Alterra Mountain Co. sues insurance company over $200 million in denied coronavirus losses claims |

Alterra Mountain Co. sues insurance company over $200 million in denied coronavirus losses claims

Ski resort operator says Lexington Insurance paid virus claims in 2015 and 2018 but denied $200 million in 2020 COVID damage "simply because the claim is large."

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Skiers and snowboarders ride the American Eagle lift at Copper Mountain Resort on March 29. Copper is a destination on Alterra Mountain Co.’s Ikon Pass. Alterra is suing Lexington Insurance for denying coronavirus-related passholder claims.
Photo by Ashley Low

DENVER — When viruses shut down ski operations at Canadian Mountain Holidays and Ontario’s Blue Mountain Resort in 2015 and 2018, Lexington Insurance Co. paid the resort owners $200,000 in business interruption claims.

But when the coronavirus pandemic shut down the two ski operations in March 2020 — and more than a dozen others owned by Denver-based Alterra Mountain Co. — Lexington declined to cover more than $200 million in lost business for the privately held ski area operator.

“The only reason Lexington handled” the COVID-19 business interruption claim differently than the previous two virus claims “was solely on the ground that the current claim is much larger that the prior claims,” reads a breach of contract lawsuit filed this week by Alterra Mountain Co. in Denver District Court seeking a jury trial to force Lexington to pay claims for $200 million in lost business stemming from the government-mandated shutdown of ski resorts across North America due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alterra’s lawsuit, which cites Colorado law allowing it to collect double the covered benefit that was “unreasonably delayed or denied,” argues Lexington declined the loss-of-business claims so it could protect its bottom line.

Alterra says its resorts have paid Lexington “millions of dollars in premiums” for “broad all-risk coverage” in case of physical losses or damage arising from many scenarios, including infectious or contagious disease that prompts a public authority to close a resort. Alterra’s lawsuit argues Lexington has denied coverage “systematically and categorically” for not just the resort operator, but all policyholders that filed pandemic-related business loss claims in North America.

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