Waldron & Schneider has experienced insurance coverage attorneys who can assist you in dealing with the aftermath of the recent Ice Storm and related issues. As a result of the 2021 Ice Storm, businesses are facing extra costs and actual losses such as property damage (burst water pipes have caused significant issues), business interruption (damage to their property, limited access to property, loss of water and power). Areas throughout Houston and Texas have been affected differently, and depending on the insurance your business carries, there may be policies that can assist in recovery.
You want to start your review with your commercial property insurance policy. In Texas, insurers issue many different standard insurance industry policy forms, but some policies are specifically prepared to meet a business’s particular situation. Therefore, it is important to your entire policy to determine which of these provisions you may have.
Potential Coverage You Should Look for:
Property Damage – this coverage typically applies to damage to, or destruction of, any insured property resulting from an insured peril. This will usually cover damage to your buildings and other structures, equipment, supplies, and other personal property. If you are dealing with damage caused by frozen/burst pipes or other structural damage, you should be able to look to this type of coverage under your insurance policy.
Business Interruption – this coverage typically applies to loss of earnings or revenue resulting from property damage or loss caused by an insured peril. It is important to review this coverage closely because insurers can be very specific on what is needed to document the financial losses, and you will need to determine what interruptions are covered under the policy.
Service Interruption – this coverage typically covers losses related to electric or other power supply interruption. Often this coverage is written to require the outage to be the result of a damage event to the utility provider’s equipment within a certain distance of the policyholder’s property. Due to the issues faced by ERCOT and other utility providers, there is potential coverage for all of the utility issues related to the storm.
Contingent Business Interruption – this coverage typically covers applies to losses, including lost earnings or revenue, as a result of damage to property of a supplier, customer, or some other business partner or entity that leads to that supplier or customer being unable to provide its goods/services to the policyholder or being unable to take the policyholder’s goods/services. If you have this coverage, it should apply even if your property has not been damaged.
Extra Expense – this coverage typically applies to assist with certain (usually specified) extra expenses that a business incurs as a result of a loss event in order to resume normal operations to the extent possible and/or mitigate other losses. If you have unexpected costs to reopen, this might provide some coverage for those costs.
Ingress and Egress – this coverage may help when access to a business premises or location is prevented for a specified amount of time.
Civil Authority – this coverage may help when a business has losses arising from an order of a governmental authority that interferes with normal business operations. Similar to contingent business interruption coverage, civil authority coverage may apply even when there is no damage to your property.
If you have business losses because of the ice storm, you should immediately look for the coverages in your insurance policies. Be proactive now to maximize your recovery. Waldron & Schneider has experienced insurance coverage attorneys who can assist in assessing the viability and strength of your claims, in dealing with adjusters, and in helping you maximize potential insurance recovery.
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