Insurers Face Mounting Litigation For Denied Business Interruption Claims

A Washington Post reviewer described St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar as "a cozy, basement-level Belgian beer bar and mussels restaurant hidden away on Jefferson Place NW."

The company, which touted its 40 varieties of beer and 20 kinds of mussels on its website, owns three locations in Washington, D.C., and a fourth in Bethesda, Maryland.

But in March of this year, St. Arnold’s closed its doors and turned out the lights as the owners responded to operating restrictions due to COVID-19. More than six months later, the restaurants remain closed, according to the company’s website.

The owners, Hello Hospitality LLC, like thousands of business owners across the country, say they thought that had some protection in the form of a business insurance policy that included coverage for business interruption.

Hello Hospitality, which purchased a policy from Erie Insurance in 2019, has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company. According to the lawsuit, "Erie (Insurance) has denied claims related to COVID-19 on a uniform and class basis without individual bases or investigations." The lawsuit against Erie Insurance is anything but an outlier.

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