Businesses win pandemic insurance payouts after UK top court ruling

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Small businesses, from restaurants to nightclubs and wedding planners to beauty parlours, on Friday won the right to insurance payouts after Britain’s highest court ruled their policies should cover losses caused by coronavirus lockdowns.

Six of the world’s largest commercial insurers — Hiscox, RSA, QBE, Argenta, Arch and MS Amlin — argued many business interruption policies did not cover widespread disruption after Britain’s first national lockdown last March.

But the UK Supreme Court dismissed appeals by the insurers after scrutinising non-damage insurance policy clauses — which cover disease, denial of access to business premises and hybrid clauses — in a victory for the regulator and policyholders.

The test case, which has been watched closely overseas, has pitched the industry regulator against major insurance companies since last May and has been expected to affect 370,000 policyholders, 60 insurers and billions of pounds in claims.

Alistair Handyside, executive chair of the Professional Association of Self-Caterers UK, whose members had a policy with RSA, said he was delighted by a judgment that would mean survival for many amid a third lockdown.

via Reuters

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