San Antonio Missions join lawsuit against insurance firms

The San Antonio Missions are one of 15 teams in minor league baseball suing for alleged breach of contract after being denied business-interruption insurance claims for financial losses tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wolff Stadium, the home of the San Antonio Missions. — Photo by Jerry Briggs

Filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the suit names Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., Acadia Insurance Co., National Casualty Co., Scottsdale Indemnity Co., and Scottsdale Insurance Co. as defendants, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that teams named in the suit are the Chattanooga Lookouts, Augusta GreenJackets, Boise Hawks, Columbia Fireflies, Eugene Emeralds, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Fort Wayne TinCaps, Frederick Keys, Greenville Drive, Idaho Falls Chukars, Inland Empire 66ers, Amarillo Sod Poodles, the Missions, the Stockton Ports and the Delmarva Shorebirds.

The legal action was first reported Tuesday morning by ESPN.

Minor league franchises said in the suit that even though they pay premiums to providers for business-interruption insurance, they have been denied coverage after Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred indefinitely suspended their seasons in March.

Nationwide said in a statement obtained by the AP that “we are committed to doing all we can within the coverage our members have purchased” to help businesses navigate the pandemic.

“We have implemented a process to address and assess coronavirus-related claims and we will evaluate any reported claim based on the relevant facts and individual merits of the claim,” the statement said. “Business interruption coverage due to a virus outbreak has been excluded from standard policies issued to business owners across the insurance industry for quite some time.

“The risk for such an event is so vast, including it in standard coverage would make such coverage unaffordable or even unavailable.”

Because of the pandemic, the city of San Antonio likely will be without professional minor league baseball for the first time in 53 years.

Language in the suit, reported on Tuesday morning by ESPN, admits as much, saying, “It is now clear that (major league) teams will not provide players to (minor league) teams for the entire 2020 season.”

The Missions are hosting a team in the Texas Collegiate League. The team is set to open a 30-game season on June 30 in Amarillo. Known as the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio, they are scheduled to open at home on July 3.

Most recently, they announced a roster that includes several college players with ties to the local area.