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Business Interruption Insurance - agents must wait even longer

The hundreds of estate and lettings agencies involved in various Business Interruption Insurance policies must wait even longer to find their fate.

A Supreme Court appeal completed a four day hearing on the issue last month, which had followed a High Court ruling back in September favouring policy-holders against insurers who claimed their BI policies did not include Coronavirus.

The Financial Conduct Authority represented policy holders against eight insurance firms which had argued - unsuccessfully at the High Court - that the pandemic was not a valid reason for paying out on policies. The FCA says the test case that it promoted affects claims by some 350,000 small and medium sized firms including hundreds, possibly even thousands, of agencies.

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It was thought likely that a final verdict from the Supreme Court judges would be revealed before the end of the year but now a statement from the FCA says: “We have been informed by the Supreme Court that it will not be in a position to hand down the judgment before January 2021.”

The test case involved a sample of 17 insurance policy wordings collated by the FCA, and which it said captured the majority of key issues 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.

Agents contacting Estate Agent Today earlier this year said they believed their BI policies covered circumstances where there was an inability to enter and use normal business premises - for example, during the lockdown. 

Others told EAT their policies covered issues regarding instructions from national or local government to cease trading - again, relevant to the lockdown, they claimed.

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