Business Income Worksheet: A Refresher

By Andrew Royce, February 24, 2015

Consider these odds: Over 70% of businesses involved in a major fire either do not reopen, or subsequently fail within 3 years.  Businesses that do survive plan their response to a disaster before it strikes.  Today, every business is vulnerable to unpredictable events; whether or not they become disasters is up to the executive’s disaster recovery planning process.  This requires an understanding and completion of the Business Income worksheet.  The purpose of business income protection is to put the insured in the same place - financially speaking - that s/he would have been, had no loss occurred. 

Lost business income results from the interruption of normal business operations due to  direct physical damage of property under a covered cause of loss. The business either shuts down or continues operations in a reduced capacity. In most instances, revenue declines or ceases while some expenses continue. The insured seeks compensation under the lost business income provisions of its policy.  Below is a refresher on business interruption coverage meant to help understand and complete the business income worksheet.

Business Income (BI) Insurance insures the net profit (or loss) and continuing expenses you (the insured) would have had if there had not been any covered loss.  Any expense that is not necessary to continue will not be paid.

Continuing Expenses are normal operating expenses - including payroll - that may continue during the period of restoration and extended period of indemnity.   

Non-Continuing Expenses are normal operating expenses that do not continue during the period of restoration and extended period of indemnity.

Extra Expense (EE) insures those necessary expenses over and above your normal operating expenses that you pay in an attempt to reduce the BI loss and/or return to business more rapidly than if such extra expenses were not paid.

Business Income Including Extra Expense Combined Limits: If the combined BI/EE form is purchased, values for BI and EE should be established and combined.  Too many times only the BI value is calculated. At the time of loss, the combined BI/EE limit of insurance may be used entirely for BI; entirely for EE; or any combination of BI/EE.

Period of Restoration is the period of time that payment of the covered losses will continue.  This period ends when:

  • The property is restored;
  • For manufacturers, plus the time it takes for them to restore their manufacturing production facilities; or
  • The limit of insurance is exhausted, whichever is first.

Extended Period of Indemnity insures the difference between what the business is doing following restoration of property and what it would have done had no loss occurred.  Most companies grant 30 days coverage for the extended period of indemnity with the option to purchase a greater time frame up to “unlimited”.

Waiting Period is an amount of time, represented by normal business hours, which must elapse before the insurance company will start calculating a Business Income (BI) loss.  The BI coverage starts after the waiting period is exhausted.  The waiting period does not apply to extra expense.  This is so you may use Extra Expense (EE) dollars immediately so as to return to business quickly.

100% Business Income amount is determined by completing a BI Worksheet. The worksheet sets forth what constitutes the 100% BI for the 12 months of the policy year.  In theory, if you were out of business for 12 months, and you determined the 100% BI correctly, you would have insurance for 12 months.  If you determine that recovery will take a period longer than 12 months, you will need to calculate an increased BI limit.  You must be conservative in estimating how long it will take you to return the business to where it would have been had no loss occurred.

If you estimate recovery time to be:

  • 9 months (optimistic), you'd require 75% of the 100% BI;
  • 12 months, you'd require 100% of the 100% BI; or
  • 18 months, you'd require 150% of the 100% BI

Ordinary Payroll is automatically covered under BI insurance.  If you do not want to cover ordinary payroll, it must be excluded or limited by endorsement.  Non-ordinary payroll or executive payroll may not be excluded, as these individuals are essential for the insured’s return to business.

Failure to insure the ordinary payroll may cause problems in returning to the marketplace because trained employees may not be available.  In such cases, training costs are not insured and may represent a considerable amount plus a delay in returning to business.

There are two types of payroll:

Executive Payroll

  • officers
  • executives
  • department managers
  • employees under contract
  • any additonal person(s) the insured wants to decree as executive payroll either by job classification or by individual name

Ordinary Payroll

  • payroll
  • benefits
  • government pensions paid by the insured
  • union dues paid by the insured
  • Workers' Compensation premium

Even though it is not advisable to exclude ordinary payroll, you have the option to exclude it entirely or insure the ordinary payroll for 30, 60, 90 or 180 days.  

Steps you can take to help resolve your claim favorably:

  • Do your best to read your policy carefully. If you do not understand how the insurer will calculate the income loss, ask for an explanation and insist that the method of calculation be consistent with policy terms and applicable laws and regulations.
  • Start gathering data immediately following the incident.  Don’t throw anything away, even if it’s damaged, until you determine whether it may be needed to support your claim, including your claim for the physical damage.
  • Involve your accountant or other financial expert in any significant financial loss.
  • Keep accurate records of sales and operational expenses that continue after a loss. Lost revenue and extra expenses caused by the interruption should be tracked from day one. You may want to track extra expenses in a separate ledger or account. Get professional help if necessary.
  • Take photographs of the damage before you make any repairs or remove any damaged items.
  • Take reasonable steps to avoid or minimize your loss. For example, you may consider re-opening your business at a temporary location, outsourcing some operations to other organizations, or continue to operate using only part of your business space, etc.
  • Keep a log of all communications with the insurance company during the claims process.  In addition, keep copies of all letters and emails you receive from and send to the insurer or its representatives.
  • Avoid misunderstandings; ask the insurance company for all documents in writing.
  • Consider hiring an independent insurance adjuster or insurance attorney (at your expense) to deal with the insurance company and advise you regarding how best to prove your claim and maximize your recovery consistent with policy terms.

Conclusion:

Accurately calculating business interruption values is a critical part of an organization’s pre-loss planning process.  Having an accurate valuation greatly improves the recovery process and the organization’s probability of surviving a catastrophic event.

Tags: Business Income Insurance, Commercial Business Income, BI

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