The Business Interruption Insurance saga, involving hundreds of agencies awaiting pay-outs on policies, enters its next and final stage later this month.
An appeal will be heard in the Supreme Court for four days from Monday November 16; the appeal hearing will be by video link.
Back in September the High Court ruled in favour of policy-holders on most aspects of a test case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority; this attempted to push insurers into paying out on BI policies.
Many of the eight insurers involved in that case had argued that the current pandemic was not one of the reasons for paying out on their policies.
The FCA says this High Court verdict will affect claims by some 350,000 small and medium sized firms, including hundreds - possibly thousands - of estate and lettings agencies.
The insurers appealed the decision, however, and now the FCA has used a procedure to help speed up the appeal decision. It has filed a 'leapfrog' application to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The decision from the Supreme Court hearing is likely to take some days so may not be known until late November or early December.
A statement from the FCA this week says: “As we have stated previously, we believe that this 'leapfrog' appeal to the Supreme Court is the fastest way to get legal clarity for all parties in the event that it is not possible to find a solution with insurers which resolves the outstanding issues, before the appeal takes place, to enable pay-outs on eligible claims.”
The test case involved a sample of 17 insurance policy wordings collated by the FCA, which it said captured the majority of the key issues that could be in dispute between insurers and policy holders.
The FCA’s 184-page claim named eight companies - Arch Insurance (UK); Argenta Syndicate Management; Ecclesiastical Insurance Office; Hiscox Insurance Company; MS Amlin Underwriting; QBE UK; Royal and Sun Alliance; and Zurich Insurance.
Not all companies are involved in the appeal.