Canada: When It Rains, It Pours: Insurance Recovery For Earnings Loss

As I write this article, Toronto is recovering from its biggest rainfall since Hurricane Hazel. Two weeks ago, downtown Calgary was affected by days of heavy rains following which the Bow River burst its banks. And while the initial focus should always be on the personal safety of those affected, in short order this focus will give way to dealing with the financial consequences of the events which have occurred.

As "forensic accountants," who specialize in insurance and litigation claims, our group knows the "financial" questions that may surface when natural disasters occur. The first question may be, "Are we covered by insurance?" This question is followed by, "What exactly are we covered for?" If you are unsure as to whether coverage applies, you should consult with your insurance counsel or insurance broker. If you determine that coverage is available, the next question may be, "How much can I claim?"

If your business has been affected by the recent flooding (or by any other insured event), and the business has or will suffer an earnings loss, you may wish to check with your insurance broker to determine if you have coverage for earnings loss. Often this is called coverage for "business interruption." Whatever name is used, the coverage allows you to claim for the earnings loss resulting from the damage caused, subject to the policy terms and conditions.

Our firm has varied experience in the assessment of business interruption losses, where businesses have been affected by an insured peril.

Often an insurance adjuster will advise business owners that the insurer will retain an accountant to quantify the business interruption loss that can be claimed. Based on our experience, business owners would be wise to consider retaining their own accountants (with the necessary specialized knowledge) to develop business interruption loss calculations. In fact, your insurance coverage may include a provision (or endorsement), that will reimburse the cost of retaining your own "forensic" accountant. This, of course, is subject to the limits of any coverage provided, and is often referred to as "professional fees coverage."

Generally, an accountant that has been retained by the business will develop calculations, which subsequently (along with supporting documents and information) may be provided to the insurer's accountant for review. While the insurer's accountant may not always agree with the approaches adopted, areas of agreement may be identified and areas of disagreement can be further explored. Further, with this process, the business owner knows of the approach their accountant is considering for developing loss calculations, and is able to ensure that the business information provided is correctly understood and fairly used. Although forensic accountants should not become "advocates" for their clients, it is important to be aware that the persons who best understand the affected business are the business owners and employees, not the accountants!

There can be many pitfalls involved in developing business interruption loss calculations. Some of these relate to the actual coverage itself, and the specific wording will impact the calculation of recoverable loss. For example, what are relevant time limits for the "indemnity period?" Is the business covered for losses until damage is repaired (or could have been repaired), or until sales return to normal (normally, with a maximum of 12 months)? Is the business covered for continuing "ordinary payroll" – being the lower level employees who would normally be laid off during an interruption? Is there a "co-insurance" clause ("co-insurance" is a term which suggests that responsibility for compensating a loss may be shared between the insurer and the insured person or business)? If there is a co-insurance clause, this could mean that some of the loss will not be paid if insufficient insurance was purchased. This aspect is complicated and may give rise to a reduced payout even though the calculated loss is less than the actual limit of insurance.

Other pitfalls arise when dealing with the estimation of the financial results that would have been expected, without the damage. For example, usually, there will need to be a projection of the sales, which would have been made, had the damage not occurred. While it may be reasonable to simply project sales by reference to sales for the corresponding period in the prior year, this approach may overlook specific circumstances or recent trends that affected the business outlook. For example, were new markets or products being developed? In today's changing world, it is easy to see how both external factors and business initiatives may be expected to affect sales or profit trends.

A question often arises under circumstances where a business is not covered for "ordinary payroll" (the lower level employees) but lower sales are achieved once business operations resume. Based on the policy wording, the lost "margin" on lost sales may be determined (on a percentage basis), after subtracting "ordinary payroll" costs. However, there may have been no saving in payroll during the "start-up" period following the interruption, even though below-normal sales were achieved.

Under the circumstances described above, it may be necessary to consider both: (a) lost profit on lost sales, and (b) the labour "inefficiency" during the "start-up" period (following resumption of operations). Our group usually takes the approach that labour "inefficiency" is an additional cost incurred (during the post-interruption start-up period) to achieve some (albeit below-normal) sales during this period. As such, the cost of the labour "inefficiency" may be claimable as an additional cost that reduces the loss that would otherwise have been incurred, had no sales been made at all during the start-up period.

Complicated? Without question. However, an experienced forensic accountant may be able to assist you when navigating the challenges of business interruption loss calculations.

Crowe Soberman is a public accounting firm. Contact your insurance broker or agent for professional advice regarding coverage.


Daniel is a partner in Crowe Soberman's Valuations | Forensics | Litigation Group. Daniel is a Chartered Professional Accountant who has been designated as a specialist in Investigative and Forensic Accounting and a Certified Fraud Examiner.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.