Insurance companies should prove the reason why they do not pay a claim under a full risk insurance. Denial should not be based on false opinions about facts. This was the point of a letter submitted by a medical company in a covid corporate income language case pending before the New Hampshire Supreme Court.1
The New Hampshire Medical Society closed its argument as follows:
It is often said that someone is entitled to their own opinion but they are not entitled to their own facts. This is just such a case. The insurers and APCIA devote large parts of their assignments to covid-denial – they deny the seriousness of covid-19, claim that surface cleaning removes it once and for all from a business premises, claim that SARS-CoV-2 is “volatile”; and that Virus does not make property uninhabitable. Although these positions may be the opinion of insurers, they are simply free from scientific facts. Science disproves each of these positions. Their adoption by this court would shatter the public’s trust in medicine and in the doctors who make up its members, jeopardizing public health in this state.
The society urges the court to rely on the real science that the society has put forward in this card – not the views contained in the insurers’ and APCIA’s instructions – in order to make a decision in this case.
The Medical Society’s brief should be mandatory reading for anyone involved with a covid-related business income loss claim. For example, the short notes:
… SARS-CoV-2 cannot be removed by routine surface cleaning. A number of studies have similarly shown that Coronavirus is “much more resistant to cleaning than other respiratory viruses tested in this way.”
Studies have shown that not even extraordinary cleaning measures remove the Corona virus from surfaces. For example, a 2021 study of the largest hospital network in the state of New York showed that even after trained hospital staff used disinfection procedures in treatment areas for coronavirus patients, much of the virus survived in those areas – showing that even intensive, non-routine surface cleaning does . do not remove it from surfaces – let alone from the air. Simply put, if even trained hospital workers using hospital-grade disinfectants could not remove all SARS-CoV-2, Lysol and a cloth would not do so. As such, the claims of insurance companies and APCIA that routine cleaning removes SARS-CoV-2 from property have no scientific basis and should not guide the decision of this court.
The problem is that these false opinions have formed the basis of many court decisions. For example in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court rules Covid does not cause physical loss or injuryI quoted part of the decision as saying:
The virus does not require structural “repairs or remediation”; it can be removed from a surface with a disinfectant. Looks Uncork & Create LLC v. Cincinnati Ins. Co.498 F. Supp. 3d 878, 883–84 (SDW Va. 2020), aff’d, 27 F.4th 926 (4th Cir. 2022).
Then I noted that “the courts simply place their own version of science and what Covid 19 does with property instead of allowing cases to move to the stage where evidence is presented.” The reason courts do this is because insurance companies continue to spread this false story. The Swedish Medical Association urges them to:
The issue of insurance coverage is outside the association’s remit, but the statements of insurers (“insurers”) and their supporting amicus curiae, the insurance industry-funded American Property Casualty Insurance Association (“APCIA”) – which repeatedly minimizes the seriousness of Covid-19 and S- CoV-2 can be removed from a property with simple surface cleaning – strike at the heart of society’s mission.
Simply put, these statements are not scientifically based and completely ignore the actual scientific understanding of COVID-19, its transmission and the inability to completely remove SARS-CoV-2 from a property with routine surface cleaning.
I remind readers again of my latest post, The insurance industry teaches that a cause of damage does not have to change property. But when it comes to Covid, there is scientific evidence that it does.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.
– Helen Keller
1 Schleicher and Stebbins Hotels, LLC v. Starr Surplus Lines Ins. Co.No. 2022-0155 [Amicus Brief of New Hampshire Medical Society] (NH 2022).