After learning that business owners across the nation were being denied coverage for their business interruption claims associated with COVID-19 losses, the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations decided to file suit against their insurer before the company had the opportunity to deny their claims [Source: The Oklahoman]. The two tribes, both of which oversee operations for casinos, hotels, travel plazas, and other businesses in Oklahoma, are seeking a declaratory judgment that would acknowledge that the losses these companies suffer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic would be covered losses.
To be clear, the lawsuit is not accusing insurance companies of denying the tribes’ business interruption insurance claims.
The lawsuit states that “As a result of this pandemic and infection, the Nation’s property sustained direct physical loss or damage and will continue to sustain direct physical loss or damage covered by the policies, including but not limited to, business interruption, extra expense, interruption by civil authority, limitations on ingress and egress, and expenses to reduce loss.” Although the source did not disclose how much the tribes have suffered in losses thus far, they sought a declaratory judgment so that when they do file a claim under their business interruption policy, they won’t have to fight with their insurer over what should and should not be covered.
It is worth noting that just because a company files a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that doesn’t mean they will obtain a favorable outcome. Typically, businesses stand a better chance at winning their case when they are backed by a knowledgeable Oklahoma insurance claims denial lawyer.
The attorney hired to represent the tribes explained that while some insurers are denying claims because there is no evidence of physical damage to the property, he is prepared to argue on behalf of his clients that their property “has been damaged by the virus and pandemic because it cannot be used for its intended purpose.” The tribes’ attorney also acknowledged that his clients have civil authority coverage and can use the emergency orders and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) orders to back them up if their insurer decides to deny them coverage.
Some of the insurance companies named in the lawsuits filed on behalf of the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations include Lexington Insurance Co., Homeland Insurance Co. of NY (One Beacon), Hallmark Specialty Insurance Co., Endurance Worldwide Insurance LTD T/as Sompo International, Arch Specialty Insurance Co., Evanston Insurance Co., Allied World National Assurance Co., Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., XL Insurance America Inc., and several Underwriters at Lloyd’s syndicates.
If your business interruption claim was recently denied and you need assistance with recouping the money you are entitled to from your insurer, USAttorneys.com can connect you with Oklahoma insurance claims denial lawyers who are ready to help.