INDIANAPOLIS — Many businesses throughout the United States are suing their insurance companies over denied claims for assistance because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Two of those businesses are in Indianapolis. The Indiana Repertory Theatre in downtown Indy had to cancel it’s entire 2020 season of plays because of the pandemic.
“They had to lay off staff, they had to cut budgets across the board, they had the close the theater, they’ve got to return ticket money for refunds,” said George Plews, the attorney representing the IRT, to WISH-TV. “They had to sustain losses … it looks like it is a loss of between $500,000 and a million dollars or more.”
Plews said the IRT filed a claim with their insurance provider Cincinnati Casualty Company. IRT said their policy does not exempt coverage because of a viral pandemic, thus they should be their claim should be honored by CCC. But the insurance company has denied their claim.
CCC’s main argument, according to Plews, is that there was no “physical impact” on the business because of the pandemic therefore they are not entitled to coverage. However, Plews argues that the company has had every opportunity to exclude the impacts of a pandemic in writing and did not.
MHG Hotels is suing their insurance provider as well. MHG owns hotel chains such as Holiday Inn and Courtyard Inn and has 13 locations throughout central Indiana that are owned and operated by MHG CEO Sanjay Patel.
“This insurance company needs to step up and do the right thing,” said Sanjay Patel, CEO of MHG Hotels. “This is what people pay for.”
Patel said occupancy in their hotels dropped from an average of 70-percent down to the single digits because of the pandemic. He said they have gotten a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program but even that was not enough to cover enough of the company’s losses.
MHG filed a claim with their insurance company, EMC Insurance, to help cover more of those losses, but their claim was also denied for similar reasons to that of the case involving IRT.
WISH-TV reached out for comment from both insurance companies and both said they could not comment on pending litigation.