The spread of COVID-19 is unprecedented in modern times and this continues to be an incredibly difficult time for families and businesses, especially businesses that have been required to close or drastically reduce their operations throughout various lockdowns.

The Background

Commercial insurance policy holders hoped they could make claims on their business interruption (BI) insurance policies. This led to wide-ranging disputes in the interpretation of policy wordings.

Under pressure from SMEs in particular, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stepped in and, in conjunction with eight insurers, selected a representative sample of 21 policy wordings as a test case for the High Court to consider and rule upon. In September 2020, the High Court delivered its judgment in favour of the FCA in the majority of the considered clauses.

Unsurprisingly, the insurers appealed and in January 2021 the Supreme Court also ruled in favour of policyholders.

This landmark ruling means businesses that had the relevant extensions to their BI cover would be likely to have their claim met by their insurers. However, the judgment does not mean that all customers with business interruption insurance have a valid claim.

Making a Claim

Although the judgment is welcome news for policyholders, the test case was never intended to encompass all possible policy wordings and does not determine individual claims.

We are working hard to ensure that all Wilsons clients that have valid business interruption extensions submit their claims to Insurers without delay and receive the payments due to them. Remember that you are always entitled to make a claim against your policy, so contact your broker or, if you insure direct, simply follow the claims instructions on your policy document.

FCA Policy Checker

The FCA has published an online Policy Checker and some FAQs to help SME policyholders find out if their insurance policy may cover business interruption losses caused by COVID-19, based on their test case. You will need your policy and schedule to hand and you can access the FCA Policy Checker at www.fca.org.uk

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