Hospitality In A ‘Race Against Time’ As The FCA Prepares To File BI Insurance High Court Action

The Financial Conduct Authority is moving quickly to file its action in the High Court to seek clarification on the interpretation of business interruption policy wording. The FCA released an update yesterday which identified the representative sample of policy wordings to be examined in the test case, as well as the insurers who have agreed to be involved in the action.

The FCA has given policy holders until 3pm Friday 5th June to comment on the representative sample. This has triggered a trio of hospitality heavyweights to call on policy holders in the sector who have had their business interruption claims rejected, to check the wording of their policies against the FCA’s sample , to ensure their wording is captured in the test case and the interests of the sector are fully represented.

Trade association, UKHospitality, which is already supporting Black and White Hospitality’s crowdfunding venture to have hospitality cases reviewed for challenge, have now partnered with leading international law firm, Taylor Wessing in relation to the FCA action. The legal expertise will add further valuable resources as the organisations consider how the FCA court action impacts on the business interruption insurance claims of policy holders in the hospitality sector.

They are calling on hospitality businesses to act without delay, to provide details of their policy wording that might fall outside of the FCA’s 17 representative sample of policy wordings, announced on Monday. The insurance sector has rejected the vast majority of hospitality firms’ claims against business interruption policies which were taken out in good faith, leaving many companies on the brink of financial ruin.

Richard Bursby, Partner at Taylor Wessing said “The FCA’s process for this action is moving at warp speed. This is necessary so that policy holders can quickly understand their position once the court clarifies some of the key issues around what is covered. The FCA are aiming for a hearing in mid-July. However, policy holders have just days to review their policies against the FCA’s representative sample. Taylor Wessing is proud to assist hospitality in this initiative, as legal experts in a sector that has been hardest hit hard by the pandemic and currently has had little by way of insurance pay-out.”

Rob Atkinson, lawyer at Black & White Hospitality, said: “We have been deluged with policies but now have this last chance to widen the scope of the court action – I urge any hospitality business that thinks it has a relevant policy to send it to us.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKH added: “So many stakeholders have come together on this crucial matter. We now have a final sprint towards the deadline, to make sure that hospitality’s insurance plight is properly heard. A central ask of UKH’s #Fair4Hospitalty campaign is a resolution to insurance claims. With the support of leading law firm, Taylor Wessing, and Black & White Hospitality, we are urging all hospitality businesses to get in touch, so the industry’s voice is heard and any relevant wording not covered by the proposed test case is included.”.”

If your claim has been rejected, check your policy against the FCA’s representative sample here https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/corporate/bi-insurance-test-case-proposed-representative-sample-of-policy-wordings.pdf and if you feel that yours should be included in the FCA’s test case, or for more information, please email cv19@ukhospitality.org.uk with details.