Lance Ewing says it's pretty obvious his business was interrupted by the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks. After all, his company, GES Exposition Services, a Las
Vegas-based convention services provider, suffered losses when trade shows were
canceled following the attacks. But Ewing, GES' senior director of insurance and
loss prevention, might be out of luck; it's unclear whether his business
interruption insurance will compensate him for the losses.

He's not alone. Many companies indirectly affected by the attacks are now
testing their business interruption insurance policies to find out what ?business
interruption really means. Though these policies clearly cover losses related to
physical damage, risk managers say it?s uncertain how companies that didn't
take a direct hit but nonetheless suffered might fare.

Bob Hartwig, chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute, an
industry-funded trade group, says physical damage is the only way a business
interruption policy is triggered. But Mark Miller, a lawyer with Greenberg
Traurig in Washington, cites three clauses in business interruption policies
that could provide coverage: The sue-and-labor clause covers costs a business
incurs when it acts to minimize losses and might apply to firms that paid for
increased security; civil-authority clauses, which cover losses caused by
government action and clearly cover airlines and others affected by the FAA's
shutdown of airports; and contingent business interruption coverage, which pays
for losses suffered because of damage to another business.

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