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High Court rules that Hiscox & QBE must pay out

The High Court has ruled that insurers Hiscox & QBE must pay out disputed business interruption policies to policy holders in the events industry.

A lengthy group action lawsuit has been ongoing since June, combining a wide spectrum of disputed insurance policies into one representative case.

The Meetings Industry Association has welcomed the ruling, which suggests Covid-19 claims should be paid in most cases if policies had pandemic or notifiable disease clauses.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the Meetings Industry Association said that a recent survey among members revealed that 92% of respondents stated that their financial losses to date have not been covered by their insurance policy. “This test case is promising news for the many who have suffered immeasurable losses due to the ramifications of the pandemic,” Longhurst noted.

The ruling examined 21 policy wordings used by 16 insurers, and Longhurst advised the sector to revisit their existing, as well as any previously outstanding policies, where the policyholder may deem themselves eligible to make a claim under pandemic or notifiable disease clauses.

Longhurst added: “As highlighted by Christopher Woolard, interim chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), insurers must now reflect on previous clarity provided irrespective of any possible appeals, while also communicating the next steps on how they can progress claims.

“While the FCA is expecting this activity to be conducted in a rapid manner, we are advising the sector to directly contact their insurer as soon as possible to seek further explanation and investigation into any potential claims.”