Assistance in Action: Jon Cowen and Robin's Candy

When you walk into Robin’s Candy, you are transported to a different world. Enormous canisters of jelly beans and gummy bears frame the largest licorice collection on the east coast and a decadent selection of chocolates and confections. It’s truly a magical place that brings joy to children and adults alike. But Robin, like many other small business owners in Back Bay, faced serious financial repercussions in the wake of April 15th’s Boston Marathon Tragedy.  Thanks to the Boston Bar Association’s Marathon Assistance Project, Robin received the help she needed to set her business right. Here’s her story:


“As a small business owner, I never would have had access to the resources that Jon Cowen and Posternak Blankstein & Lund provided me. They guided me each step of the way. Without them, the process would have been inscrutable.” – Robin Helfand

The first business decision Robin Helfand made in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy was to view the City of Boston’s website offering information to small businesses. A savvy businesswoman armed with an undergraduate degree from Tufts and a Marketing MBA from Cornell, Robin had her bases covered from an insurance perspective, having both terrorism and civil authority insurance coverage. While perusing the site, Robin came across a “white paper” written by attorney Jon C. Cowen at Posternak Blankstein & Lund on business interruption insurance. After reading the paper, Robin knew her case required legal assistance, and immediately contacted the City of Boston who put her in touch with the BBA’s Marathon Assistance Project. The attorney she was referred to was the very same attorney whose white paper encouraged her to seek legal assistance in the first place…Jon Cowen.

“Jon has been amazing, both with his time, commitment, and legal help. He has consistently made himself available over the phone and in person. As a legal lay person, he helped me understand the complexities of the case.” – Robin Helfand

Robin’s case is unique. Her store had only been open for less than a year when the tragedy occurred, and in addition to business interruption, loss of revenue and loss of inventory issues, Robin dealt with prolonged closure due to lack of staff access, delivery disruption and an investigation by the Joint Terrorism Task Force pursuing a lead about a suspicious person in the shop.  The combined impact had a long term effect beyond the disruption of day to day business; Robin places orders for her specialty candy across the United States and around the globe up to a year in advance.  Loss of revenue in April can affect inventory orders for the December holiday season, which impacts her ability to place orders for the following Easter, and so on. The experience has been challenging for Robin– and that’s putting it lightly.











“Even the aspects of the claim we expected to be simple and straightforward have been met with significant resistance from the insurance carrier. Due to the absence of industry experience with these types of events, we are charting new territory. The lack of precedent has allowed the carrier to take a very narrow view of the policy’s exclusions and limitations.” - Jon Cowen.

Still, Robin is relentlessly upbeat about the challenges she is facing. Despite the fact that she has only recovered a portion of what she and Jon believe the carrier should reimburse, Robin has approached this as a learning experience, and not just for herself.

“I hope this experience helps set a precedent in a positive way so that others don’t have to undergo the same complex process that I did. Other folks may not have access to the legal assistance I did thanks to the City of Boston and the Boston Bar Association. I am so grateful for the help that everyone has provided me thus far.” And Jon? “As far as I am concerned, he walks on water.” – Robin Helfand