Business Interruption Cover, Is Not Just For Pubs and Restaurants
The forced closures of businesses across the country, caused by the Covid 19 crisis, has brought the issue of Business Interruption Insurance into sharp focus. There has been extensive media coverage across many platforms on the topic and unfortunately it appears that it is an issue that will ultimately have to be decided by the Courts. However if you were not well versed on insurance or insurance law, you might be forgiven for thinking that only Publican and restaurateurs have business interruption cover. Publicans and restaurateurs have been very well served by their representative bodies (VFI,LVA and RAI) who have been very vocal on this issue across the country’s media. From the policies we have seen it is clear that many business owners in these industries may have a very good cause of action, should their insurers refuse to indemnify them for the losses they have incurred as a result of the closures.
Retail, Hair And Beauty, Fitness, Adventure Sports and The Leisure Activity Sectors May Be Covered Too.
However, publicans and restaurateurs are not the only industries that have valid business interruption policies. Such policies are common place in the retail, hair and beauty, fitness, adventure sport and leisure activity sectors. Many businesses may not realise that they have business interruption cover and could potentially be compensated for any losses of profit or operating expenses they have incurred. We would recommend all business owners to take up a copy of their insurance policy from their broker and consider it carefully. If you have any queries or any questions in relation to your cover you should immediately seek legal advice.
What Is Business Interruption Cover?
Business interruption cover is insurance that replaces the loss of profit and operating expenses (employees’ wages, loan repayments, rent, loss of stock etc.) in the event that the business has to stop operating for some reason. Business interruption cover often comes into effect when a business premises has been damaged due to a fire or a flood. However many policies contain reference to cover for losses arising from an outbreak of infectious diseases. Therefore, depending on the wording of your policy you could be covered for loses incurred by the Covid 19 closures. For a more detailed analyses of business interruption cover and the potential for business to bring a successful claim, please feel free to have a look at our webinar.
What should I do if I think I have a claim?
- Take up a copy of your policy from your broker.
- Contact us and we will arrange a video consultation, wherein we will go through your policy and advise you as to whether you have a state-able case.
What Options Are Open To Me If I Have a Valid Claim
- Mediation or arbitration. Most policies will have an arbitration clause. Therefore if you have a valid claim and your insurers are refusing cover, you will probably be obliged to go to arbitration, as opposed to issuing Court proceedings.
- You can also make a complaint to the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman. It is important to note that Ombudsman jurisdiction is limited to €500,000.00 and they are unable to make cost orders. Its also important to note that once an issue has been determined by the FSPO, an unsuccessful claimant/complainant cannot thereafter issue fresh court proceedings dealing with the same matter – see the principle of ‘issue estoppel’ as discussed in O’Hara v ACC Bank. The decision of the Ombudsman can be appealed to the High Court (as distinct from the issue of fresh proceedings) but the High Court on appeal will be slow to interfere with the Ombudsman’s decision unless the decision is “vitiated by a serious and significant error or a series of such errors”.
HANAHOE AND HANAHOE SOLICITORS – LITIGATION SPECIALIST
For further information on Business Interruption Cover or indeed any aspect of litigation or Commercial law, please do not hesitate to contact Hanahoe and Hanahoe Solicitors on 045-897784 (Naas Office) or on 01-5255637 (Dublin office) or firstname.lastname@example.org, on LinkedIn or Facebook
This article is merely for information purposes and is not and should not be taken as legal advice. No solicitor/client relationship or duty of care or liability of any nature exists between Hanahoe and Hanahoe solicitors, until you receive written confirmation that we are acting as solicitors on your behalf.