As major catastrophic events always do, the COVID-19 pandemic has become a major source of litigation. In fact, it’s already one of the largest waves of insurance coverage litigation in our nation’s history, and it’s only just getting started.
Since the pandemic fully set in and shut everything down in March 2020, the amount of litigation that has been filed is staggering. Over 2,100 lawsuits seeking coverage for pandemic-related business interruption have been filed in at least 44 states. This has generated more than 800 trial court decisions and nearly 20 appellate court decisions so far.
This is just the beginning.
The legal landscape surrounding COVID-19 insurance litigation will continue to be written for years to come. Thus far, however, two key issues have emerged that practitioners in this area need to understand:
- Insurers are asserting a number of exclusions to bar coverage for COVID-19 claims under all-risk policies, with varying degrees of success. Some of the most common that courts have been considering include virus exclusions, contamination exclusions, pollution exclusions, and more.
- Policy coverage for communicable disease might have much broader implications. Already courts have been tasked with deciding whether affirmative coverage for communicable disease is a recognition that communicable diseases can also cause physical loss or damage and whether claims for communicable disease are limited to the policies’ sublimits for communicable disease coverages or if they can unlock the policies’ larger limits for business interruption, among other things.
As COVID-19 insurance lawsuits continue to be filed at a notable pace, understanding what the courts have ruled so far is key to formulating case strategies going forward.
To help you understand the current legal landscape in this area, PLI is offering a one-hour program, COVID-19 Insurance Litigation: Key Exclusions and Communicable Disease Coverage, which will provide valuable insight into the major trends in this area of litigation so far, and what those trends might mean for future lawsuits. Register today to stay ahead of the curve in this burgeoning area of law.
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