Many churches and business are certainly facing potential loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic and their inability to meet and gather for services. This inability to meet is certainly an interruption to the core of your mission. Even though you know this pandemic has caused harm, it remains questionable to whether insurance companies will approve claims related to Covid-19.
What to do first, read your entire policy thoroughly paying attention to the four particular coverage's listed below and the language associated with those that may give you cause to make a claim.
1. Business Interruption
2. Contingent Business Interruption
2. Order of Civil Authority
3. Interruption by Communicable Disease
Once thing you should be aware of is the "trigger" to make such claims. Typically under most policies there must include direct physical loss to the property, and that is the "trigger." What we know of the Corona-virus, is that it can affect persons, but it can also contaminate surfaces, buildings, cars, airplanes, and other enclosed places; thus giving rise and reason to cause damage to the property. This is an argument you will likely have to negotiate, if not fight for, because it is certainly anticipated that the insurance industry will ultimately deny claims based on the requirement for direct physical loss to property.
Secondly, contact your agent. While it is still unclear how insurance companies will address these claims, you can be sure there will likely be many legal battles fought on this front. But we believe it is certainly worth your time to investigate and discuss such claims with your agent, whether or not you make a claim. At the very least you will find out more about your policy and potentially find other coverage's you may need.
On another related note; churches who have applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Cares Act, and received funds, there is an ethical question a church must address. Is it right to receive PPP funds and make an insurance claim? While there are some leaders that would find the two as unrelated issues, there are just as certainly others which would find them too closely related and see the funds as "double dipping." Your church leaders are the only ones that can make those decisions, but it should certainly be part of the discussion.
For more information on your particular Church Insurer, please see their official statements by clicking the links below.