UPDATED: Jul 23, 2020
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Here’s what you need to know:
- A record 20.5 million workers lost their jobs in April as a result of the coronavirus pandemic
- Employment declines in leisure and hospitality surpass every industry, with more losses than health care and retail combined
- Dentist offices experienced the highest job loss in health care, with more than half a million positions cut
- One association estimates closure losses for our nation’s small businesses will run as high as $431 billion a month
With jobless claims surpassing 30 million and countless businesses closing by the day, there’s no question that the economic impact of COVID-19 has been devastating. But here’s the deal: Some industries have been hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic than others. So much so, they’ve posted millions of job cuts and billions in losses in just one month.
We’ve spent time digging into the latest government data, and today we’re revealing the top five industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Just how bad is it for these five industries? They lost a combined 15.7 million jobs in the month of April 2020 alone.
From dentist offices to clothing stores, we’re providing a point-by-point breakdown of who’s experiencing the highest levels of unemployment. We’re also revealing just how much certain industries stand to lose in this crisis. And it’s a lot.
Finally, for business owners tackling coronavirus-related claims, we’re answering the important questions. These include: What is business interruption insurance? Will it cover claims related to the pandemic? And should businesses file lawsuits against insurance companies denying their COVID-19 claims?
We’re covering all of these topics and more. But first, an in-depth look at the industries bearing the brunt of the coronavirus crisis.
Top Five Industries Hit Hardest by Coronavirus
From cuts to closures, just about every business in every industry has felt the impact of this pandemic. But just how much is this costing? The projections are bleak, to say the least. Just ask the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA).
Experts estimate that closure losses for all small businesses with 100 or fewer employees may run as high as $255 billion to $431 billion a month.
But there’s more. For businesses with fewer than 500 employees, those estimates reach $393 billion to $668 billion per month.
Keep in mind that insurance companies might not try to reimburse businesses fully for their closure costs. This is even true for the businesses affected during the current protests and riots that impact commercial insurance.
Shocking? Without a doubt. But when you consider just how much industries are losing, these estimates begin to make sense. Let’s begin by taking a closer look at what’s happening in the leisure and hospitality industry.
#1 – Leisure and Hospitality During the Pandemic
No other industry has been hit harder by the COVID-19 crisis than leisure and hospitality. In fact, the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tell an alarming story. From March to April, jobs dropped from nearly 16.4 million to just over 8.7 million. In other words, this industry lost nearly half of its workforce (47 percent) in just one month.
The greatest place of impact can be seen in food services and drinking places. The 5.5 million jobs lost in April alone represent nearly three-fourths of the entire leisure and hospitality industry.
Even as restaurants have been permitted to provide take-out and delivery services, experts say the damage has been done — to the point where the National Restaurant Association (NRA) reports many businesses have closed permanently. This special segment takes a closer look at how this crisis upended the industry, through the eyes of experts and employees.
An NRA expert interviewed in this piece also notes that smaller, independent restaurants typically measure cash flow in days or weeks. He says for those businesses to experience such a dramatic shift in operations simply isn’t sustainable.
Arts, entertainment, and recreation also suffered a major blow, with a loss of 1.3 million jobs in April. BLS data reveals these specific losses within this time frame:
- Amusements, gambling, and recreation lost 1.1 million jobs
- Performing arts and spectator sports lost 217,000 jobs
- Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions lost 43,800 jobs
As travel has come to a halt, the accommodation sector — which includes hotels and bed & breakfasts — has also felt the impact. Employment went from just over 2 million in March to roughly 1.2 million in April 2020 — an 839,000 drop.
Restaurant Industry Losses due to COVID-19 Shutdowns
The NRA estimates the restaurant industry lost $80 billion in sales by the end of April and will lose $240 billion by the end of 2020. However, experts say that’s only just the tip of the iceberg.
In mid-April, the association conducted an industry impact survey of more than 6,500 restaurant operators. They found that two out of three restaurant employees lost their job, four out of 10 restaurants were closed, and 61 percent of operators felt federal relief funding wouldn’t prevent future layoffs.
It’s why the NRA has drafted a Blueprint for Recovery asking U.S. lawmakers for help. Among its provisions? To create a $240 billion restaurant recovery fund, a Healthy Restaurants Tax Credit or grant program, as well as increase funding for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs).
