Remember when Kanye West had a mental breakdown, checked himself into a hospital, and had to cancel his tour? Normally, some very pricey insurance policies cover that kind of situation.
But apparently things for Kanye aren’t working out and he’s suing his insurers for $10 million … and basically accusing them of being scammers.
And here we were thinking that the Smelly Vagina Lawsuit getting settled was interesting legal news!
Kanye has always been impulsive and outlandish.
It’s part of his brand.
A lot of people believed that maybe it was mostly an act.
People have had similar theories about plenty of stars who are known for being controversial or badly behaved.
Basically, people have trouble believing that a grown adult could act like some celebrities do, and so they imagine that it’s all a show.
In some cases, they’re absolutely right.
But things with Kanye were clearly more serious than a childlike lack of impulse-control.
In recent years, he’s done everything from tweet that Bill Cosby is innocent to beg Jay-Z to not have him murdered to making the irrational statement that, had he voted, he would have voted for Trump.
We’re not saying that every Trump supporter needs their head examined (just a packet of information and perhaps a compassionate lecture), but for Kanye, that was super unexpected and Kanye is, um, not quite Trump’s demographic.
Things got worse last December and, as we later learned, Kanye was suffering from severe psychosis from exhaustion.
The tour was canceled, tickets were refunded, and the costs of shutting down were supposed to be covered by Kanye’s company’s insurance policy.
Well, apparently his insurers — various syndicates of Lloyd’s of London, which sounds shadier than it’s supposed to but that might be appropriate in this case — responded to his team filing an insurance claim by basically taking every measure possible to prove that they weren’t liable.
Many people have had tough dealings with insurance adjusters, but this sounds like it’s on a whole other level.
The Hollywood Reporter obtained details of Kanye’s lawsuit, including the precise wording of the complaint that Kanye’s legal team has filed.
Strap in, folks, because this is possibly the most entertaining legal document that you’re going to read for a good long while.
"[The insurers haven’t] provided anything approaching a coherent explanation about why they have not paid, or any indication if they will ever pay or even make a coverage decision."
Does anybody else notice a hint of sass in that?
"Implying that Kanye’s use of marijuana may provide them with a basis to deny the claim and retain the hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance premiums paid by Very Good."
By Very Good, they mean Very Good Touring, Inc, which sounds like a lazy parody but it’s just the name of Kanye’s touring company.
Kanye’s legal team accuses these insurers of more than just screwing over Kanye’s company, though:
"The stalling is emblematic of a broader modus operandi of the insurers of never-ending post-claim underwriting where the insurers hunt for some contrived excuse not to pay."
Did you get that?
Basically, Kanye’s accusing these syndicates of accepting massive sums of money (insurance premiums) and then searching for any loophole that keeps them from having to pay anything back when a claim is filed.
That’s not how insurance companies are supposed to operate.
"Almost immediately after the claim was submitted, Defendants selected legal counsel to oversee the adjustment of the claim, instead of the more normal approach of retaining a non-lawyer insurance adjuster."
That sounds shady, right?
Kanye’s team thinks so.
"Immediately turning to legal counsel made it clear that Defendants’ goal was to hunt for any ostensible excuse, no matter how fanciful, to deny coverage or to maneuver themselves into a position of trying to negotiate a discount on the loss payment."
It’s an insurance adjuster’s job to make sure that nobody’s filing a false claim, but companies are supposed to pay out when an honest claim is filed.
Kanye’s lawyer, Howard King, has an incredibly well-written statement on the case.
"Performing artists who pay handsomely to insurance companies within the Lloyd’s of London marketplace to obtain show tour ‘non-appearance or cancelation’ insurance should take note of the lesson to be learned from this lawsuit:"
Clearly, he’s going right for their reputation.
"Lloyd’s companies enjoy collecting bounteous premiums; they don’t enjoy paying claims, no matter how legitimate. Their business model thrives on conducting unending ‘investigations,’ of bona fide coverage requests, stalling interminably, running up their insured’s costs, and avoiding coverage decisions based on flimsy excuses."
Then comes the best line:
"The artists think they they’re buying peace of mind. The insurers know they’re just selling a ticket to the courthouse."
If that’s any indication, it sounds like Kanye’s getting his money’s worth out of his attorney.
If only he’d had that kind of luck with his tour’s insurers, huh?
That said … so far, we’ve only heard one side of the story.
We’d be very eager to hear what Lloyd’s of London’s insurers have to say in response.