Court ruling on BI policy wording expected: Early July.
ACTION YOU SHOULD TAKE NOW:
- If you are insured by Aviva Insurance Limited or QBE (UK) Limited and would like to participate in a potential group claim. Register Here.
- Contact your broker / Read your policy to see if you are eligible.
The majority of Business Insurance covers for the hospitality trade contain an element of protection for losses arising from, for example, specific illnesses, or the discovery of pests or vermin. However these are almost always limited to outbreaks occurring at the insured premises.
Only a minority of Business Insurance policies list specific diseases and state that “notifiable diseases” are covered, but that there must be closure by a competent authority.
Even though the government classified the disease as “notifiable” early in March, which is technically good news, in reality it doesn’t offer much hope for most businesses. This is because the standard Business Insurance cover won’t include forced closure by the authorities. It is designed to respond to physical damage at a property which results in the business being unable to trade.
The best advice for businesses if they haven’t already done so is to contact their broker, or their insurer if they don’t have a broker, as a matter of urgency. It will not be helpful that their policy is likely to contain a time limit during which claims must be notified, although in this case there may be extenuating circumstances because of a lack of awareness that cover might apply.
The outcome of the FCA reference to the court in July is critical. Insurance sector figures believe it is unlikely that the court will find in favour of the vast majority of policyholders. If it were to do so, there would inevitably be significant increases in premiums across the whole market as policies fall due for renewal, with the overwhelming majority of insurers applying very clear exclusions going forward, not only for COVID-19 but for other possible disease outbreaks.
Although it is not yet clear, the action taken by the FCA will take precedence, but there can be no harm in reporting the matter to the Ombudsman as long as the insurer’s complaints procedure has been exhausted.
It almost inevitable that the government will end up as ‘insurer of last resort’ in many cases. Only time will tell.
Help Challenge the insurance Companies.
Crowd-funding campaign by Black and White Hospitality Management hit its initial target to raise the first £25,000 of a goal of £100,000, and by late May had received more than 100 policies from 39 separate insurance companies. The campaign’s aim is to challenge insurance companies that are refusing to honour business interruption policies specifically for the hospitality sector https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/hospitality-business-interruption-action/
We’ve got more to come on this in the next few days and in the next issue of Luxury BnB Magazine.
Please reach out to us if you would like to tell your story.