The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that certain business expense claims and a personal property claim made by a poultry processor for damages sustained during a break in electrical service caused by an ice storm were not covered by the processor’s insurance policy. George’s Inc. v. Allianz Global Risks US Ins. Co., No. 09-2220 (8th Cir., decided March 9, 2010). The insurer paid the processor’s claims for lost business income and extra expenses totaling more than $300,000, but refused to pay $155,000 in fixed labor and overhead costs and $30,000 for chickens that died in the processor’s holding shed.

The court agreed with the insurer that the refused claims were subject to exclusions under the insurance policy, rejecting the processor’s contentions that (i) its labor and overhead costs were extra expenses because the processor experienced an increase in cost-per-pound when the business disruption caused it to process less chicken relative to its fixed expenses; and (ii) the chickens in the holding shed should be treated as processing stock, subject to a limited work-in-progress exclusion, rather than “animals,” which were excluded from personal property coverage altogether.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.