Native American casino owner sues Lloyd's, AIG over coronavirus shutdown losses

March 24 (Reuters) - A Native American tribe on Tuesday sued a group of insurance companies, asking a court to declare that losses it is incurring from shutting down its casinos during the coronavirus pandemic are covered by its business insurance.

The suit by the Chicksaw Nation in an Oklahoma state court names insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London, as well as units of American International Group Inc and AXA XL, among others.

The Chicksaw Nation is among a number of Oklahoma tribes that have temporarily shut down casinos they own in order to curb the spread of the disease.

At issue is a type of commercial insurance that covers businesses for income lost due to property damage. Lawyers for both insurers and policyholders anticipate a wave of litigation over whether various insurance policies for so-called “business interruption” will cover coronavirus-related shutdowns.

The Native American gaming industry on March 17 requested $18 billion in U.S. federal aid as it shut casinos that are the sole source of commercial revenue for dozens of tribes in a bid to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. {L1N2BA2PQ]

Representatives for Lloyd’s and AXA XL declined comment. An AIG spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment. (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Bernadette Baum)