In November, the producers of the Broadway musical Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed sued their insurer, Lloyd’s of London, for refusing to cover losses tied to the pregnancy and subsequent early departure of its star actor Audra McDonald.
According to an earlier report from Forbes, “The Broadway show had taken out two insurance policies, totaling $14 million, to mitigate the risk that an illness or accident would prevent her from performing, or force the entire production to be abandoned.” However, a ruling has yet to be made on whether her pregnancy qualifies as an accident or illness.
A New York Court declared decades ago that a pregnancy does not qualify. However, the producers dispute this. Now, a new development in the case has been reported. While the producers continue to insist that McDonald’s pregnancy was an accident covered under the policy, Lloyd’s insists it was not an accident and that McDonald failed to disclose she was pregnant before the coverage began, therefore rendering the insurance contract null and void.
When filing paper work for the insurance in March 2016, McDonald confirmed that she was not “suffering from physical, psychological, or any other condition.” Lloyd’s of London claims that McDonald knew of her pregnancy in February, and that it is a condition that falls under this clause. The insurer is has asked the court to treat the contract as invalid.
Lloyd’s of London also argues that the production did not need to be shut down with McDonald’s exit. The producers counter that the insurance policy was in place specifically in the event that McDonald could not appear.