They have filed lawsuits in the Maryland and District of Columbia federal courts against Travelers Insurance for wrongfully denied coverage
José Andrés has joined the growing list of high-profile restaurant owners and chefs that have sued their insurance companies for wrongfully denied business interruption insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. ThinkFoodGroup, along with three Michelin-starred Washington, D.C. restaurant Central Michel Richard have both filed lawsuits against Travelers Insurance in the Maryland and District of Columbia federal courts, respectively, for losses suffered during the pandemic.
When ThinkFoodGroup had to close its restaurants partially or completely in response to government shutdown orders in March, the restaurant group tried to file a claim for business interruption insurance coverage for all 17 of its restaurants. But like so many other chefs and restaurant owners, they were “swiftly denied coverage” because there was “no direct physical loss or damage at the properties listed.” The lawsuit claims that ThinkFoodGroup was never informed that for coverage to apply there would need to be direct evidence of physical loss or damage.
In a similar complaint filed against Travelers Insurance in the District of Columbia federal court, Central Michel Richard – owned and managed by a team of the late chef Michel Richard’s former colleagues, including former executive chef, David Deshaies — had to close temporarily and lay off most of their employees. due to the COVID-19 restrictions. In the lawsuit, they claim that they did experience property loss because the restaurant “has been made unavailable, inoperable, useless, and uninhabitable, and its functionality has been severely reduced if not eliminated” due to the government-mandated lockdowns, and also claimed that Travelers Insurance never stipulated or defined “loss” or “physical damage” as a prerequisite for filing a claim.
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