The Northern District of New York recently awarded summary judgment to insurer Affiliated Factory Mutual Insurance Co. against Mohawk Gaming Enterprises, a casino and resort operated by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe located on the border of New York and Canada. Mohawk Gaming sued AFM seeking recovery of business income losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In granting the insurer’s motion, however, the court failed to consider all parts of the AFM policy, as required under New York law, and failed to afford meaning to specific language contained in the policy’s two communicable disease sections, each of which specifically contemplate that “communicable disease,” as defined and covered under the AFM policy, can cause loss and damage to property. Instead, the court followed other decisions from “numerous courts around the country,” each of which is based on inherently flawed reasoning (e.g., reliance on cases where no presence of virus was alleged or cases that clearly and broadly excluded loss caused by virus), to conclude that the presence of virus “is insufficient to trigger coverage when the policy’s language requires physical loss or physical damage.” In fact, a federal court in Texas recently rejected the very same reasoning employed in Mohawk Gaming after recognizing that the FM/AFM policy form “is much broader than [others] and expressly covers loss and damage caused by ‘communicable disease.’” See Cinemark Holdings, Inc. v. Factory Mut. Ins. Co., No. 4:21-cv-00011 (E.D. Tex. May 5, 2021).

Continue Reading New York Federal Court Ignores Policy’s Uniquely Broad Wording in Favor of Following the Herd

A recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease has been traced to a Sheraton hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.  According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, 11 cases are confirmed and 55 more cases are “probable.”  The Atlanta Sheraton closed on July 15 to investigate the outbreak.  The closure is certain to result in a substantial immediate loss of revenue for the property.  The closure and loss of advanced reservations also will likely result in an extended interruption of hotel revenue.  Add to that potential stigma-related losses that will result from those afraid to reenter the property after the hotel reopens.  Sheraton will likely turn to its insurers to seek payment for its business interruption costs.

Continue Reading Legionnaires’ Outbreak Raises Significant Insurance Issues

A federal appeals court reversed an auto parts manufacturer’s summary judgment win, construing a policy limitation on flood hazards to apply broadly to all types of losses, even though the limit “does not expressly say what losses it limits.” In Federal-Mogul LLC v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, manufacturer Federal-Mogul suffered more than $60 million in property and time-element losses following a 2011 flood in one of its factories in Thailand. Federal-Mogul submitted a claim to its insurer, but the insurer refused to pay more than $30 million because the flood occurred in a high hazard flood zone, to which the insurer argued a sublimit in the policy applied.

Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Broadly Construes Policy Sublimit, Limits Recovery for Thai Factory Flood

Following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has entered an emergency order regarding insurance procedures for residential property policies to assist policyholders and streamline the claims process. The insurance commissioner’s order provides standardized requirements for claims reporting, grace periods for payment of premiums and performance of other duties by policyholders, and temporary postponement of cancellations and non-renewals. These include:

Continue Reading Florida Office Of Insurance Regulation Enters Emergency Order Regarding Hurricane Irma Claims

As Texas and other Gulf coast areas make final storm preparations, now is a good time to gather insurance information and policies.  Hunton & Williams attorneys, Michael Levine and John Eichman provide important information in the linked article published by The Texas Lawbook concerning insurance issues that are likely to arise in the storm’s wake,

As Texas and other Gulf coast areas make final storm preparations, now is a good time to gather insurance information and policies. Hunton & Williams insurance attorneys, Michael Levine and Andrea DeField provide important information in this linked Client Alert concerning insurance issues that are likely to arise in the storm’s wake, including potentially applicable

Hunton and Williams LLP has published its 2016 Retail Industry Year in Review.  The Review discusses the key legal and regulatory developments that affected the retail industry last year.  In the Review, Hunton insurance coverage attorneys Syed Ahmad, Mike Levine and Jenn White discuss the lessons learned from insurance coverage cases that promise to

On December 1, 2016, the Florida Supreme Court held that the concurrent cause doctrine applies where multiple perils combined to create a loss even where one of those perils is excluded by the terms of the all-risk property insurance policy. The decision is a significant victory for Florida policyholders, especially where other jurisdictions have struggled

Hunton & Williams LLP attorneys Mike Levine and Matt McLellan, along with Tim Monahan of Lockton Companies, LLC., presented to a group of risk managers and insurance professionals on Wednesday evening, February 17th, about strategies and pitfalls in the claim presentation process. The event was well-attended and the audience was lively with questions for the presenters. A copy of the PowerPoint can be downloaded here. Key points discussed with the group include:

Continue Reading Hunton Lawyers Discuss How to Survive the Claims Process

As discussed in a February 1, 2016 posting, the court in Foster Poultry Farms v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, No. 14-cv-953, 2015 WL 5920289 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 9, 2015) held that losses associated with alleged noncompliance with federal sanitation regulations were covered by the “accidental contamination” and “government recall” provisions of a food