The Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday joined other state supreme courts in unanimously affirming lower court rulings against policyholders in two cases of Covid-19-related business interruption
The court ruled in cases filed against Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. entities that the plaintiffs did not establish that they had suffered direct physical loss or damage required by their coverage.
The longer of the two judges was in Connecticut Dermatology Group PC et al., v. Twin City Fire Insurance Co. et al.a case filed by the owners and operators of health care facilities in Connecticut.
The ruling concluded that “the plain meaning of the term “direct physical loss”; of property in its commercial insurance coverage “does not include the suspension of business operations on a physically unchanged property to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.”
The second case, Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. Moda LLC et al., was filed by a Greenwich, Connecticut-based company that sells shoes to department stores and other retailers across the country. It sought coverage under its package and marine policy.
Neither coverage applied, the court ruled, noting that the package policy contained a virus exclusion, while the marine insurance provided coverage only for direct physical loss or damage.
Attorneys in the cases did not respond to requests for comment.
The Connecticut Supreme Court joins state supreme courts in Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin that have ruled in favor of insurers in comparable cases, with only the Vermont Supreme Court ruling in favor of the policyholder so far.