Cleveland food establishments suing insurance companies in hopes of recovering from coronavirus closures

Updated: Apr. 13, 2020 at 3:27 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The COVID-19 crisis has decimated the hospitality industry and restaurants, hotels, and party centers don’t know if they’ll recover from this, or how.

Some in the hospitality industry are now turning to their insurance companies, making claims because of the disruption of business.

Local companies like Mitchells Ice Cream did just that.

They filed a “complaint for declaratory relief” last week in a suit against their insurer, The Cincinnati Insurance Companies.

Businesses like Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream are filing suit, over “business interruption” claims to their insurance...

Posted by Jen Picciano on Monday, April 13, 2020

In it, they cite that “the policy provides coverage for business income loss, extra expense, and loss due the actions of civil authority.”

And they say that while the policy was in force, they sustained a loss due to coronavirus, and orders issued by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

The group that owns Marble Room also filed suit against the same insurance company.

They also own places Lockkeepers, Il Venetian and the St. Clair Ballroom.

Their filing states that their policy requires the insurance company to “pay for the actual loss of “Business Income” and “Rental Value”' sustained, and that while the policy was in force, they sustained, and continue to sustain, loss(es) due to COVID-19.

“There’s a host of individuals that can take advantage of business interruption in their policy,” said attorney Bobby Rutter, with Rutter & Russin, LLC.

But those who are contacting their insurance agents are not getting the response they were hoping for.

“By in large, anyone that has submitted a claim has been told, and in some cases, very quickly, that their claim is not covered,” said Nick DiCello, partner at Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber, LLP.

We reached out to the Cincinnati Insurance Companies today for a response to the filings.

They said “We respect the rights of all parties to have their issues heard and resolved in a court of law. For that reason, we don’t comment on ongoing litigation.”

These claims aren’t limited to the hospitality industry.

The attorneys from both law firms we consulted with today expect to file hundreds of complaints on behalf of other industries as well, like retail, and manufacturing.

Their advice is get a hold of your insurance policy and have someone, other than your agent look at it on your behalf to see how, if at all, it can help you in this situation.

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