Alliant Property Management Lawsuit
Alliant Property Management Lawsuit – Topics: Casualty Claims and Losses Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Legal Property – North American Supply Chain / Current Trends
A notable subset of US business interruption (BI) litigation over Covid-19 has been filed by casinos, with AIG and FM Global facing lawsuits seeking triple-digit payouts…
Alliant Property Management Lawsuit
A notable subset of US business interruption (BI) litigation over Covid-19 has been filed by casinos, with AIG and FM Global facing lawsuits seeking triple-digit payouts and insurers in an Alliant program facing multiple lawsuits from its Native American tribes America.
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A tenet of the casino business is that the house always wins. However, insurers will hope that this is not the case when it comes to BI lawsuits.
Owners of gaming properties forced to close due to Covid-19 have faced huge losses from the pandemic, with huge casino floors usually full of empty spaces.
Analysis by The Insurer shows at least 12 lawsuits have been filed in district, state and tribal courts by casino owners seeking large BI payouts from their insurers.
That’s just a small percentage of the hundreds of BI lawsuits filed in the U.S. since the pandemic broke out, but they involve amounts that are among the largest potential claims insurers face.
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If the BI litigation were a casino, then most of the lawsuits filed so far – by owners of businesses like restaurants, dentists, hair salons and the like – are the equivalent of someone in a slot machine hoping for a windfall that will lead In contrast, gaming companies are more like the rollers on craps tables.
Casino insurers are adamant that the losses should not be paid. But the chances of success vary in each case due to individual circumstances and the nature of the policy terms.
The latest example of the war of words developing between insurers and casinos came when Las Vegas casino Circus Circus filed a response to AIG’s motion to dismiss its lawsuit.
Circus Circus believes it is entitled to coverage for losses suffered due to bodily loss and/or damage up to the $500 million limit of its all-perils policy, as well as coverage for loss of income and additional expenses up to $96.8 million limit.
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In a filing with the District of Nevada on Sept. 2, the casino said “AIG is building a portfolio based on two bogus facilities.” Circus Circus said AIG is wrong to argue that, first, the casino failed to allege “direct physical loss or damage” to its property and, second, that the environmental pollution exception bars its claim.
“AIG Relies on Sabotage, Misrepresentations and Violations of Law to Escape Circus Circus Covered Claim” The Circus Circus Complaint
Circus Circus believes that the environmental exclusion does not apply because it requires that, regardless of what the harmful substance may be, its presence is due to a “release, discharge, escape or dispersion.”
The casino’s original complaint had used some colorful language to support its case, stating that “AIG is relying on artifice, distortions of fact and violations of law to escape Circus Circus’ covered claim.”
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In its motion to dismiss filed last month, AIG countered that the policy “only insures for “direct bodily loss or damage” to property.” it does not provide cover for purely financial losses in the absence of material accidents to property’.
The insurance company argued convincingly why it should not have to pay damages to Circus Circus, and the courts in the few BI decisions so far have thrown out cases in favor of the insurers in all but one case so far.
Another high-stakes casino lawsuit was filed last month by Penn National Gaming (PNG), which owns more than 40 casino and racetrack businesses. The Pennsylvania-based company sued 29 of the insurers over the $725 million policy, including AIG and Lloyd’s unions.
The suit, filed in Pennsylvania state court, said PNG had suffered more than $500 million in forced shutdown income losses since mid-June, and that the losses continued to mount.
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PNG suggested that no exceptions apply to the case. It argued that all insurers in its tower had multiple opportunities to revise the same policy form and alleged that three carriers not named as defendants had added exclusions for loss of income caused by a virus or contagious disease.
“Each had extensive and multiple opportunities to revise the language in detail and make changes that PNG would likely have to accept,” the lawsuit said.
FM Global is another insurance company that could face hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from casinos. This publication is aware of three lawsuits filed against Affiliated FM.
Las Vegas casino Treasure Island has a policy that provides up to $850 million in coverage for property damage and up to $327 million in coverage for BI losses, according to its lawsuit against Affiliated FM.
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Monarch Casino & Resort – which owns and operates Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno, Nevada and Black Hawk Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado – has a policy that provides $350 million per appearance in aggregate limits, including $60 million per appearance for BI losses.
In the third lawsuit, Mohawk Gaming Enterprises is seeking at least $15.3 million in damages and $7.0 million in consequential damages.
One issue in these three lawsuits is likely to be the insurer’s claims. As this publication reported, prior to the coronavirus crisis, the media-focused Affiliated FM typically included a sub-limit of $100,000 for communicable diseases as standard in its coverage.
The Las Vegas casino said the communicable disease coverage is in two sections of the policy, but they do not apply to limit any coverage that may also apply to loss or damage arising out of or caused by a communicable disease. He said this includes bodily harm resulting from or caused by communicable disease away from Treasure Island locations.
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The Treasure Island complaint also argues that an exclusion barring coverage for “contamination” — defined as, among other things, a “virus” — does not apply.
“To the extent that AFM contends that the Policy’s ‘contamination’ exclusion bars coverage for loss caused by ‘communicable disease’ or some other aspect of Treasure Island’s claim, the Policy is, at best, vague and must therefore interpreted in favor of coverage,” he said.
The insurers are also facing litigation from various Native American tribes that bought coverage under the Tribal First program administered by Alliant.
As this publication has analyzed, AIG Lexington’s surplus lines unit is prominent among the defendants in these lawsuits.
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Most recently, a business owned by a Southern California-based Kumeyaay Indian tribe became the latest Native American group to file suit, suing Lexington for failing to pay BI for Covid-19 damages incurred after the Jamul Casino was forced to close.
He sued the insurer in the Southern California Intertribal Court, which was established in 2002 by 10 tribes and operates as a circuit court.
Lexington is the only defendant in the lawsuit, even though it is only one of the carriers participating in Alliant’s Tribal First program. The AIG unit is the lead underwriter in the offering for the period from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020, according to documents seen by this publication.
A total of 17 insurers are within the first $50 million of coverage offered by Tribal First all risk property coverage for the period July 1, 2019 through July 1, 2020.
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Some or all of the other insurers are named as defendants in the other six lawsuits brought by tribes.
For example, the Tulalip tribes of Washington in July sued all insurance companies for both the first $50 million and the second $50 million in excess of the Tribal First all risks plan. The lawsuit filed in Washington’s superior court claims the tribe is entitled to more than $100 million in damages.
The plaintiffs in that case said all insurers were aware of an ISO virus exemption form created in 2006, but chose not to use it. As in the Jamul lawsuit, the Tulalip Tribes also alleged that the insurers sought to add the word “virus” to the contamination clause after the Covid-19 outbreak, indicating that they could have taken this action before the pandemic if they wanted to to rule out the virus.
They will hope that the judges find in their favor in these disputes and that the casinos do not hit the jackpot with a big payout. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has filed another poaching lawsuit against Alliant Insurance Services Inc. The one filed in the U.S. U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleges eight Chicago-based Gallagher employees resigned in July and began soliciting business from Gallagher clients. In 2020, Gallagher sued Alliant in Delaware, alleging that it targeted more than 30 Gallagher employees and took 80-plus clients in an illegal staff poaching scheme. He had previously sued Alliant in federal court in California with essentially the same complaint against 10 former employees there. The Chicago lawsuit alleges that on July 11, three Gallagher employees who worked with each other on multiple accounts said they were resigning “effective immediately.” They had each signed an employment contract that required them to provide 21 days’ written notice of resignation. Five more Gallaghers
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