The consortium which launched a crowdfunding campaign to support those refused help with their business interruption insurance policies, has welcomed the announcement by the FCA that it intends to seek legal clarity to help businesses who are facing uncertainty on their claims.
Headed by Rob Atkinson, an in-house lawyer for Black and White Hospitality which operates the Marco Pierre White group of franchised restaurants and manages a portfolio of hotels across the UK, the campaign has been set up specifically for the hospitality sector so that pressure can be applied on insurers refusing to pay out.
The consortium revealed that while many operators thought that they were covered having taken out insurance that would provide them with some form of income in the event of an interruption to business, many were “shocked” to be told that they weren’t covered by the current crisis.
With backing already from UK Hospitality, Best Western Hotels, the Vine Hotel Group plus a host of smaller independent operators, news on the FCA’s stance has been “broadly welcome”.
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive said: “We need much more clarity on the insurance issue, so this action by the FCA is very welcome. Businesses have taken out policies in good faith and many are now perplexed as to why they are not being honoured.
“The FCA has rightly said that, in some cases, declining to pay will be the correct decision, but in others they must be settled. The lack of transparency and confusion for businesses is adding an extra layer of disturbance at what is already a very difficult time.”
Atkinson added: “This is very good news for all those across the hospitality sector. To have a body like the FCA add its weight behind the business interruption issue will hopefully ensure those who have taken out policies in good faith to cover themselves in a time of crisis get a resolution soon.
“But we still need to be ready to launch legal action if required. FCA intervention may add clarity but they have been clear that it is not intended to encompass all disputes. We must maintain the pressure from all angles and our crowdfund campaign does just that.”