The Coronavirus Pandemic’s Financial Impact on the Hotel Industry
“Historic damage.” They’re the words the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) is using to describe the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on this industry. The association estimates that since the earlier phases of the pandemic, hotels have lost more than $21 billion in room revenue.
But it doesn’t stop there. Smith Travel Research, a hotel industry analytics firm, reported that approximately seven out of 10 hotel rooms in the country were empty as of early May. Given these low occupancy rates, the AHLA estimates that hotels will lose up to $400 million in room revenue daily, or $2.8 billion weekly.
It’s in light of this devastation that Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson recorded this special message to employees. Here, he describes some of the tough decisions leaders are making — including taking pay cuts, suspending non-essential travel, and pausing new hires:
What’s more, is that the association estimates that furloughed workers are losing more than $2.4 billion in earnings each week. It’s ultimately why AHLA is calling 2020 the industry’s worst year on record, with forecasted occupancy rates worse than those of the Great Depression.
#2 – Education and Health Services in the COVID-19 Crisis
The next-greatest drop in a single month can be seen within education and health services, at just over 2.5 million job losses. This industry includes a wide range of employees including those working in schools, doctors’ offices, and daycares.
First, we’ll begin with a closer look at the impact on the health care industry.
Despite the fact that this crisis has placed health care workers on the front lines, many of their jobs have not been immune to cuts. In just one month, health care employment dropped by 1.4 million.
One of the areas of greatest impact? Dentist offices, with a job drop of more than 500,000 employees in April 2020.
Physicians’ offices have also experienced sharp declines, losing 243,000 jobs in the same time period. Other areas of impact include:
- Other health care practitioners, which lost 205,000 jobs
- Hospitals, which lost 135,000 jobs
- Nursing and residential care facilities, which lost 113,000 jobs
And now, for job losses in the education industry. With stay-at-home orders forcing teachers and students into online learning environments, it should come as no surprise that this industry was among the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. In fact, more than 457,000 workers lost their jobs at schools, colleges, universities, and training centers in April.
But many within the education industry fear that even more job cuts are on the horizon. In a report released by the Learning Policy Institute, experts estimate that as many as 320,000 teaching positions could be eliminated if states are forced to reduce their budgets by at least 15 percent. The Council of the Great City Schools is also projecting concerning job loss stats for larger school districts — to the tune of 275,000 potential teacher layoffs.
Health Care Industry Losses During the Pandemic
The American Hospital Association (AHA) estimates that our country’s hospitals and health systems will lose $202.6 billion from May to June — or, roughly $50.7 billion per month — as a result of COVID-19. AHA experts arrived at these estimates by looking at the following financial impacts:
- The cost of coronavirus hospitalizations
- Hospitals canceling non-emergency procedures, and patients postponing care
- The purchase of personal protective equipment, or PPE
- Additional support that some hospitals are providing to its staff
Covered California warns of another potential financial impact of the coronavirus — higher costs for consumers. Their reasoning? As health insurers cover coronavirus testing, treatment, and care, they incur unexpected costs. Therefore, consumers may end up experiencing higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs in 2021. It’s a good reason for consumers to make time to closely evaluate their health insurance coverage and rates.
Along with all these challenges facing the healthcare industry, fraudsters are providing fake healthcare products in an attempt to steal money from targets.
COVID-19’s Financial Impact on Colleges and Universities
Colleges and universities across the country are reporting significant financial setbacks as a result of the crisis. For instance, the University of California lost $558 million in the month of March. And the University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel projects losses will be between $400 million to $1 billion.
For some colleges and universities, the financial impact of this pandemic has been so severe, they’ll have to close their doors for good.
In March, the Board of Trustees of MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois made a unanimous decision to close the college at the end of this spring semester. You can hear more in this message from the chairman of the board and the college president:
Even though MacMurray officials say COVID-19 was not the main reason behind the college’s closing, they do explain:
“The coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic disruption were recent factors that complicated MacMurray’s financial condition. It was a recent factor in an already troubled financial situation.”
Higher education officials warn that this may not be the only college that will have to close its doors. University of Pennsylvania professor Robert Zemsky recently told ABC News that as many as 20 percent of the nation’s colleges may face closure because of the pandemic.
