Oklahoma City Ballet sues insurance company over denied COVID-19 claim

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Ballet is suing their insurance company after the company denied their insurance claim during the pandemic, even though the ballet has a business income losses policy through the company.

“They couldn’t put on their performances, couldn’t have their youth programs or anything,” Michael Burrage, attorney for the Oklahoma City Ballet, said.

Burrage said because of that, the OKC Ballet lost over $260,000 during the pandemic.

So, they turned to their insurance company, Philadelphia Insurance Company, for help due to what’s called an “all-risk” policy that they bought from Philadelphia back in 2019.

“An all risk policy is to cover any loss that you have during the policy period, unless it is specifically excluded,” Burrage said.

Burrage said a pandemic is not excluded from the policy.

However, according to the lawsuit he filed on behalf of the OKC Ballet last week, when they “filed a claim with Philadelphia for business income losses,” they were denied immediately even though the policy “stated the ballet was covered as long as the suspension in operation was caused by direct physical loss of the property.”

“If you can’t use the property for its intended purpose, then you have a loss,” Burrage said.

The OKC Ballet is suing for Breach of Contract and Breach of the Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. They’re asking for at least $75,000 in punitive damages.

Burrage told News 4 insurance companies all over the country have been denying these types of claims during the pandemic, leaving struggling businesses and organizations scrambling to stay afloat after a tough year.

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“The results in the courts have been mixed. The reason they’ve been mixed is because you have to look at the specific policy language, even if it is an all-risk policy,” he said.

KFOR reached out to Philadelphia Insurance on Wednesday and we have not yet heard back.

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