To protect businesses in the event of a disaster, it’s important for business owners to purchase insurance coverage. When something goes wrong, a claim can be filed to seek recovery. Unfortunately, there are times when insurance companies issue denials for claims. When that happens, it’s important to know about South Carolina business insurance disputes.
In the event your insurance company denies your commercial claim, you have the right to file a dispute in an attempt to have the decision appealed and reversed. This process can be complicated depending on why the claim was filed in the first place. When a business owner seeks legal representation from Solomon Law Group, our attorneys will fight to ensure they receive the compensation they need to keep their business up and running. Filing a successful claim involves having a comprehensive understanding of your policy and the factors that affect it. Let’s start by looking at business insurance in South Carolina.
Understanding Business Insurance in South Carolina
With over 380,000 small businesses in South Carolina, it’s important for business owners to understand their legal obligations when it comes to purchasing insurance.
State laws impact which insurance policies business owners are required to purchase. In South Carolina, businesses must have workers’ compensation insurance and commercial auto coverage. In regard to workers’ compensation coverage, businesses with four or more employees, full-time or part-time, have to carry a policy that covers medical bills for work injuries and illnesses. With auto insurance, all business-owned vehicles must be covered for bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured motorist coverage.
While the cost of commercial insurance differs for every business, there are certain factors that play into the price tag. Those factors include the industry and risk, coverage limits, location, and the number of employees.
Types of Insurance Claims Businesses File
With the number of insurance coverage options, businesses can be protected from most events resulting in losses. It’s important to understand the types of situations that can cause losses, so you know what type of coverage you should have. There are a number of common situations that call for the filing of a business insurance claim, including the following:
- Weather Events. Depending on the location of your business, you could be at risk for weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, or flooding. When your property is physically damaged, you can seek recovery.
- Theft. If your business operates using any sort of technology or you handle the public’s money, you could be a target for burglary. Fortunately, you can evaluate and calculate your losses and have them be covered by your insurer.
- Fire. Whether the result of an electrical malfunction or a human error, fires can destroy entire businesses. Even if the infrastructure is intact, it’s unlikely the owner will be able to occupy their business for some time until repairs are made. The right insurance policy can cover the cost of repair and the lost revenue.
- Contamination. When bugs or mold infest your business, operations can quickly come to a halt. Not only could you be putting employees and customers in harm’s way, but contamination can make it impossible to work until the matter is resolved. You may need to close down for a number of days while professionals fix the problem. Insurance can cover those lost profits and potentially pay for the solution.
- Customer Injury. If customers or clients frequent your place of business, it’s possible an accident could occur. If a person slips and falls and sustains a back injury, it’s likely you’ll be looking at a lawsuit. When you have general liability insurance, however, you may be able to pay for their injuries from your insurance, as opposed to paying out out-of-pocket.
The Process of Disputing an Insurance Claim Denial
If you filed a claim for one of the events discussed above, you’ll need to prove to the insurer that you sustained losses and those losses are covered under your policy. If you’re able to do so, you’ll likely receive a check in the mail, and you can work on getting your business back up and running again.
If the insurance company disagrees with your claim, for any reason, they can issue a denial. Denials are stressful, especially when your business is no longer operational. If that happens, you can file an appeal to dispute their decision.
It’s important to note that disputing a denied claim can get complicated, which is why it’s best to work with a law firm that can provide strong legal representation and a comprehensive understanding of how business insurance works.
How COVID-19 Is Affecting South Carolina Businesses
Throughout South Carolina and across the country, businesses are complying with recommendations and mandates to close in light of the coronavirus. While closing businesses has the potential to flatten the curve and reduce the number of people who contract the virus, it puts business owners in a difficult place. For many, short-term profit loss could spell disaster.
It’s likely there will be an influx of business insurance claims filed for coronavirus-related losses. It has yet to be seen how insurance companies will react, but many are predicting a significant number of claim denials.
Under most policies, business losses suffered as a result of the coronavirus are not covered with business interruption policies. This is because of the lack of physical damage. As a result, it’s likely most insurance companies will outright deny claims related to COVID-19. However, it may be possible to still recover losses if you take certain steps to protect your business. Those steps include having a comprehensive understanding of your policy, making note of specific mentions of virus, and staying up-to-date with legislative developments that could impact your claim.
Solomon Law Group Represents South Carolina’s Business Owners
If you’re in the midst of dealing with an insurance claim denial, learning about South Carolina insurance disputes can help you collect the evidence and resources you need to reverse the denial. Because of how insurance companies operate, it can be confusing for a business owner to navigate the dispute process. That’s why it’s often in the owner’s best interest to work with an attorney from Solomon Law Group.
Our lawyers are dedicated to helping those who need us the most. If your business has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or a different event, we can explain your legal rights and options to you and help you decide how best to proceed based on your unique circumstances.
When we start working with a client with an insurance dispute, we’ll closely examine their policy and look for holes. It’s possible the insurance company overlooked something when denying your claim, or there could be a policy to use to your advantage when submitting your dispute.
Filing a dispute takes time, so the sooner you get in touch with our law firm, the better your chances are of receiving the compensation you need to operate your business successfully. Schedule a consultation with our Columbia firm today to learn more.