EPISODE 5: Unfinished Business – Additional Viewpoints on COVID-19 Coverage Claims

Steve Schulwolf continues his discussions about insurance coverage for COVID-19 claims with Seth Lamden and Dan Litchfield. Mr. Lamden is a partner at the Chicago office of Neal Gerber Eisenberg and represents policyholders. Mr. Litchfield is a founding partner of the Litchfield Cavo in Chicago and has a national practice representing insurers. Messrs. Litchfield and Lamden were appearing in their personal capacity and not on behalf of their respective clients. Mr. Lamden suggested that some commonly invoked exclusions in property policies, like the virus exclusion or communicable disease, could be ambiguous. Mr. Lamden also suggested that caselaw limiting pollution exclusions to traditional environmental claims could assist policyholders. Not surprisingly, Mr. Litchfield disagreed.

Mr. Lamden felt that in cases with a communicable disease exclusion expert testimony concerning the nature of the disease and virus would be relevant. Mr. Litchfield agreed that some jurisdictions might allow that type of expert testimony despite his personal opinion that the distinction between the virus and disease is irrelevant to property coverage claims. The parties discussed why COVID-19 claims under CGL policies are unlikely to be a “gamechanger” and Mr. Lamden discussed the difficulties plaintiffs might have in prosecuting some of these underlying cases. Finally, consistent with prior podcasts, Mr. Lamden and Mr. Litchfield play “resolution roulette.” Tune in to the episode to see if we have our first winner. You can listen to the podcast here.