Commercial Insurance Claims

Why sue one at a time when you can sue by the bushel full? Billy Goat Taverns are ganging up against their mutual insurance company, Society National, in a federal class action lawsuit. This lawsuit is seeking damages and a declaration of coverage due to their closure from the coronavirus. This class action lawsuit was filed by a personal injury attorney.
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On March 31, 2020, six Northern California Bay Area counties significantly limited construction activity. These orders will result in thousands of construction projects shutting down until at least May 3, 2020. What impact does this have on existing property insurance claims? The answer: a lot, and they will probably result in significant legal disputes.
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New York has joined New Jersey, Ohio, and Massachusetts with pending legislation regarding insurance coverage. At the same time, it is pretty obvious that the insurance industry is doing everything it can to explain how such legislation, if passed, would dwarf any ability to pay amounts claimed.
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New Jersey started the coronavirus business insurance legislation, but just like a virus, it is spreading to other jurisdictions. Ohio and Massachusetts filed very similar bills to what was filed in the New Jersey Assembly.
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This morning’s post, Coronavirus Causing You Business Losses? Your Insurance could Provide Relief, is extremely important given the severity of the expected virus on business. Australian insurance professor Alan Manning recently wrote an excellent article on the topic. I have read numerous other articles and analysis of the issue. So, let’s start with the basics.
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Our client owns a large food market. Last summer, it burned down. The client submitted a claim under his business insurance policy from Farmers. The insurance policy included several different types of coverage, such as Business Property, Business Income, Extra Expense, and more. The insured had insufficient insurance limits under his Business Property to replace everything needed to reopen the market. Thus, he sought coverage for those items under Extra Expense coverage. By the plain and clear terms of the policy, these items were also covered under Extra Expense. But Farmers found an excuse to wrongfully deny the claim in a textbook example of how not to interpret and apply insurance policies in California.
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On Saturday October 12, 2019, several decks of upper floors of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino under construction just off Canal Street in New Orleans suddenly collapsed. As emergency personnel were engaged in the immediate efforts to rescue and aid the crews working at the hotel site, the City of New Orleans was busy implementing its emergency response teams.
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A business interruption claim does not always end up in litigation. There are basic techniques that an insured may consider expediting and presenting a claim that may result in a fair resolution of a business interruption claim. The Business Interruption Book: Coverage, Claims, and Recovery,1 is a great source for information on business interruption issues and it provides a non-exclusive checklist to facilitate claims handling.
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