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The Court does not dismiss a business breakdown case against Hartford



A U.S. district court refused to dismiss a COVID-19 business interruption case filed by a medical group against a Hartford Insurance Group unit on Thursday, arguing that a virus exclusion in the policy is ambiguous.

Judgment of the U.S. District Court of Orlando in Urogynecology Specialist of Florida LLC v. Sentinel Insurance Co. Ltd. is apparently only the decision of the third federal district court in favor of the policyholder in these pandemic – related business interruption cases and the fourth overall. of a virus, including COVID-19, ”the decision states, while the Orlando-based medical group argued that the political language for all risks was ambiguous, requiring the court to interpret the policy in its favor, the court said.

The decision states, “several undoubtedly ambiguous aspects of the policy make the determination of coverage inappropriate at this stage. It is noted that the policy provided does not exist as an independent document, "it said.

For example," Restricted fungi, bacteria or virus coverage "in the section of the policy … begins by saying that it changes certain forms of coverage," But these are neither provided in the policy itself nor were they provided to the court.

Nor is it "unclear that the clear language of the policy unequivocally and necessarily excludes the plaintiff's losses", the decision states. "Virus exclusion states that Sentinel will not pay for loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by the presence, growth, spread, spread or any activity of" fungi, wet rot, dry rot bacteria or viruses, "the ruling said.

" Denial of coverage for losses arising from COVID-1

9, however, is not logically consistent with the grouping of virus exclusion with other pollutants so that the policy necessarily foresaw and intended to deny coverage for this type of business loss. "[19659002] The decision states that although Sentinel cites a number of cases which maintains similar viral exclusions, none of them were about "the unique circumstances of the impact COVID-19 has had on our society – a difference that the court considers significant.

"Thus, without binding case law on the effects of COVID-19 on exemptions from virus insurance contracts, this court finds that the plaintiff has put forward a reasonable claim at this time", the decision states, and denied Sentinel's request to dismiss the case.

Lawyers in the case and Hartford could not be reached for comment.

More insurance and risk management news about the coronavirus crisis here . Catalog [19659002]

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