Commercial Insurance Claims

Over the past few days, many enjoyed watching what’s been dubbed March Madness. The 64-team college basketball tournament usually draws a massive and lucrative following. People who don’t allocate any time watching basketball during the year will often time tune in to watch all of the madness that March has to offer.
Continue Reading NCAA’s March Madness Business (Bracket) Interruption Insurance Payout

As the United States battle vs. COVID-19 rages on, the battle within the (albeit virtual) court rooms are just starting to take off. Courts across the country are faced with the ultimate question: whether the widespread presence of the COVID-19 virus and resulting governmental closure orders constitute a fortuitous loss causing direct physical loss to insured property owners’ properties.
Continue Reading Ambiguities in Civil Authority Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Business Losses: “Prohibiting,” “Preventing,” “Denying” – What is the Difference?

Recently I was at a site inspection centered on business personal property. Items were skewed about in piles, where they had been placed in the aftermath of a storm. The building was damaged, as well as the contents inside of it. Upon review of the item catalogue, I remarked that such is akin to a scavenger hunt, where children hunt for items on a list and take a picture as proof of its existence. To which opposing counsel replied that this exercise of reviewing the catalogue was better simply because each proof of existence resulted in a monetary reward. He was right.
Continue Reading Business Personal Property Claim: The Scavenger Hunt

Insurance business interruption coverage has terms, philosophies, and calculations which are foreign to many. Lawyers for insurers will often challenge me by asking for a case which says their interpretation for some practice is wrong while looking for every manner “to win” by paying as little as possible. This mindset is what lead to a number of judges being duped into believing and ruling that the insurance industry meant that a business had to completely shut down in order to prove that business operations were “suspended.”
Continue Reading Suspension of Business Was Never Intended to Mean Total Cessation of Business Operations—Insurance Lawyers Duping Judges into Wrong Insurance Contract Interpretations

Jean Niven recently wrote a blog post about insurance coverage cases being won or lost based on expert witnesses and the preparation of their reports and testimony.

Mama Jo’s, Inc. d/b/a Berries, has now petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling1 that the restaurant is not entitled to coverage under an “all risk” commercial insurance policy for business income losses and expenses caused by construction dust and debris that migrated into the restaurant.
Continue Reading Restaurant Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Eleventh Circuit’s Ruling on “Direct Physical Loss”

Courts across the country have split on the key COVID-19 coverage question of whether a policyholder’s inability to fully operate its business caused by COVID-19 restrictions would satisfy the policy’s business interruption coverage requirement that the “loss” had to be a result from a “suspension of operations” caused by “direct physical loss of or damage to covered property.”
Continue Reading Multi-District Litigation Policyholders Win a Business Interruption Coverage Battle Over “Direct Physical Loss”

(NOTE: There will not be a Tuesday @ 2 With Chip today due to the Windstorm Conference. Tuesday @ 2 will return next week)

While there are many issues that consistently form the basis of a dispute between insurers and insureds in property insurance claims (coverage issues, causation, notice requirements, etc.), one universal principal is generally accepted on both sides: The insured, if capable of doing so, has the duty to reasonably mitigate damages to reduce their loss.
Continue Reading Can an Insurer Rely on an Insured’s Mitigation Efforts to Deny Coverage or Preclude a Business Interruption Claim?

We are happy to share with the insurance world a very positive development on COVID-19 Business Interruption cases – from Orange County, a conservative jurisdiction. The credit for this victory goes to our friends at Covington & Burling LLP, who we have been working closely with to advance justice for policyholders. A special shout-out is owed to Rani Gupta, Joan Li, David Goodwin, and Jad Khazem for this win, as the specific allegations of physical alteration were the driving force behind the victory and are instructive for future success.
Continue Reading Court Rules in Favor of Goodwill on COVID-19 Business Interruption Matter

Across the country claims for business income loss presented by policyholders to their insurers and the suits that follow for business interruption caused by COVID-19 and government regulatory closures have not fared well. Most policyholders who have suffered a suspension of business operations have been denied their policy claims when relying on policy clauses covering “direct physical loss of or physical damage” to the policyholders’ place of business. Likewise, when these denied claims become lawsuits, some courts have dismissed cases based on an interpretation that the coronavirus cannot cause property damage at the policyholder’s place of business.
Continue Reading Barbershop Allowed to Pursue Business Interruption Loss Caused by COVID-19 Pursuant to a Policy Provision Containing Time Element Coverage