Businesses hurt by RNC could turn to insurance policies

6:47 PM, Sep 5, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla. -- During the Republican National Convention, many downtown business found their sales suffering. Regular crowds had disappeared for the week because of road closures, but convention delegates and visitors hadn't replaced them. Several business owners reported sales were down between 30 and 90 percent from what they normally would be.

And while some are now looking to the city to help make up the losses, others may actually be able to look to their own insurance policies.

"You might have coverage for a loss just by not having the business come in because people were blocked from going inside your business," said Kelly Kubiak with the Merlin Law Group in Harbour Island.

It's called civil authority coverage, and according to Kubiak, it's part of many commercial insurance policies, but it's sometimes tricky to figure out.

"What you'll look for are certain things: whether there was a road that was closed that prevented people from going to your business during the convention. And if that's the case, then you also had a loss. Either there was physical property damage or there was some lost business income," she said.

When it comes to trying to recoup losses from the city, Tampa City attorney Jim Shimberg said all claims filed by businesses will be looked at by the city's Risk Management Department. So far, only a couple have been received.

City leaders, including Mayor Bob Buckhorn, have maintained that they gave owners fair warning about road closures and potential effects on businesses. And Kubiak says that could complicate the quest to recoup their losses through a claim or taking legal action against the city.

"[The city] gave them advance notice of what roads were going to be closed and how long they were going to be," she said. "I think it was pretty well known by most people that the convention was coming to town."

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