As certain businesses are allowed to reopen, many small business owners are concerned that they may be open to liability should their customers or employees come into contact with the coronavirus as a result of visiting their storefronts.
Louis Esbin of the Law Offices of Louis J. Esbin described how clear policy coverage from insurance companies, combined with better guidance from the government, could help bring these business owners peace of mind.
“What I’m hearing from small businesses is (that) they want to be back in business,” the Santa Clarita bankruptcy attorney said, “but they have a concern about the possibility of spreading the virus almost unknowingly.”
Esbin noted that this lack of clear guidance from insurance companies and the government has caused many business owners to feel uncertain about how they should proceed when reopening their businesses to the public.
“It’s going to come back to the government to provide some type of protection that (business owners) will have (before they) open,” Esbin said. “People need to be able to know that they can open and not have monetary liability.”
Aside from the possible expenses businesses may incur due to liability, many small businesses are concerned about the financial repercussions that may result from delaying reopening.
Although many business owners carry business interruption insurance, the Santa Clarita bankruptcy attorney explained that no insurance companies are currently covering lost revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Interruption insurance exists to provide protection for businesses if they are forced to temporarily cease operations, usually as a result of property damage.
The current issue facing businesses is the question of whether or not these interruption insurance policies cover costs incurred by closures due to civil authority, in which the government forces businesses to close their doors for a period of time.
In the wake of the 2003 SARS epidemic, many insurance companies added language to their business contracts precluding them from covering any damages caused by viruses, bacteria or microorganisms. As a result, many small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic cannot rely on their interruption insurance to cover their loss of revenue.
“There’s a lot of people, including myself who have business interruption insurance that we’ve been paying on for years,” said Esbin. “Somebody needs to say to insurance companies, ‘You need to have a product that can provide some type of insurance to protect the business owner.’”
The Santa Clarita bankruptcy attorney stressed that clearer guidelines from the government and insurance companies could help small businesses to make more informed choices about how to move forward as the economy begins to reopen.
“About 97 percent of business in California is small businesses with 50 or fewer employees,” said Esbin. “Sacramento and Washington are all focused on big business, … but it’s the small businessperson who’s going to be carrying this ball and chain through the finish line.”
Louis Esbin of the Law Offices of Louis J. Esbin is an attorney in Santa Clarita and Canyon Country, Valencia, Saugus, Stevenson Ranch, Newhall and Castaic neighborhoods who specializes in bankruptcy law, business law and consumer protection. The motto of his firm is, “When experience counts, count on experience,” and Esbin has been practicing law locally since 1993. His experience in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York also enables him to pledge to provide his clients with high quality, big-city legal services as a Santa Clarita attorney. In addition, the bankruptcy attorney in Santa Clarita is founding treasurer of the Santa Clarita Valley Bar Association, a founding member of the Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association and a member of the Financial Lawyers Conference and California Bankruptcy Forum. Those searching for the best attorney in Santa Clarita or an “attorney near me,” can contact the Law Offices of Louis J. Esbin today for more information.
27451 Tourney Road, Suite 120
Valencia, CA 91355-6304