COVID-19 - UPDATE FOR POLICYHOLDERS – BUSINESS INTERUPTION TEST CASE

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FCA BUSINESS INTERRUPTION TEST CASE

On 9th June 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) issued proceedings in the High Court of England and Wales to commence a test case in respect of business interruption policies that provide cover in circumstances where there has been no physical damage to the insured property. The aim of the test case is to resolve contractual uncertainty around the validity of many business interruption claims arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

The FCA has involved a number of insurers as parties in the test case. Although Nationwide Broker Services is not a named party in the test case, it supports the FCA’s aim to achieve clarity for all concerned in this unprecedented situation. The test case is designed to achieve the maximum clarity for the maximum number of policyholders, by seeking a binding court determination on the meaning and effect of 19 representative policy wordings written by the insurer parties.

Policyholders who have submitted claims under business interruption policies that provide cover in circumstances where there has been no physical damage to the insured property, will be contacted in accordance with the guidance issued by the FCA on 17 June 2020. 

The test case is now at an advanced stage and an 8 day hearing in the High Court is scheduled for late July 2020 before Lord Justice Flaux and Mr Justice Butcher. Aspects of the test case may be appealed, and we will publish further details at that time.

At the final resolution of the test case (i.e. after any appeals), Nationwide Broker Services will apply the court’s decision to all outstanding claims and complaints other than those which have been referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Information about the test case can be found on the FCA website (https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/business-interruption-insurance) and information concerning business interruption insurance can be found on the Financial Ombudsman Service’s website (https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/businesses/complaints-deal/complaints/coronavirus-covid-19-information-businesses). 

We recommend that all policyholders  subscribe for FCA email alerts about the test case so that they are kept fully up to date on the progress of the case. 

Policyholders can sign up for FCA business interruption insurance email updates at: https://www.fca.org.uk/sign-business-interruption-bi-insurance-email-updates