Class Actions Seek Recovery for Colleges and Universities Denied Coverage for Pandemic-Related Business Interruption Insurance Claims


Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP has filed two class action lawsuits on behalf of three higher education institutions denied coverage by insurers for business interruption claims related to COVID-19. All three educational institutions hold all-risk commercial property insurance policies intended to protect in the event of a wide variety of losses including loss of property, business interruption and property damage.

On July 23, the firm filed on behalf of Rockhurst University and Maryville University against Factory Mutual Insurance Company in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and on behalf of Benedictine College against Zurich American Insurance Company in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. These three higher education institutions bring claims on behalf of themselves and other institutions with the same insurance policies. The lawsuits allege breach of contract arising from the insurers denial of coverage and refusal to pay claims related to COVID-19.

In the Spring of 2020 – like thousands of other colleges and universities nationwide – Rockhurst University, Maryville University and Benedictine College had effectively closed campuses as a result of the pandemic and related governmental orders restricting operations.

In describing losses incurred, both complaints state that:

“The measures colleges and universities have taken as a result of COVID-19 have had a devastating financial impact. After closing of dorms and dining halls, colleges and universities provided room-and-board reimbursements, often totaling in the millions of dollars. Other substantial costs include lost revenue from on-campus events; lost revenue from summer classes and programs; increased costs to clean and disinfect the campus as a result of COVID-19; and many others. And these losses may continue or worsen if the measures continue into the fall semester.”

Stueve Siegel Hanson is working together with a consortium of top-tier plaintiffs’ firms to advocate for small businesses, not-for-profits, educational institutions, and others in the wake of COVID-19. Joining Stueve Siegel Hanson are Langdon & Emison, Miller Schirger and Shaffer Lombardo Shurin. Together, these firms bring more than 100 years of experience in complex litigation against insurance companies and more than $1 billion in recoveries.

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