The Institutes

Case Count Tops 1,000 As Litigation Against Insurers Over COVID-19 Takes Shape

 Wednesday, September 2, 2020

 S&P Global

A federal judge’s ruling in Missouri represents one of the first victories of note for policyholders as litigation over business interruption insurance continues to pile up across the U.S.

But with only a handful of opinions issued on the matter so far, it is clear that legal battles over whether pandemic-related losses are covered are still in the very early days of winding their ways through court.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough of the Western District of Missouri on Aug. 12 threw out a motion to dismiss a case against Cincinnati Financial Corp., ruling that the plaintiffs "adequately alleged a direct physical loss," since coronavirus particles attached to property and damaged it by making it unsafe and unusable.

The decision will allow a group of restaurants and hair salons to move forward with their case and sue the insurance carrier for losses.

Insurers largely contend that business interruption losses related to the pandemic are not covered, and say forcing them to pay out claims could ruin the industry. However, many lawyers for policyholders do not find these cases so cut and dry and believe that coverage will be found for many such claims.

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