A state court in New Hampshire ruled in large part for a hotel chain Tuesday in a COVID-19 business interruption coverage case against a group of insurers.
Judge John C. Kissinger Jr., at the State Supreme Court in Keene, New Hampshire, denied an application filed by most insurance companies for a partial summary judgment in its decision in Schleicher & Stebbins Hotels LLC et al. v. Starr Surplus Lines Insurance Co. et al.
"The Court rejects the defendant's argument that" distinct and demonstrable "changes in property must be easily perceived by one of the five senses, be incapable of remedying or lead to delay," the decision said, in favor of Hooksett, New Hampshire-based chain.
The ruling cited an earlier decision of the New Hampshire Supreme Court which argued that "physical loss", when used in an insurance contract, includes "not only concrete changes to (an) insured property, but also changes … that exist. in the absence of structural damage, "provided that only such changes are both" distinct and demonstrable. ""
The Court granted Axis Surplus Insurance Co. separate proposal for a partial summary judgment based on a virus exclusion in its coverage, which the other insurers did not have.
The plaintiff's attorney in the case, Marshall Gilinsky, a shareholder in Anderson Kill PC in New York, said, “That is the right result. It is clearly required by New Hampshire law, and I think that is the right result anywhere.
A spokesman for Starr said in a statement that it does not normally comment on individual policyholders' disputes.
The 23-unit hotel chain, which has four hotels in New Hampshire, 1
Starr, Everest Indemnity Insurance Co. and certain insurers with Lloyds insured 50%, 30% and 20% of the first $ 10 million coverage, respectively; Everest, Evanston Insurance Co., Axis and Hallmark Specialty Insurance Co. insured 30%, 25%, 25% and 20% of the following $ 40 million in liability; Scottsdale Insurance Co. insured the next $ 50 million in liability; and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. of America insured the next coverage of $ 150 million.
An additional $ 350 million in coverage was provided by One Beacon Insurance Co./Homeland Insurance Co. in New York and by RSUI Group Inc., which were not parties to the disputes, according to the decision.
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