CALIFORNIA – Travelers Insurance Company took the unprecedented step of filing federal lawsuits against its own insured, apparently to try and stop their insured from filing business disruption claims caused by the pandemic.
The first of these federal lawsuits was filed yesterday by Travelers Insurance against the law firm Geragos & Geragos, APC in the Central District of California. Geragos & Geragos is insured by Travelers Insurance for business disruption and made a claim for business disruption. Travelers Insurance is represented by Theodore Boutrous of Gibson Dunn, a law firm and a lawyer well-known for representing large corporate interests against employees and small businesses.
The federal lawsuit filed by Travelers comes after Geragos & Geragos and Mark Geragos began mobilizing small businesses in California and throughout the country to fight back against Travelers and other insurance companies for denying business disruption claims during the pandemic.
As millions of small businesses have been forced to shut down based on civil stay-at-home orders by State and local officials, the small businesses which have been dutifully paying premiums for insurance have made claims under their policies for business disruption. Travelers and other insurance companies have delayed and denied business disruptions claims, arguing that the fine print in their insurance contracts allows them to accept premiums and not pay when claims are made.
The action taken by Travelers in suing its insured Geragos & Geragos, however, represents an unprecedented escalation whereby the insurance companies have now begun suing their own insured to preempt the filing of claims and lawsuits. Travelers’ federal lawsuit against its own insured represents an escalation in the fight by insurance companies against its own insured. Now, not only will insurance companies be denying claims, they will now be suing their insured.
Mark Geragos made the following statement in response to the lawsuit filed by Travelers against his firm:
“Travelers Insurance after cashing our premium checks for years decided yesterday that instead of paying our Business Interruption claim that they would hire a large Law firm to sue us in Federal Court instead. Apparently, their way of adapting to a Pandemic is filing lawsuits against their own insured. We welcome the opportunity to fight on behalf of small business against rank corporate greed and their legal enablers.”