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Cary Steklof, left, and Walter Andrews, right, with Hunton & Williams. Cary Steklof, left, and Walter Andrews, right, with Hunton Andrews Kurth.

While businesses nationwide continue to suffer from COVID-19, the insurance industry has been uniform in its message to policyholders: “Don’t turn to us for relief.” Bent on discouraging claims and avoiding lawsuits, insurance companies have outright denied business interruption claims regardless of the circumstances and despite the clear language of their policies providing coverage for such losses. The industry’s effort to construct a case against liability is built around a central pillar—that COVID-19 does not constitute “physical loss or damage” to property necessary to trigger coverage under commercial property policies. In a resounding victory for policyholders a mere five months after the pandemic swept the United States, a federal court in Missouri has issued an opinion signaling that the levee has already broken.

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