Insurers Largely Lose COVID-19 BI Cover Ruling

 Thursday, June 17, 2021

 Business Insurance

A New Hampshire state court ruled largely in favor of a hotel chain Tuesday in a COVID-19 business interruption coverage lawsuit filed against a group of insurers.

Judge John C. Kissinger Jr., of state superior court in Keene, New Hampshire, denied a motion filed by most of the insurers for partial summary judgment in his ruling in Schleicher & Stebbins Hotels LLC et al. v. Starr Surplus Lines Insurance Co. et al.

‘The Court rejects the argument of the Defendants that ‘distinct and demonstrable’ changes to property must be readily perceptible by one of the five senses, be incapable of remediation, or result in dispossession,’ the decision said, in ruling in favor of the Hooksett, New Hampshire-based chain.

The ruling cited an earlier decision by the New Hampshire Supreme Court that held that ‘’physical loss,’ when used in an insurance agreement, includes ‘not only tangible changes to (an) insured property, but also changes…that exist in the absence of structural damage,’ provided only that such changes be both ‘distinct and demonstrable.’’