The Philadelphia Eagles have joined a long list of clients suing their insurers over COVID-19 business loss claims.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, on March 11, the Eagles filed a 141-page complaint in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court against Factory Mutual Insurance Co., which is based in Rhode Island.
In the complaint, lawyers for the Eagles said that “despite best efforts to navigate the pandemic,” the team and its insured subsidiaries “have incurred and continue to incur substantial financial loss” caused by the pandemic and the disruption it caused to businesses everywhere.
A spokesman for the insurance company told the news site that its policies "are clear on the coverage provided."
So far, insurers have been mostly successful at fending off business interruption lawsuits stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Disputes are generally focused on whether the virus is a valid exclusion under policies.
Hundreds of cases remain to be decided in courts across the country.
Early in the pandemic, insurance industry leaders sought to dissuade businesses from filing claims for revenue lost to the quarantine. Evan Greenberg, CEO of Chubb Limited, one of the world’s largest insurers, went on CNBC in April and announced his company had no intention of paying claims if policies did not expressly state that viruses and pandemics were covered.
The American Property Casualty Insurance Association estimated that government closures have cost businesses $255 billion to $431 billion a month, far exceeding the ability of insurers to pay.
Since then, the industry has reinforced its message by boasting about nearly every court ruling that has gone its way. “Another court agrees: Business Interruption Insurance Does Not Cover Pandemic-Related Losses,” said the subject line of an email release by the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group created by the industry to educate consumers about insurance-related issues.
Its message to businesses is clear: Filing a pandemic-related business interruption suit would be a waste of your time, energy and money.
Businesses with pending claims disagree. Their attorneys are studying rulings in unsuccessful early cases in hopes of developing arguments that judges can’t deny.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.