UK bars plan legal action against Hiscox
Around 100 bars and nightclubs plan to team up in legal action against Hiscox over the Bermudian re/insurer's denial of business interruption insurance claims related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move by the Night Time Industries Association comes after other groups totalling around 200 claimants said they also threatened to sue.
Michael Kill, the chief executive of NTIA, said: “Businesses are being denied legitimate insurance claims, many claims are being disputed by insurers based on contrived arguments to avoid sharing the financial burden during the Covid-19 crisis.”
Hiscox said yesterday that its UK core small commercial package policies “do not provide cover for business interruption as a result of the general measures taken by the UK government in response to a pandemic”.
The company added: “A number of UK policyholders have disputed the application of their policy in relation to business interruption. Hiscox recognises these are extremely difficult times for businesses and is determined to help provide greater certainty for customers.
“As a priority it will therefore work with the UK insurance industry, its regulators and its customers to seek means of expediting resolution through the range of independent mechanisms available.”
One of the groups threatening to sue Hiscox, backed by insurance brokers advisory firm CEC, said some of Hiscox's policies state it would pay up where the interruption to the business was “due to restrictions imposed by a public authority during the period of insurance following an occurrence of a notifiable human disease”.
Hiscox said today it expects to pay out claims of up to $150 million related to the Covid-19 pandemic if restrictions on travel and mass gatherings continue until September, the company said today.
If the restrictions last longer the claims could grow by an additional $25 million, the re/insurer's analysis showed.
Hiscox said it is “actively settling claims for event cancellation and abandonment, media and entertainment and other segments including travel”.
Hiscox UK has about 10,000 customers that purchased cover for business interruption and have been directly impacted by government closure orders.
Hiscox said: “Over 70 per cent of these customers have monthly revenues of less than £40,000 [$49,230] in a normal trading environment, with a significant proportion below £10,000 per month. The level of economic loss experienced is likely to be materially lower than reported revenues.”