Hampshire House, the owner of several restaurants in Boston, including the famous Cheers bar featured in a TV show by the same name, is suing its insurance providers over denied business interruption claims it filed in response to the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns. According to The Boston Globe, the company has been navigating estimated losses in the millions of dollars.
The lawsuit was filed against Fireman’s Fund Insurance and Associated Indemnity Corporation and their parent company, Allianz Global Risks United States Insurance Company. It comes after Hampshire House says the companies refused to pay the claims on its “Property-Gard” policy. The complaint alleges that the insurance providers breached their contract when they denied the claims and failed to act in good faith. The company, which reportedly employs nearly 300 workers, is seeking unspecified damages.
Denial Without Proper Investigation
Just as we’ve seen here in California, establishments such as bars and dine-in services at restaurants were shut down in the New England region when the virus began to spread in March. The company, which has continued to pay six-figure insurance premiums, carries more than $10 million in business interruption insurance. The lawsuit also notes that Cheers in particular relies heavily on tourism for its business.
The complaint states that when Hampshire, after years of having faithfully paid its premiums, made a claim because of catastrophic business interruption caused by the COVID-19 shutdowns, the insurers “summarily and arbitrarily” denied the claims. Hampshire, like many other businesses, has relied on its business interruption insurance to cover what it is supposed to cover, attorneys said. That includes business income and payment of ongoing expenses to help rebuild the businesses. Hampshire says the insurers did not make a good-faith investigation and simply reached a “pre-determined conclusion to deny coverage.”
Insurers Must Face Accountability
This is a story that is being narrated in different parts of the country. Hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits have piled up against insurers nationwide. These complaints have been filed by businesses, many of them hard-working small business owners, who have been diligently paying their premiums year after year, only to be turned down nonchalantly in their time of dire need.
Our California personal injury law firm is representing businesses that are fighting back against insurance companies and the insurance industry, demanding accountability. This is not just our fight, but the fight of everyone who wants to see local businesses and our local economies rebuild and thrive.