Cincinnati Insurance No Coverage for Covid-19 Business Losses Class Action

Many businesses have been forced to close due to state orders aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. Some of these businesses are now attempting to cover lost business income by making claims on their commercial insurance policies. In this class action, a dental office sues the Cincinnati Insurance Company, the Cincinnati Casualty Company, and the Cincinnati Indemnity Company for rejection of its insurance claims.

The class for this action is all policyholders in the US who bought commercial property coverage, including business or interruption income (and extra expense) coverage from Cincinnati and who have been denied coverage under their policy for lost business income after being ordered by a governmental entity, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to shut down or otherwise curtail or limit in any way their business operations.

Plaintiff Betty Jo Hirschfield-Louik owns the dental practice Uptown Dental in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The dental practice is insured under an all-risk policy of property insurance with one or more of the Cincinnati companies. Among its coverages is business income loss and extra expense coverage.

The complaint alleges that the policy covers “direct ‘loss’ to Covered Property at the ‘premises’ caused by or resulting from any Covered Cause of Loss.” The policy’s definition of Covered Cause of Loss is “direct ‘loss’ unless the ‘loss’ is excluded in or limited in” the policy. It defines Loss as “accidental physical loss or accidental physical damage.”

The complaint says, “Additional coverage is provided under the Policy for business income losses resulting from an ‘action of civil authority’ which prohibits access to the Covered Property, related to a ‘Covered Cause of Loss’ at a property other than the Covered Property.”

The complaint points out that Covid-19 is highly infectious and spreads both through droplets in the air and attachment to surfaces. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the virus can live on copper surfaces for four hours, cardboard for up to 24 hours, and plastic and stainless steel for up to two or three days. It quotes a study in the Journal of Hospital Infection as saying, “Human coronavirus can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces at room temperature for up to 9 days.”

The complaint points out that dental practices are particularly likely to spread such diseases: “Most procedures performed by dentists have the potential for creating contaminated aerosols and splatter.”

On March 19, 2020, the Governor of Pennsylvania issued an Executive Order closing all non-essential businesses in the state. This and other orders from civil authorities required Uptown Dental to close except for emergencies.

The complaint alleges that Uptown Dental submitted a claim for business income loss to Cincinnati, but that the insurer refused to pay it. The insurer claimed that Covid-19 did not result in direct physical loss or damage to the property.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Insurance

Most Recent Case Event

Cincinnati Insurance No Coverage for Covid-19 Business Losses Complaint

June 3, 2020

Many businesses have been forced to close due to state orders aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. Some of these businesses are now attempting to cover lost business income by making claims on their commercial insurance policies. In this class action, a dental office sues the Cincinnati Insurance Company, the Cincinnati Casualty Company, and the Cincinnati Indemnity Company for rejection of its insurance claims.

Cincinnati Insurance No Coverage for Covid-19 Business Losses Complaint

Case Event History

Cincinnati Insurance No Coverage for Covid-19 Business Losses Complaint

June 3, 2020

Many businesses have been forced to close due to state orders aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. Some of these businesses are now attempting to cover lost business income by making claims on their commercial insurance policies. In this class action, a dental office sues the Cincinnati Insurance Company, the Cincinnati Casualty Company, and the Cincinnati Indemnity Company for rejection of its insurance claims.

Cincinnati Insurance No Coverage for Covid-19 Business Losses Complaint
Tags: Business Insurance, Covid-19 Related, Denial of Benefits, Insurance