Lawsuit seeks help with ski passes that can’t be used because of COVID-19 closures

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file phto) People hit the slopes at Deer Valley on Dec. 12, 2019.

After a travel insurance company refused to reimburse a Utah skier for an Ikon pass that he could no longer use because of COVID-19 restrictions, a Utah law firm is pushing a class action lawsuit seeking to force payment to everyone in a similar situation.

The skier, Earl Parker of Park City, and the Ogden law firm of Gridley Ward & Hamilton filed suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court for Utah against Red Sky Travel Insurance and Arch Insurance.

It states Parker bought the travel insurance with his Ikon pass, which allows skiing at up to 43 resorts including Alta, Brighton, Deer Valley and Solitude Mountain in Utah.

If skiers are unable to use a pass for one of many reasons covered — such as death, sickness or “quarantine” — policy terms say it will repay them the cost of the pass minus the daily rate for every day they did use the pass.

Parker applied for a refund after Alterra Mountain Company — which operates most resorts covered by the Ikon passes — announced it was closing on March 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parker received a denial from the insurance company saying that its trip cancellation benefit requires that a policy holder have an illness that requires medical treatment at the time of cancellation and is certified by a physician — terms that Parker did not meet.

The lawsuit contends payment should have been made under terms of the policy, which included promised payment in cases of an undefined “quarantine.”

It seeks a class action suit to force payment to all holders of travel insurance for Ikon passes.

“Because of the relatively small size of individual class members’ claims, absent a class action, most class members would likely find the cost of litigating their claims prohibitively high and would have no effective remedy,” it says.