Readers who have been following the Covid-19 business interruption litigation in the USA will know that the courts have largely, at summary judgment stage, dismissed claims for coverage alleging that the virus caused physical damage to insured premises.
That question has been now been pronounced upon by a jury trial.
A Missouri Federal jury considered the claim in a three day trial and delivered its verdict for the insurer after deliberating for just an hour and forty-five minutes.
The jury found that the insurer’s commercial property insurance policy did not provide coverage for the Covid-19 losses. The policyholder had failed to show its properties were physically damaged by the virus and needed to be restored before operations could resume.
An academic molecular epidemiologist testified that there was no testing for the presence of the virus at any of the policyholder’s nine restaurant locations.
A chemical enzymologist testified that the coronavirus can be removed and inactivated by cleaning and can decay on its own.
The insurer contended the restaurant owner’s losses were caused by government shut down orders which were subject to an exclusion on the commercial property policy.
The policyholder’s evidence did not show physical contamination of any of its properties. Even if it did the alleged loss was not caused by any physical loss, physical damage or physical contamination caused by the virus.
The case is K.C. Hopps Limited v Cincinnati Insurance Co. case number 4:20-cv-437 US District Court for the Western District of Missouri.