A Miami casino has filed a lawsuit against a group of its insurers, alleging the companies sold “all-risk” business interruption policies yet have denied claims for economic losses resulting from coronavirus-related shutdowns.
Magic City Casino filed the lawsuit in a South Florida federal courtroom in July seeking an unspecified amount of damages from AXA XL Insurance Group, Indian Harbor Insurance (a subsidiary of AXA), Hallmark Specialty Insurance, and Ategrity Specialty Insurance.
State, county, and local officials ordered non-essential businesses to shut down to help curb the spread of COVID-19, which has grown into a global pandemic. South Florida is widely considered to be one of the major global hotspots for COVID-19 infections. As of this writing, Miami-Dade County had 125,000 confirmed cases with 1,724 deaths. Statewide, there are half a million confirmed cases with 7,401 deaths.
Magic City Casino says on its website that it remains closed “due to County ordinance.”
In its lawsuit, the casino says that it purchased “all-risk” business interruption insurance from the defendants.
“In an all-risk insurance policy, all risks of loss are covered unless they are specifically excluded,” the lawsuit contends.
The casino said that it is not suing its other insurers whose policies contain specific exclusions for viruses.
According to CBS Miami, the lawsuit argues that the defendants’ policies include coverage for losses resulting from government-mandated shutdowns and from physical damage or loss preventing the normal operation of business.
“As a result of the presence of COVID-19 and the closure orders, plaintiff … sustained a suspension of business operations, sustained losses of business income, and incurred extra expenses,” the lawsuit says, according to CBS Miami. “Plaintiff has also sustained business income losses due to direct physical loss or physical damage at the premises of dependent properties.”
Regardless of the language and specific exclusions in various business interruption policies, the insurance industry has consistently denied claims filed by businesses seeking relief from the coronavirus pandemic. In many if not most cases, the claims are denied outright without investigation or careful review.
Has your business interruption claim been denied?
Beasley Allen lawyers are actively investigating and filing claims against various insurance companies for denial of business interruption coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are involved in advocating for consolidation of these actions in an MDL. Dee Miles, head of our Consumer Fraud & Commercial Litigation Section, Rachel Boyd, and Paul Evans, lawyers in the Section, are spearheading this litigation for our firm and are monitoring all MDL developments as they arise.