A Washington state court in The Board of Regents of the University of Washington v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau, No. 22-2-15472-1, recently held that the University of Washington has made a plausible claim for coverage for losses sustained as the result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic under Washington’s “loss of functionality” test.Continue Reading Invisible Particles or Not: Coverage May Exist for COVID Claims
One of the threshold issues in COVID-19 insurance coverage cases that have been brought across the country is whether the policyholder’s allegations meet the applicable pleading standard in alleging that the virus caused physical loss or damage. In many cases, the courts have gotten it wrong, effectively holding policyholders to a higher standard than required. But recently, a California federal judge righted those wrongs by acknowledging the correct pleading standard in that case, which is whether the allegations state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). The Court, here, correctly recognized that the policyholder, the Los Angeles Lakers, met that pleading standard when it alleged that the COVID-19 virus can cause physical loss or damage by physically altering property.
Continue Reading California Court Forces Insurer to Play Ball in COVID-19 Insurance Coverage Suit
As reported on this blog, policyholders have long been of the view that the presence of substances like COVID-19 and its causative virus SARS-CoV-2, which render property dangerous or unfit for normal business operations, should be sufficient to trigger coverage under commercial all-risk insurance, as has been the case for more than 60 years.
However, many courts, federal courts in particular, despite decades of pro-policyholder precedent, have embraced the view that “viruses harm people, not [property].” Thirty-one months after the start of the pandemic, the first state high court has gone in a different direction, according greater weight to pro-policyholder precedent.Continue Reading Vermont Supreme Court Finds COVID-19 May Damage Property