6 June 2023News

US university drops Covid-19 lawsuit against Bermuda insurers

Tulane University has dropped a Covid-19 lawsuit against a group of Bermuda insurers.

The New Orleans university asked for the suit seeking $19.4 million in medical catastrophe, evacuation and business interruption expenses to be dismissed.

US District Judge Lance M. Africk dismissed the suit without prejudice in response to a notice of voluntary dismissal filed on Friday by Tulane, website Law360 reported. The dismissal followed the university educational fund's decision in May to drop lead defendant Allied World Assurance Co. Ltd. from the case without prejudice, in both filings reserving the right to return to court to "address any future arbitral award" concerning its pandemic claims.

None of the insurers — including Argo Re Ltd., Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd., Liberty Mutual units Liberty Specialty Markets Agency Ltd. and Liberty Special Markets Bermuda Ltd., Oil Casualty Insurance Ltd., Everen Specialty Insurance Ltd., Hamilton Re Ltd. and Markel Bermuda Ltd. — entered an appearance in the case, according to the docket.

No further information on the dismissal was immediately available.
Tulane had asked the court to declare that the insurers need to provide coverage up to their policy limits for roughly $7 million in business interruption losses its health care facilities suffered in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as about $12.5 million in costs from refunding on-campus students for housing, dining and recreation payments.

The university also asked for bad faith penalties against the insurers for failing to pay out its claims in a reasonable amount of time, filings show.

Tulane previously filed a separate COVID-19 suit in January 2021 against a Chubb unit and its broker, seeking $10 million in pollution coverage for its pandemic-related losses it argued the insurer had wrongfully denied. That suit eventually led to an October settlement, which the parties finalised in January, Law360 said.

Federal district courts around the country have dismissed about 53 per cent of the 1,446 suits from policyholders against their insurance companies seeking pandemic loss-related coverage, according to Law360's COVID-19 Insurance Case Tracker. Another 20 per cent of the pandemic insurance suits filed in federal courts have been voluntarily dismissed, the tracker shows, though about 24 per cent have yet to be fully decided.