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ACCC Law School Webinar - University of Pennsylvania Law School - Sports and Entertainment: Will COVID-19 Virus Losses Be Covered by Commercial Insurance Policies?
Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM EST
Category: Presented by ACCC

The American College of Coverage Counsel and The University of Pennsylvania Law School 
cordially invite you to their webinar titled: 

Sports and Entertainment:  Will COVID-19 Virus Losses Be Covered by Commercial Insurance Policies?
May 12, 2021
4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time 
Zoom Webinar 

As the global pandemic moves into its second year, it has ushered in a host of insurance law issues, some old and some new. The American College of Coverage Counsel, a leading organization of lawyers representing leading policyholder and insurer-side advocates, has joined forces with the University of Pennsylvania Law School to provide an insightful overview of the evolving dynamics of these claims and resultant coverage litigation.

In this webinar, insurance law experts will examine the specific impact of the pandemic on sports teams, hotel chains, casinos and other insureds in the sports and entertainment business, along with a discussion of the unique policy wordings that are at issue in the dozens of coverage suits that have recently been filed seeking coverage for pandemic-related losses. This program will also address the specific problem of event cancellation coverage due to COVID-19 related restrictions on gatherings.

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Program Agenda

I. Introduction

II. Evolution of Pandemic Insurance Disputes and Suits 

Michael Aylward (Morrison Mahoney-Boston)

Since the first DJ was filed on March 16, 2020, nearly 2,000 individual suits and class actions have been filed across the United States. Mr. Aylward will track the evolving form that these suits have taken as well the trends that have emerged since courts began issuing substantive rulings in the Fall of 2020.

III. Spotlight on Sports and Entertainment Claims

Professor Tom Baker (William Maul Measey Professor of Law and Health Sciences, University of Pennsylvania Law School)

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Professor Baker and his team of researchers at UPenn have created and maintained the indispensable Covid Coverage Litigation Tracker which updates in real time the new filings and rulings in the pandemic coverage cases along with periodic insights and commentaries. In this segment, Professor Baker will spotlight trends and claims that are emerging in the growing number of law suits between insurers and their policyholders in the sports and entertainment industries.

IV. The Impact of the Pandemic on Policyholders in the Sports and Entertainment Industries

Although 200 substantive COVID-19 coverage rulings have been issued since the Fall of 2020, nearly of these decisions have focused on a handful of issues, notably the meaning of “direct physical loss of or damage to property” and the scope of various “virus” or “microorganism” exclusions that are commonly found in BOP or other commercial property insurance forms. As more and more suits are filed by sports team and entertainment conglomerates, other issues are being raises that are unique to the coverage needs and policy wordings for these insureds.

A. Entertainment Industry Disputes

Kirk Pasich (PasichLos Angeles, CA)
Laura Foggan (Crowell & Moring—Washington, DC)

The COVID-19 virus has had a staggering impact on the artists, theaters, movie studios and production companies that comprise the entertainment industries.   Theaters across the country went dark and the filming of new movies and TV shows was stopped in its tracks. Even as production has resumed in many cases, studios and producers are incurring additional costs to cope with these unique circumstances.   In recent months, a growing number of suits by media conglomerates, casinos and theaters have been filed seeking coverage for these losses.  In this segment, we will consider issues relating to “cast insurance” and “imminent peril” coverages as well as issues specific to “production” and “performance disruption” policies that are unique to insureds in the entertainment business.

B. Sports Industry Disputes

David Goodwin  (Covington & Burling—San Francisco, CA)
Linda Hsu (Selman Breitman—San Francisco, CA)

As with the entertainment industry, sporting teams, stadium owners and concessionaires have suffered severe financial losses during this pandemic.   In addition to a giant claim by Major League Baseball, coverage suits have been filed by minor league teams and individual NBA and NFL franchises such as the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia Eagles.  How do these claims differ from those presented by the entertainment industry disputes and what issues are emerging in these cases?

C. Event Cancellation Claims

Sherilyn Pastor  (McCarter & English—Newark, NJ)
Steve Pate (Cozen O’Connor—Houston, TX)

Insureds in the sporting and entertainment industries have also suffered significant financial losses as the result of tournaments and festivals. While the All English Tennis and Lawn Club obtained received a large insurance payment following the cancellation of Wimbledon 2020, many policyholder efforts to obtain coverage have run afoul of “communicable disease” exclusions and other limitations to coverage. Are these losses being accepted for coverage and what new trends are emerging with respect to new lawsuits and policy renewals?

VI. Questions and Answers


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Presentation slides from each of our panels are available below:

Contact: [email protected]