Claims Journal published an article earlier this week, The Key to Winning COVID Business-Interruption Claims: Say the Virus is Present, quoting me from last Friday’s Forum at 2. I discussed the Chloe’s Café brief we filed in California,1 and provided a copy to the audience. The press and others must have watched the episode, and they noted:
A likely policyholder response to that argument was revealed during a Friday afternoon webcast by the Merlin Law Group in Tampa, Fla.
Law firm President William F. ‘Chip’ Merlin said it is ‘absurd’ for insurance companies to insist that a business prove that coronavirus is physically present on a property to be paid for a business-interruption claim.
‘Oh really? You got to have coronavirus in the presence and in the air and all that stuff and that’s the only way to collect from it and you’d rather have people die, and then you can go ahead and get coverage, rather than you close your business and make sure that they don’t die?’ he said.
‘We’ve pointed out that that’s kind of an absurd result to argue that and really against public policy. Only an insurance company would argue that you got to go ahead and let people die and then we’ll pay you for what your loss might be.’
Nonetheless, Merlin said his law firm is also including allegations that coronavirus is present in all of its business-interruption proceedings. He said his review of the cases that have survived motions to dismiss show that pleading the virus is present is a winning strategy.
‘There are so many hundreds of suits out there and so many briefs, we can pick and choose what is best to emulate and what to avoid and also see if there are any better arguments out there,’ Merlin said during the webcast.
This blog has written hundreds of posts about lost business income claims and disputes about the business interruption portion of the policy. My hope is that readers of this blog are better educated about those issues. Our more recent visual discussions about those issues serve the same function but are certainly a different forum to exchange ideas. The comments to our written posts and comments during our livestreams are important. I thank all of you who take your valuable time because we learn from what you say and question.
The above Claims Journal article is also another way we learn and better understand how others analyze our pro-policyholder views and advocacy. I suggest it is important to not just read what we think but listen carefully to and analyze what the insurance industry and its representatives say as well. Analyzing issues with open minds and egos secure enough to admit error is the only method I know of to learn the truth and improve.
I hope all of you have a very joyous Thanksgiving Day in a very difficult year. Thank you for all your support, help, and input. I am very thankful and humbled that you take time to read our blog and watch our other educational forums.
Thought For The Day
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
1Chloe’s Café v. Oregon Mut. Ins. Co., 3:20-cv-05467, Doc. #24, Plaintiff’s Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (N.D. Cal.).