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Financial regulator takes business interruption insurers to High Court

The Financial Conduct Authority believes that in a small minority of cases insurers should have paid out and wants clauses examined.

Nigel Lewis

business interruption insurance

Justice for some of the estate agents who feel let down by their business interruption insurance policies has taken another step towards being achieved.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says that it is proceeding with a court case to test the many different policy wordings that have enabled some insurance companies and brokers to wriggle out of paying claims.

This includes 17 common policy wordings used by 40 different insurers which will be examined by the test case, including Hiscox which is one of the main suppliers of policies to the property industry.

But the FCA warns policy holders that its actions will not see pay-outs for most companies involved and that the court case is only meant to challenge the small minority of policies where they ‘could be argued to include cover’.

As we reported on 15th April many estate agencies whose owners thought they were covered by their business interruption policies during a pandemic caused by a notifiable disease were told by their brokers that this was not the case.

“Our view remains that most SME insurance policies are focused on property damage so at least in the majority of cases, insurers are not obliged to pay out in relation to the coronavirus pandemic,” the FCA says.

“This case is focused on the remainder of policies that could be argued to include cover.

“Policyholders should not assume that simple inclusion of their policy wording in this case will mean their policies are responsive.

“We are seeking a judgment that will help policyholders and insurers have a much clearer view of which business interruption policies respond to the pandemic, and those that don’t.

“Therefore, the court may well decide a number of these policies respond to the pandemic and others do not.”

Read the full FCA statement.

 

 

June 2, 2020

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