Raizner Slania LLP has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of a Lucas County, Ohio woman against Generali Global Assistance, Inc. d/b/a CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services, a/k/a and f/k/a Customized Services Administrators, Inc. (collectively Generali or Defendants).
April 2020 Trip Cancellation
The allegations in the complaint are as follows:
After booking a trip in February to Galveston, Texas through booking website VRBO.com for a May beach house rental, the plaintiff elected to pay an optional, additional fee for a travel insurance coverage plan, underwritten by Generali. On March 9, however, Ohio was placed under a state of emergency due to COVID-19. On March 13, Texas also declared a state of disaster and the President declared a “national emergency” due to the pandemic.
Despite these governmental declarations, the plaintiff held off on canceling her trip, which was approximately two months away at the time, and awaited further news. On March 26, however, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-11, “relating to airport screening and self-quarantine during the COVID-19 disaster.” On March 29, he issued an additional order, Executive Order GA-20, to add visitors from several locations to his Executive Order GA-11, including those from the states of California, Louisiana, and Washington and the cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, and – most notably for the plaintiff’s purposes – Detroit.
Because the plaintiff was scheduled to fly out of Detroit, she had no choice but to cancel her trip once Texas’ restrictions regarding air travelers coming in from hot spots – including Detroit the plaintiff’s airport of origin – would impose a forced self-quarantine on her and her travel companions. When the plaintiff booked her trip in February, no declarations of disaster or emergency had been made by any U.S. state and the World Health Organization (WHO) had not yet assigned a name to the novel coronavirus (now COVID-19). The plaintiff’s February 6 beach house booking date was also weeks before the first COVID-19 death was reported in America on February 29.
The plaintiff notified the Galveston, Texas beach house owners on April 8 that she needed to cancel her trip. They refunded her the $400 cleaning and $1,000 damage deposits she had paid. The plaintiff messaged the owners on May 8, requesting information on the total amount they planned to refund so that she could submit paperwork to Generali. The owners said they had already refunded the plaintiff through VRBO for the $1,400 in cleaning and damage deposits. The plaintiff responded stating that she would wait a few weeks prior to submitting the paperwork to Generali to ensure her information was correct.
Travel Insurer Denies Plaintiff’s Claims
On July 17, the plaintiff submitted a trip cancellation claim via the defendants’ online “eClaims portal.” Soon after on July 24 the plaintiff received a denial letter by email, which stated that the reason for denial was that the cause of the plaintiff’s loss was not a covered event under the travel insurance plan she purchased.
The plaintiff then messaged the beach house owners to inform them that her travel insurance denied her coverage for her cancelled trip. She said that under the VRBO COVID-19 policy, it was suggested she request a credit from the beach house owners. The owners responded by citing the no-refund policy mentioned in their VRBO description and rental agreement. In addition, the defendants denied the plaintiff’s claim, refusing to cover her losses despite the cause of her cancellation being a “covered event” under the travel insurance policy. The policy provides coverage for Trip Cancellation, among other travel plan protections, and the policy’s “covered events” specifically provide for coverage in the event of “being hijacked or quarantined.”
The Travel Insurance Carrier Breached Its Contract
In addition to the actions mentioned herein, the plaintiff specifically alleges:
The plaintiff and the class purchased insurance from the defendants and were thereupon issued the policy.
The policy is a valid and enforceable contract between Generali and all policyholders, including the plaintiff and class members.
The plaintiff and class members substantially performed their obligations under the terms of the policy and class policies.
The plaintiff and class members suffered losses from events that should be reimbursed as results of covered events under the policy.
The defendants have failed to compensate the plaintiff and class members for their respective losses as required by the policy.
As a direct and proximate result of the defendants’ breaches, the plaintiff and the class have sustained damages that are continuing in nature in an amount to be determined at trial.
The defendants owed the plaintiff a duty of good faith in all aspects regarding her insurance policy, including to investigate in good faith and provide a reasonable justification for denial.
An insurer lacks reasonable justification when it denies the claim in an arbitrary or capricious manner.
As a direct and proximate result of defendant’s breaches, the plaintiff and the class have sustained damages that are continuing in nature in an amount to be determined at trial, including punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
The plaintiff contends that Generali breached its policy by failing to timely pay class members for their respective losses for covered damages.
The plaintiff seeks a declaration of the parties’ respective rights and duties under the policy and requests the court to declare Generali’s conduct unlawful and in material breach of the policy so as to avoid future controversies that would allow for continual injustices such as the one at issue here, where huge insurance companies take advantage of masses of consumers.
The plaintiff further seeks an injunction enjoining defendant (1) from continuing to engage in conduct in breach of the policy; and (2) ordering defendant to comply with the terms of the policy, including payment of all amounts due to each respective class member under the stated policy coverages that were extended to them upon purchase.
Travel Insurance Claim Denials Attorneys
If you or someone you know has had a travel insurance claim disputed, underpaid, or denied following COVID-19 travel restrictions and state-mandated stay-at-home orders or quarantines, you could be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the attorneys at Raizner Slania today to learn more about how we can help.