Tennessee High Court Upholds Cutting $150M in Mall Flood Coverage

June 4, 2018

In a blow to the owner of Opry Mills Mall, the Tennessee Supreme Court has let stand a lower court’s ruling that stripped $150 million of insurance coverage for the 2010 flood.

The state’s highest court announced Monday that it would not hear an appeal from the Simon Property Group. The decision let stand a ruling from an appellate court that found the mall was located in a “high hazard flood zone,” and therefore only entitled to a maximum of $50 million in insurance coverage.

The owners of Opry Mills had asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to reverse a ruling that reduced their 2010 flood insurance coverage from $200 to $50 million. Severe flooding closed the Nashville, Tenn., shopping mall for an extended period.

The mall was submerged in 10 feet (3 meters) of water during the flood that killed 11 people in Nashville and damaged some of the city’s most iconic structures. A total of 26 people died in the flood in Tennessee and Kentucky.

It took two years for the entire property to be rebuilt and cost millions of dollars. After an initial cleanup, progress on the reconstruction had been stalled because insurers would provide only $50 million. The Mills company said the mall suffered more than $200 million in damage and filed suit in 2011 against 17 insurance companies claiming they owed another $150 million.

A jury awarded the property group $200 million from a group of insurers after hearing the amount of loss the mall sustained from the flood. However, the Tennessee Court of Appeals overturned that verdict and said the $50 million was the maximum amount of coverage due because the insurance policies made exceptions for properties in “high hazard flood zones,” court records show.

An attorney who represents Simon Property Group did not respond to a message seeking comment.

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