or outright denied.For example, you may receive less than you expected after a fire if your commercial flight insurance policy has exclusions regarding:Nature of the accident. Property damage insurance for aircraft, generally known as hull damage coverage, comes in many different forms. If you have selected ground-only coverage, your aircraft are only protected while they are on the ground and not in motion—and if a fire occurs when an aircraft is taxiing away from a gate, your insurer can refuse payment. The easiest way to ensure payment is to select all-risk coverage, which pays for damage regardless of whether the plane is on the ground, taxiing, or in flight.Type of aircraft. It may be beneficial to select coverage for the specific type of aircraft your business offers. For example, farmers may require agricultural aviation coverage, while museums may need antique aircraft insurance to cover the costs of replacing bespoke leather seats or wooden wings.Extent of damage. A fire on the ground may spread throughout the hangar, damaging other aircraft, vehicles, mobile staircases, spare parts, or expensive tools. Hangar insurance provides property damage coverage for your hangar and anything housed inside.Restoration period. Business interruption insurance will cover ongoing operating expenses as you rebuild, but may only cover up to six months of losses. This can be extended by choosing a higher policy limit, or selecting extra expense coverage (which can pay for rental costs for alternate aircraft while yours are under repair).If you need help getting payment for your losses after a fire, our commercial insurance claim attorneys can work to get you full and fair compensation to make repairs and reopen your doors. Please contact the Voss Law Firm at 1-888-991-3212 or simply fill out the form on this page today to get answers to your questions.Related Links:Hangar and Flight Program Planes Damaged in Stillwater WindstormWhen You Might Consider Flight Crash Insurance CoverageTornado Insurance That Can Help Owners of Charter Flight Companies
Protecting Amusement Parks or Carnivals From Tornado Damage
Tornadoes can cause devastation to whole counties, uprooting families and businesses in their wake. While property damage insurance can help communities rebuild, not all businesses have purchased adequate policies to ensure their survival. Owners of entertainment operations such as fun parks, arcades, or mini-golf courses often find their tornado claims underpaid or even denied, forcing them to close their doors. Attorney Bill Voss explores vital tornado insurance coverages for tourist attractions, including policy extensions that can help minimize losses. Essential Tornado Damage Coverage for Fun Parks and Tourist AttractionsThe first thing owners should do is ensure that they have adequate coverage under state law. Every state imposes its own specific insurance requirements for different types of amusement park rides. In Texas, smaller rides for children 12 and under must have at least $100,000 bodily injury coverage $50,000 property damage coverage, while larger rides require at least $1,000,000 bodily injury and $500,000 for property damage coverage.Your park’s location may also influence whether you should purchase multiple policies to protect against specific perils. Many private insurers will exclude coverage for wind and hail damage to commercial businesses along the Texas coast, such as in Galveston and Harris Counties. If your amusement park or leisure property has a fixed location in one of these areas, it may be wise to secure coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).When it comes to selecting tornado insurance for an amusement park, miniature golf course, or traveling fair, you may wish to consider endorsements that will protect your:Rides and structures. Your entertainment property coverage should be tailored to the specific equipment and facilities you offer. For example, it costs much more to replace or restore a roller coaster than a food cart, and it is vital that you know the true value of all of your amenities. All large or expensive equipment should have a high enough policy limit to cover a total loss, even if it means paying an added deductible or opting for a depreciation reimbursement policy.Vehicles. Any mobile equipment used to transport rides, employees, or commercial goods should be covered under a comprehensive commercial auto policy. This may include tractor-trailers, horse trailers, food trucks, and other business vehicles.Rented equipment. Property damage policies generally will only cover items you own, not those you use under a long-term lease or short-term rental. If you lease your rides, trucks, or other equipment from a third-party, these items should be specifically covered under a rental policy.Goods in transit. All amusement facilities can benefit from inland marine insurance, particularly mobile operations such as funfairs, carnivals, or rodeos that are constantly moving from one place to another. This coverage will pay to replace any property that is damaged while in transit or when stored offsite (including compressors, bounce