Dozens of Mississippi business owners have filed lawsuits against their insurance companies after they were denied coverage under their business interruption insurance policies but very few, if any, cases have yet to be settled. While we could blame the COVID-19 pandemic for this, perhaps cases are being delayed as any decision that is made could have an impact on cases just like it. Although there were reports of one case coming close to being closed, the business owner who sued recently filed a notice of appeal as they weren’t pleased with the decision the judge had made on their case.
Social Life Magazine Inc. Files Notice of Appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Social Life Magazine, the publisher of a “luxury lifestyle magazine,” filed a lawsuit against its insurer, Sentinel Insurance Co. Ltd. after the company failed to pay its business interruption claim for losses suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic [Source: Business Insurance]. The lawsuit alleged that the “coronavirus caused damage to its Midtown Manhattan office and prevented it from printing the magazine.” The complaint also stated that the plaintiff’s “equipment is specialized and industrial in nature” and the plaintiff was unable to allow employees and independent contractors to work from home or telecommute.
After the lawsuit was filed, it was presented before a New York judge who recently ruled on the matter.
During the hearing, which was held via teleconference, U.S. District Court Judge Valerie E. Caproni, in the Southern District of New York, said “that the policyholder’s attorney deserved “a gold star for creativity” but the loss was not covered under the policy issued by the unit of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. Caproni also “grilled [the] policyholder’s attorney over the physical damage element of the claim.” After reviewing the assertion that claimed Social Life’s property suffered damage, the judge responded by saying “There is no damage to your property… It damages lungs. It does not damage printing presses.”
The judge added that “the lost income was due to government orders to remain home rather than damage to the property.” Insurers in New York and many other states have already expressed that business interruption insurance is only triggered by physical damage to the insured premises, something they say the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t cause.
As a result of the ruling, the plaintiff decided to appeal the federal court ruling that was in favor of Sentinel.
Now, because no decision has been made as of yet, it isn’t clear how this case might affect others that are similar in nature. But, if your insurer recently denied your business interruption claim, you are going to need to retain an experienced Mississippi insurance claims denial lawyer if you want to stand a chance at getting your claim paid. If you need help locating an insurance attorney in your city, USAttorneys.com is available to help you.