Coronavirus: How It Seems to Affect Children

Business Interruption Insurance

The light at the end of the tunnel might be an oncoming train. As life slowly gets back to normal, there could be more reason than ever to be alarmed.

Officials are seeing a steep rise in the number of Kawasaki Disease patients, especially children.

A significant number of these children either tested positive for COVID-19 or had coronavirus antibodies, which probably means they were infected earlier.

Dr. James Schneider, chief of pediatric critical care at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, speculated that a patient’s “hyperactive response” to COVID-19 might have triggered the disease.

Kawasaki Disease is an inflammatory condition which could affect the heart and lungs, which is why many patients require immediate critical care.

NYU’s Dr. Leonard Krilov said he did not think the disease “would reach huge, huge numbers” but that “it’s important to watch out for it because it can be serious and needs to be monitored and treated.”

Anti-Coronavirus Efforts

The COVID-19 virus that infects people today might not be the same virus that infected people earlier in the spring. Similarly, our knowledge of COVID-19 is not the same as it was in March.

It’s very common for infectious diseases to advance and retreat in stages.

COVID-19 began as an outbreak in Wuhan.

Then, it became an epidemic in China and East Asia. In March 2020, it became a global pandemic (an epidemic which affects several countries or continents at the same time).

Now, as mystery illnesses which might be related to coronavirus pop up, the disease might have entered the next stage, which is a re-emerging infectious disease.

Quarantines and personal protection are definitely the best way to slow the spread of infectious diseases.

As more information becomes available, these preventative measures will probably become more effective.

For example, most flu viruses are airborne viruses. They can be spread through casual contact.

But coronaviruses are contact viruses. An infected person must physically touch another person. Significantly, that contact could be stray moisture particles from a sneeze or a cough.

Business Interruption Insurance

The bottom line to all this is that it appears quarantines will continue into the foreseeable future.

So, if you are a business owner and you were not sure if filing a business interruption claim was the right move, it might be time to at least talk with a lawyer about the situation.

If nothing else, a New York bad faith insurance lawyer can at least review your legal rights.

“Bad faith” is a pejorative term for an insurance company’s failure to promptly investigate and pay a claim.

The duty to investigate is significant. Insurance companies cannot simply rubber-stamp claims “paid” or “denied.”

They must look into the specific facts and make a decision based on those facts. Insurance companies cannot use mass disasters, such as widespread storms or global pandemics, as an excuse to delay investigation.

Furthermore, insurance companies have a duty to promptly pay claims. Generally, that payment must be for the full insured value, as the insurance company bears the entire financial risk.

Insurance companies cannot use depreciation or other arguments to reduce payment amounts.

Historically, business interruption insurance paid in the event of fire, earthquake, tornado, or another similar natural disaster.

These payouts are often significant, largely because the insured suffers two losses. In addition to the physical property loss, there is lost business opportunity.

The longer a business is closed, the more likely its customers are to take their business elsewhere.

That model changed, at least to some extent, with the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in 2002.

This first coronavirus outbreak was quite bad in China and East Asia, but there were less than a dozen cases in the United States.

Nevertheless, some insurance companies rewrote their business interruption policies in the wake of SARS. These updated policies excluded claims based on contagious diseases.

If your business insurance carrier did not rewrite its policy, there is a good chance a coronavirus shutdown-related loss could be a covered loss.

  • Physical Damage: Infectious diseases are clearly not earthquakes and tornadoes. However, they have the same effect, especially since coronavirus lives on surfaces for between several hours and several days.
  • Government Action: Insurance companies frequently point out that restaurants and other businesses could stay open during coronavirus quarantines, at least to some extent. However, the question is one of degree. For many restaurants, it would have been more expensive to stay open than to close.

Legally, the burden of proof is usually low in bad faith cases.

Generally, insured parties must claim the loss was a covered one by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

A paid business interruption claim could help your restaurant or other business reopen when quarantines end.

For a free consultation with an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.