Beer And Pub Sector Issues Challenge To Insurers To Meet Their Obligation To The Sector

The trade associations representing Britain’s beer and pub sector have issued a joint call to Insurers to work with them to provide further support for pubs and breweries hit by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping, Society of Independent Brewers and UK Hospitality have signed a joint letter to the Association of British Insurers following research which indicates that as few as 4% of businesses in the sector have made successful insurance claims following the COVID-19 lockdown.

The group is calling for an urgent meeting with Insurers ahead of legal actions which may already be planned.

The letter reads:

“As trade associations representing 50,000 pub businesses and 2,000 brewers, our members are grappling with the commercial implications of the lockdown triggered in response to COVID-19.

“We have come together in a concerted effort to mitigate the most damaging aspects of the lockdown for our businesses and have presented a unified voice to Government in calling for a comprehensive package of measures to sustain our sector, protect jobs & livelihoods and safeguard our great British pubs.

Within this context of a national, collaborative effort across our entire supply chain there has been one notable omission – insurance companies. We had hoped insurers would work with us at this critical time. With one or two exceptions, the collective failure of insurers to step up and meet their obligations has been deeply disappointing.

The vast majority of our pub sector businesses have taken a policy including business interruption, with a clear expectation that a material disruption to their business through events beyond their control would be covered.  Industry survey data has found that only 1% of hospitality businesses, 3% of BII members, and 4% of BBPA member companies have received a positive response from their insurer.  In normal circumstances this would be unacceptable, in this crisis it is frankly deplorable and threatens business survival for thousands of pub businesses.

“We are aware of legal actions pending but in advance of these cases proceeding we would urge the insurance companies’ senior executives to agree to meet with us to discuss and lead a constructive way forward at the earliest possible opportunity.  With additional lockdown measures planned for our sector and further material disruption to our businesses likely, the compensation owed to our pub, brewery and broader hospitality businesses has become an even more urgent matter.

We look forward to hearing from you at the earliest opportunity.”

Stephen Gould, Managing Director or Everards Brewery and Chairman of the Industry One Voice Group said:
“It is vital that insurers come to the table and play their part in supporting the beer and pub sector at this critical time.”

Steve Alton, Chief Executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping said:

“Barely any of our pub businesses have had their insurance claims successfully processed. Whilst we welcome the fact that the Financial Conduct Authority is seeking legal clarity, further action is needed now if we are to safeguard pub businesses.”

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality said:

“Our member survey revealed that only 3% of our members had claimed successfully through their business interruption insurance cover. This is unacceptable and leaves many businesses facing real difficulties.”

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association said:

“Brewers and Pub operators have largely failed to get support from their insurers at this time of real crisis for our sector. It is imperative that the leading insurance businesses in this country engage with our sector to find a way forward.”