The simple answer at present is No, we have looked to assist in hundreds of hospitality claims and at present every insurer is declining claims.
Most of our customers have Business Interruption cover and many policies aren’t currently excluding COVID-19 outright. The main issue we see is most policies say losses are covered if the losses have been caused as a result of an outbreak at or within 25 miles of the business.
Insurers interpretation on this is, would you have the same losses if there weren’t any cases within the 25 mile radius, if the answer is ‘yes’ insurers say your losses are from the wider worldwide pandemic and not any local outbreak, therefore not covered on an insurance policy.
Each policy is different and may have more restricted wording than the above.
If your claim has been declined, you have the option of taking it further by contacting the insurers complaints department with you adding your arguments why you feel your claim should be a valid one and settled. Get written proof of local cases from authorities, hospitals, local media confirming when and where these viruses first appeared nearby and argue that these local cases have caused losses. At present we haven’t seen a customer who has been able to prove this.
If the complaints department come back and still decline your claim, you can take it further by reporting it to the Financial Ombudsman Service who will fully review each case and give a final answer. If business’s are insured via an insurance broker then they should be able to advise and assist their customers further.
We have starting seeing customers joining hospitality forums and are looking to jointly get together and lobby the government to either push for more help or for the government to put more pressure on insurers to change their views, so that could be extra route to look at.
It must be said that we are probably seeing that more than 95% of all business’s in the UK have no cover at all for this virus, less than 1% may have purchased specialist pandemic cover, but this would only be available to very large organisations, one we’ve been made aware of that has pandemic cover is the Wimbledon Tennis Association (AELTC), but few have this.
There are obviously various Governments support packages that are in place for business’s including cash grants up to £25,000 for hospitality businesses, Self-Employment Income Support, Business Rates Holidays, Job Retention, Business Interruption Loans and more. For more information we recommend you discuss this with your account and business advisors. For more info on the Governments support please click on this link: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/
Hope this may help readers in this difficult time Dominic.
Gary Hodgson CeRGI
Hodgson Insurance Services
Tel: 01288 353999
And from Yvonne:
I haven’t heard of anyone getting a business interruption pay out on their policy, probably because of the “force majeure” clause which excludes everything outside of the items listed in insurance policies.