Steak n Shake sues insurance company
Disputes between restaurants and insurance companies are nowhere near beyond 13 months of the pandemic.
The latest example comes from Steak n Shake, the Indianapolis-based burger chain that previously sued its insurance company, Zurich North America, over its denial of coverage for pandemic-related losses and shutting down the restaurant service. .
In his lawsuit, filed in Ohio Federal District Court, Steak n Shake claims to have a policy with Zurich and to have paid all premiums.
According to the lawsuit, the police will pay for the loss of income due to the suspension of cases. The lawsuit says that suspension by a “civil or military authority that prohibits access to the site” is covered by the policy.
Steak n Shake argues that the suspension of restaurant service in many states last year would fall within the definition of the policy. The company said it submitted a claim last March, but was dismissed the following May.
A spokeswoman for Zurich North America said the company is not commenting on the disputes.
The lawsuit is just the latest in a series of battles between restaurants and restaurant chains and the insurers they paid to cover damage before the pandemic. In-N-Out, for example, also sued Zurich for denial of coverage.
That case is still ongoing – Zurich has denied having had to In-N-Out in this case, and the hamburger chain has since filed a second lawsuit against the insurer last month, arguing that its losses from closures, in particular in California, have only widened.
The restaurants argued that their insurance coverage should cover losses caused by the pandemic because the losses were due to government shutdowns, not the pandemic itself. Insurers argued that the policies only cover physical losses.
An Ohio federal judge ruled in January in favor of a restaurant system there, agreeing with the operator that the shutdown caused business losses. This could explain why Steak n Shake chose to file its federal complaint in that state.
The problem remains a major problem for many restaurant and restaurant chains, which lost billions of dollars last year when governments shut down the food service, resulting in sales at many businesses.