houses, lights, and tents).Animals. If your entertainment business relies on animals (including domesticated dogs and ponies, horses for work or rising, or exotic animals such as elephants and peacocks), all animals should be protected under livestock insurance that includes stock mortality insurance in case animals are killed or go missing after a storm.Special events. If your operation makes most of its profits at a certain time of year, you may benefit from seasonal coverage to make up the difference for losses in a busy season. Special event insurance can provide additional payment for any events you host on your property (such as weddings or birthday parties) that were canceled due to a covered loss.Profits. Business interruption insurance is vital for all commercial enterprises, replacing lost profits, employee payroll, and other expenses for up to six months after a covered event.If you are having trouble getting fair payment from your insurance company, the Voss Law Firm can examine your policy, investigate the your losses, and fight on your behalf. Simply fill out the contact form on this page today or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Three Calls to Make Immediately After a Tornado Damages a BusinessHow Hail Damage Affects Carnivals and Amusement ParksIdentifying “Bad Faith” in a Commercial Property Damage Claim
What Contractors and Construction Companies Need to Know Before a Hurricane Strikes
The high winds and heavy rainfall from a hurricane can cause devastating losses to any business, and construction companies are no exception. Not only can a hurricane leave you in the red, it can also prevent you from providing much-needed assistance to neighboring homeowners as they rebuild. Attorney Bill Voss explores vital forms of insurance coverage for general contractors, renovation companies, and operators of public and private building services.Important Hurricane Coverages for That Can Save Construction CompaniesThe best way to protect your construction business is to tailor your policy to the specific type of work you perform, and ensure that your coverage limits will be sufficient even in the worst-case scenario. Some construction insurance options you may wish to consider include:Business income loss insurance. Next to liability insurance, business interruption coverage is the most important coverage a commercial enterprise will need. Business income insurance will continue to pay ongoing and operational expenses (such as employee payroll, rent, mortgages, or insurance) for six months after a loss. Commercial auto coverage. Commercial auto insurance pays for damage to business vehicles (including pickup trucks, vans, cars, or trailers), while comprehensive coverage will pay for non-collision losses (such as vehicle flooding).Equipment breakdown coverage. A property damage policy may include coverage for all contents of an insured location, but only up to the policy limits. If your policy limit is only $50,000, it won’t matter how much it will cost to replace your saws, grinders, or excavators—your insurer isn’t going to cover it. However, a special equipment endorsement can provide additional funds to cover the expensive heavy machinery that is vital to your enterprise. Inland marine insurance. Any building materials traveling to or from your construction site are likely not covered under a standard property damage plan. Inland marine coverage will pay for tools, lumber, windows, equipment, and raw materials that have been lost on the way to your covered location. All-risk coverage. Although these policies are typically more expensive than basic coverage, an all-risk property damage policy can provide extra coverage for perils related to natural disasters, such as wind-driven rain or interruptions in utility services caused by a hurricane.A Word to Contractors About FEMA Relief and Governmental Insurance ProgramsThe majority of hurricane losses result not from the storm itself, but from the severe flooding afterward. Open land and buildings that are filled with standing water can cause complications ranging from lost vegetation and income to weakened foundations and mold growth—and unfortunately, flooding from a natural disaster is typically not covered under commercial insurance policies. For this reason, construction companies in flood-prone areas should secure an additional policy under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to cover hurricane-related flood losses.The NFIP also has a secondary consideration for contractors: a source of payment for the jobs they take on after a storm. You may be contracted to perform work for clients who have received money through FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP). Homeowners, business owners, and municipalities can all collect NFIP funds to rebuild, but the use of that money is still governed by FEMA rules.FEMA grants are intended to be used to bring properties to a safe and sanitary condition—not to pay for a full restoration of the structure. For this reason, building companies entering into a contract with a client expecting FEMA reimbursement should examine the scope of work and the amount recoverable from the federal agency. Otherwise, you may be left underpaid for weeks or months as the client struggles to make up the difference.If you are struggling to rebuild after a storm, our attorneys can work to get full and fair payment from your commercial insurance carrier. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:Why You Really Should Purchase Flood Insurance For Your BusinessThree Spring Insurance Coverage Surprises That Affect ContractorsIdentifying “Bad Faith” in a Commercial Property Damage Claim
