5/8/2020 0 Comments
Couhig Partners files class action suit on behalf of Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards and all other similarly situated local law enforcement departments throughout the United States for Chinese government’s coronavirus coverup and resulting economic damages.
4/15/2020 0 Comments
Our state and federal governments understand that the current unprecedented challenges affecting businesses will require creative solutions. Members of both the Louisiana legislature and the U.S. Congress are currently considering bills that could help your business recover business interruption losses from your insurer. Though no legislation has been passed yet, Couhig Partners attorney William Barousse explains why now is the time to evaluate your insurance policies for potential coverage under your policies.
Our team at Couhig Partners will continue to assist our clients during this uncertain time. Please give us a call and let us help you.
Take care and stay well!
Couhig Partners, LLC
The SBA Loan Process Has Started
If you need help navigating the SBA emergency loan process, we can assist. There is no charge to you for this service and no depletion of the loan proceeds to which you may be entitled, as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) allows for an attorney’s fee to be paid from fees the lender receives from the SBA.
The PPP is very much a work in progress, and there is much conflicting information out there about it. In fact, just last night, April 2, the U.S. Treasury Department and SBA issued interim rules regarding implementation of the PPP. Although acceptance of applications was slated to commence today, April 3, many banks are broadcasting that they will not be in a position to begin processing today as they are still implementing the evolving program rules.
At Couhig Partners, we are strongly suggesting that our clients proceed through their current banks and to be ready to act as soon as allowable. This is a unique opportunity to receive a potentially forgivable loan. We are here to counsel you in this process. Let us know if you would like set up a call to discuss.
Business Interruption Coverage May Be Evolving
You should also be aware that coverage for business interruption losses and expenses under insurance policies has attracted the attention of the Louisiana legislature, where bills have been introduced that could facilitate coverage for your COVID-19 related losses if you have business interruption coverage -- even if your policy appears to exclude losses caused by viruses. However, even if a bill becomes law, your ability to recover and the amount of your potential recovery will depend on the terms of your specific policy under the current draft of the legislation.
We are monitoring the legislation closely but can advise you now regarding potential coverage under your insurance for COVID-19 related losses if you provide us a copy of your policy.
SBA Loans for Businesses
As you may have heard in the swirl of recent developments, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering relief for small businesses and private non-profits impacted by COVID-19.
Significantly, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act enacted Friday is designed for a swift capital infusion to keep workers employed and small businesses afloat. The “Paycheck Protection Program” expands on the SBA’s existing 7(a) program. Many of the conditions of traditional SBA loans do not apply. The loans are to be made directly by private, local banks. And most importantly, the loans are forgivable if the proceeds are spent according to specified uses.
There are also loans available under existing programs such as the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (SBA EIDLP) and Express Loans. However, there are important considerations involved in the interconnection of these programs.
Here are some links with information about the program:
Paycheck Protection Program FAQs for Small Businesses
SBA Disaster Assistance
Our team at Couhig Partners, LLC is available to assist and guide you through the process.
We have been busy studying the recent legislation and discussing how to best facilitate the process with several local banks.
Please feel free to reach out to us.
In light of the uncertainty surrounding the possible duration of the close of business as usual, we recommend all of our clients take this time to review any and all insurance policies they have in relation to their businesses. The issue almost every business is dealing with is whether business interruption coverage is afforded under the terms of your policy in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most business interruption coverage is provided via a Commercial Property Insurance policy and is typically tied to “physical damage” to property. As such, the first hurdle will be whether the virus has caused/is considered “physical damage.” A good faith argument may be made that the virus has indeed caused physical damage to real property (i.e., the virus is sustained for a considerable amount of time on surfaces).
The next hurdle under most policies is whether there is an applicable Exclusion to policy's coverage. Many policies contain virus exclusions which appear to prevent coverage for:
(1) Any virus, bacterium or other microorganism that induces or is capable of inducing physical distress, illness or disease.
But, even if such an exclusion is in the policy there may be additional coverage for viruses, such as:
We will pay for the actual extra expense you incur due to a “communicable disease event” occurring at your premises. The extra expense must be a result of a “communicable disease event” that has taken place at a covered location. … A covered “communicable disease event” does not create, nor will it invoke coverage for the loss of Business Income, …
This language may suggest that business income coverage and coverage for a communicable disease event is mutually exclusive. However, in a different policy the opposite can be found:
If the Declarations show you have Business Income with Extra Expense Coverage, we will pay for the actual loss of business income, rental value, or necessary extra expense or expediting expense that you sustain due to the necessary full or partial suspension of operations during the period of restoration. The suspension must be caused by direct physical loss or damage caused by or resulting from a covered communicable disease event at the premises described in the Declarations.
The issue of whether you have coverage for business interruption or coverage for losses due to communicable disease will depend on the exact language of your policy. Indeed, some clients may have coverage under a Crisis Management Coverage Extension Endorsement which covers losses caused by suspension of operations, as a result of a “covered crisis event,” which requires closure of the covered premises. Others may have a stand alone business interruption policy.
The take away is that every client should be exploring their insurance policies in light of the coronavirus.
Lisa Maher and Ralph Wall discuss issues to look for in determining whether policies provide business interruption coverage for Coronavirus-related losses.
These are uncertain times, seemingly changing by the minute. Our team is monitoring government and insurance developments and will continue to look for the best options for our clients. We stand ready to assist you in any way we can with your insurance assessments and claims or with any other business needs you may have.
Stay healthy; together, we will get through this.