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New Orleans Saints Sue Insurers Over Unpaid Ida Claim

The team said the insurers had breached their contract and is seeking unspecified damages.
  • Timothy Darragh
  • November 2022

The New Orleans Saints football club is suing Markel Corp. and subsidiaries of Chubb and Munich Re over losses the team sustained when it was forced to move a home game out of town after Hurricane Ida damaged the roof of its home field, the Superdome.

The massive, slow-moving Ida came ashore south of New Orleans Aug. 29, 2021, with 150 mph winds, the lawsuit said. The wind and rain damaged the Superdome's fresh air intake louvers, rendering the air conditioning system inoperable, it said.

The louvers had to be custom-made and were not ready for the Saints' opening game Sept. 12, forcing the team to move the game to Jacksonville, Florida, and causing it to sustain lost business income and extra expenses. Also named in the suit are the Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Co. and the Westchester Surplus Lines Co.

A spokeswoman for Munich Re, the parent to Princeton, declined comment. Attempts to obtain comment from the others were not immediately successful.

According to the lawsuit, Markel Chief Claims Officer Nick Conca said he reviewed the claim and said the building sustained “superficial” damages. The root cause of the lost income, he said, was the Saints' inability to bring enough staff and security personnel to hold the game, the lawsuit said.

Conca cited articles published by and NOLA. com as evidence for denying the claim, it said.

“The insurers were clearly looking for any way to deny coverage, including hearsay in the form of two online news articles—one of which did not even concern hurricane damage—rather than conducting a meaningful adjustment of the (Saints') claim,” the Saints' complaint said. The team said the insurers had breached their contract and is seeking unspecified damages. Reserve funds and losses from Hurricane Ida grew by $1 billion in Louisiana in the second quarter of 2022, the Louisiana Department of Insurance said. In the approximately 10 months since the storm struck Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2021, insurers of all types have reserved or paid out $13.11 billion in claims, it said.

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