Mealey's Catastrophic Loss

  • January 13, 2021

    Judge Declines To Retain Jurisdiction Over Bowling Alley’s COVID-19 Coverage Suit

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 11 declined to exercise jurisdiction over a bowling alley insured’s declaratory judgment lawsuit against its insurer, noting that because of the “relative recency” of the novel coronavirus pandemic, “Pennsylvania state courts have not yet developed a body of case law applicable to the state law issues presented in this case.”

  • January 12, 2021

    Earth Movement Exclusion Bars Coverage For Damage Caused By Rockfall, Panel Affirms

    DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 11 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that a homeowners insurance policy’s “earth movement” exclusion barred coverage for Colorado insureds’ property damage that was caused by a rockfall, further affirming the court’s denial of the insureds’ motion to certify five coverage questions of law to the Colorado Supreme Court.

  • January 12, 2021

    Insurer Seeks Dismissal Of Franchise Owners’ $41M Coronavirus Coverage Lawsuit

    NEWARK, N.J. — An insurer on Jan. 7 moved a New Jersey federal court to dismiss a breach of contract and reformation lawsuit brought by the owners of more than 120 franchise locations under the brands Wendy's, T.G.I. Friday's, Marriott and Hilton, contending that although the novel coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent “Stay-at Home” orders  “have had an adverse economic impact” on the insureds’ business operations, “claims for such intangible economic damage simply are not within the scope of the property insurance policy.”

  • January 11, 2021

    Retailer Asks To Certify Question In COVID-19 Coverage Suit To California High Court

    SAN FRANCISCO — A retailer insured on Jan. 7 asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to certify a question to the California Supreme Court in its lawsuit seeking coverage under a comprehensive business insurance policy for its claimed losses following the state’s “Stay at Home” order in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, arguing that “profound legal, economic, and practical consequences will follow from the determination of whether the phrase ‘physical loss of or damage to’ in business interruption insurance policies reasonably includes government-imposed shutdown orders issued amid COVID-19.”

  • January 11, 2021

    New York Justice Won’t Dismiss Insured’s Negligence Suit Against Insurance Broker

    NEW YORK — A New York justice on Dec. 23 denied an insurance broker’s motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of an insured’s claim that it failed to procure the insured’s requested business interruption coverage, finding that the complaint “cannot be dismissed on the basis that no special relationship arose between the parties."

  • January 08, 2021

    Insured Failed To Show Insurer Was Biased In Processing Hurricane Harvey Claim

    HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on Dec. 29 determined that extracontractual claims asserted against a businessowners insurer cannot proceed because the insured failed to prove that the insurer or its representatives were biased against the insured when processing its claim for damages sustained during Hurricane Harvey.

  • January 08, 2021

    Insured Fails To Plead ‘Physical Change’ To Properties’ Condition, Judge Rules

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Dec. 30 granted a commercial general liability insurer’s motion to dismiss a hand and orthopedic surgery practice insured’s breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, finding that the insurance policy’s “loss of or damage to” language does not allow coverage for the interruption of the insured’s business as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

  • January 08, 2021

    Judge Enforces Policy’s Appraisal Provision As Written In Tropical Storm Imelda Suit

    HOUSTON — Enforcing a commercial property insurance policy’s appraisal provision as written in a coverage dispute over property damage caused by Tropical Storm Imelda, a federal judge in Texas on Dec. 22 ordered appraisers to “state separately the value of the property and the amount of loss” and further ordered that if the appraisers cannot agree on an umpire, either one may ask the court to select an umpire.

  • January 07, 2021

    Federal Judge Enters Final Judgment In Favor Of Flood Insurer In Irma Dispute

    MIAMI — A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 31 granted a federal flood insurer’s motion for summary judgment in an insured’s breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage under a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) for a second supplemental claim for Hurricane Irma damage, finding that the insured failed to submit a timely proof of loss for his subsequent claim and failed to obtain a Federal Emergency Management Agency waiver of the one-year deadline.

  • January 07, 2021

    Federal Judge Rules In Favor Of Flood Insurer In Hurricane Irma Coverage Suit

    MIAMI — Adopting a magistrate’s report and recommendation, a federal judge in Florida on Dec. 31 granted a write-your-own insurer’s motion for summary judgment in its insureds’ breach of contract lawsuit arising from Hurricane Irma flood damage, finding that the insureds failed to cite any legal precedent demonstrating that an insurer's knowledge of an estimate that was prepared by the adjuster for a separate insurer of a different insured sufficiently satisfied the Standard Flood Insurance Policy’s (SFIP) strict proof-of-loss requirement.

