GW sues insurance company for alleged property damage – The GW Hatchet

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Officials argue that the coronavirus droplets damaged GW buildings due to their “lack of use” during the pandemic, costing the university “hundreds of millions” of dollars, according to the lawsuit.

The University is suing an insurance company for the company’s resistance to covering the millions of dollars GW has lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a 59-page lawsuit filed in DC Superior Court late last month, officials allege that Factory Mutual Insurance Company, a Rhode Island-based company, owes the University for damage to buildings due to of an “all risks” insurance policy that the University purchased from the company in 2019. The University claims that the company should cover the “physical loss and damage” that its buildings suffered when they were been used less frequently during the pandemic, but the company did not take into account the structural damage, which would be required to enact the policy.

Officials argue that the coronavirus droplets damaged University buildings due to their “lack of use” during the pandemic amid strict city-wide pandemic regulations in the district, which cost the University “hundreds of millions” of dollars, according to the lawsuit. Efforts to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 – including upgrades to HVAC systems and the installation of plexiglass barriers and hand sanitizer stations – have resulted in “substantial” costs that insurance is expected to cover. , indicates the complaint.

Officials faced a budget variance of $ 180 million in fiscal 2021, given the loss of revenue during the pandemic and additional expenses related to the pandemic, such as COVID-19 testing facilities.

The lawsuit says COVID-19 rendered GW’s properties “unusable” and inaccessible, which should count as significant damage to buildings.

“COVID-19 and the COVID-19 virus have caused unprecedented physical loss and damage to the properties of GWU at levels far worse than the physical loss and damage caused by many ‘traditional’ natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods or tornadoes, ”the lawsuit said.

Installing new HVAC systems was a contentious issue for the Faculty’s Senate in September, when Senators passed a resolution calling for more transparency on the status of system upgrades that were aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID. -19 in campus buildings. The resolution comes after officials published a statement in June that updates to GW’s HVAC systems were complete – but senators said in the resolution that two Senate committees were told otherwise in a confidential presentation with Scott Burnotes, vice chairman of security and facilities.

Lawsuit Says Presence of Individuals Tested Positive for COVID-19 in University Buildings Signifies Viral Coronavirus Droplets Have Spread Through Campus Facilities, Causing “Significant Physical Loss and Damage »To the air and surfaces of buildings. The lawsuit says COVID-19 particles adhere to and alter the surface of the property, which can cause damage and cases of COVID-19.

“Due to the external and unforeseen peril of COVID-19 and the COVID-19 virus, these locations could not be used for their intended purposes during these times, and this resulted in physical loss and damage to these locations,” we read in the continuation. .

Steven Zenofsky, spokesperson for Factory Mutual Insurance Company, said the company “values” relationships with customers and called the lawsuit unfortunate.

“It’s unfortunate when legal issues arise because we firmly believe our insurance policies are clear on the coverage provided,” he said in an email.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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