News Release, Maryland Insurance Administration
BALTIMORE– The Maryland Insurance Administration is receiving a high volume of inquiries about Business Interruption insurance.
Business Interruption coverage is typically triggered under a commercial insurance policy when a covered risk/peril causes physical damage to the insured premises resulting in the need to shut down business operations. For example, if a fire damages a business and the business cannot operate during repairs, business interruption coverage would be available subject to the terms and limits in the policy.
Most policies require a waiting period of 24 to 72 hours before coverage begins and coverage continues for a reasonable period of time to restore the property and reopen, subject to the coverage limit of liability. Some commercial policies provide Business Interruption coverage when a business is shut down due to an Order by a civil authority. However, the policy still typically requires a physical loss from a covered peril as the underlying cause of the business shut down to apply.
All insurance policies have exclusions of coverage for risks that are too great to be underwritten at an affordable price. For example, commercial and personal property insurance policies typically contain specific exclusions for loss or damage caused by war, nuclear action and radiation. The potential loss costs from such perils are so extreme that providing coverage would jeopardize the financial solvency of property insurers. Global pandemics like COVID-19 usually fall into this category. However, policies can be different. We recommend that businesses review their policies and reach out to their insurance professionals with any questions.
The Maryland Insurance Administration would like to reassure Maryland businesses that we are closely monitoring insurance issues related to COVID-19. Our core mission is to make sure insurance companies treat customers fairly and follow the provisions in their policy and applicable state laws. We are monitoring relief activity efforts aimed at assisting individuals and businesses at the local, state and federal levels. As information regarding relief programs becomes available, it will be posted on our website: www.insurance.maryland.gov.