#3 – Retail Trade in the Face of COVID-19
Next on our list is the retail trade industry. In March 2020, retail trade saw a loss of 46,000 jobs. In April, that number jumped to 2.1 million. Which form of retail has been hit the hardest? According to BLS data, clothing and accessories stores lost 740,000 jobs in April.
Other areas of impact include:
- Motor and vehicle parts dealers, which lost 345,000 jobs
- Miscellaneous store retailers, which lost 264,000 jobs
- Home furnishings stores, which lost 209,000 jobs
But here’s the deal — not every group within the retail industry sector suffered a decline in employment. BLS data shows that employment at general merchandise stores, which includes warehouse clubs and supercenters, increased. In March, employment was up by 7,900. In April, it was up by 93,000 — an increase of over 91 percent.
Retail Losses Resulting from the Crisis
Just how much money do retailers stand to lose? A study conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts a loss of $429.9 billion over a three-month period. However, this estimate assumes a baseline 20 percent loss of sales. Meaning, if sales decline more, that billion-dollar figure will only increase.
It’s pretty common knowledge that before COVID-19, many brick-and-mortar retailers were already struggling to compete with online retailers. But in the following news segment, one CEO predicts that the coronavirus will force even more retailers into shifting their businesses online:
Car dealers are also reporting significant financial loss in the face of COVID-19 — $41 billion in revenue for dealers, and $2.6 billion in profits. In a recent Forbes piece, experts say that figure is a result of dealers losing 1.5 million new and used vehicle sales between March 2 and May 3, 2020.
#4 – Professional and Business Services and the Coronavirus Pandemic
The professional and business services industry is another hit hard by the widespread crisis. This industry represents a range of professions, losing 52,000 jobs in March and 2.1 million jobs in April.
Employment services, which includes temporary help services, experienced the biggest drop at just over 945,000 jobs in April 2020.
Other sectors facing significant loss include:
- Computer systems design and related services, which lost 93,200 jobs
- Architectural and engineering services, which lost 85,200 jobs
- Accounting and bookkeeping services, which lost 67,600 jobs
Finally, another sector experiencing high levels of unemployment is travel arrangement and reservation services, with close to 40,000 job losses. Without a doubt, as Americans are planning fewer trips, everyone from travel agents to tour guides is finding that their jobs are at risk.
Travel Industry Losses as a Result of COVID-19
Speaking of travel, the financial devastation has not been good for this industry. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that the pandemic has led to over $138 billion in losses for the U.S. travel economy. But the USTA says these financial losses will be felt well beyond the travel industry.
Research shows a drop in travel spending has led to the loss of $17.9 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue from March 1 to May 2, 2020.
In this interview with CBS News, Jacqui Gifford of Travel + Leisure magazine shares another interesting statistic — one in ten jobs from around the world come from travel and tourism. Gifford goes on to say that even though a lot of uncertainty remains around when travel will pick up, important preparations are underway to ensure that flights and hotels are safe:
As difficult as these losses have been, experts are pointing to some good news — travel spending is starting to pick back up. Going into the first week of May, the USTA reported that weekly travel spending increased for the first time in nine weeks. Yet in spite of this uptick, the USTA warns the travel economy is still 88 percent below last year’s levels.
#5 – Manufacturing in the COVID-19 Crisis
Wrapping up our list of the top five industries hit hardest by coronavirus is manufacturing. The damage? Just over 1.3 million jobs lost in the month of April 2020.
The greatest impact can be seen in durable goods, which saw a loss of 914,000 jobs in this time frame.
Durable goods includes everything from machinery to the production of motor vehicle parts. Experts say what makes this loss even more disappointing is that U.S. durable goods saw a jump in February.
But as seen in the above Bloomberg news report, a huge contributing factor to the decline in durable goods has been a decrease in car sales and production. In fact, the BLS reports that motor and vehicle parts manufacturing lost 382,000 jobs in April.
Other affected areas within durable goods include:
- Nonmetallic mineral products, which lost 61,600 jobs
- Furniture and related products, which lost 59,200 jobs
- Electrical equipment and appliances, which lost 20,800 jobs
When it comes to the nondurable goods manufacturing, 416,000 jobs were cut in the same time frame. This includes those who work in food manufacturing and plastics and rubber products.
