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Federal court sets date for casino group’s BI hearing

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The Federal Court has listed two days of hearings from April 29-30 to address the question of the “making of a declaration of indemnity” in the business interruption (BI) lawsuit filed by The Star Entertainment Group against Chubb and other insurers.

Chief Justice James Allsop set the hearing date after the two sides filed their amended concise statements for the dispute, which arose after the insurers refused to accept the casino group’s claim for BI losses, citing what they say are exclusions for pandemic events.

Before the hearing the Star Entertainment Group must file and serve a proposed statement of agreed facts relevant to the issues to be determined, followed by a response from the insurers.

“The court notes that the parties will, in the course of seeking to agree facts, consult each other with a view to the precise identification of the issues that underpin the claim for indemnity…and if agreement cannot be reached, will approach the court pursuant to the liberty to apply,” a statement from the court says.

In their amended concise statement, which has been seen by insuranceNEWS.com.au, the insurers maintain the listed casino operator has no basis to claim for BI losses it has allegedly suffered because of COVID-19 trading curbs imposed by governments.

They say Star has “neglected to mention several important facts” to pursue its claim for compensation. They also argued Star referred to other facts “in a manner which is amorphous and infused with unstated assumptions” in its amended concise statement that was filed last month.

Chief Justice Allsop has ordered Star to submit an amended concise statement, followed by a response from the insurers.

Star is suing Chubb as the lead insurer of the industrial special risks policy and other insurance partners for breach of contract after they refused to accept its BI claim.

The other insurers in the legal action are AIG, Allianz, Allied World Insurance, Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A, HDI Global, Liberty Mutual, Picc Property and Casualty, Swiss Re International, XL Insurance and Zurich.

The insurers say they were notified of an additional claim for spoilage in the amended concise statement lodged by Star.

But the insurers say the allegations “are not admitted” as Star has not identified the nature or type of stock or merchandise that it said was lost, destroyed or damaged.

They say Star also did not list the circumstances by which this unidentified stock or merchandise has experienced deterioration, putrefaction, contamination or changes in temperature within the meaning of the spoilage indemnity.