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Contractual dispute means trouble for ski resort

For most of New Jersey, Christmas last year was celebrated with unseasonably warm weather. For those who don't enjoy the cold, this might have been some great news. But for the ski resort Mountain Creek, it kept paying customers away from the slopes. Where they thought they would be receiving payments from an insurance policy against a warm Christmas season, they ended up in a contractual dispute with the insurance provider.

Mountain Creek was expecting to receive payment on a policy worth up to $1.7 million and, according to the law suit charged Everest Indemnity Insurance Co., was wrongfully denied their claim based on hourly temperatures measured at sites colder than the ski resort.

Mountain Creek paid for insurance that was supposed to kick in if the average temperature was over 33 degrees more than 10 out of 16 days during the Christmas season. The contract had named Weather Analytics to calculate the temperature at the resort based on nearby federal data measurements. Now Mountain Creek finds themselves regretting their choice, unhappy that the measurements were taken in locations that averaged colder than their resort. According to Mountain Creek, this way of measuring did not reflect on the weather conditions at the resort itself.

This has not been uncommon for many resorts throughout New Jersey and the entire country. Unseasonably warm winter weather last year and an overall lack of snow meant visits to resorts dropped 15 percent. With such a drop in the attendance to resorts throughout the country, this contractual dispute is one that other business owners can look at as a lesson and consider having their contracts more closely examined to avoid disputes such as this one.

Source: The New Jersey Star-Ledger, "Mountain Creek sues Everest after warm-weather insurance doesn't pay off," Eliot Caroom, May 15, 2012

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