In a prior blog post, we discussed Kanye West’s touring company’s, Very Good Touring, Inc. (“Very Good”), lawsuit against its insurer, Lloyd’s of London (“Lloyd’s”), for withholding almost $10 million in coverage after the cancellation of shows on West’s “Life of Pablo” Tour. On Tuesday, August 29, 2017, Lloyd’s responded by counterclaiming against Very Good and West, alleging that the loss was due to their failure to abide by policy conditions.
Lloyd’s alleges without any specificity that its investigation revealed, among other things, “irregularities” in West’s medical history and that Very Good willfully concealed and/or misrepresented relevant facts to obstruct the insurer’s investigation. Lloyd’s then concedes, however, that it “[has] not been able to reach a final conclusion [regarding coverage]…as of this date….” (emphasis added). Lloyd’s cites to the confidential nature of the issues involved in the lawsuit as a basis for not providing detailed reasoning for withholding payments for coverage.
The counterclaim shows the lengths that insurers will go to delay or avoid payment of claims, even where coverage is straightforward. For example, under an event cancellation policy, the clear expectation is that the policyholder will be covered for claims resulting from a canceled event. Insurer tactics to prolong investigations, without any basis to do so, in order to search for facts that might fit a policy exclusion or limitation underscores the importance of carefully considering and negotiating policy wording. Unnecessary or overly broad terms or provisions should be deleted or limited in scope. Such analysis of policy language will help minimize an insurer’s ability to rely on such provisions in a way that they were never expected to be applied. The case is Very Good Touring, Inc. v. Cathedral Syndicate, et al., No. 2:17-cv-05693 (C.D. Cal. filed Aug. 1, 2017).