FW Opinion: Business interruption claims need fast payouts

Wedding venues, campsites, holiday cottages, farm-based attractions and a whole range of other diversified farm businesses have been hit especially hard by the shutdown imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many thought they had the financial impact of such an eventuality covered by their business interruption insurance policy, only for their claims to be rejected.

Farmers Weekly has spoken to some of those affected since our recent story about the test case that will be brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) next month to establish which policy wordings should trigger a payout.

See also: Test case gives hope for business interruption insurance payouts

The FCA has identified wordings commonly used in business interruption cover and is seeking legal clarity on these, so that policyholders know where they stand.

About the author

Suzie Horne
Business editor, Farmers Weekly

E: suzie.horne@markallengroup.com
T: @FW_business

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Some insurers have already started to pay up in the face of the test case and many farmers are going back to their brokers or insurers to try again to make a claim.

There are also instances of some insurers paying out on certain policy wordings, while others, using the same wordings, are rejecting claims.

Like so many caught up in this mess, the diversified farms affected may be small businesses in the insurance world, but the stakes are high for the individuals concerned and for their families and staff.

Most are highly seasonal enterprises and have lost trade during almost three months of what must be the best spring weather for many years.

The last thing they need is to be put to task in trying to prove that they are entitled to financial recompense for the impact of an event from which they, in good faith, believed they had protected their business.

The test case is unlikely to produce the result all policyholders want.

But it could save many a stressful and costly legal fight for which they don’t have the stomach, let alone the financial resources to risk battling this out on their own.

Where the test case result is in favour of policyholders, a mechanism must be established for swift acknowledgement of this at an individual level and for ensuring that payments are made just as swiftly.

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