Insurance industry to pay out on COVID-19 business interruption claims
More than 370,000 small businesses in England and Wales could be due a payout on their business interruption insurance after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of payments being made on previously refused claims and policies.
A number of insurers have lost an appeal against an earlier ruling, brought in a test case by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which required them to payout on existing business interruption insurance policies as a result of the pandemic.
In the first lockdown of spring 2020, many small businesses made claims through their business interruption insurance schemes for loss of earnings when they had to close as a result of the Government’s restrictions.
However, they were soon told by their insurers that they were not eligible for a payout because only specialist policies had cover for such unprecedented events.
Following an outcry from the small business community, many of whom had paid thousands of pounds for insurance coverage, the FCA launched a test case which looked at a selection of policy wordings to establish the parameters for what would be considered a valid claim.
Last year an initial case at the High Court found that some insurers should have paid out for losses caused by the lockdown. Judges ruled that disease clauses found in many business interruption insurance policies should have meant they were covered and been compensated for the loss of income due to the Coronavirus restrictions.
An appeal was then brought and the test case was fast-tracked to the Supreme Court – the highest court in England and Wales – who conducted a four-day hearing last year, before delivering a final ruling.
This latest ruling provides authoritative guidance for these policies, and similar ones that were not part of the case, which will be used by the FCA, the insurance sector, and the Financial Ombudsman to assess claims and make judgements.
This impacts on all eligible policies held at the time of the first lockdown, whether an initial claim was made and rejected or not.
The ruling covers a wide range of matters including disease clauses, whether businesses were denied access to the properties they owned by restrictions and the timing of lost earnings.
Giving the court’s ruling Lord Hamblen said the court accepted the arguments from representatives of policyholders and dismissed the appeals from insurers finding in policyholders’ favour.
Although the initial case only tested a small number of policies from eight different insurers, the FCA has said that the findings could affect up to 700 different policies held by various insurers and lead to payments for more than 370,000 small businesses that hold policies.
Insurers, such as Hiscox, Arch, Argenta, MS Amlin, QBE and RSA, that were involved in the case will now process claims. However, as many as 60 insurers who sold similar products may now also pay out on eligible policies.
Huw Evans, Director General of the Association of British Insurers, has said that all valid claims will be settled and that the process of settling some claims was already underway.
Most eligible policyholders should be contacted by their insurer following the ruling, but businesses are being encouraged to check whether they can make a claim.
As for new claims relating to the latest lockdowns, the insurance industry has said that most policies for new and renewing customers have already been amended and that losses from the latest lockdown measures would be clearly stated as part of the cover.
If you require assistance with any issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact us.
- Make sure to include SEISS grants on your next tax returns
- Beware of the HMRC scammers, but ignoring calls can be costly
- Carry back scheme brings welcome relief for business
- New recommendations in sweeping CGT review
- Tax saving strategies for landlords
- Bank of England and CBI expect the biggest rise in economy for decades
- Financial Reporting: GRC, Governance Risk and Compliance Tools
- HMRC unveils penalty regime for VAT deferral scheme
- COVID forces businesses to change direction
- Workers can continue to claim home working tax allowance in the new tax year
- Reimbursed expenses – What you need to know
- HMRC to tackle SEISS abuse with new penalty regime
- New Debt Respite Scheme launched
- National Insurance relief launches for employers that hire veterans
- Parents missing out on tax-free childcare bonus of up to £500
- Applications for SME Brexit Support Fund underway
- Thousands of cases of COVID-related fraud and cyber-crime are being investigated
- Majority of SME owners have loaned personal money to their business during the pandemic
- Coronavirus insolvency measures extended until the end of June
- Inheritance tax reporting to be simplified
- HMRC contacts self-employed individuals who could be eligible for fourth SEISS grant
- Furlough scheme guidance updated
- New claims needed to continue receiving working from home tax relief
- The Best Cloud Accounting Software For Pubs
- Coronavirus Restart Grant
- Student loan thresholds to rise from 6 April 2021
- HMRC updates tax rules and calculations on ultra-low emission vehicles
- Almost two-fifths of small businesses are looking to trade overseas
- National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates to increase from 1 April
- Business rates review report delayed
- Vaccine rollout prompts SME optimism about prospects for 2021
- Budget 2021
- Self-Assessment late payment penalties relaxed but interest still accrues
- Business insurance rates are on the rise
- The advantages of electric vehicle salary sacrifice schemes
- Consultations on future of Companies House could see filing deadlines slashed
- Voluntary and compulsory strike-off processes paused in response to national lockdown
- Don’t forget to claim home working tax relief
- Large and medium-sized businesses need to be ready for IR35
- The VAT Reverse Charge for the Construction Industry Scheme – Are you ready?
