Absence of Virus Exclusion Does Not Create Coverage, Fla. Federal Judge Rules
May 5, 2021
MIAMI — A federal magistrate judge has dismissed a COVID-19 coverage action filed against Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co. by the owner of a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Italian restaurant, rejecting its argument that the absence of a virus in the policy creates coverage for its economic losses.
In a May 4 order, Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida agreed with most courts nationwide that neither government closure orders nor the COVID-19 virus itself causes property damage.
The judge explained that under Florida law, the phrase “direct physical loss of or damage …