COVID shutdowns cost Ohio businesses big bucks. Should insurance pay?

The Ohio Supreme Court will consider an insurance law case that asks whether businesses can make claims against COVID-related losses. The case could have big implications for the insurance industry as well as business owners.

The Ohio insurance industry is keeping a close eye on a case before the Ohio Supreme Court that will decide whether businesses shut down during the coronavirus pandemic can make claims against their property insurance policies.

“You’d literally wipe out the entire industry in a matter of months,” said Dean Fadel of the Ohio Insurance Institute. 

Neuro-Communications Services Inc. versus Cincinnati Insurance is one of hundreds of similar cases being contested worldwide, he said.

The central question is: Does the coronavirus circulating in the community, landing on surfaces or being carried around by infected people result in property damage?

Neuro-Communication Services Inc. bought an all-risk policy from Cincinnati Insurance, which didn’t have an exclusions for losses caused by viruses or pandemics. Like thousands of businesses, Neuro-Communication had to shut down almost all of its operations from March 23 to May 4, 2020.