The operator of the Marco Pierre White group of franchised restaurants has already led a successful group action against a number of insurers that contributed to a Supreme Court decision that was hailed as a landmark case in the fight to get insurers to pay out for business interruption related to Coronavirus.
When the pandemic hit, thousands of businesses made claims on their business interruption insurance but many leading insurers argued that their policies did not provide cover and refused to payout. This resulted in watchdog FCA bringing a test case in a bid to provide clarity for both policyholders and insurers.
Black and White Hospitality’s legal action follows the refusal by the company to cover costs incurred by the business during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our policy wording is very clear. If there is a closure by a statutory body, then the policy should provide coverage. Given that the Government ordered us to close down, it’s hard to see how there can be any ambiguity around this,” says Black and White legal director Rob Atkinson, who played a key role in the group’s earlier class action.
“Yet despite rulings from the Supreme Court and the FCA our insurers continue to play games. We are left with no other choice but to press on with legal action. We have grouped together with other policy holders across this UK and are ready to take this as far as we need to,” he continues.
Black and White Hospitality has now appointed specialist insurance solicitors, Fenchurch Law, to lead the further legal challenge.
Atkinson say he is surprised and very disappointing that Tokio Marine Kiln is still prepared to take such a stance despite the fact that businesses like Black and White Hospitality took out policies in good faith, going on to say that a letter before action has been sent and court action will follow unless matters are resolved urgently.
“The response from Tokio Marine Kiln has come as a dreadful shock, but we will refuse to accept the unacceptable,” he says. “We are aware of other groups of policy holders getting together to take similar action against other insurers.”
“One thing is patently clear, the hospitality industry as a whole will not take this lying down and will continue to fight until the insurance companies honour the policies which they were happy to collect premiums under for all those years.”