Understanding the GreenJackets’ case against insurance company

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 6:42 PM EDT
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NORTH AUGUSTA, Sc. (WRDW/WAGT) - Earlier this week, the GreenJackets and 14 other other minor leagues teams filed a lawsuit against their insurance companies after their claims were denied for business interruption.

There are a few different elements to the teams' arguments: the current pandemic's range of effects, lack of a season, and the MLB's lack of communication and progress to get a season going.

Most sports were shut down in some way or another. Local and state governments also imposed restrictions on non-essential businesses and limited gatherings. The minor league business model relies on getting fans into seats, and without fans or events, it makes it nearly impossible for teams to earn enough revenue to break even.

Minor league teams get their players from Major League Baseball teams. With the MLB shutting down before the season actually got underway, teams like the GreenJackets did not have finalized rosters or assigned players. That, coupled with a months long struggle to get an MLB season going have nearly eliminated the chance for lower level minor league teams like the GreenJackets from having a season.

National Casualty Company, the company that insures the GreenJackets, denied the GreenJackets’ claim based on two factors The teams’ losses were not attributable to any physical loss or damage, whether at the insured locations or elsewhere and denied coverage under the policies’ grants of coverage related to property, business interuption, and civil authority. The second factor being a clause in the policy that purports to exclude from coverage “loss or damage caused by or resulting from any virus, bacterium, or other microorganism that induces or is capable of inducing physical distress, illness or disease.”

The GreenJackets and other teams covered by National Casualty company believe that exclusion does not preclude the teams claims for coverage because it is void, unenforceable, and inapplicable.

The teams are suing for their policy payments. After paying premiums for years in the event that their business was shut down, the collective 15 teams feel it's a breach of contract and are entitled to the full amount of coverage.

WRDW/WAGT will continue to monitor the case as more updates become available.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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