D&O insurance from Sutcliffe & Co

Supreme Court judgement: Business Interruption

Today’s Supreme Court appeal judgement is going to be great news for many policyholders across the UK who have been awaiting a decision on whether their Business Interruption insurance will cover them for Covid-related losses.

The Court looked at a 21 sample policy wordings from eight insurance companies to determine if their ambiguous policy wordings did, or did not, provide cover. The answer in most instances was ‘yes’.

The judgement settles many questions but inevitably most claims will have to be looked at on a case by case basis before any payments can be made. This is because the decision comes down to specific words and phrases.

The Judgement runs to 114 pages and it is estimated that there are around 700 policy wordings, from 60 different insurance companies that could be relevant, affecting around 370,000 businesses. As such, it will be some weeks before insurers and lawyers are able to comment in more detail on specific policy wordings and then on individual claims.

The Court, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) have all urged insurance companies to study the results and make payments to eligible claimants without any undue delay. Rest assured that we will be keeping a close eye on them to make sure claims are paid as quickly as is reasonable.

It is worth noting that this Court judgement is only relevant to policies that have the type of ambiguous wordings that the Court investigated; most other business interruption policy wordings clearly do not provide cover and this judgment will not change that.

Following the judgement, we are now busy looking at the details with the hope that we may be able to secure payments for all of our clients who are eligible. So please bear with us as we work hard on your behalf, reviewing each client’s case individually to determine if they are eligible before submitting a separate claim for each of them.