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Some Insurers Screwing Over Restaurants After Sandy

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Pricey Flatiron restaurant Alison Eighteen didn't sustain any flood damage during Hurricane Sandy, but has still had its business interruption insurance claim denied because owner Alison Price Becker didn't have any flood insurance. It seems like that wouldn't matter?again, there was no flooding in the Flatiron District?but because Con Ed's facilities were inundated, and because that flood caused the power outage that caused her restaurant to lose business and food, Price Becker's insurance company Tower Group has rejected the claim.

Price Becker tells the Post's Steve Cuozzo that the storm caused $72,000 in losses, between the lost business and spoiled food, which as The Cuozz points out is "a severe strain" when the restaurant has $150,000 in monthly bills. Alison Eighteen's insurance broker says that Tower is technically allowed to reject the claim because of Price Becker's lack of flood insurance (Tower was able to invokea tiny clause in the fine print, called the "power-failure exclusion clause"), but that the insurer had made it seem like the claim would be approved before waiting until the middle of March to reject it.

Though he has trouble getting many to go on the record about their insurance troubles, Cuozzo reports that this is fairly common, especially when less than five percent of Manhattan restaurants have flood insurance. (For what it's worth, on the flipside many restaurants' policies don't have that exclusion clause.) Wolfgang's Tribeca, for example, only got about two or three percent of its claim. And the King of Tribeca himself, Drew Nieporent, doesn't talk about his own claim but says he's "shocked, frustrated and astonished" that the insurance companies have shown "little response, empathy and understanding."
· Pain on the Menu [NYP]
· All Coverage of Hurricane Sandy [~ENY~]

Alison Eighteen

15 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011 212-366-1818