Minor League Baseball Teams Sue Insurers Over COVID-19 Denials
Augusta Chronicle (GA)
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The Augusta GreenJackets is one of 15 Minor League Baseball teams that's part of a federal lawsuit against insurance providers for breach-of-contract.
The suit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, comes after the provider denied the clubs' claims for business-interruption insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The denial states that the claim wasn't directly related to damage or loss of property, with some policies even excluding coverage for things caused by viruses, according to a report from The Associated Press.
"We pay a significant amount in premiums in preparation for these catastrophic consequences. The insurer gladly accepted our premium, now it's time for them to pay," said Missy Martin, GreenJackets minority owner and vice president of operations.
The 160 minor league organizations across the country are essentially 160 small businesses. They're independently owned and operated and a large majority of their revenue comes from ticket sales. Unlike big league teams that can rely on lucrative television contracts to supplement empty stadiums, teams like the GreenJackets could fold because of an empty stadium.
Minor league teams also rely on their parent clubs to provide players, none of which has happened since the sport was suspended in March. As for the possibility of a minor league season in 2020, Major League Baseball has basically kept its affiliates in the dark.
"We've had absolutely no clarity on that issue and haven't gotten any world at all from Major League Baseball," Martin said. "All 160 teams are awaiting word from MLB for the next steps to take and we're still in complete suspense."
With the talks between MLB and the players' union of salvaging the season being repeated in the news daily, baseball fans in small town America are left with silence.
Associated Press reports were used in this article.
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