- Basic rate taxpayers could face ‘high income’ child benefit charge
- The VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme
- COVID-19 Bounce Back Loan repayment period extended
- Calculating Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claims for annually paid directors
- HM Revenue & Customs waives late filing penalties for Self-Assessment taxpayers who file by 28 February – but payment deadline remains
- Requests for exemption from publication of furlough claims must be submitted by Monday 25 January
- Only a few days are left to submit applications for the third SEISS grant
- What could Budget 2021 have in store?
- HM Revenue & Customs increases the threshold for Self-Assessment online payment plan service to £30,000
- Independent commission argues against annual wealth tax but advocates a one-off charge
- Could the Government be about to launch a new permanent state-backed small business loan scheme?
- HMRC issues new warning over lockdown fraudsters
- FSB proposes move to turn Covid emergency debt into shared ownership schemes
- VAT – Post-Brexit arrangements
- Insurance industry to pay out on COVID-19 business interruption claims
- Are you making full use of the Government’s COVID-19 financial support package?
- Government extends agricultural visa scheme to fill jobs left by EU workers
- Brexit: UK Trader Scheme to support movement of goods between Britain and Northern Ireland
- Coronavirus furlough and loan schemes further extended
- Brexit trade deal negotiations continue as businesses warned to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario
- VAT under the Northern Ireland Protocol
- Northern Ireland customs duty arrangements confirmed
- Government launches new export finance guarantee scheme
- How can your business prepare for customs and VAT after Brexit?
- UK launches points-based post-Brexit immigration system
- Business Secretary writes to professional services sector ahead of end of Brexit transition period
- HMRC updates Statutory Residence Test due to COVID-19
- Scammers are targeting Self-Assessment taxpayers, says HMRC
- Eat Out to Help Out compliance checks underway
- Businesses face legal action over unpaid business rates
- HMRC publishes consultation on MTD for Corporation Tax
- HM Revenue & Customs issues Capital Gains Tax reminder
- Virtual Christmas parties eligible for £150 annual function exemption
- Grandparents set to increase gifting following pandemic and families set to inherit more than expected
- Access to European Union VAT refund system to end on 31 March 2021, HMRC confirms
- Brexit: How to claim grant funding to help cover the costs of completing new customs declarations
- Companies House to scrap paper reminder letters
- Third round of Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opens on Monday with tighter eligibility criteria
- Important deadlines approach for the furlough scheme
- Spending Review highlights long-term economic impact of Coronavirus pandemic
- The New COVID-19 Tier System
- VAT after the Brexit transition
- IFS predicts tax rises of more than £40 billion a year by the middle of the decade
- More than 50,000 people claim working from home tax relief through HM Revenue & Customs online portal
- HMRC called on to simplify the administration of tax reliefs
- A quarter of businesses don’t think they will be ready for post-Brexit Britain
- HMRC warns taxpayers still aren’t ready for Making Tax Digita
- Homebuyers need to start purchases this month to take advantage of Stamp Duty savings
- Daily penalties waived for Self-Assessment late filing
- Furlough scheme update – Publication of claims and employees serving notice
- Extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQ
- Government extends furlough scheme and provides a boost to SEISS
- Government extends further help to businesses and the self-employed during national lockdown
- National Lockdown – Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Business Support Update
- Government extends further support to businesses affected by COVID-19
- HM Revenue & Customs publishes further details of the Job Support Scheme
- Annual Investment Allowance – Time is running out
- Accounting for mobile phone use
- Time to prepare (once again) for the VAT reverse charge
- Is the Government considering a National Living Wage freeze?