Recently, Owners of the Royal Dane Mall in the U.S. Virgin Islands brought suit against their insurer, Lloyds of London, stemming from an Independence Day fire two years ago that caused considerable damage to the historic marketplace.
The Royal Dane Mall, located in one of the oldest buildings in St. Thomas, erupted in flames on July 4, 2019. Despite the efforts of eighteen firefighters, two of the malls three buildings suffered catastrophic structural damages as result of the enormous blaze. Owners of the Royal Dane Mall allege they have yet to receive any payment under their $5 million all-risk policy, therefore precluding their ability to begin repair work. To this end, the mall remains uninhabitable and unsuitable for generating income.
Royal Dane claimed Lloyds denied more than $6 million in claims, demanding investigative reports not in Royal Dane’s possession. In their federal lawsuit brought Friday, Royal Dane claimed Lloyds actions and inactions were outrageous and done with evil motive and/or with reckless indifference to Royal Dane’s rights as the policyholder.
Lloyds’ retained adjusters Charles Taylor Adjusting and Christopher H. Gambol who claimed they were delayed by Royal Dane’s notification of damage and believed Royal Dane’s claims were more than four times their insured value.
According to the lawsuit, Royal Dane’s owners had their own appraisal of the fire damage, however, were informed there was no coverage because Royal Dane failed to provide investigative reports from the Virgin Islands Fire Services and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Despite several requests, Royal Dane claimed they never received the reports, and pointed out their policy does not require investigative reports.
Rather, Royal Dane believes Lloyd’s true purpose in delaying a coverage determination was to let their right to sue expire, and force Royal Dane into abandoning their claims.
For more information and case updates, see SBP Royal Dane Mall, LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds of London, Case Number 3:21-CV-0054.