Property insurance policies are contracts entered into between an insurance company and an insured party. These contracts are usually drafted by the insurance company, and often contain provisions that appear innocuous but are included to benefit the insurance company at the expense of their client. The tremendous economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a nationwide deluge of insurance claims, filed by property owners attempting to recoup some of the pandemic-related losses. When an insurance company denies a Covid-19 related claim, the client may pursue a civil claim against the company to enforce the insurance policy. A Superior court in Providence, Rhode Island recently heard a real estate company’s claim against their insurance company.
According to the facts discussed in the recent ruling, the plaintiff in the recently decided case is one of the largest privately-held real estate investment companies in the world. The plaintiff’s business includes the leasing of residential, commercial, and industrial properties in Rhode Island. The plaintiff entered into an insurance contract with the defendant to cover several properties they owned in Rhode Island. After the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, the plaintiff was unable to keep many of their properties occupied and lost a substantial amount of income as a result.
Based on their losses, the plaintiff made a claim with the defendant, demanding that the defendant honor the insurance contract because the “physical damage” done by the SARS-COV-19 virus was what resulted in their loss. The defendant denied the plaintiff’s claim, noting exclusions in the plaintiff’s policy that limited the covered losses resulting from communicable diseases or contamination. After the defendant rejected their claim, the plaintiff filed a suit in Rhode Island state court.
After the parties submitted multiple briefs and held arguments, the court issued a written opinion, denying the plaintiff’s claim that the existence of Covid-19 could constitute “physical damage” within the meaning of the insurance policy between the parties. The Court noted that the policy’s language was clear and that the specific exclusions applied perfectly to the issues presented by Covid-19. The court was clear that the text of the policy is what is most important in making this determination and did not rule that Covid-19-related losses could be covered under a different policy. Rhode Island property owners who have suffered economic loss due to Covid-19 may be covered under their property insurance policy.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies Can Be Difficult
If you or a loved one has suffered damage or loss to your property as a result of any occurrence, there may be a claim for damages if your property was insured at the time of your loss. The coverages offered by insurance policies can vary significantly from policy to policy, and it is important to understand what is and is not covered before agreeing to the contract. If you are considering purchasing an insurance policy or attempting to make a claim against a noncooperative insurance company, having an experienced Rhode Island real estate attorney by your side can help you successfully pursue your claim. The dedicated Rhode Island real estate attorneys from Bilodeau Capalbo are experienced negotiating with insurance companies, and we know the tricks they might use to deny you coverage. We can help fight your insurance company and get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Rhode Island real estate attorney by calling 401-300-4055.