Following days of riots and protests in cities and towns across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death, there are many questions concerning insurance coverage, how to manage the risks and what other factors business and property owners should address in the aftermath.
According to the Insurance Information Institute website, there is a cost to these events. Before the riots in Minneapolis and other areas---for which numbers are not yet available---the most expensive civil disorder events occurred from April 29 through May 4, 1992, in Los Angeles, following the acquittal of the police officers involved with the arrest and beating of Rodney King. Property Claims Services, a unit of Verisk Analytics, found the riots and looting caused $775 million in insured losses.
More recently, there were $24 million in insured losses following the civil unrest that occurred in Baltimore, MD, in 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody after he suffered a spinal cord injury.
Here are eight factors to consider or actions to take in the wake of civil disorders.
1. Is there coverage?
Generally yes, since riots, civil commotion and vandalism are included as named perils in most first-party property policies, unless there is language specifically excluding them. They are covered perils in commercial property policies, standard homeowners policies and business insurance policies.
2. What is covered?
Auto insurance should provide coverage for damaged cars under the comprehensive portion of the policy. Homeowners insurance should cover property damage. Business insurance covers physical damage to a building and its contents, lost income for suspended operations, civil authority covers property loss other than the business location due to closures by the authorities.
3. What should landlords/owners do?
Patrick Kelahan, a building consultant with H2M architects + engineers, recommends proving building/property ownership to onsite law enforcement personnel, attending to any injured individuals and stabilizing the building and ensuring it is safe.
This can include boarding up windows and doors, securing utilities and capturing witness statements. Code enforcement officials may also need to be contacted. Notify the insurance company and the mortgage-holder of the property of the damage.