While insurance companies have sustained victories in some cases brought by policyholders who are working to claim losses suffered during lock down orders due the pandemic, a ruling out of North Carolina is giving insurance defense attorneys a cause for concern.
Summary Judgement Denied
Durham County Superior Court Senior Judge Orlando Hudson Jr. denied a motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by 16 restaurant owners. But then Hudson made another unexpected move when partial summary judgement was granted against the insurers. The motion was for summary judgement to declare the insurer “must replace the lost business income and extra expenses under insurance policy contracts,” which was granted by Hudson.
Hudson acknowledged the dispute between parties regarding the term “direct physical loss” which was not defined in the contract. The judge said that the policy holders were forbidden by the government from accessing and using the properties for purposes for which they were insured. He also said that state leaders issued orders requiring that certain business suspend operations and mandated that residents stay at home and limit all non-essential travel. The loss, the judge determined was caused by government orders, and said “nothing in the policy excludes coverage.”
Defense Attorneys Gear Up
Insurance defense attorneys say they will be watching closely the appeal of the judge’s orders. Until recently, the majority of these claims were won on summary judgement, but Hudson’s ruling casts doubts that this will continue leaving defense attorneys on alert.
When insurance companies deny Covid-19 business loss claims, businesses are left in a precarious position, and may struggle to reopen, struggle to make up lost revenue, and struggle to get back to the level of business they had prior to the pandemic.
If your business suffered Covid-19 business interruption losses and your claim was denied by your insurer, we can help. We will fight on your behalf and negotiate with insurance providers for the maximum settlement to help you get back in business. If they fail to work with us to reach a settlement, we are prepared for litigation to protect your rights and get your company the compensation you need and deserve.