People in Jackson may remember the May 2010 flooding in the state that followed two days of torrential downpours. The rainfall was record-breaking, causing flash floods across middle Tennessee. The property damage caused by these floods was extensive. And, as one recent case shows, business litigation regarding insurance claims related to the flooding is still ongoing.
The Tennessee Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in an insurance coverage dispute involving the Opry Mills Mall. In May of 2010, flood water reaching 10 feet high submerged the mall. The mall remained closed for nearly 24 months to repair the damage from the flood. The mall's insurer, Arch Insurance Co., claimed that the mall was located in a flood zone, and therefore the mall's owner could only receive $50 million in coverage. However, the mall's owner believed they were owed $200 million in coverage.
A lawsuit between the two parties commenced, and, in 2015, a county court determined the mall's owner should receive the $200 million payout from its insurer. The insurer appealed this ruling to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, which sided with the insurer that the mall was only owed $50 million. And, since the Tennessee Supreme Court declined to take up the case this past May, the Court of Appeals ruling will stand.
Insurance coverage disputes like this can take a long time to resolve. As always, there are two sides to the story. Policyholders pay insurance premiums so that their insurance will cover the damages they suffered should that time come. However, insurers are, in the end, businesses, and do not want to pay more than what they believe they owe. Sometimes insurance disputes can be settled through out-of-court negotiations, but other times litigation is necessary. When that happens, it is important for policyholders to have a thorough understanding of their insurance policy, so they can pursue an appropriate amount of damages.