My fellow entrepreneurs, 2020 and 2021 have most definitely tested our grit—from Covid to the Snowpocalypse! But we’re survivors, and we’ll keep on pushing.
During the storm, my office was shut down. I had a team to take care of, clients to serve, and I was in a car accident. I wasn’t injured badly—but enough to put things on hold.
I learned a lot from the experience. It’s been important to keep perspective. Things may be tough at times, but they’ll get better. And through it all, we’re lucky to be able to offer support and assistance to our community. Here’s our advice on some of the issues your business might be facing.
Handling surprise utility bills
As of this writing, utility regulators in Texas have temporarily halted electricity providers from billing customers and/or turning off their power for nonpayment. Because certain providers offer wholesale prices based on demand, some Texans saw their bills skyrocket after the storm. One person received a bill for $16,752.
But we don’t yet have solid answers on whether or not customers will be asked to pay those bills.
For now, if your business or office—or home office, these days—has racked up an untenably high bill, hold on to your statements and take the proactive step of asking your provider what help may be available. The Public Utility Commission (PUC) requires companies to maintain information about bill payment assistance programs.
Making a business insurance claim
If your business suffered property damage as a result of the storm, it’s time to review your business insurance policy and make a claim.
Most commercial property insurance policies will cover property damage, which normally includes water damage from pipes that have frozen and burst. Some insurance companies may insist on an “allowed recovery period,” which means you have a set window in which to make a claim.
As a business owner, you may also need to file a “business interruption” claim. This clause covers revenue and earnings loss due to property damage from an insured peril (like a storm).
Particularly after an incident like the Snowpocalypse, when insurance companies will be hit with many claims, prep yourself for a back-and-forth over how much damage or loss can be shown to have come directly from the storm.
My team and I can help you file these claims to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.
Cousin to the “business interruption” claim is the “contingent business interruption” claim. This covers earnings and revenue loss when a business partner, supplier, or customer has had their property damaged in a way that prevented them from being able to supply their normal service to you—service that allows you to run your business.
I know you’ve got a lot going on right now, but there are certain steps you can take to make your claim stronger. Take photos or videos of any damage as soon as possible. Write everything down. You may also want to hire a professional, such as a contractor, to give you a damage assessment.
Managing liability issues
If a customer was injured on your commercial property or an employee got hurt while working, you may be faced with a liability claim, such as a tort—which is a claim that you could have done something to protect the person but didn’t.
Whether you need legal counsel in defending against a liability claim or assistance filing with your business liability insurance company, we can help.
As I said at the beginning of this post, we’re survivors—and we’ll keep on pushing.
We’re hearing glimmers of good news ahead, including talk of loans and grants for Texans affected by the Snowpocalypse. We’ll keep you apprised.
Be safe. Be grateful. Keep hustlin’. We’re here for you.
If you have questions about filing a business insurance claim, liability issues, or any other business challenges as a result of back-to-back crises, contact us. Our experienced Texas attorneys can guide you through the process.