Hotel business based in NH sues insurance company over claim of pandemic losses going unpaid

Ruben Onsu

A hotel owner in New Hampshire is suing its insurance company over lost business suffered during the pandemic. The lawsuit claims the premium policy they paid for has not lived up to its promise.New Hampshire businessman Mark Stebbins of Schleicher and Stebbins Hotels, LLC said the pandemic has caused tens […]

A hotel owner in New Hampshire is suing its insurance company over lost business suffered during the pandemic. The lawsuit claims the premium policy they paid for has not lived up to its promise.New Hampshire businessman Mark Stebbins of Schleicher and Stebbins Hotels, LLC said the pandemic has caused tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue for his hotels spanning from New Hampshire to New Jersey.According to Stebbins, when he filed a claim, he felt confident his business interruption insurance would fill the gap. However, after paying upwards of $1.5 million a year for his policy, Stebbins’ claim was denied.“They’re saying, well it hasn’t damaged your property. We’re saying yes it has damaged our property,” Stebbins said.According to the lawsuit, the insurance company argues there needs to be “loss or damage” to property that prevents customers from receiving the Hotels’ goods or services. The hotel owners said during the pandemic they have hosted infected guests and staff, which has deterred business.Furthermore, Stebbins lawyers have leaned heavily on a New Hampshire Supreme Court Ruling, “that odors from cat urine can cause the ‘physical loss’ required to trigger property insurance coverage.” Stebbins’ team argues the impact of COVID-19 is far greater. “Jurors are not going to have a hard time concluding that there was a virus at hotels, airports, rest stops and that all of those properties were impacted by this terrible catastrophe,” said Marshall Gilinksy from Anderson Kill Law Firm.Adding to Stebbins’ frustration, he said his policy rate went up by 15%. “How can they not pay anybody and still raise their rates? Saying, ‘Well because of this catastrophe of COVID, we’re going to raise your rates,’ Well, that makes sense if you’re paying out money, but you’re not paying out any money,” Stebbins said.News 9 reached out to the legal representation for the insurance company involved but has not heard back.

A hotel owner in New Hampshire is suing its insurance company over lost business suffered during the pandemic. The lawsuit claims the premium policy they paid for has not lived up to its promise.

New Hampshire businessman Mark Stebbins of Schleicher and Stebbins Hotels, LLC said the pandemic has caused tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue for his hotels spanning from New Hampshire to New Jersey.

According to Stebbins, when he filed a claim, he felt confident his business interruption insurance would fill the gap. However, after paying upwards of $1.5 million a year for his policy, Stebbins’ claim was denied.

“They’re saying, well it hasn’t damaged your property. We’re saying yes it has damaged our property,” Stebbins said.

According to the lawsuit, the insurance company argues there needs to be “loss or damage” to property that prevents customers from receiving the Hotels’ goods or services. The hotel owners said during the pandemic they have hosted infected guests and staff, which has deterred business.

Furthermore, Stebbins lawyers have leaned heavily on a New Hampshire Supreme Court Ruling, “that odors from cat urine can cause the ‘physical loss’ required to trigger property insurance coverage.” Stebbins’ team argues the impact of COVID-19 is far greater.

“Jurors are not going to have a hard time concluding that there was a virus at hotels, airports, rest stops and that all of those properties were impacted by this terrible catastrophe,” said Marshall Gilinksy from Anderson Kill Law Firm.

Adding to Stebbins’ frustration, he said his policy rate went up by 15%.

“How can they not pay anybody and still raise their rates? Saying, ‘Well because of this catastrophe of COVID, we’re going to raise your rates,’ Well, that makes sense if you’re paying out money, but you’re not paying out any money,” Stebbins said.

News 9 reached out to the legal representation for the insurance company involved but has not heard back.

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