The National Hockey League is insulting insurance companies that have refused to pay claims to cover more than $ 1 billion in damages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the past two seasons.
The league and its 20 clubs have filed a lawsuit in the California Supreme Court against five of their insurance providers, accusing the plaintiffs of violating the contract in order to avoid damages caused by the pandemic.
Insurance companies tried to cancel the case, but in late December, the NHL and its 20 teams objected to the initiative, and their policy was lost due to closures, according to TSN, which reported the lawsuit on Wednesday. said it should cover revenues.
The Post asked for comment from the NHL and the insurance companies mentioned in the lawsuit, but they did not respond immediately.
In 2020, the NHL and other professional sports leagues spent the second half of the regular season schedule and playoff games in front of empty arenas as the government took measures to block fans from large venues.
In its June 2021 application to the California Supreme Court in Santa Clara, the league named five insurance companies as defendants – Factory Mutual Insurance Company, Cincinnati Insurance Company, Starr Surplus Lines Insurance Company, Lexington Insurance Company and Federal Insurance Company.
Teams such as the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto are listed as contenders. Maple Leafs et al.
In November last year, Factory Mutual filed a lawsuit asking the court to dismiss the NHL lawsuit, TSN reported. The insurance company said the league “does not claim any” physical loss or damage to the plaintiffs’ property, which is a marginal claim for damages claimed by the plaintiffs. “
But on Dec. 16, the NHL and its 20 clubs objected to the motion, claiming in court that insurance policies would cover lost income by state order issued due to physical damage within five miles of the hockey plaintiffs’ property restriction. reported. access to those insured arenas, regardless of whether the property of the hockey contenders itself is damaged, ”the TSN report said.
In court documents, the league described the financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the 2019-2020 season, the NHL was forced to cancel 189 regular season games. Then there were playoff games in two neutral cities – Toronto and Edmonton, where teams were limited to a “bubble” to avoid infecting players, coaches and other staff.
Fans were not allowed to attend any of the “bubble” games in the two Canadian cities.
“Fans’ visits are the blood of the plaintiffs ’earnings,” the NHL said in its legal statement.
“An important source of claimants’ income comes from arena-related activities such as ticket sales, discounts, parking and the sale of indoor products … The additional costs of the NHL 2020 playoffs and Stanley Cup Final are enormous. was. ”
Last season, each NHL club played a 56-game schedule that was shortened from the usual 82 games. These games were held in front of the “minimum, if any, fan presence,” according to the league.
The NHL also claims that its teams have spent millions to sanitize their arenas to continue fan visits, including adding HVAC systems, physical barriers, touch-free access and payment systems.
The NHL has returned to the full 82-game schedule this season, but has been forced to delay dozens of games in recent weeks due to the spread of the Omicron option.
NHL insurance companies are not the only professional sportswear suing for COVID-19 losses. In December 2020, the Baseball Premier League and its 30 teams sued insurers AIG, Factory Mutual and Interstate Fire and Casualty Company for breach of contract.
Like the NHL, MLB, which canceled 1,500 games due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, also claims that pandemic-era revenue losses exceeded $ 1 billion.
The NCAA, the governing body of college athletics in the United States, managed to raise $ 270 million from insurance companies after its March 2020 event, the March MAcesparksess Tournament, was canceled.