José Andrés takes his place in the fight against insurance firms

Restaurant groups led by José Andrés and three other high-profile chefs based in D.C. sued their insurance carriers last week.

Restaurant groups led by José Andrés and three other high-profile chefs based in D.C. sued their insurance carriers this week, joining a growing number of hospitality companies fighting for payouts triggered by business interruption policies they claim should cover losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup (TFG) and Central, the James Beard Award-winning American bistro that carries on the legacy of its late chef/founder Michel Richard, filed lawsuits on Wednesday, July 30, in Maryland and District of Columbia federal courts. Alleging Travelers Insurance Company rejected coverage for business losses during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuits come days after Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola Holdings and Robert Wiedmaier’s RW Restaurant Group took similar legal action against their carrier The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Company (Travelers), Eater reported. TFG’s lawsuit is tied to 16 of the group’s restaurants covered under the Travelers’ policy, including the Michelin-rated Minibar, Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya, China Chilcano, Beefsteak and other operations.

Andrés issued the following statement on behalf of his restaurant group: “For over 22 years, our company has consistently paid considerable annual premiums for business interruption insurance from Travelers and now is the time for them to fulfil their obligation. Given that we were forced to close and the pandemic’s effects on our industry, our businesses, our team, and the local farmers and producers who rely on our restaurants, Travelers has a financial responsibility to all of us as we rebuild.”