Speaker: Jeff Bolender
Topic: Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Losses & Claims
DESCRIPTION OF PRESENTATION
As a result of the economic devastation arising from the 2020 pandemic, businesses throughout the United States filed claims for loss of business income. In response, many commercial property insurance carriers—large and small—reportedly advised insurance agencies to swiftly spread their “no coverage” position and deflect incoming claims. On April 14, 2020, California Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara, issued a NOTICE warning carriers and agents against the improper failure to “open and investigate claims upon receipt.” Nonetheless, early reports indicate that property carriers will uniformly deny most business interruption claims based on strict interpretations of key policy language—namely, “direct physical loss or damage” to covered property. Additionally, property carriers are expected to broadly assert exclusionary provisions for losses “caused by” viruses, bacteria, or pollutants. Jeff Bolender—insurance recovery specialist—explores the emerging lines of engagement in an epic battle for insurance protection. A former industry “insider,” Mr. Bolender has compiled research and analysis from nationally recognized law scholars and insurance lawyers, as well as from insurance lawsuits filed in recent weeks in California and elsewhere challenging coverage denials.
- Major challenges facing policyholders seeking to invoke coverage under property and casualty policies for COVID-19 claims and losses
- The threshold issue—”physical loss or damage to covered property”—for invoking coverage for business interruption including the case law addressing that policy language and related issues
- The basic framework and sequence for analyzing first-party and third-party policies to evaluate whether coverage attaches
- Textual and non-textual arguments and strategies that policyholders will use in the battle for coverage of COVID-19 losses and claims
- Recently filed insurance litigation, emerging pandemic related insurance related issues, and trends arising from the pandemic including government efforts to prevent the spread of virus
Mr. Bolender is an insurance litigator with offices in Torrance and Diamond Bar, California. He is licensed to practice law in California, Nevada, Hawaii and the District of Columbia. Mr. Bolender formerly represented insurance carriers exclusively, litigating insurance disputes in state, federal and appellate courts for nearly 20 years. In addition to litigating insurance disputes, he assisted insurance company underwriters in revising and creating insurance products including insurance coverage forms and endorsements. In 2013, Mr. Bolender began representing policyholders exclusively, primarily in disputes involving insurance for property and casualty claims. He is an approved provider of mandatory legal education and speaks regularly to attorney groups.” Mr. Bolender is the past president of the Redondo Beach chapter of the American Inns of Court, as well as a former board member of the South Bay Bar Association.