Travel Insurer Sued For Denying Coverage Of Canceled Trips

By Mike Curley
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Law360 (June 3, 2020, 2:11 PM EDT) -- Generali Global Assistance Inc. is being sued by a proposed class of would-be travelers who allege the company wrongfully denied insurance claims for trips canceled as a result of government stay-at-home orders issued to stem the spread of COVID-19.

In a complaint filed in California federal court Tuesday, named plaintiff Richard Robbins said he had planned to take a trip from his home in California to Deer Valley, Utah, in April, and bought insurance for the trip in early February.

After stay-at-home orders were issued in California in March, Robbins was forced to cancel the trip, and put in a claim for $7,681, the maximum coverage under his policy. According to the complaint, the policy specifically covers losses resulting from quarantine to prevent the spread of disease.

Generali denied coverage, however, saying in a letter to Robbins that the COVID-19 outbreak is considered a foreseeable event for any plans purchased on or after Jan. 29, and the policy excludes coverage for losses of foreseeable events.

While Robbins would have been covered if he had been diagnosed with the disease, being quarantined is not covered, the insurer said. According to the complaint, instead of coverage, Generali offered a voucher for the full amount of Robbins' insurance premium, to be applied to a future trip.

Robbins, however, said in the complaint that the stay-at-home orders were unforeseeable and occurred more than five weeks after he bought the insurance policy, adding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first recommended against travel on March 16.

In the complaint, Robbins seeks to represent a class including all persons who bought travel insurance from Generali, had their trips canceled as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns and were denied coverage from Generali for those trips.

The complaint estimates the class has suffered more than $5 million in damages, with an exact amount to be determined at trial, and includes claims for breach of contract, bad faith and violations of California's Unfair Competition Law.

An attorney for Robbins declined to comment Wednesday.

A representative for Generali could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

Robbins is represented by Daniel L. Germain of Rosman & Germain LLP and Christopher P. Ridout of Zimmerman Reed LLP.

Counsel information for Generali was not immediately available Wednesday.

The case is Robbins v. Generali Global Assistance Inc., case number 2:20-cv-04904, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

--Editing by Stephen Berg.

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