The Pandemic’s Financial Impact on Manufacturing
The U.S. Census Bureau provides some early economic indicators as to just how hard-hit the durable goods sector has been in this crisis, and it’s serious. In its most recent report, the Census Bureau reports that:
Orders for manufactured durable goods dropped by $36 billion in March 2020. This drop was the second-largest ever in this industry and follows three straight months of increases.
The main contributor to this decline? Experts with the Census Bureau say that was none other than transportation-related goods. That alone dropped by $35.6 billion, or 41 percent. Had that not been a factor, new orders in durable goods would have decreased by just 0.2 percent.
As stated in its report, many of these businesses are “operating on a limited capacity or have ceased operations completely.” Without a doubt, the big question in the manufacturing industry will be whether the gradual reopening of our country will make for a quick turnaround.
COVID-19 and Business Interruption Insurance
If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s the importance of preparing for the unexpected. The United States is now officially in a recession fueled by COVID-19. Some metros are well-prepared to face recession, while others will have a harder time weathering this storm.
As many business owners move forward, a critical step will be having business interruption insurance. This is sometimes referred to as business income insurance.
Bottom line? Business interruption insurance is a safeguard for small business owners when disasters strike.
The ultimate goal is to help cover costs at a time when a business is forced to temporarily shut down. In other words, business interruption insurance is really important.
What does business interruption insurance cover?
First things first: Business interruption insurance isn’t sold as a stand-alone policy. Rather, it can be added as part of a broader policy. Some examples include business owner’s policies (also known as BOPs), commercial property insurance policies, or commercial package policies.
While there are always exceptions, business interruption insurance typically provides the following:
- Lost income: This helps cover income you would lose if your business must vacate its property due to disaster-related damage normally covered under your property insurance.
- Relocation expenses: If the event forces your business to move to a new location, moving expenses are covered.
- Revenue: This factors in money your business would have earned if the disaster had never taken place.
- Payroll coverage: In the event of a disaster, this allows you to continue to pay employees.
- Continuing expenses: This includes expenses that you are still obligated to pay, such as electricity or rent, even as your business is temporarily shut down.
- Unexpected extra expenses: If the disaster leads to unforeseen expenses, such as purchasing new equipment or re-training employees, your coverage would kick in.
This video provides a real-world example of how businesses can benefit from business interruption insurance:
Something else to keep in mind? It may take up to 48 hours before coverage kicks in. As a result, business owners are urged to file claims as quickly as possible.
It’s also important that business owners set high enough policy limits to cover more than just a couple of days. At the end of the day, you want to give yourself and your business plenty of time to recover and get back on track.
Lawsuits Over Denied COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims
Given the effects of the coronavirus crisis, business owners are filing claims and seeking relief through their business interruption coverage. The problem? Many of those claims are being denied. And the reason why may shock you.
It all goes back to the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003. It resulted in millions of dollars worth of business interruption claims, including a single $16 million payout to the Mandarin Oriental International chain.
As a result of the high claims insurance companies paid during the SARS outbreak, it became standard for insurance companies to add exclusions for losses caused by viruses or bacteria.
Fast forward to 2020, and you can see why so many insurers are denying coronavirus-related claims. But it’s also why scores of businesses are filing lawsuits against major insurers.
Case in point? The story of a Florida dentist who filed a business interruption claim as a result of COVID-19 closures. After being denied, he took legal action. You can hear more of his story by watching this news report:
Another example can be found in a class-action business interruption insurance lawsuit filed on behalf of Washington D.C.-based restaurants against The Hartford and Sentinel. According to a press release issued by the Gibbs Law Group, restaurants believe that The Hartford and Sentinel acted in bad faith, never fully investigating their claims. They also say:
“Restaurants that thought they had secured comprehensive coverage to insure against severe business interruption risks are facing the prospect of permanent closure due to the insurer’s refusal to honor their insurance policy agreements.”
Lawmakers are also taking action. Several states have introduced legislation that would require insurance companies to cover coronavirus-related losses. Among them are New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, and South Carolina.
But even with this outcry, the insurance industry isn’t budging. In a statement released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), leaders argue that requiring insurers to cover such claims will lead to financial instability in the industry, as well as the inability to cover other types of claims.
