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Zurich wins covid-related judgments against restaurants, hotel chains



Two Chicago state courts of appeal ruled Friday in favor of a Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. unit in Covid-19-related business-class litigation filed by restaurant and hotel chains.

Firebirds International, LLC v. Zurich American Insurance Co. was filed by a Charlotte, North Carolina chain that operates more than 50 wood-fired restaurants in 19 states.

GPIF Crescent Court Hotel et al. v. Zurich American Insurance Co. was submitted by a group of hotels operated by Norwalk, Connecticut-based HEI Hotels Inc.

Among the issues discussed in Birds of fire the case was the virus exclusion included in the two full-risk commercial real estate insurances issued by Zurich.

The policies “expressly exclude ̵

6;Contamination’, defined as ‘(a) condition of property due to the actual presence of viruses’, from coverage, according to the decision of the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, 6th Division.

“It follows that business interruption due to the covid-19 virus, as the Firebirds claim in their complaint, is not a suspension caused by a covered cause of loss,” the ruling said.

“It is clear that no set of facts can be proved that would give the Firebirds the right to reclaim their claims under Zurich policy,” it said, in a lower court.

The judgment of the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, 5th Division, cites the previous judgments of the Illinois Court of Appeal in Sweet Berry Cafe, Inc. v. Society Insurance, Inc. and Leeward v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. by determining a lower court ruling in favor of the insurer.

As with the restaurants in Sweet berries and Leeward“to prove a” physical loss, GPIF was required to claim a “physical change of (its) property”, the judgment states, quoting Leeward Governing.

“But it did not. Instead, it only claimed that it lost the use of its property and that it had to install various objects to help prevent the spread of the virus (plexiglass barriers, hands-on stations, instruction decals, etc.),” ​​the verdict said.

“Furthermore, although GPIF claimed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus caused a physical change in the property with which it came into contact, that claim could not show a physical loss either because GPIF did not claim that the property needed to be physically repaired or replaced. out “, it says in the judgment, which confirms a lower court ruling.

Lawyers in the case did not respond to requests for comment or could not be found.


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