Insurance is a critical part of any business. In fact, many types of businesses and business entities are required by law to carry liability insurance. And whether your business is part of the construction, real estate, retail, or hospitality industries, common sense and your own self interest tell you that you must have insurance to protect your business’s and your own financial future.
Liability insurance for businesses usually takes the form of a Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy. Liability insurance is intended to pay for claims against your company by third parties who have been injured by your business’s operations. As important as paying judgments obtained against your business, liability insurance generally carries a “duty to defend” which means that the insurance company must pay for a lawyer to defend you when someone is suing you for claims that would be covered by the policy.
Property or Casualty insurance exists to protect your business from damage to your inventory or equipment. For businesses, this type of coverage often takes the form of an endorsement to a CGL policy. This type of coverage is different from liability insurance in that it is a contract with the insurance company to pay your business for damage to its own property. Property and casualty insurance is called First Party Insurance because it compensates the policy owner for its damages; liability insurance is called Third Party Insurance because it pays for claims asserted against the policy owner by third parties.
It is clear that insurance is critical to your business. But it isn’t always painless getting the insurance company to cover your claim. That is where an experienced Texas Insurance Attorney can help. The first step is always to review the policy itself to understand what risks are covered. Next, it is important to understand what is the cause of your claim? This may sound simple, but often damage or loss will have multiple causes, some of which are covered by the policy and some of which are not. Understanding what your insurance covers and doesn’t cover is key to making a successful claim. For example, insurance policies will almost never provide coverage for damage caused by flooding (rising water) but will cover damage caused by other natural disasters like wind damage
Litigation against your insurer is the last resort, but where the insurance company refuses to cover your claim it may be your only option. Depending on the situation, an insured business can sue its insurance company for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing (often simply called “insurance bad faith”), and for violations of the Texas Insurance Code.
If your business has recently suffered a loss, or if you know that someone is thinking of suing your business, you need to talk to an insurance lawyer to make sure you know what your insurance covers and what your insurer may try to deny coverage for. An insurance lawyer can also help you in correctly submitting your claim to your insurance company. And in the event the insurer denies your claim, an insurance coverage attorney can help by making a demand for payment and explaining why your business’s claim is actually covered by the policy.
If your business has an insurance coverage question or needs to press a claim for coverage with your insurer, give Blake & Blake LLP a call at (817) 440-4444 or you can reach us via email. Our office is located in downtown Fort Worth, but we represent clients around the state of Texas.