The Sunday Times reports that Blanc, whose Brasserie Bar Co group operates 37 Brasserie Blanc and White Brasserie sites across the UK, took out business interruption insurance from Hiscox, which covers damage caused by ‘an occurrence of any human infection or contagious disease’.
This would be on the condition that a local authority had been notified.
However, Blanc claims the firm is refusing to pay out after he was forced to close all the group’s pubs and restaurants as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown.
According to The Sunday Times, Hiscox said its policies were not “designed or priced to cover the extraordinary circumstances” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordered insurance companies pay out on rightful claims for business interruption.
Writing to chief executives of insurance companies, FCA interim chief executive Christopher Woolard said that companies should make payments as soon as possible and if they were not going to pay out should inform the FCA on the grounds for reaching the decision and how the company believes it represented a fair outcome for customers.
“There are policies where it is clear that the firm has an obligation to pay out on a policy,” wrote Woolard. “For these policies, it is important that claims are assessed and settled quickly.”
The move follows complaints from many businesses across different sectors that insurance companies are not paying out on what they believe to be legitimate claims under their business interruption insurance.
Many hospitality businesses have told BigHospitality that they are unable to claim as Coronavirus is not mentioned specifically in their insurance documents.
“After hearing the PM say he has spoken to insurance companies and they were going to be ‘cooperative’. I feel their response to us the insured is far less than cooperative,” one restaurateur told BigHospitality.
In a statement issued last month, The Association of British Insurers said the vast majority of businesses won’t have purchased cover that will enable them to claim on their insurance to compensate for their business being closed by the Coronavirus.
“Standard business interruption cover – the type the majority of businesses purchase – does not include forced closure by the authorities as it is intended to respond to physical damage at the property which results in the business being unable to continue to trade.
“A small minority of typically larger firms might have purchased an extension to their cover for closure due to any infectious disease. In this instance an enforced closure could help them make the claim, but this will depend on the precise nature of the cover they have purchased so they should check with their insurer or broker to see if they are covered.”