Casino operators sue insurance carriers over coronavirus claims
Two Oklahoma-based tribal casino operators launch suits after carriers refuse to provide coverage
The outbreak of the coronavirus has certainly caused havoc in the world and in the US, things are getting complicated for several industries, casinos are certainly one of those. A couple of tribal casinos are attempting to have their insurance companies pay for the losses due to the temporary shutdowns through a lawsuit. The Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations filed their suits this past Tuesday for the closure of their Oklahoma casinos due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Choctaw Nation sued in Bryan County District Court and the Chickasaw Nation sued in Pontotoc County District Court. This lawsuit goes against several insurance agents at Lloyd’s syndicates, Lexington Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Evanston Insurance Company and Arch Specialty Insurance Company, among others. According to the claimants, the policy acquired comes with an “all-risk” benefit that includes “business interruption, interruption by civil authority, limitations of ingress and egress, and extra expense,” said the Chickasaw’s 5-page complaint. In Oklahoma, Governor Kevin Stitt ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the state and people with pre-existing medical conditions and the senior citizens were instructed to stay home at least until April 30. Stitt also set a restriction for gatherings of ten people or more.
According to the tribes’ attorney, Michal Burrage, he is seeking the court to rule in favor of the casino losses being covered. The insurers have not denied the claim yet, but, in some other places like Louisiana, they have. According to a response to other claims, the insurers denied the claim because there was no physical damage to any property. “As a direct result of this pandemic and infection, the nation’s property has been damaged, as described above, and cannot be used for its intended purpose,” the complaint states.