A proposed class action alleges United Specialty Insurance Company (USIC) has materially breached its contracts with consumers who bought insurance policies to protect against the risk of being unable to use their Epic Passes at Vail Resorts for the 2019-2020 season.
According to the complaint, USIC provides insurance services to ski resort operator Vail Resorts Management Company’s customers throughout the U.S. In particular, the defendant offers insurance for those who wish to mitigate the risk that they may be unable to realize the full use of the Epic Pass during a season for reasons outside of their control, the suit says.
The Arkansas consumer who filed the suit claims he bought an insurance policy through USIC in September 2019 to cover his Vail Resorts Epic three-day pass, which purported to allow access to Vail’s resorts from October 2019 through the end of the season. Per the suit, the plaintiff paid an extra fee to ensure he would receive a refund should he be unable to use the pass.
Vail Resorts ended the ski season early when it announced on March 15 that it would close its mountain locations indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the case continues, noting that skiing and snowboarding are considered non-essential activities under state and federal restriction orders. As a result of government-ordered closures and quarantines, the plaintiff was unable to access any Vail Resorts properties and was deprived of the use of his Epic Pass.
On March 18, the plaintiff promptly filed a claim with American Claims Management (ACM), the third-party administrator for Vail Resorts’ pass insurance program, the case says. Then, on April 9, the suit continues, the plaintiff was informed by non-party ACM that the company reserved the right to further evaluate his claim and policy before determining whether coverage existed.
Almost a month later, defendant USIC informed the plaintiff via letter that coverage for his claim was denied given the “effective date of coverage” purportedly ended March 15 when Vail Resorts properties were closed, the lawsuit says.
Though the language of the plaintiff’s Epic Pass insurance policy ostensibly covers the policyholder should they be subject to quarantine, “quarantine” is not defined in the policy’s definition section, the lawsuit says. Further, the plaintiff’s policy, the complaint adds, contains no applicable exclusions with regard to viruses, pandemics, related government orders or actions independently taken by Vail Resorts.
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