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A Starbucks store, partially reopened during the Coronavirus pandemic, is boarded up to protect against vandalism during the days of demonstrations protesting the killing of George Floyd and police brutality, Washington, D.C. June 6, 2020. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM) A Starbucks store, partially reopened during the Coronavirus pandemic, is boarded up to protect against vandalism during the days of demonstrations protesting the killing of George Floyd and police brutality, Washington, D.C. June 6, 2020. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a wave of business interruption claims and related coverage lawsuits from businesses impacted by widespread closures.

These businesses already face significant hurdles in obtaining coverage for pandemic-related losses, as insurers and policyholders litigate over whether COVID-19 contamination and mandatory closures to force social distancing measures to constitute “direct physical loss of or damage to property” sufficient to trigger coverage under business interruption policies. In these suits, insurers have argued that these policies provisions were written to insure against natural disasters that cause tangible physical damage to property such as hurricanes and earthquakes, not viral pandemics. At least one court has agreed.

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