  • January 07, 2021

    FEMA Reinsures $1.15B Of National Flood Insurance Program’s Risk For 2021

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) had $1.15 billion of its risk transferred to the private reinsurance market to assist with catastrophic flood losses, according to a Jan. 5 press release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

  • January 06, 2021

    JPMDL Issues 2 Orders Centralizing Coverage Suits Over Coronavirus Pandemic

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Dec. 15 centralized lawsuits seeking travel insurance coverage for losses arising from the forced cancellation of travel plans due to the novel coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and centralized COVID-19 business interruption coverage lawsuits against Erie Insurance Co. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

  • January 04, 2021

    Virus Exclusion Bars Coverage For Losses Caused By Novel Coronavirus, Judge Says

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A business insurance policy’s virus exclusion bars coverage for business income losses sustained by a dental practice as a result of the shutdown of nonessential businesses to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus because the exclusion precludes coverage for any loss caused by a virus, a California federal judge said Dec. 30 in granting, without prejudice, the insurer’s motion to dismiss.

  • January 04, 2021

    Judge:  No Direct Physical Loss Incurred As A Result Of COVID-19 Shutdown Orders

    MIAMI — No coverage is owed to an insured salon and medical spa for business losses sustained as a result of shutdown orders issued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic because the insured failed to show that it sustained a direct physical loss to its insured property, a Florida federal judge said Dec. 30 in granting the insurers’ motion to dismiss.

  • December 21, 2020

    Judge Finds Insured’s Weather Damage Claims Arbitrable Under New York Convention

    NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana in a Dec. 9 order granted a motion to compel arbitration of a property owner’s dispute with its insurers over claims for rain and wind damage and dismissed the owner’s claims without prejudice after finding that the insurance policy’s arbitration clause falls under the New York Convention and, therefore, is not rendered void by Louisiana’s statute barring arbitration of insurance claim disputes (1010 Common, LLC v. Certain Underwriters At Lloyd's London, et al., No. 20-2326, E.D. La. 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 233867).

  • December 16, 2020

    Justice Reduces $500,000 Jury Award Against Insurer In Rehabilitation

    NEW YORK — A $500,000 jury award for a Staten Island owner of a 96-unit apartment complex regarding damages from Hurricane Irene was reduced to $404,671 against an insurer in rehabilitation after a New York justice on Nov. 25 applied the policy’s coinsurance provision and a deductible to the jury’s award (25 Bay Terrace Associates, L.P. v. Public Service Mutual Insurance Company, No. 451952/2020, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 10190).

  • December 14, 2020

    Pollution, Contamination Exclusion Bars Coverage For COVID-19 Losses, Judge Says

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An insurer owes no coverage for business losses sustained by a business owner as a result of shutdown orders issued to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus because the insured suffered no direct physical loss and because the policy’s pollution or contamination exclusion clearly bars coverage, a Missouri federal judge said Dec. 2 (Zwillo V. Corp., et al. v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 20-339, W.D. Mo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 230672).

  • December 14, 2020

    Virus Exclusion Bars Coverage For COVID-19 Business Losses

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on Dec. 10 granted an insurer’s motion to dismiss after determining that a policy’s virus exclusion clearly precludes coverage for business losses sustained as a result of shutdown orders issued to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (HealthNOW Medical Center v. State Farm General Insurance Co., No. 20-4340, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 232626).

  • December 09, 2020

    No Merit To Coverage Denial For COVID-19 Losses, Talent Agency Argues In California

    LOS ANGELES — “One of the largest talent agencies in the world” sued its commercial property insurers in a California court on Nov. 13 for breach of contract and bad faith, alleging that they are “part of the Chubb group of insurance companies” that “has adopted a universal practice of denying coverage for all business interruption claims associated with SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19, and subsequent events” (United Talent Agency, LLC v. Vigilant Insurance Company, et al., No. 20STCV43745, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

  • December 09, 2020

    Federal Judge: Virus Exclusion Bars Coverage For Dentist’s Coronavirus Claim

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania said on Dec. 7 that although he sympathizes with a dentist insured, he cannot ignore that the insured purchased a commercial property insurance policy that does not cover the losses it incurred as a result of the novel coronavirus (Kessler Dental Associates, P.C. v. The Dentists Insurance Company, No. 20-03376, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 228859).

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