IT! Italy Ristorante & Cafe & Bar, located in Fort Lauderdale on E. Las Olas Boulevard, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Westchester Surplus Lines and Westchester’s parent company, Chubb Limited [Source: Miami Herald]. Cafe International Holding Company, owner of IT! Italy, decided to sue its insurer on April 9th after the carrier denied it coverage for COVID-19 pandemic losses, a peril that was allegedly not excluded in the restaurant’s business interruption insurance policy.
Café International says it purchased its policy from “Chubb via Westchester that provided “business interruption coverage,” and even “bought extra coverage on top of that in case the loss was caused by the action of a civil authority prohibiting access to the restaurant.” After the State of Florida ordered non-essential businesses, including restaurants to close, the restaurant owners believed the additional insurance coverage they had purchased would kick in. But after filing a claim with their insurer, Cafe International learned otherwise.
Cafe International Replies to the Denial of Coverage
After being denied coverage, Cafe International quickly responded with a lawsuit. The suit claims that the “plaintiff’s policy does not contain any exclusion which would apply to allow Defendants to deny coverage for losses caused by COVID-19 and related actions of civil authorities taken in response to COVID-19.” The document goes on to say that “because the policy is an all-risk policy and does not specifically exclude the losses that [the] Plaintiff has suffered, those losses are covered.”
Here’s What Evan Greenberg, CEO of Chubb, Had to Say
Although Greenberg was not able to comment on the pending legal matter involving IT! Italy, he did say that “he thought making insurers pay up on the above reasoning is “unconstitutional.” Greenberg “used that word on the theory that ruling pandemics are covered would be a change of contract because pandemics never were meant to be implied in the contract.” Greenberg says that the insurance industry only has $800 billion in capital, which is expected to “support all the normal risks the industry insures, [along with] catastrophic events.”
Because experts are estimating that small business losses exceed $300 billion in one month, the insurance industry seems to imply that it would not be able to afford all the losses businesses have incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic if it were to cover claims.
What to do When Your Business Interruption Insurance Claim is Denied
Like Cafe International, other businesses that have been denied business interruption coverage have taken their insurer to court in an effort to get the coverage they paid for. To learn more about the lawsuit process and how it might benefit you, contactUSAttorneys.com to be connected with experienced Broward County, FL insurance claims denial lawyers in your area.