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Court sets new date for casino company’s BI lawsuit

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The Federal Court has adjourned to September 25 the first case management hearing into a business interruption (BI) lawsuit launched by The Star Entertainment Group against Chubb and other insurers.

The web conference hearing was originally set for last week in Sydney before Chief Justice James Allsop.

But Chief Justice Allsop issued an order requiring Chubb and the other insurer respondents to file a concise statement by September 22 outlining the basis for the denial of claim.

The listed casino group and its subsidiaries launched the legal proceedings last month against the insurers after its BI claim, made under its industrial special risks policy, was declined.

Chubb is the lead insurer. The other insurers named as respondents in the lawsuit are AIG, Allianz, Allied World Assurance, Assicurazioni Generali, HDI Global, Liberty Mutual, Picc Property and Casualty Company, Swiss Re International, XL Insurance and Zurich.

Chief Justice Allsop wants the insurers to also state the most efficient way they think the dispute can be resolved and further matters that the casino operator may need to identify or amend.

He also wants the statement to include any anticipated questions of construction that may arise to assist resolution of the matter.

The Star Entertainment Group says the insurers’ reasons for declining its claim, including grounds that the cover did not cover non-physical losses, were in breach of the policy.

It says in its concise statement lodged with the court that the policy insures its businesses and subsidiaries against certain special risks, including “certain risks of business interruption” and that its BI claim falls within the terms described in the cover.

But the insurers had told the casino operator the Civil Authority Extension in the policy refers to “loss” as a “physical loss” and that COVID-19 does not meet the “other catastrophe” terms contained in the policy.