A Texas judge has ruled that Hunton Andrews Kurth is entitled to coverage from Great Northern Insurance Co., a unit of Chubb, Ltd. (“Chubb”), for losses its predecessor firm suffered when Hurricane Harvey closed its Houston office and disrupted business in 2017.
The court agreed with Hunton’s position that the policy, written specifically for a law firm, covered its business income loss until the firm’s operations were restored to their pre-loss levels. The court rejected in its entirety Chubb’s argument that coverage lasted only until the physical damage that closed the building had been repaired. Rather, siding with Hunton, the court found that the policy language affords, in addition to ordinary business income coverage during the damage period, “extended period” coverage that commences after the damaged property is repaired and after the firm’s operations resume.
From August 27 to August 31, 2017, the firm was forced to close its Houston office due to flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. While employees were permitted to return to the office on August 31, income did not return to its pre-loss level until September 14, 2017. The firm submitted a claim to Chubb for the loss sustained from August 27 to September 14, but Chubb paid only for income loss suffered during the 3-day closure period, and refused to cover the loss suffered after the building reopened.
Reprinted courtesy of Michael S. Levine, Hunton Andrews Kurth and Michelle M. Spatz, Hunton Andrews Kurth
Mr. Levine may be contacted at mlevine@HuntonAK.com
Ms. Spatz may be contacted at mspatz@HuntonAK.com