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Businesses with business interruption coverage continue to struggle with decisions over whether to bring suit over stalled negotiations or flat-out denials of their claims.  Suit limitations provisions in their policies can be a trap for the unwary.  With the approach of the one-year anniversary of the first of the various emergency orders that paralyzed business as the country contended with the coronavirus pandemic, policyholders must ensure the suit limitations provision does not spring up and eviscerate their claim for coverage.  Many policyholders with valid pandemic business interruption claims have sat on the sidelines while others fought the initial battles with the insurers over the scope of virus exclusions and whether loss of use constitutes “physical loss or damage.”  It has been worth the wait for some; insureds have scored significant wins in multiple jurisdictions.  But for other insureds those victories may be for naught if they fail to consider their own policies’ suit limitations provisions.

We learned in law school that, assuming one wasn’t doing something immoral or otherwise against public policy, one could put just about anything into a contract.  We also learned that to avoid stale claims, governments established statutes of limitations.  For breach of contract claims, such limitations periods were longer than those for torts, sometimes three years, but more often five or six, or even ten years.  

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