Lawyer sues dealer, provider over denial of COVID-19 BI declare

Lawyer sues broker, carrier over denial of COVID-19 BI claim

A Philadelphia-based lawyer has sued both her firm’s insurance broker and carrier over the denial of business interruption coverage for coronavirus-related losses in one of the first COVID-19-related cases to consider producer liability.

However, a federal district judge dismissed the charges because of a virus exclusion clause in the plaintiff’s policy.

Rhonda Hill Wilson of the Law Offices of Rhonda Hill Wilson filed a lawsuit against her firm’s insurance provider Hartford Casualty Co. and its broker USI Insurance Services LLC, charging both with breach of contract for refusing to pay for business interruption losses incurred when her firm was forced to close in March due to the pandemic.

Wilson argued that USI was also liable because it acted as an agent for Hartford.

District judge Eduardo C. Robreno dismissed the claims against Hartford, ruling that virus exclusions in the law firm’s policy “unambiguously barred any coverage they could possibly claim.”

Robreno also tossed the case against USI, outlining that although the broker was involved in obtaining the policy from Hartford, “it was not a party to the policy.” He added that Hartford’s correct determination of the firm’s coverage eliminated USI’s liability from the charge.