Yet another NHL team is suing its insurers, as the Edmonton Oilers and its associated companies seek payment for “massive business losses” they suffered over the pandemic.
In a statement of claim filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench, the Edmonton Oilers named AIG Insurance Company of Canada, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada (RSA), Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and The Sovereign General Insurance Company as defendants.
The team claims in its lawsuit that the COVID-19 virus physically altered the interior air, surfaces and interior of its home, the Rogers Place arena, “making them unfit for their intended use.” However, the team noted in its lawsuit that its insurers determined that “viruses do not cause physical loss or damage,” in spite of the team securing all-risks insurance.
“The plaintiffs have suffered massive business losses covered under the all-risks policy. The defendants have refused to honour the terms of the all-risks policy and have denied coverage … on the basis that the business interruption did not result from direct physical loss or damage to property,” the complaint said.
In total, the Oilers – joined by its affiliates and operators Edmonton Arena Corporation, Oilers Entertainment Group Canada, Edmonton Major Junior Hockey Corporation, and OEG Gaming – said that they suffered $174,137,131 in business losses between 2020 and 2021, CBC News reported.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHL suspended its season on March 12, 2020, which put an indefinite stop on all games. The mandatory government orders also enforced at around the same period meant that people were unable to use the arena, the Oilers contended.
The Oilers also maintained in its complaint that had it allowed fans back into the facilities in 2020 and 2021 at the height of the pandemic, “it is a certainty that COVID-19 and the COVID-19 virus would have been reintroduced in large quantities into those insured locations and additional and substantial physical loss and damage would have continued.”
“The presence of COVID-19 and the COVID-19 virus in the plaintiffs’ facilities made the normal use of those facilities impossible for almost two years,” the lawsuit said, adding that its status as a high-density location and proximity to an LRT station could result in “numerous infectious individuals” bringing the virus inside the arena.
The Oilers’ lawsuit comes not long after the Calgary Flames also filed its own pandemic business loss lawsuit against its insurers. The Flames is seeking $125 million from its insurers – two of which are Liberty Mutual Insurance and RSA Canada, who have also insured the Oilers.