One of the UK’s biggest and most respected hospitality associations has thrown its weight behind a campaign that will force the insurance sector to honour business interruption policies taken out by restaurants, pubs and hotels.
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) is now calling on its members to support a crowdfunding campaign that has been set up specifically for the hospitality sector so that pressure can be applied on insurers refusing to pay out.
Launched by Rob Atkinson, an in-house lawyer for Black and White Hospitality which operates the Marco Pierre White group of franchised restaurants and manages a portfolio of hotels across the UK, it followed the Government’s announcement on 20 March that hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities had to close until further notice.
While many operators thought that they were covered having taken out, in good faith, insurance that would provide them with some form of income in the event of an interruption to business, many were shocked to be told that they weren’t covered by the current crisis.
With backing already from UK Hospitality, Best Western Hotels, the Vine Hotel Group plus a host of smaller independent operators, news on the additional support from the NTIA will increase further the momentum already gathered since launch.
Rob said: “To have the NTIA on board is great news and we hope that any of its members who have been flatly refused help from their insurer gets in touch and backs what we’re trying to do.
“Many operators may assume that the first response from their insurers is the right advice, however I would strongly recommend those who have been turned down to look again and join our campaign.
“This is a campaign by the hospitality sector for the hospitality sector and by sticking together, we will be able to fight, as one, the insurers who are refusing to pay out.
“There also seems to be a growing number of ambulance chasing firms trying to jump on the bandwagon currently with promises of free advice.
“But as we all know, especially in hospitality, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Our campaign is managed by the industry and will ensure best value is obtained from legal advisors to maximise returns to policy holders. We want the only winners here to be the policy holders themselves.”
Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA commented “The crowdfund campaign fits with how we have been helping our members to date, by coming together, showing solidarity and by managing the advice we receive from legal specialists. We have been fortunate to receive pro-bono advice from Philip Kolvin QC as well as specialist insurance providers. We recognise the need to fund legal advice now, but this must not be done at the ultimate expense of our members and policy holders. We fully support the crowdfund campaign and believe it sends out a strong message to insurers that we will not be rolled over.”