Pair, Set and Match: Replacement of Undamaged Hotel Furnishings Ensuring a Uniform Look

ADJUSTING TODAY

In many cases the insurer and policyholder will have differing views as to whether more than 50% of the furnishings were damaged or destroyed.

...or destruction of other insured articles, components or parts of such property including furnish- ings, fixtures, or equipment of a uniform design scheme by a peril insured by this Policy;

In the event of such physical loss, damage or destruction, the mea- sure of recovery for such articles shall be, at the Insured’s option:

The incorporation of such lan- guage in a policy should reduce the scope of any coverage dispute should the client be forced to avail itself of its matching furniture cov- erage. Do not assume, however, that adoption of such language will foreclose all dispute in this regard; in many cases the adjusters hired by the insurer and policy- holder will have differing views as to whether more than 50% of the furnishings, fixtures, or equipment were in fact damaged or destroyed. But at least the terms of the cover- age will not be in dispute.

Conclusion

If damage covered by a form property damage insurance policy includes damage to hotel furniture, the policy provides for the replace- ment of all damaged and undam- aged furniture to ensure unifor- mity in the hotel’s décor. Insurers, however, refuse to recognize this coverage, even though to leave a hotel with mismatched furniture is to leave the hotel in a condition inferior to that which it was in before the hotel was damaged—a result antithetical to the purpose of insurance. Policyholders thus should not accept their insurers’ position, but should instead stand ground for their matched furnish- ings. To do otherwise is to risk either unhappy guests or the ex- pense of being forced to refurnish a hotel out-of-pocket. In addition, policyholders should bear in mind that they can avoid such fights in the future by seeking coverage that expressly underlines their right to matching furniture.

Michael Raibman is of counsel to the law firm, Reed Smith LLP, in Washington, D.C. The views herein do not necessarily reflect those of the firm, its attorneys, or its clients, or with regard to any pending cases. The author thanks his colleague Gary Thompson for his review.

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Judith A. Finn

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