Legal Sea Foods is preparing to go to battle with its insurer, Strathmore Insurance Co. after the company rejected the seafood chain’s business interruption claims [Source: The Boston Globe]. After the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered all of the Legal Sea Foods’ restaurants, the company turned to their insurer for financial relief, however, the company refused to provide it. Because Legal Sea Foods had purchased an “all-risk” policy that did not include a pandemic exclusion, the company believed its claims should have been approved.
On May 4th, Legal Sea Foods decided to file a lawsuit against Strathmore Insurance Co. for failing to cover its business interruption claims.
In the lawsuit, the company points out that its “policy doesn’t contain a pandemic exclusion, which insurers have been writing into some business interruption contracts since the SARS outbreak in 2003.” The lawsuit also says that the company signed its policy on March 1, “by which time it was widely known that the coronavirus was spreading globally.” Roger Berkowitz, who is the CEO of Legal Sea Foods says, “[his insurer] certainly would have known about [coronavirus]” and had the opportunity to include a pandemic exclusion in his policy.
Berkowitz Says His Case Could Provide a “Road Map for Others”
Currently, there are a total of 34 Legal Sea Foods locations in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, all of which have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If Berkowitz were to obtain a successful outcome in his case, it could pave the way for other business owners to also win their lawsuits filed against their insurers.
Should I file a lawsuit against my insurer if my business interruption claim for my COVID-19-related losses was denied?
While many consider a lawsuit to be a bold move to take against an insurer, it is something many business owners in Massachusetts are having to do as their insurers are refusing to cover their COVID-19 claims. Business owners are either being told that their policy does not offer coverage that extends to pandemics or that their business interruption coverage is only triggered by physical loss, something insurers believe the COVID-19 virus does not cause.
Therefore, if your insurer denied your business interruption claim and you’ve exhausted all options to get the company to reverse the denial, your next step should be to consult with a few Massachusetts insurance claims denial lawyers to see who is more likely to file a successful lawsuit against your insurer. Not sure where to find a reputable insurance claims denial attorney in Massachusetts? USAttorneys.com has a database full of lawyers in the state who are more than qualified to provide you with the legal advice and guidance you are going to need.