Zurich American Insurance No Covid-19 Coverage for University Class Action

This spring saw a rash of class actions brought by students against universities, as campuses closed and classes were moved online, to stem the spread of Covid-19. Students wanted to recover amounts they had paid for on-campus education and housing. This class action is brought by a university against its insurer, asking for coverage for business losses and extra expenses due to the income losses it has experienced and the new precautions necessary for it to continue functioning. It brings suit against Zurich American Insurance Company.

Lindenwood Female College, which does business as Lindenwood University, has its main campus in Saint Charles, Missouri. Like many educational institutions, Lindenwood closed its campuses and residence halls in March 2020, moved classes online, and canceled events. It had to refund large amounts of money to students who had paid for housing and forego activities that normally earned revenue.

For the fall semester, it has opened on a limited basis, and the pandemic still reduces its ability to fully use its property and facilities. It has also had to spend money on precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Lindenwood lists various categories of losses in the complaint:

  • Tuition income
  • Fundraising income
  • Income from residence halls and food services
  • Income from activities
  • Income from campus retail outlets, such as bookstores, parking, and childcare services
  • Income from special events and rentals, such as for conferences, concerts, and weddings

Similarly, it lists various categories of extra expenses:

  • For technology related to the quick shift to online learning
  • For technology related to the quick shift to work-from-home
  • For cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing measures, and Covid-19 testing
  • For changes to facilities, such as adding signs or putting up plexiglass shields

Lindenwood has an all-risk policy with Zurich, called the Zurich Edge Global Policy, that it believed would cover its losses.

However, Zurich has refused to cover Lindenwood’s losses. First, it says that Covid-19 does not cover physical loss or damage to property. Second, it claims that the policy contains an exclusion for contamination.

Lindenwood claims, however, that an Amendatory Endorsement removes the word “virus” from the definitions of “contamination” and “contaminant” in the policy.

The complaint defines two classes and two subclasses.

The Nationwide Declaratory Judgment Class and the Nationwide Breach Class have the same definition: All institutions of higher education that are covered by one of Zurich’s policies in effect during the pandemic.

The subclasses are the Midwestern Higher Education Compact Subclass and the Missouri Subclass.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Insurance

Most Recent Case Event

Zurich American Insurance No Covid-19 Coverage for University Complaint

October 16, 2020

This spring saw a rash of class actions brought by students against universities, as campuses closed and classes were moved online, to stem the spread of Covid-19. Students wanted to recover amounts they had paid for on-campus education and housing. This class action is brought by a university against its insurer, asking for coverage for business losses and extra expenses due to the income losses it has experienced and the new precautions necessary for it to continue functioning. It brings suit against Zurich American Insurance Company.

Zurich American Insurance No Covid-19 Coverage for University Complaint

Case Event History

Zurich American Insurance No Covid-19 Coverage for University Complaint

October 16, 2020

This spring saw a rash of class actions brought by students against universities, as campuses closed and classes were moved online, to stem the spread of Covid-19. Students wanted to recover amounts they had paid for on-campus education and housing. This class action is brought by a university against its insurer, asking for coverage for business losses and extra expenses due to the income losses it has experienced and the new precautions necessary for it to continue functioning. It brings suit against Zurich American Insurance Company.

Zurich American Insurance No Covid-19 Coverage for University Complaint
Tags: Business Insurance, Denial of Benefits, Insurance