Mehri & Skalet, with co-counsel Mason Lietz & Klinger, the Shub Law Firm, and the Rhine Law Firm, has filed a class action business interruption lawsuit against Society Insurance for refusing to pay for COVID-19 related property losses.
M&S hopes business interruption suits can provide a life line for small businesses. M&S partner and former Missouri State Insurance Commissioner, Jay Angoff, is using his expertise to analyze business loss insurance policies for dozens of small businesses to assess if they have viable claims for lost business income.
Small businesses are suffering mightily from the pandemic. Since the novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces for days, business sites are unsafe despite regular cleaning. State and local governments have forced “non-essential” businesses to close or cut back their operations because of such dangerous conditions. The government’s shutdown orders further limit the public’s access to these businesses, resulting in financial losses that are crippling the economic backbone of our country.
Society Insurance sells policies to businesses around the country. Our lawsuit alleges that Society Insurance’s standard policies include coverage for lost income caused by property damage and government shutdown orders, such as those caused by COVID-19. Yet, Society Insurance has denied claims for COVID-19 losses without even conducting inspections of clients’ properties, and declared that it will similarly deny any future claims for those types of losses.
Businesses buy insurance to protect themselves from the unexpected. While the unexpected has happened, Society Insurance has not supplied the protection policyholders paid for and has left small businesses absorbing losses they cannot afford.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Chicago blues venues and all other businesses that bought similar policies from Society Insurance. A copy of the complaint is available here.