Bard on the Beach sues insurance company for COVID-related losses

Bard’s lawsuit alleges the insurer treated him as an “adversary” in handling the claim and seeks damages for the amount of insurance proceeds owed and damages for breach of contract.

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A company that annually produces Shakespearian plays in Vancouver is suing its insurer for allegedly failing to provide proper business interruption coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bard on the Beach Theater Society, which presents plays in Vancouver’s Vanier Park and has 100,000 annual attendances for its performances, is suing Ecclesiastical Insurance Office PLC for losses it suffered in 2020.

In the lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the company notes that in March 2020, due to the emergence of COVID-19 in the province, the provincial health officer issued an order prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people.

The following month, in response to the health order and after weighing the risks and unpredictability of the pandemic, the company says it announced the cancellation of plays for the 2020 season.

Bard says that in March 2020 he had informed the insurance company of the impending cancellation of the season and would be filing a claim under their insurance policy.

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Then, in July 2020, Ecclesiastical informed Bard, through its insurance broker, that it would provide Bard with $100,000 before Bard’s claim was determined, a decision that allowed Bard to receive the advance in August of that year, according to the lawsuit. .

In September 2020, the insurance company provided Bard with an assessment of his losses under the policy as being $593,981, but without any explanation or notice of coverage to explain the policy basis for the calculation, says the pursuit.

When Bard requested an explanation of the calculation, Ecclesiastical indicated that it would only discuss the basis of the figure if Bard first accepted it as correct, a request which was denied by Bard, according to the writ.

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In March 2021, Bard provided Ecclesiastical with a copy of a report that calculated a total claim value of $1,705,690, after deducting the advance, in connection with the cancellation of the 2020 season, Bard says.

Ecclesiastical reportedly responded to Bard’s claim with a recalculation of Bard’s net loss as $52,815, not including the advance.

In May of this year, Ecclesiastical informed Bard that it would pay Bard the additional sum of $179,000 in partial settlement and discharge of any claims and Bard received the additional sum on June 29, reflecting the total payments to date. of $279,099, the lawsuit says.

“To date, and despite requests, Ecclesiastical has failed or refused to calculate the value of Bard’s claim in accordance with policy,” the lawsuit states.

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Bard’s lawsuit alleges the insurer treated him as an “adversary” in handling the claim and seeks damages equal to the amount of insurance proceeds owed and damages for breach of contract.

No response has yet been filed in the lawsuit, which contains allegations that have not been tested in court.

A spokesperson for Ecclesiastical said in an email that they were unable to comment on individual complaints as all records are confidential.

On its website, Bard describes itself as Western Canada’s largest non-profit professional Shakespeare festival.

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