Ad Spot

November 25, 2020

Mississippi casino sues insurance company for $10M, says policy covered COVID-19 losses

A Mississippi Gulf Coast casino has become one of many businesses nationwide to sue its insurer for refusing to cover business losses because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport contends in the federal lawsuit that its insurer owes it $10 million for business losses caused by a 65-day COVID-19 shutdown in the spring.

Gulfside Casino Partnership, Island View’s owner, is also demanding $90 million in punitive damages, attorney’s fees and interest.

The Sun Herald reports Island View says it lost $46.2 million in revenue when it was closed from March 16 until May 21 under orders from the Mississippi Gaming Commission. However, its policy only covers up to $10 million.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract and negligence against Georgia-based Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co., which parceled out shares of the risk to nine other insurers.

Gulfport attorney Joe Sam Owen, who represents the partnership, said legal disputes over COVID-19 insurance claims generally have boiled down to the definition of “physical damage.”

Insurance companies argue the property must suffer actual physical damage, as it would in a hurricane, to recover losses under their policies.

But the casino says its policy specifically covers losses caused by canceled bookings, or the inability to accept bookings, caused by “a contagious or infectious disease at an insured location, as determined by a public or civil authority,” and that the loss is covered “whether or not physical damage occurs to the property.”

The cancellation coverage costs Island View an annual premium of $408,268.

An insurance adjusting firm assigned to the claim, Crawford Global Technical Services, wrote in a July letter to Island View: “As a general matter, the policies afford coverage only when there has been direct physical loss, damage or destruction. In the absence of such damage, there is not coverage.”

Pollutants and contaminants, including viruses, are listed in an underlying policy as being excluded from coverage, the letter said. It also said other policy language states that “communicable disease” is not covered.

News

Parents arrested after infant girl hospitalized with alcohol in system, investigators say

News

Longtime Mississippi judge, pioneer for women leaders has died

News

‘Admirable and heartbreaking’ – Home health nurse dies after saving paralyzed patient from house fire

News

Mississippi hospital space limited as more coronavirus cases hospitalized; state statistics near record levels

News

Wines sales in Mississippi grocery stores? Mississippi lawmaker thinks now is the time

News

A gunshot wound and ‘suspicious markings’ but still no killer a week after hunters find body in woods

News

Murder suspect tells judge he fears for life in jail, needs lower bond; judge denies request

News

Tennessee says COVID-19 vaccine will be ‘choice’ but not requirement for schools

News

New virus orders: Half of Mississippi counties now under mask orders

News

Efforts to convince Mississippians to take coronavirus seriously ‘going nowhere,’ state health officer says

News

Mississippi’s November COVID stats beginning to look a lot like July’s which could forecast deadly December

News

Mississippi reports dozens more deaths as coronavirus spreads across state

News

Mississippi model run over, killed by former cop and father of her child, police say

News

Mississippi business destroyed by fire

News

Thanksgiving eve thunderstorms possible across parts of Mississippi

News

Mississippi teen headed to prison after Internet prank leaves friend burned, disfigured

News

Mississippi woman ran over her girlfriend with car, police say; one jailed, one hospitalized

News

Former Mississippi cop charged after pedestrian fatality

News

Mississippi doctor acquitted on 7 of 8 counts in pain cream fraud case

News

Federal agency clears way for Joe Biden transition; Trump still says he will ‘prevail’

News

Leader of Mississippi’s largest hospital wants Tate Reeves to issue state mask mandate

News

Mississippi 25-year-old dies after battle with COVID; family says she was ‘perfectly healthy’ before virus struck

News

Mississippi man gets 40 years in prison after wife’s charred remains discovered in bucket

News

Forensics experts called after Mississippi homeowner finds unidentified bone in yard