Thomas Keller, the famed chef who leads restaurants The French Laundry and Per Se, is seeking the courts the determine that his insurance company should cover coronavirus-related business losses.
Keller’s legal team asserts the suit against insurer Hartford Fire Insurance Company — and other similar challenges from restaurant owners — is intends to establish legal precedent for businesses facing mandated coronavirus closures to be covered by their business interruption insurance policies.
Matthew Sturdevant, The Hartford’s spokesperson, declined to comment on the legal wrangling.
Keller is one of America’s most acclaimed chefs. His restaurants have earned countless awards and accolades.
Keller’s hospitality group oversees more a dozen restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, Miami and Yountville, Calif.
The Chef’s situation is not the only one to challenge regarding coronavirus-related insurance coverage.
New Orleans seafood restaurant Oceana Grill alleged similar action in earlier March pushing a Louisiana court to make a judgment that its insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London covers civil authority-ordered closures.
The American Property Casualty Insurance Association recently said it shared that most insurance policies — including those with related coverage — do not cover viruses such as Covid-19 and that to “retroactively rewrite existing insurance policies” could stretch the insurance industry into further risk.
One mention by the association showed that small business’ potential continuity losses could pass more than $220 billion to $383 billion per month, which would quickly consume the estimated $800 billion surplus US insurers have for payouts.
“If policymakers force insurers to pay for losses that are not covered under existing insurance policies, the stability of the sector could be impacted and that could affect the ability of consumers to address everyday risks that are covered by the property casualty industry,” David A. Sampson, president and CEO of the association, said in a statement.