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N.Y. hospital system sues AIG, Allianz for COVID-19 BI cover

Posted On: Feb. 8, 2021 5:36 PM CST


Northwell Health Inc., which says it is New York’s largest health care provider and private employer, filed suit against American International Group Inc. and Allianz SE units on Monday for their refusal to provide COVID-19-related business interruption coverage.

New Hyde Park, New York-based Northwell, which says it has taken care of more than 100,000 COVID-19-diagnosed patients during the pandemic, charges that AIG unit Lexington Insurance Co. and Allianz unit Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. have refused to provide the coverage despite its “hundreds of millions of dollars of covered costs and losses,” which have “devastated” its business, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New York in Northwell Health, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co. and Interstate Fire & Casualty Co.

According to the lawsuit, Northwell’s all-risk three-year policy, which expires March 31, provides a policy limit of $1.25 billion in the aggregate, with Lexington covering 90% and Interstate covering 10% on a quota share basis, subject to a $500,000 combined coverage deductible per occurrence, with both policies following the same common form and endorsements.

The lawsuit said the coverage includes “interruption by communicable disease” special coverage for each occurrence, which is subject to a $25 million sublimit and a 30-day time limitation, among policy provisions.

The lawsuit says that after delaying a response to its claim for more than six months, the insurers denied coverage in October, stating, among other things, that the coverage’s “interruption by communicable disease” and “decontamination cost” coverage was “unilaterally erased by a pollution exclusion endorsement and that no other coverages were available.”

The litigation states the insurers subsequently refused to reconsider their positions and reiterated their coverage denial on Jan. 6.

The lawsuit charges the insurers with breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and seeks a declaratory judgment.

An Allianz spokeswoman said the insurer does not comment on current litigation, while AIG did not respond to a request for comment.

Last month,  an Oklahoma state court judge refused to dismiss COVID-19-related business interruption coverage filed by the Cherokee Nation against Lexington and other insurers.

More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.