Insurance Coverages Owners of Construction Companies Will Need to Recover from Windstorms
Your phone may ring off the hook after a major windstorm, but what happens if your construction business has also been damaged in the gale? The amount and extent of your construction insurance may be the difference between making a profit or ending up in the red. Attorney Bill Voss explores vital forms of coverage for contractors and renovation companies, helping business owners get proper compensation after a storm.Important Windstorm Coverage Options for Construction CompaniesAnyone who builds homes, buildings, or other structures needs some form of construction property damage insurance. From general contractors and home improvement firms to builders and designers of city streets and infrastructure, every construction business will face unique risks in a storm. The best way to ensure fair coverage after a loss is to tailor your policy to the specific type of work you perform, protecting the equipment that is most vital to your enterprise.When purchasing construction insurance, you may wish to consider:Location. If your business is located in an area where high winds are common, your private insurer may refuse to cover wind damage losses. For example, businesses in Texas coastal areas are advised to secure insurance coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).Builder's risk insurance. This coverage pays for on-site property damage of a site under construction, including construction materials that are used or stored on site. Most insurers will limit coverage to the value of the structure when completed, including materials and labor costs (not including land value).Commercial vehicle insurance. If your company uses pickup trucks, cars, vans, trailers, or any other business vehicles, commercial auto coverage is vital to protect you against third-party bodily injuries or property damage. Comprehensive coverage will provide payment for non-collision losses (such as if a tree branch is thrown through the windshield in a storm), while rental vehicle coverage will pay for damage to vehicles you have borrowed or rented for a specific job.Equipment breakdown. Property damage insurance will typically cover an insured business location structure and its contents, but damage to high-value equipment such as saws, lathes, planers, and other tools may quickly exceed coverage limits. Equipment breakdown and special equipment coverage can cover equipment malfunction and the loss of expensive items.Goods in transit. Building materials in your warehouse or business location may be insured against damage, but items that are traveling to or from the site may not be covered. Inland marine coverage can cover construction materials such as tools, excavators, lumber, shingles, forklifts, beams, or machinery that is damaged while it is on the move.Business income loss insurance. Business interruption coverage is vital for any commercial enterprise, as it pays to replace lost profits for six months (or longer) after an adverse event. Business income insurance will typically cover employee payroll and operating expenses until the business is able to resume normal operations.Extra expense. Extra expense coverage acts as an extension to business income loss, covering the extra expenditures incurred during rebuilding. It can be used to rent a temporary location or construction equipment, pay for advertising to reassure clients, or pay for measures that will reduce the total amount of loss. Insurers will usually not cover expenses unless there is a substantial amount of supporting documentation detailing the reasons why the expenses were incurred, why they were necessary, and how they were directly caused by the covered event.Umbrella insurance. Umbrella coverage kicks in if the policy limits on a single claim have been reached, allowing coverage for an additional amount above and beyond the normal rate. In large-loss situations, umbrella insurance can allow businesses to reopen more quickly or even avoid bankruptcy.If you are struggling to rebuild after a severe wind storm, our attorneys can work to get full and fair payment from your commercial insurance carrier. Simply fill out the form on this page today to contact an insurance attorney at the Voss Law Firm or order a free copy of our book, Commercial Property Owners Must Read This BEFORE Filing an Insurance Claim.Related Links:When an Insurance Company Refuses to Pay for Losses After a WindstormThree Spring Insurance Coverage Surprises That Affect ContractorsWhat Should I Do If My Business Has Been Damaged by Wind?