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

I grew up being a baseball player. From the time I was old enough to stand and throw a ball, baseball was a large part of my life. It taught me valuable life lessons like winning and losing, leadership, playing with a team, hard work and dedication. I played all four years I attended Johns Hopkins and even earned some mediocre accolades with these stats. This baseball season was strange due to the pandemic. It was shortened to sixty games, DH across the entire league and the craziest change, no fans. Prior to the Major League Baseball (“MLB”) season starting, I found myself starved for baseball and watching the Korean baseball league on ESPN.
Continue Reading Major League Baseball Sues AIG Over COVID-19 Claims

Happy Thanksgiving!

Claims Journal published an article earlier this week, The Key to Winning COVID Business-Interruption Claims: Say the Virus is Present, quoting me from last Friday’s Forum at 2. I discussed the Chloe’s Café brief we filed in California,1 and provided a copy to the audience. The press and others must have watched the episode, and they noted:
Continue Reading Friday Forum at 2 Watched by Insurance Media Regarding Business Interruption and Civil Authority Claims

The loss of market exclusion excludes from coverage any lost profits due to the business’s market disappearing. The loss of market could be due to economic decline, competition, or shifts in demand attributable to a dramatic occurrence. The question, as usual, is whether that exclusion applies to the claims of lost profit by policyholders that follow a covered peril.
Continue Reading Understand Business Interruption—Do Not Let the Insurance Company Deny Your Income Claim on Bogus Loss of Market Exclusions

Businesses forced closed by COVID-19 and denied coverage by their insurers received a legal boost this month. In a recent North Carolina ruling, the court held that a commonly worded business interruption policy covered losses arising from closures mandated by COVID-19.
Continue Reading Court Finds Coverage for Restaurants’ COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims

The First Party Claims Conference is going virtual this year. While trying to think of a pithy and timely topic to teach, I noticed that insurance defense attorney Shannon O’Malley of Zelle LLP, had just written an article, Commercial Property Insurance Coverage and Coronavirus.1 Since the article did not indicate that businesses being shut down by COVID-19 would have an easy time collecting under their business interruption coverages, including civil authority coverage, Shannon received much criticism from policyholder attorneys for her views.
Continue Reading Do Not Miss Analysis of Civil Authority Coverage at the First Party Claims Conference

As the year goes on, state and federal trial courts will continue to tackle legal issues brought on by COVID-19. One recent decision comes from the Middle District of Florida, which recently granted an insurance carrier’s Motion to Dismiss a dental practice’s Complaint brought under the business income and civil authority provisions of the policy.
Continue Reading Trial Court Grants Motion to Dismiss Complaint Based on Virus Exclusion in Policy