Recently, a California federal court issued a favorable decision for policyholders seeking coverage for losses arising from COVID-19 who paid significant premiums to purchase substantial coverage limits including “coverage for business interruption losses from a virus.” Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. v. Endurance Am. Spec. Ins. Co., Case No. SACV 20-02185 (C.D. Cal., June 15, 2022).
In Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc., the Boston Marriott Long Wharf (the “Marriott”) hosted a three-day conference in February 2020. Following the event, the Boston Public Health Department informed the hotel that three attendees tested positive for COVID-19. Sunstone, the operator of the Marriott, timely filed an initial notice of loss with Endurance under its environmental impairment liability policy for the losses stemming from the presence of COVID-19.
In exchange for the placement of the policy, Sunstone paid a significant premium for an aggregate maximum of $40 million limit of insurance to protect itself against all kinds of events, including $25 million for “business interruption losses from a virus.”
After receiving the notice, Endurance denied the claim in full. Following the notice but prior to denial, the Boston public health authorities informed the Marriott that the City would force it to quarantine and close immediately if the hotel failed to suspend its operations. The Marriott thereafter suspended its operations for a period of 14 days. Prior to the hotel’s reopening date, the State of Massachusetts issued a governmental order mandating the closure of all non-essential businesses, which included the hotel. The Marriott thus remained closed until July 7, 2020, when the State permitted it to reopen at limited capacity. Continue Reading A policyholder win: Court finds coverage for COVID-19 related losses