Northwell Health seeks coverage for losses related to COVID-19

New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health has sued a publicly traded property and casualty insurance company for coverage losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Business Insurance.

The lawsuit, filed July 24 in state court in New York City, stems from a healthcare premises pollution liability policy Chubb sold to Northwell for the period of April 25, 2017, to April 25, 2020.

Chubb is an insurance carrier for Northwell, and the Illinois Union, a subsidiary of Chubb, is the defendant in the lawsuit.

In the lawsuit, Northwell contends the policy "straightforwardly provides coverage for 'remediation costs,' 'emergency response costs' and 'decontamination costs' associated with 'facility-borne illness events' and 'pollution conditions,' as well as business interruption caused by 'covered pollution conditions,'" Business Insurance reports.

However, Chubb contends the pandemic did not meet the policy definition of a "facility-borne illness," the lawsuit says, according to the report.

Chubb said because the definition "includes 'virus' as long as the virus is not solely the result of communicability through human-to-human contact, which, because it has been established that coronavirus can exist on surfaces, COVID-19 is not."

According to Business Insurance, Chubb also said the pandemic did not meet the policy definition of "pollution condition," which includes the presence of hazardous materials.

Chubb told Becker's it does not comment on specific client claims or litigation.

Northwell told Becker's: "Northwell values and appreciates its long-standing relationship with Chubb. It is unfortunate that Chubb has failed to honor the terms of the policy that Northwell and Chubb agreed upon at its inception, thus necessitating this lawsuit at a time when Northwell needs to dedicate its resources to fighting the global pandemic surrounding the novel coronavirus."

The 23-hospital health system declined to provide further comment, given the pending litigation.


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