Coronavirus (COVID-19)—FCA business interruption application could be heard by July

Coronavirus (COVID-19)—FCA business interruption application could be heard by July

The Hiscox Action Group, made up of more than 200 businesses denied cover by insurer Hiscox under policies for interrupted business, said it met the FCA last week.

The FCA said on 1 May 2020 that it would go to the High Court with a sample of policy wordings that have triggered the greatest uncertainty over liability, to obtain an authoritative declaratory judgment (see: LNB News 01/05/2020 35).

‘Our understanding is that it could be before the courts by July’, Mark Killick, a founding member of the Hiscox Action Group, told Law360, relaying what the group been told at the meeting with the FCA.

The FCA has written to insurers who have declined claims and expects a reply by 15 May 2020. Based on those replies, it will determine which cases to include in its application.

Killick, an executive from public relations company Media Zoo, one of the businesses denied compensation by Hiscox, said that the court action could come too late for many businesses. ‘For our members, this is an existential event for them’, Killick added. ‘They need money, and sooner rather than later. I’m not sure that the FCA is moving at the speed that our members need’.

A spokesman for the FCA declined to comment on the timing of its move, and referred to an earlier statement that it will bring the case ‘as soon as possible’.

Killick said proposed group litigation launched by the Hiscox Action Group, instructed by Mishcon de Reya LLP, would not be held back to wait for the result of the FCA’s case. ‘We are going to move forward as quickly as we can,’ he added.

The 200 businesses in the Hiscox Action Group, combined with another 100 businesses under the Night Time Industries Association, represents a group litigation claim of around £50m.

Hiscox said last week that it would face a hit to its business of between £10m–£250m if it was found liable for business interruption policies.

Willis Towers Watson said at the start of the month that domestic insurers could face a bill of between US$1.1bn–US$13.9bn for claims on insurance for business interruption and event cancellation, depending on the severity of the pandemic.

This content is based on an article first published by Law360, a LexisNexis® company, on 11 May 2020 and is published with permission.

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