The American Property Casualty Insurance Association has made a similar public statement, arguing that:
“Retroactively rewriting contracts for products that were never sold could have dramatic repercussions for all families, individuals, motorists, and businesses…The cost impact of retroactively changing insurance policies cannot be overstated. It is not even possible to estimate it as the crisis continues to unfold.”
This naturally begs the question: What options do small businesses have, if any, in filing claims as a result of COVID-19? And what financial relief options are available, outside of filing insurance claims? We’re exploring these topics below.
Filing Claims with Insurers over Coronavirus
Experts first and foremost advise business owners who have been negatively impacted by this pandemic to take a close look at their policies to see whether they contain exclusions. Why? Because not all of them do. The Gibbs Law Group explains that some policies will cover closures “due to an order by a civil authority.”
Attorneys say this language could be beneficial for businesses that were asked by government entities to close as a result of a shelter-in-place order.
Additionally, experts with the National Law Review say that certain businesses in the restaurant and hospitality industry may, in fact, have policies that do address losses caused by viruses. In other instances, businesses that have purchased cancellation coverage may also be able to file claims in light of COVID-19.
We’ll offer more insight into business interruption insurance claims and lawsuits in our expert advice section below. But for now, business owners should first and foremost take the time to review the language in their policies carefully and seek legal advice as needed. If they’re not satisfied, it may be time to check out insurance reviews and shop around for a new provider.
CARES Act Loans and Relief Programs for Small Businesses
The U.S. Small Business Administration has created several temporary relief programs for small business owners through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act. Perhaps the best-known program is the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.
According to the SBA, the goal of the PPP is to incentivize small businesses to keep workers on their payrolls.
This loan is fully forgiven, but under very specific guidelines: “if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.” The SBA goes on to say that at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll.
Small business owners also need to know that being eligible for forgiveness requires that they either maintain their current employees or quickly rehire them while maintaining salary levels. Beware: Forgiveness is reduced if full-time headcount goes down, or if salaries and wages decrease.
For some, fulfilling the PPP loan’s requirement of returning to work quickly has been a challenge and a concern. The issue is explored more in this CBS This Morning segment as both business owners and employees discuss their reservations:
SBA’s relief programs don’t stop with PPP loans. Under the SBA Debt Relief program, the Small Business Administration:
“Will pay six months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020.”
Through the SBA Express Bridge Loans program, small businesses that already have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender are able to access up to $25,000 quickly.
Finally, through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance, small businesses were able to apply for a loan advance of up to $10,000. However, due to a high number of applications and limited funds, the SBA is only accepting applications from U.S. agricultural businesses at this time.
Each of these programs comes with eligibility requirements and an application process. To learn more, visit the Small Business Administration website.
Something else to keep in mind: as more and more small businesses begin to reopen, following safety procedures and protocols will be vital. As noted in the Chamber of Commerce’s guide to reopening small businesses, leaders will need to plan ahead for important safety precautions. For many, this will include investing in additional hand sanitizer dispensers, performing health and temperature checks on staff prior to their shifts, or cleaning and disinfecting surfaces multiple times throughout the day.
COVID-19 Car Insurance Credits and Refunds
One area where insurers have made concessions for consumers? Car insurance rates. As fewer drivers are getting on the road, fewer accidents are taking place. And as long as there are fewer accidents taking place, insurers aren’t having to pay as many claims.
The following data gathered by Insurance Insider points to a dramatic decline in car accidents in the months of March and April:
|State||% Car Accident|
Frequency in March 2020
|% Car Accident
Frequency in April 2020
In looking at just a handful of states, we can see that the frequency of car accidents is going down — and fast. In March 2020 these eight states averaged a 33 percent drop in car accident frequency. But come April, the average drop in frequency went down even further to 50 percent.
