Producers of the rebooted Broadway hit Shuffle Along
filed a lawsuit last week against Lloyd’s of London for refusing to cover losses stemming from shows that were cancelled due to the pregnancy of star actress Audra McDonald.
had taken out two insurance policies totalling US$14 million which were supposed to reimburse the producers if McDonald’s death, accident or illness prevented her from performing or stopped the entire production.
McDonald, who had missed several performances, announced her pregnancy on April 24 - less than a week before the show’s opening night. According to a report by Forbes,
the producers had insisted that her pregnancy “is an accident, and her associated medical conditions constitute an illness.”
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The producers lodged the complaint on November 3 in New York against certain underwriters at Lloyd’s, who turned down the insurance claims three times.
According to the complaint reported by Court House News
, the underwriters denied the insurance coverage arguing that McDonald’s pregnancy and her associated medical conditions were neither an “accident” nor an “illness” under the policies.
The underwriters further claimed that the show could continue without its star actress. They reportedly wrote: “By virtue of the all-star cast, Ms. McDonald’s temporary absence does not appear fatal to the show’s continued success.”
The producers, on the other hand, had maintained “McDonald’s critical importance to the show and its success.”
Alleging breach of contract, the producers are seeking about US$700,000 under the nonappearance policy and US$12 million under the abandonment policy, according to Court House News.
Lloyd’s of London has yet to respond to the Broadway producers’ complaint, the media reports said.
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