By Norton Cutler

Several decisions and numerous pending motions filed during the last few weeks have transitioned the litigation over COVID-19 Business-Interruption (BI) claims from what seemed like a preliminary event, namely the quarrel over whether COVID-19 contamination is property damage, to what may well turn out to be the main event: the meaning of

By Jim Davis, Norton Cutler, and Bradley Dlatt

The insurance industry in the United States continues to thwart legislative solutions for disputed COVID-19-related losses under property/business interruption policies and resists efforts to group lawsuits together into multi-district federal litigation or class actions. Meanwhile, the independent regulator of insurers in the United Kingdom, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is trying to take a more organized and direct approach. Although the FCA indicated that it did not believe coverage existed for most claims for COVID-19-related losses, the FCA has identified the key language at issue in the various insurance policies, the universal or prevalent facts presented, and the legal questions posed. The regulator has announced an initiative to begin resolving these disputed claims by bringing a series of test cases in U.K. courts to answer these coverage questions. Though the test cases are being resolved under the law of the United Kingdom, the outcomes are likely to influence American courts that are grappling with many of the same issues under similar insurance policy language. Depending on the success of the test cases in streamlining these disputes in the U.K., U.S. policyholders may want to consider adopting a similar approach to fast-track their claims towards settlement.

On this episode, we are joined by Deborah White, president of the Retail Litigation Center (RLC) and senior executive vice president and general counsel of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). Deborah provides insight and analysis regarding the retail industry’s varied and innovative response to the pandemic, including how large retailers deal with the patchwork

In the latest episode of the podcast series Insurance Considerations Amid COVID-19, Jim Davis and Bradley Dlatt are joined by Perkins Coie Partner David Neff, among the most experienced hotel bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers in the country. We discuss the ways COVID-19 causes financial distress to businesses, the parties involved, and why it may take

Perkins Coie’s Insurance Recovery Attorneys Jim Davis and Brad Dlatt interview special guest Perkins Coie Labor Partner Heather Sager, who is counseling companies operating during the Covid-19 pandemic. Topics include how businesses find out if they are allowed to re-open, what employers need to know about having employees return to work, the use of

Jim Davis and Brad Dlatt interview special guest Brad Murlick, Managing Director in BDO USA’s Forensic Insurance and Recovery Practice, who is at the front lines of preparing COVID-19 business interruption insurance claims. Topics include what is happening on the ground, the use of the pollution exclusion to deny coverage for losses caused by COVID-19,

What’s Happening With Business Interruption Claims?

On the second episode of our Covid-19 Insurance Podcast, Perkins Coie’s Insurance Recovery Partners Selena Linde and Vivek Chopra interview special guest Henry Daar, the Executive Vice President and Practice Leader for North American Property Claims at Willis Tower Watson. The speakers discuss Business Interruption and Civil Authority Claims

By Jay Rossiter, Les Brown

There is growing evidence that the insurance industry is taking a concerted, joint approach to denying business interruption claims that relate in any way to COVID-19. Even if a business purchased insurance to protect against business interruption, civil authority orders, and other related events, insurance companies are discouraging and/or denying such claims without even reviewing the specific facts or insurance policy language that might be at issue. Unfortunately, insurance brokers and agents—on whom many businesses rely to give them advice in the first instance—are also discouraging claims. California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a directive on April 14, 2020 to address this inappropriate and damaging conduct.

By Nicholas Gellert

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many business locations are shuttered, with work being done, if at all, only remotely. In addition, many businesses or owners of real property may have already filed or are considering filing insurance claims for associated losses from not being able to use their owned or leased premises. The purpose of this piece is to caution owners or tenants to review their property policies closely for vacancy-related conditions or exclusions.

Many insurance policies have exceptions from coverage if the covered property is vacated or unoccupied for a defined period of time (often 60 days, but sometimes shorter). For instance, there are policies that provide that if a property is vacant for more than a fixed number of days, there will no coverage for certain types of losses (e.g., vandalism or broken pipes), and that coverage for other types of losses will be reduced by 15% or more. Policies might provide that there is no coverage at all for certain types of losses immediately upon a property being vacated, and that there is no coverage for any types of loss if the vacancy continues for a certain period of time. Other policies provide that coverage remains in place if a property is vacant or unoccupied, but that the insurance company needs to be informed that the property has been vacated or left unoccupied.