As long as insurers are saving money on claims, it only seems logical that they pass on that relief to their customers. And so far, they have. We’ve created a table where you can compare car insurance companies and see what credits or refunds they’re offering:
|Insurance Company||Rebate or Credit|
|State Farm||25% credit on two months of car premiums|
|Geico||15% off a six-month policy, credited at renewal|
|Progressive||20% credit on two months of car premiums|
|USAA||20% credit on two months of car premiums|
|Liberty||15% refund on two months of car premiums|
|Farmers||25% credit for the month of April|
|Nationwide||One-time refund of $50 per policy|
|American Family||$50 payment per covered vehicle|
|Travelers||15% refund (April / May)|
|Kemper||15% credit on two months of car premiums|
|National General||15% credit on April premiums for personal auto|
|Mercury||15% credit on two months of car premiums|
|Hartford||15% credit on two months of car premiums|
|Hanover||15% refund on two months of car premiums|
|Chubb||35% reduction for April/May, with additional discounts possible in later months|
|Cincinnati||15% credit on two months of car premiums|
|Horace Mann||15% credit on two months of car premiums|
A majority of our nation’s major car insurers are offering customers credits or refunds of at least 15 percent on one or two months’ worth of auto insurance payments. Others are offering even higher discounts, with State Farm providing its customers with a 25 percent credit for two months, and Chubb Insurance offering a 35 percent reduction for the months of April and May 2020.
One of the more significant reductions can be found with Geico, with the insurer offering a 15 percent discount off of an entire six-month policy.
This information serves as a reminder that in times of crisis, every bit helps. Whether it’s car insurance, business insurance, or home insurance, now is the time for consumers to determine the best budget insurance company for their needs, ensuring every opportunity for savings.
Expert Advice: How Businesses Can Respond to COVID-19
Don’t just take it from us. To ensure you receive the best possible guidance, we sought advice from experts around the country. Areas of specialization include insurance claims, risk management, and finance.
Here’s what they have to share with businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic:
What are the most important steps that businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 should be taking right now?
“First and foremost, doing everything reasonably possible to ensure the physical well-being of their employees and themselves is most important. Beyond that, business owners should be focused on instituting emergency business continuity strategies.
Business owners should begin by contacting an insurance claims professional to review their insurance policies and business practices to determine the extent and availability of insurance coverage.
Work to identify any local, state, federal, and private business financing options that may be available. Work with qualified personnel to ensure efficient and accurate filing of pertinent data required for grant and loan applications.
Identify essential and non-essential employees to help direct available resources. Generate accurate projections and benchmarks to adjust continuity planning as necessary
Begin formal assessment of business interruption losses. For less complex businesses like multi-unit rental buildings, this can generally be accomplished relatively easily with a bookkeeper or general accounting. For more complex business income analysis, where things such as projected revenues or dependent properties are involved, the assistance of an experienced forensic accountant analyst should be sought.”
Can businesses negatively impacted by the coronavirus expect coverage from a business insurance plan to kick in?
“It will be important for most businesses and claims advisors to be sure and set reasonable expectations with regard to the potential availability of insurance coverage. For many claims, coverage is unlikely to exist. However, in some cases, insurance coverage will be available.
There is a substantial amount of disinformation and a lack of accurate understanding surrounding insurance coverage for COVID-19 pandemic-related claims. This is compounded by inaccurate advice given by many insurance brokerages that fail to understand the nuanced elements of insurance coverage application, how it is affected by laws, and the jurisdictions in which they apply.
Business owners need to understand that some insurance policies will provide insurance coverage for COVID-19 pandemic claims.
Policies that afford coverage will be the exception, not the rule. But Business Interruption, Civil Authority, and Ingress and Egress are just a few of the insurance coverages that can be triggered for pandemic-related claims.
Affected business owners should speak with an experienced claims expert early and often in the claims process. By doing so, they may discover there is coverage available for their losses.”
What other coverage options are available to businesses if their claims are denied by their insurers?
“As noted above, there are several types of coverage that can be triggered in such instances. However, these coverages and their application are subject to the terms and conditions of the policy, and each policy is generally different. Business owners should have their policies reviewed on a case-by-case basis by an experienced claims professional.”
Should businesses consider joining in lawsuits against insurance companies, or should they await the outcome of pending legislation that seeks to have insurers cover these claims?
“This is something that should be decided on a case-by-case basis. While legislative advancements can retroactively affect claims that are not participating in those suits, there will often be unique elements of a business’ operations and or nuance to their insurance policies which require added consideration. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a business’ particular claim is essential to determining the most effective recovery strategy.”
