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Court rules on business interruption payouts

17-01-2021

The Supreme Court has ruled that insurers must pay out on disputed coronavirus business interruption claims, meaning small firms could share around £1.2bn in payouts. This comes as a result of a test case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), with the ruling potentially affecting up to 370,000 firms holding 700 types of policies issued by 60 insurers. Judges rejected appeals from six insurance companies and largely supported the arguments made by the FCA and a group representing policyholders. The FCA says it will be working with insurers to ensure they “move quickly” to pay claims to businesses. The Supreme Court ruling follows an appeal from insurers who questioned a decision by the High Court, which had found in favour of policyholders on most key issues in September 2020. The Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the Supreme Court ruling, with chairman Mike Cherry saying many firms had been left in “financial limbo” by insurers refusing to pay out on claims for losses caused by the first national coronavirus lockdown. Rob Benson, head of insurance at Grant Thornton, said insurers will now need to review policy wordings in order to assess the impact on their potential liabilities.

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