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COVID-19 Losses and Variety of Occurrences

Just lately, an Illinois federal choose dominated that the place authorities shutdown orders because of COVID-19 in numerous states impacted one insured, that insured suffered separate occurrences in every effected state. Dental Consultants, LLC v. Massachusetts Bay Ins. Co., No. 20 C 5887, 2022 WL 2528104 (N.D. Ailing. July 7, 2022).

Dental Consultants LLC and different affiliated dental practices in 10 states had been compelled to cease nonessential operations below numerous authorities orders related to COVID-19.

On abstract judgment, Dental Consultants argued that 20 completely different govt orders in these 10 states amounted to twenty completely different occurrences. In a competing abstract judgment movement, the insurer argued that every one the chief orders had been a single prevalence below the coverage’s definition of prevalence, which defines an prevalence as “all loss or harm that’s attributable to: a. An act, occasion, trigger or sequence of comparable, associated acts, occasions or causes involving a number of individuals; or b. An act, occasion, trigger or sequence of comparable, associated acts, occasions or causes not involving any individual.”

The US District Courtroom held that the chief orders had been the operative occasion, noting that governmental responses to the pandemic different throughout completely different states and localities and concluding that “it was the chief orders that compelled Dental Consultants to shut its places of work, not the pandemic itself.”

Since Illinois follows the “trigger take a look at” to find out variety of occurrences, the court docket regarded to analogous circumstances additionally making use of the “trigger take a look at” to find out that Dental Consultants certainly suffered from a number of occurrences. These circumstances held that when every asserted loss outcomes from a “separate and intervening human act,” every of these losses quantities to a separate prevalence.

The court docket held that right here, the “separate and intervening human act” was the group of govt orders issued individually by numerous completely different state or native governmental authorities the place the practices had been compelled to shut, and Dental Consultants’ losses thus qualify as a number of occurrences. Nonetheless, the court docket additionally held that as a result of “no cheap factfinder might construe an govt order that flows from a previous order by the identical authority—in different phrases, a subsequent govt order in the identical jurisdiction that successfully served as a renewal—as a separate prevalence” that there have been 10 occurrences, not 20. In different phrases, the insurer was chargeable for one govt order requiring closure for every jurisdiction the place Dental Consultants operates.

This opinion is important as it’s the first resolution associated to protection for COVID-19 that has held {that a} single insured’s losses may end up from a couple of prevalence because it associated to COVID-19. Thus, policyholders with operations in a number of states ought to consider whether or not their coverage permits for them to assert a number of occurrences for his or her losses because of COVID-19 with a view to be sure that they’re searching for full protection below their coverage.



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