ABI defends insurers' BI stance

The Association of British Insurers has robustly defended the industry’s refusal to pay out for the vast majority of coronavirus-related business interruption claims in response to an open letter to chairman Jon Dye from the hospitality sector.

The open letter from Stephen Gould, chairman of the One Voice Group had called on insurance companies’ senior executives to "agree to meet with us to discuss and lead a constructive way forward at the earliest possible opportunity". The group, which represents 50,000 pub businesses and 200 brewers is supported by Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, Steve Alton, chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping and James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers.

Huw Evans, ABI director general responded on Dye’s behalf and insisted that business interruption cover is typically built around something specific happening to the physical premises, not something to the whole country. He also refrained from offering to meet up with the group.

"Where extensions have been purchased for notifiable diseases, these are typically for a specific set of diseases and require the disease to have infected the premises concerned. These extensions provide protection to businesses in the hospitality sector when, for example, an employee contracts a norovirus or returns from holiday with malaria, thereby requiring the business to be closed for deep cleaning with the costs and loss of earnings covered by the insurance.

"Such policies are not designed to cover a global viral pandemic of a kind we have not seen in over 100 years in this country and nor were your members charged for such cover."

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