The COVID-19 pandemic has and will likely continue to have a major impact on various industries, including travel. Many travelers across the nation who had travel plans for 2020 are finding that quarantine orders and travel restrictions are resulting in mass cancelations and rescheduling of travel plans. Many of those who booked ski trips and purchased insurance to cover the cost of ski passes are finding their travel insurers are denying claims entirely. This is the case with United Specialty Insurance Company (USIC), which found itself in multiple class action lawsuits stemming from these denials. Recently, these lawsuits against USIC were consolidated into a class action lawsuit similar to another such travel insurance lawsuit consolidation against Arch Insurance Company.
Consolidation of United Specialty Insurance Company Ski Pass Lawsuits
In October of this year, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated several class action lawsuits related to ski pass travel insurance denials by various insurers into a multi-district litigation (MDL) proceeding, in MDL No. 2955, In Re: National Ski Pass Insurance Litigation. The transfer order consolidates each of the class action cases for pretrial (discovery and certain motion practice) into a single court, presided over by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Northern District of California. Generally, all Plaintiffs in the various class action suits allege that USIC wrongfully denied their insurance claims under the policies they had purchased from USIC in connection with their purchase of season-long ski passes at various ski resorts.
Generally, each of the now consolidated lawsuits against USIC allege:
All plaintiffs and potential unnamed class members purchased ski pass insurance from USIC;
The policies are enforceable and valid contracts USIC and each plaintiff;
The plaintiffs and potential class members have performed their obligations pursuant to the terms of each insurance policy
Each of the plaintiffs has suffered a loss as defined by the terms of the policies
USIC failed to compensate plaintiffs for their losses as required by the policies
Continued Ski Pass Insurance Denials
Various travel insurers – not only USIC but also Arch Insurance, Out of Towne, LLC, (or Red Sky Travel Insurance) – have come under fire for wrongfully refusing to issue proper refunds to policyholders that were unable to use their ski passes due to COVID-19 resort closures. Unfortunately, these claims are only continuing to pour in, made by those who made travel plans prior to quarantines following the influx of the pandemic at the beginning of 2020. This has ultimately left those who purchased ski pass insurance unsure of how to move forward when their claims have been wrongfully denied.
Not unlike other insurance policies, most ski or travel plans include specifics as to what is covered and what isn’t. When it comes to cancellation due to quarantine or COVID-19, it can be incredibly difficult to understand what would trigger insurance coverage, as many policies have proved murky when it comes to pandemic or viral events. Because of the complexities involved with travel insurance claim delays, underpayments, and denials, consulting with an insurance attorney is paramount.
Travel Insurance Claim Denial Attorneys
Postponing or canceling travel plans is often complicated enough without the concerns of a global pandemic. This has quickly become an unfortunate norm for many across the nation who are trying to file travel insurance claims, only for them to be delayed, underpaid, or denied. At Raizner Law, our experienced team of travel insurance lawyers will work with you to hold travel insurers accountable for wrongfully delaying, underpaying, or denying valid claims. If you or someone you know has had a travel insurance claim disputed, underpaid, or denied, contact us today to learn more about how we can best assist you.