If a business owner is denied a claim by their insurer as a result of COVID-19, should he or she give up hope? What other avenues would you recommend he or she pursue?
“No. Business owners need to understand that this is an unprecedented event in modern history. It’s an ever-changing landscape that will have far-reaching implications for business owners across the country.”
We understand that the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. How long will it take for some of the hardest-hit industries to recover?
“It’s difficult for anyone to predict how long or if many businesses will recover from this pandemic and related emergency orders. It will depend on many factors such as how heavily a particular region has been impacted by the disease, how quickly new cases begin to reduce, how effective a business has been in developing their business continuity strategies, and the specific types of businesses that have been affected.”
Brian C. Evans, P.A., is the president and CEO of Eastern Public, LLC.
His company is an insurance claims and risk management firm based in New York City.
“Traditional insurance companies reject claims if pandemics are an exclusion in the policy, and in most cases, they are. Exclusions began appearing since the 2003 SARS outbreak. You can sue, but if it’s there in black and white, there’s little chance of success.
There may be an opportunity with travel and event insurance, where it’s unlikely they excluded pandemics in the terms. I would join in every class action suit that makes sense. You never know.
The best way to address this crisis is to look for new opportunities that fit your business model with flexibility. For example, shift from brick-and-mortar to online trading, promote curb pick-up, and if possible, move over to health care service products.
Cash flow is king. If it dries up, the business dies. Period. Suing insurance entities is a long-term measure that cash flow can’t wait for.
Furlough staff if you have to, and lay off the deadwood. Clean out wasteful working capital wherever you can. Replace with gig economy freelancers on Upwork and similar.
Go for every federal and state subsidy out there. Interpreting it and being fast enough are necessary skills to get in with some traction.
I think we are underestimating the impact of this virus. It’s going to take a long time before people can venture forth and feel safe. The psychology and confidence of the masses will never be the same again. Travel, restaurants, hospitality — simple things like haircuts and socializing at clubs are stalling for who knows how long. Sports are in hibernation, and how will they jump back?
The beginning of the end will come when there’s an affordable vaccination — one that we can trust. That looks months away, but they may turn the engine on that to revs never seen before. The second wave they say is coming. We have at least another nine months of this mess ahead of us in my opinion.”
Gordon Polovin is a finance expert on the advisory board for Wealthy Living Today.
Wealthy Living Today offers advice on improving finances and money management.
“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people from around the world are struggling right now — physically, mentally, and financially. With unemployment at an all-time high and businesses slow, many are struggling to save money or pay the bills.
Whether you are an employee or a business owner, everyone has been economically affected by the recent pandemic. It’s never too late to take action and make changes to ensure you are in the best financial place possible.
My goal is to provide the tools needed to help avoid wiping out your savings so that people and businesses can continue to thrive once the country is back up and running again.
Put Together a Solid Budget
Whether your job has been affected by this crisis or not, now is a crucial time to put together a solid budget. Focusing on your budget can help you feel more in control of your finances in the midst of uncertainty.
First, figure out your current cash flow and prioritize your spending accordingly. Make a list of everything you are currently spending money on and circle the items that qualify as wants. Food and housing should be top priorities. If you’re worried about making your housing payments, contact your lender or landlord to discuss payment options.
Cut Out Unnecessary Expenses
Now may be a good time to cut out those wants, like new clothes or monthly subscription services (streaming services, delivery services, meal subscription, or iCloud storage). With social distancing and lockdowns in place, you are likely spending more time at home browsing the internet.
Avoid impulse purchases! Be intentional and ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this item? Why am I purchasing this?’
Cook at Home
Cooking more at home is always a smart way to save money, especially now. Skip the takeout multiple times a week — it adds up!
When it comes to grocery shopping, keep it low-cost by being mindful of what you put in your cart. Plan simple meals ahead and create a weekly shopping list that consists of shelf-stable foods (rice, pasta, beans, etc.). Also, shop for fresh foods that freeze well, like bread and shredded cheese.
Do Not Check Your Investments Daily
Uncertainty can cause anxiety, and right now we are seeing much uncertainty in the economy. With reports of the stock market fluctuating, it is easy to get caught up in those anxious feelings, but it’s important to take a step back and breathe!
