Loyola New Orleans Takes on Insurers, Seeking $10.5M for COVID Losses


(USA Herald) – Loyola University New Orleans is taking legal action against its insurers, certain underwriters at Lloyd’s of London, in a lawsuit filed in Louisiana federal court. The university is seeking more than $10.5 million in compensation for COVID-19 losses, according to legal news contributor Samuel Lopez.

The suit alleges that Loyola was not compensated despite notifying its insurers of certain losses in April 2020, just one month after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The university is seeking reimbursement for around $2.5 million in refunds it gave to students for meal plans and housing after they were directed to return home due to the pandemic. Loyola is also seeking reimbursement for around $8 million in additional expenses incurred as of November 2020.

In addition, Loyola claims that it suffered further business interruption losses due to missed athletic ticket sales, entertainment ticket sales, and conference ticket sales. The university is reserving its right to have its overall business interruption loss quantified by a forensic accountant, for which the defendants’ policy provides coverage for professional fees.

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The university says that it used its reasonable discretion in the spring of 2020 to order all students living on campus to leave university housing as classes moved online for the rest of the semester.

According to the complaint, Loyola’s insurers failed to adjust its claims in state-mandated time frames, and the university accuses the insurers of bad faith. The university is seeking consequential damages for losses sustained due to missing or late payments, as well as twice the damages or $5,000, whichever is lower, as required by state statutes.

Loyola is also seeking a declaratory judgment against its insurers, finding them liable for all of its COVID-19-related claims under its policy, which expired in April 2020. The university also wants compensation for its attorney fees, among other costs.

The university claims that due to errors on the part of its insurers, “Loyola is entitled to penalties under Louisiana law even if there is found to be no coverage.”

James M. Garner, Martha Y. Curtis, Amanda R. Schenck, and Stephanie T. Wartelle of Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert LLC represent Loyola University New Orleans in this case.

In the end, Loyola University New Orleans believes it has a strong case against its insurers and hopes to recover the funds it lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This case underscores the importance of policyholders’ rights and the need to hold insurers accountable for their bad faith conduct. As Samuel Lopez aptly stated, “Policyholders are entitled to fair and prompt payment of claims, and insurers must not be allowed to act in bad faith to deny them the compensation they are owed.”