The UK Government initially recommended avoidance of non-essential travel and contact with others on 15 March 2020. In England, schools, restaurants, pubs, indoor entertainment venues and leisure centres were ordered to close on 20 March 2020 pursuant to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020. That was followed on 26 March 2020 by a lockdown of the whole population, including the closure of almost all businesses, pursuant to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.
The many faces of Coronavirus | White Paper and FAQs
Insights and analysis shared in our Question Time webinar have been collated in this white paper which we hope you will find informative and…
The Coronavirus pandemic, and the associated enforced business closures and restrictions on the population’s freedom of movement, continue to have a significant impact on those trading and consuming. Many businesses have been devastated by the enforced lockdown and are turning to their Business Insurance (“BI”) policies seeking to recover the losses suffered. This has generated significant media commentary, with financial headlines dominated by widespread insurer rejections of claims and calls, from some quarters, for the government to step in and mandate claim payments. The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) has stated that the majority of policies do not respond but it has also emphasised that insurers still need to treat their customers fairly. This has prompted a range of responses from the policyholder community. Most businesses want, and are entitled, to know why BI cover is not triggered and whether the insurance industry can be trusted.
On 1 May 2020 the FCA announced that it intended to apply for judicial clarification of the scope of BI policies and the meaning of some of the most common conditions. The precise details of the FCA’s case remain unclear but, it is likely to focus on the meaning of “damage” and the effect of common exclusions and extensions to cover. The case will not be determinative or binding on any insurer that is not party to the action but is likely to be highly influential on insurers’ approach to BI claims arising out of the Coronavirus pandemic.
On 7 May 2020 Weightmans hosted a webinar in which we discussed these issues in detail. We were lucky enough to have the following expert panel of attendees who shared their valuable insights from a legal, governmental, brokering and actuarial perspective:
- Edward Lewis (moderator) – Partner, Weightmans
- Sir Bob Neill MP – Chair of Justice Select Committee
- Graeme Trudgill – Executive Director, BIBA
- Jerome Kirk – London Markets Lead Partner PWC (and formerly Head of Actuarial Services at Lloyds)
- James Denison – Partner, Weightmans
- Amy Nesbitt – Principal Associate, Weightmans
- Pamela Freeland – Associate, Weightmans
The insights and analysis shared in that webinar have been collated in this white paper which we hope you will find informative and interesting. We have also identified and answered 15 of the key questions from the webinar which you can find below.