COVID insurance decisions misinterpret ‘physical loss’

Law360 (July 23, 2021, 4:19 p.m. EDT) – All-risk property insurance policies generally insure against direct physical loss or damage to covered property.

If asked, before the pandemic, whether the loss of enjoyment of property by an insured – in the absence of any structural modification or destruction – constitutes direct insured physical loss or property damage, the answer would have been yes. with reservation. Such an understanding was underpinned by the historical goal of comprehensive insurance, the ordinary meaning of current policy language, and pre-pandemic jurisprudence.

Yet in a series of cases, decided in response to business interruption insurance claims for COVID-19-related losses, the courts have held …

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