Amend Small Business Interruption Insurance Policies Cover COVID19

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Open letter :

On behalf of myself , as well as all other small owners, who purchased and carry small business interruptions coverage. At this time of crisis the insurance companies are classifying the COCID19 as a non-natural disaster in order to deny payments. At the time of reviewing and signing our policies, there was no concept of anything like this pandemic happening, hence there was no need to specifically list “virus” under natural disasters in our policies. In lieu of standing behind their customers, they are turning their backs on us based on the technicality that “virus” was not specifically listed and is therefore not a natural disaster. My insurance company, when selling this policy to me and others, misrepresented themselves by selling business interrupt policies and now refusing to honor them based on one word specifically not listed. There is no question we are living through a natural disaster. These companies are making millions of dollars on the backs of small businesses I am calling on the state of California to set a precedent and force these companies to add epidemics to their lists of covered natural disasters. This action, should you take it, will save many small businesses making the difference between their closure or survival as well as saving the economy from the additional negative impact of thousands of small business closures.

It takes only one person, company, politician, or government agency to make the right decision of standing behind us small businesses.

I’ve attached my email correspondence with the county and my plea for help in proving the correctness of my claim.

Forcing the insurance to recognize this natural disaster and honor their policies will trickle down to our presently out of work employees. lessen the burden the stimulus packages will have on our economy as well as saving small businesses from being buried in debt as a result of trying to “float” their businesses while generating no income.

Please be on the right side of history and force these changes.

Very truly yours,
Berlin Fisher
Sonoma Style Bar
415-722-1879
























On Mar 20, 2020, at 10:26 AM, Maria Toto <Maria.Toto@HISCOX.com> wrote:

Hi Berlin:

Thank you so much. Based on your email below, it is my understanding that because of government action, you are unable to gain access to the buildings that you operate your business out of and therefore, unable to access your equipment.

In addition to the provision I referenced in my prior note, Business Income loss (located on page 5-6 of 49), which by way of reminder reads as follows: “We will pay for the actual loss of Business Income you sustain due to the necessary suspension of your “operations” during the “period of restoration”. The suspension must be caused by direct or physical loss of or damage to property at the described premises. The loss or damage must be caused by or result from a Covered Cause of Loss. With respect to loss of or damage to personal property in the open or personal property in a vehicle, the described premises include the area within 100 feet of the site at which the described premises are located.”

I would also like to point out the provision titled Civil Authority (located on page 7-8 of 49) which states as follows: “When a Covered Cause of Loss causes damage to property other than property at the described premises, we will pay for the actual loss of Business Income you sustain and necessary Extra Expense caused by action of civil authority that prohibits access to the described premises, provided that both of the following apply: (1) Access to the area immediately surrounding the damaged property is prohibited by civil authority as a result of the damage, and the described premises are within that area bit are not more than one mile from the damaged property; and (2) The action of civil authority is taken in response to dangerous physical conditions resulting from the damage or continuation of the Covered Cause of Loss that caused the damage, or the action is taken to enable civil authority to have unimpeded access to the damaged property.”

The policy’s Civil Authority coverage is only triggered when your property cannot be assessed as a result of a covered cause of loss damaging nearby property. Because that is not the case here, the Policy’s Civil Authority coverage does not apply.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of this claim or the Policy, please do not hesitate to contact me. Although we encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with us, California insurance regulations require us to inform you that if you believe an insurance claim has been wrongfully denied or rejected, in whole or in part, you may have the matter reviewed by the California Department of Insurance at the following address:

California Department of Insurance
Claims Service Bureau
300 South Spring Street, South Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90013
1-800-927-4357 or 213-897-8921


Kind Regards and please stay safe,
Maria

From: Berlin Fisher [mailto:berlinsf@me.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2020 17:46
To: Maria Toto
Subject: (EXT) Re: Berlinsf West Sonoma Style Bar/Hiscox Ref. No. 184020966