Do not check your investments every day. Let them ride! Also, don’t try to play the market. The more you try and time the market to get better returns, the more often you end up losing money. Remember, markets tend to return to health over the long term.
Save Money NOW
Now is a great time to call your cell phone and insurance providers to see if you can save money. With fewer people driving, many auto insurers are already cutting premiums on car insurance. It may be worth it to call your provider, explain your situation if you are home and not driving as much, to see if they can provide you with a cheaper policy.
If you are working from home, you may also be able to save on your phone plan. Do you really need that big data plan? Look into cheaper data plans offered by your provider and compare them to deals from other providers.
Our energy plays a big role in our well-being in all aspects of life. Try your best to stay calm.
Limit your news consumption. If you are homebound, stay physically and mentally active. Get outside and embrace the fresh air! Maintain your social life while respecting social distancing — even if that means virtual meetups.
Lastly, know that you are not alone!
Although this is a stressful time, keep in mind that this is temporary! Budgeting and properly managing our money, along with maintaining a positive mindset will help us get through these trying times. Plus, we will be better prepared for future ups and downs!”
Galit Tsadik is a finance expert who is the founder & CEO of FINancialSharktress.
A Certified Financial Educator, Gail teaches money wisdom to earn financial freedom.
Industries Hit Hardest by Coronavirus: A Final Word
There’s no other way to say it. The statistics are heartbreaking, unprecedented, and in many ways, unbelievable. Without a doubt, the coronavirus has ravaged this economy in ways none of us could have ever imagined. And for those who have lost their jobs or lost their businesses, a turnaround could not come sooner.
But the question weighing heavily on everyone’s mind is this: When will things really begin to turn around? Though we can’t provide a definite answer, our research points to some glimmers of hope:
- More and more states are relaxing stay-at-home orders
- More and more employees are being given the green light to return to work, even if it’s at a limited capacity
- Though the financial losses have been significant, some industries — including auto and travel — are reporting some gains
But in the end, we can’t talk about our future without looking at the past. And one thing we can be sure of is this country’s track record of recovering from some of the most difficult economic disasters. We can only hope with enough proactive measures — and time — the coronavirus pandemic will be a thing of the past.
Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19
We know you may have more questions. The good news? We have answers. Keep reading for our top FAQs:
#1 – What is considered a small business under the CARES Act?
According to the SBA, small businesses of under 500 employees are eligible to apply for federal relief. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website goes on to say that includes:
“…eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.”
Additionally, some businesses with over 500 employees can apply as long as they meet the SBA’s size standards for certain industries. More guidance can be found by visiting the SBA’s size standards page.
#2 – What loans are available under the CARES Act?
The following loans are still available under the CARES Act:
- The Paycheck Protection Program
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Emergency Advance
- SBA Express Bridge Loans
- SBA Debt Relief
But the key for any small business will be to act quickly because the SBA is accepting a large number of applications, and funds are running out.
#3 – Who is at a higher risk of developing severe illness from coronavirus?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that those who are most at risk are older adults (ages 65 and up or living in a nursing home or long-term care facility), as well as people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions. Some examples of serious underlying conditions are diabetes, moderate to severe asthma, severe obesity, and those who are considered immunocompromised.
#4 – What is the recovery time for the coronavirus disease?
Research from the World Health Organization shows that the median recovery time for a mild case of COVID-19 is about two weeks. For patients with severe or critical diseases, the median time for recovery is about three to six weeks.
#5 – Can antibiotics treat coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization, antibiotics work against bacteria and not viruses. Therefore, antibiotics cannot be used to treat COVID-19.
In a time of unprecedented economic loss, we wanted to get a fuller picture of the impact this pandemic is having on our nation’s industries.
To assess which industries were hit hardest, our team of researchers spent time gathering data in two primary fields: unemployment data and financial impact.
Unemployment data: We turned to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation Report, carefully reviewing the most recent over-the-month changes among dozens of industry sectors and groups at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial impact: We sought out the data and studies performed by nearly a dozen government agencies, universities, and industry associations such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Restaurant Association, and the American Hospital Association — just to name a few.
By using the BLS unemployment date as our primary source, and financial impact as a secondary source, we determined the top five industries hit hardest by this pandemic: leisure and hospitality, education and health services, retail trade, professional and business services, and manufacturing.