Following the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Business Interruption Insurance (BII) test case, which came about as a result of a large number of disputed insurance claims from SMEs under business interruption insurance policies, insurers have been resisting calls for pay-outs, with one of the main challenges facing affected businesses being proving the presence of coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you are a policyholder and your insurer is refusing to pay out for a business interruption claim, seek legal advice from our specialist BII claim solicitors immediately as you may have a litigation claim to seek financial redress.
What is Business Interruption insurance?
Business interruption insurance covers businesses for loss of income during periods when the business cannot trade as usual due to an unexpected event.
The aim of BI insurance is to put a business back in the same trading position it was in before the unexpected event occurred.
What does my Business Interruption Insurance (BII) policy say?
Specific advice can only be provided by this firm once we have been instructed to review your insurance coverage and other supporting documents. However, some BII policy clauses include wording that requires the presence of diseases such as COVID-19 within an area where events occur that would be reasonably expected to have an impact on your business. Other BII policy clauses include wording that require diseases such as COVID-19 to occur within a particular distance of or radius from your business premises (often, but not always, 25 or 50 miles from your business premises).
For most policy types, you will need to show that a case of coronavirus (COVID-19) occurred at any time before the interruption of your business in order to make a successful claim under your BII policy. Our specialist business interruption insurance solicitors can assist you to understand the merits of your insurance claim and advise you on the best way to obtain fair compensation.
How can I prove the presence of coronavirus (COVID-19) near my premises?
In order to prove the presence of coronavirus (COVID-19) near your business premises, you can use the following types of evidence:
- Your personal knowledge of someone near to your premises (e.g. within the required distance or radius specifically stated in your BII policy) who tested positive for coronavirus (together with accompanying evidence to corroborate the positive COVID-19 test);
- Well-established media reports of COVID-19 cases at any care home, hospital, restaurant, school or other business near to your business premises;
- Daily data published by NHS England recording the number of deaths after positive COVID-19 tests (i.e. where an NHS Hospital Trust has recorded a coronavirus death on a particular date, and all hospitals within that Trust are within any required distance or radius specifically stated in your BII policy);
- Weekly data published by the Office of National Statistics recording the number of COVID-19 deaths per week by local authority or health board (where the local authority or health board falls entirely within any required distance or radius specifically stated in your BII policy); or
- Data published by the UK Government recording the number of daily lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 tests in a particular nation, region, or local authority (where the local authority falls entirely within any required distance or radius specifically stated in your BII policy).
Why use a solicitor instead of a broker to submit your BII Claim?
Our Business Interruption Insurance Claim Solicitors add value by optimising the value of the claim. There may be heads of claim which have been missed or not considered by a non-lawyer such as a broker. It is important to instruct specialist lawyers to present your claim in a way that makes it easy for the insurer to accept and less likely to refuse.
If the insurer refuses any part of the claim, a business will also need a lawyer to pursue litigation, which a broker cannot do. It is very important to consider litigation at the outset when seeking to negotiate a good settlement. Our litigation lawyers are experienced in settlement negotiations to get an optimum award for our clients.
Instruct our Business Interruption Litigation Lawyers
We ensure that we provide the best possible outcome for our clients by conducting in depth investigation and research into the realistic prospects of a case before selecting the appropriate course of action in order to reduce time and expense. Liability for costs is always an issue in litigation and based on our extensive litigation experience we provide our clients with as much strategic, practical as well as carefully considered legal advice in order to ensure minimum risk in respect of costs. Where appropriate we encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution (such as mediation and without prejudice negotiation) and our lawyer’s negotiation skills are first class. If early settlement at advantageous terms is not possible, we are extremely experienced and capable at navigating our clients through the litigation process.
LIMITATION ACT 1980 – WARNING
The Limitation Act 1980 sets out strict statutory deadlines within which you must bring litigation claims. Your legal rights will become irreversibly time-barred if you fail to take legal action (or defend a claim on time). Therefore, you should seek specific legal advice about your legal dispute at the very first opportunity so that you understand the time you have left. Failure to take advice or delay in taking action can be fatal to your prospects of success.
Please note that for regulatory reasons we do not offer any free advice.