COVID-19 and Commercial Insurance Considerations


CLE credits earned: 1 General Credit (WA 1 Law and Legal)

The current coronavirus (“COVID-19”) outbreak has affected every industry and virtually every business. As this public health crisis continues to unfold, now is the time for businesses to review their commercial insurance policies to determine if coverage is available for any COVID-19-related losses and/or claims. Although business interruption and civil authority coverages are foremost among coverages to consider, others – such as commercial general liability (“CGL”) coverage and directors & officers (“D&O”) coverage – may also be implicated.
Insurers are flooding the market with the proposition that there is no coverage whatsoever for COVID-19-related losses and claims. Accepting this proposition could be a costly error. While certain insurance policies may include virus or other exclusions that insurers will assert limit coverage, not all policies actually include such exclusions, and not all exclusions are written in the same way. Policy language matters. Each business should carefully review its own, specific policies and provide the requisite notice to its insurers in a timely manner.

Key topics to be discussed:

• Reviewing insurance policies for applicable coverage
• Documenting and submitting claims
• Negotiating with insurers
• Resolving coverage disputes

Date / Time: August 31, 2020

•   12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Eastern
•   11:00 am – 12:00 pm Central
•   10:00 am – 11:00 am Mountain
•   9:00 am – 10:00 am Pacific

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•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 5 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.
Closed-captioning available upon request

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Original Broadcast Date: August 31, 2020

Michael H. Sampson | Leech Tischman LLC

Michael H. Sampson is a Partner with Leech Tishman and a member of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group. He is Chair of Leech Tishman’s Insurance Coverage Group and Co-Chair of its Cannabis Group. Mike is also involved with the firm’s Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Group. Based in the Pittsburgh office, Mike represents diverse clients in a variety of complex civil and commercial litigation and other matters across the country.

Mike focuses his insurance coverage practice on assisting policyholders across various industries to address and resolve complicated insurance coverage matters relating to commercial general liability policies, property insurance, management liability coverages, and many other types of insurance, such as cyber liability, hull and marine liability, specie insurance, and pollution liability insurance. He has helped policyholders address insurance coverage matters involving a wide range of subjects, including toxic torts, hurricane damage, COVID-19, fire, shooting, boat damage, and personal health care.

While Mike routinely counsels clients at various stages on a wide range of insurance coverage matters (including policy review, placement, and procurement, as well as claim submission, documentation, and resolution), a significant portion of his practice is dedicated to litigating coverage claims against insurance companies and/or third-party claims administrators.

Mike also regularly advises U.S. and international cannabis-related businesses, as well as ancillary businesses servicing the U.S. cannabis industry. He frequently helps clients in the state-compliant medical and adult-use cannabis, as well as the CBD and hemp markets, comply with U.S. federal law (in particular, the federal Controlled Substances Act), understand the potential for aiding-and-abetting liability, navigate the conflict between federal and state laws, adhere to applicable state regulations, and protect their contractual rights. Bridging his insurance coverage and cannabis law practices, Mike also routinely assists cannabis dispensaries, REITs, and other cannabis-related businesses with various insurance coverage and risk management matters.

Representing policyholders, as well as other clients, Mike regularly appears in federal and state trial and appellate courts across the country. He was part of a team that obtained in 2017 what was understood to be, at least at that time, the largest bad-faith verdict against an insurance company in Pennsylvania. In addition to insurer bad-faith, Mike has successfully litigated insurance-coverage issues as diverse as trigger of coverage, other-insurance clauses, and application of the “employer’s liability” exclusion.

Mike also has unique experience working with and representing Old Order Amish families across the United States. In that regard, he has advised Amish individuals denied U.S. permanent resident status due to their religious beliefs and has litigated against the U.S. government to resolve these complicated disputes. For his pro bono work on Old Order Amish and other matters, Mike has received significant national and local media attention.

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I. The Basics: First-Party Coverage and Third-Party Coverage 2:00-2:10

II. Types of Insurance Coverage to Consider

III. Virus Exclusions 2:20-2:30

IV. Best Practices 2:30-2:40

V. Coverage Litigation 2:40-2:50

VI. Additional Risk Mitigation 2:50-3:00