Inception, which operates venues including Mr Fogg’s and Cahoots, says it has been left 'with no choice' but to pursue legal action against Axa, after the insurer supposedly reneged on its suggestion that the company could be covered for loss of business under its policy.
According to Inception, the group notified Axa on 18 March 2020 of its intent to claim for losses under its business interruption policy.
On 21 April it says the insurer responded with a letter saying it felt coverage 'had been triggered'. However, Axa categorically denies this.
Inception now says that Axa has 'performed a complete u-turn' and is 'trying to claim that the group was not covered at all'.
A statement from Inception Group reads: "This type of behaviour from a big institution and household name such as Axa is morally and ethically reprehensible.
"As a beleaguered hospitality operator we just want to focus our efforts on reopening our venues and providing our customers with some great experiences and some much-needed hospitality after the long lockdowns.
"The irony is that we are trying to claim for losses due to business interruption caused by Covid. However, we will now endure even more ‘business interruption' as we are left with no choice but to pursue legal action against Axa as a result of this huge injustice."
According to The Mail on Sunday, Inception plans to launch a £3m claim in the High Court. It is represented by Fenchurch Law, which is also acting for firms including chef Marco Pierre White’s Black and White Hospitality.
Trying to secure business interruption payouts from insurers has proved to be a challenge for a great number of hospitality businesses.
Despite January's landmark Supreme Court ruling, which found considerably in favour of policyholders in the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) business interruption insurance test case relating to losses suffered due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it has subsequently been found that businesses are still struggling to engage with their insurers; although a minority have begun to receive interim payouts.
Regarding Inception's claims, a spokesperson for Axa said: "While we understand the challenges many businesses have faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we can only authorise claims where the policy wording provides cover.
“The FCA test case has provided further clarity around what is and isn’t covered in relation to policy wordings, and no cover is provided by the policy wording for this particular claim.
"We are continuing to work with clients and their brokers to ensure all valid claims are paid as quickly as possible.”