Maria,
Thank you for the phone conversation regarding my claim. I feel that the original person who took the claim did not represent what I was reporting to them correctly and accurately Hiscox insurance has a chance to show the world that it is the leader in small business insurance and help the c;iemts they serve during the unfortunate turn of events. First I’m going to apologize in advance for any typos or grammar as typing is not my forte. This a time when everyone in the world has to give and work together I would think you would want to find a way to allows claims of business interruption and show your clients and the world that you stand behind your claim of being for the small business and providing us with the help we are needed when crisis hit and that we can depend on you as a company to be the back bone of our businesses.
The Misrepresentation is I am un able to access my equipment at either of my two locations to conduct business. As well my business is physical not intellectual and I need my physical equipment to be able to serve my clients and generate income. As of Tuesday March 17 2020 I have been unable to use any of my equipment or access that equipment. This business is not a business I can do from home or a computer with wifi it is a physical job requiring physical equipment and product that I need to have access to as well as a brick and mortar store to utilize my equipment.both my buildings are locked out with a fine of 5000.00$ should I break the lock out and try to access my shop. As well it is a client based business and because I cannot access my equipment and operate said equipment I cab not service my clients which leaves me with zero ways to support my business financially.
I hope that you will take this into consider fact that I am unable to operate my equip meted as stated in my policy and be the leader of small business insurance and help the very people who have been on th front line providing jobs and services for our local communities.
It take one conversation one decision to become a leader and set precedents for all other insurance companies. I much rather be posting about how you help your small business clients then how I need to fin a new company because the I/we needed you most we were let down because Hiscox chose to be the one unwilling to find a way to help ints dedicated clients who are in desperate need of your help.
Be a leader the back bone of small businesses around the world and just say yes to me and to others who are fight the same fight looking for a life line to not only save ourselves but our families.
This is your chance to no be that unwilling insurance company that everyone complains about but to be the heart we talk about that will generate business for years to come.
With appreciation to you Maria please sent the Emil to you CEO and encourage him or here to be on the right side of history.
Sincerely
Berlin Fisher
Dog Dad of three rescues and a guy just trying to make a living.

On Mar 18, 2020, at 5:29 PM, Maria Toto <Maria.Toto@HISCOX.com> wrote:

Dear Berlin:

Please allow this email to respond to your recent notification of the above-referenced claim. We regret to advise you that we are unable to find any basis for coverage of this claim.

This email also recites our current understanding of this claim, and we kindly request that you immediately advise us if you believe our understanding is inaccurate in any material respect. If you believe there are additional facts that would alter our current analysis of this claim, please do not hesitate to provide such information to us as we are always pleased to take such information under consideration. If you have questions regarding this letter or any other aspect of the Policy or this claim, please do not hesitate to contact me.

OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE MATTER
It is our understanding that the Coronavirus outbreak has impacted your business. You have reported that you are experiencing a loss of business income as a result of the outbreak. It is our further understanding, you are seeking coverage for the loss of income due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

COVERAGE ANALYSIS
Unfortunately, we have been unable to find any basis for coverage of the current claim. The pertinent policy provision dealing with Business Income loss (located on page 5-6 of 49), provides as follows:

“We will pay for the actual loss of Business Income you sustain due to the necessary suspension of your “operations” during the “period of restoration”. The suspension must be caused by direct or physical loss of or damage to property at the described premises. The loss or damage must be caused by or result from a Covered Cause of Loss. With respect to loss of or damage to personal property in the open or personal property in a vehicle, the described premises include the area within 100 feet of the site at which the described premises are located.”

See Section I – Property, Part H. Property Definitions, “Period of Restoration” means “the period of time that: (1) begins: (a) 72 hours after the time of direct physical loss or damage for Business Income.”

In this insurance, the business income loss has not been caused as a result of direct physical loss or damaged property at the premises. Additionally, the Policy contains an exclusion for any damages caused directly or indirectly by a virus. Accordingly, there is no coverage available for business income loss due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.

CONCLUSION
Based on the above analysis, Hiscox must fully disclaim coverage for this matter under the Policy. To the extent you are aware of additional information that might alter our analysis, please submit it to us at your earliest convenience. Additionally, we respectfully note that nothing in this letter, or any action taken by Hiscox, should be construed as a waiver of any of our rights under the policy and applicable law, all of which are specifically reserved. We respect that you similarly reserve your rights.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this matter at any time, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Maria Toto, Esq.
Complex Claims Specialist
Hiscox USA

T + 1 312 283 2924