Corbin & King wins £4.4m insurance battle in High Court

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Corbin & King wins £5m insurance battle in High Court

Related tags: Corbin and King, Chris Corbin, jeremy king, The wolseley, Insurance, Coronavirus

Corbin & King has won its high profile legal battle with its insurer Axa in a ruling that’s been described as “incredibly bad news for insurers”.

Earlier today (25 February), a High Court judge told Axa that it must payout claims made by the The Wolseley and The Delaunay operator for its eight restaurants during the UK’s first three lockdowns in 2020 with a total value of £4.4m.

Axa had been refusing to pay out to founder Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, who held denial of access cover, even though they had been effectively locked out of their premises by Covid-19 restrictions.

The policy signed by Corbin & King refers to “interruption and interference with the business where access to your Premises is restricted".

Many other operators hold similar policies, so the victory has major implications for other businesses that were refused payouts. 

“There is no doubt that the business interruption insurance “test case” brought by the FCA against insurers and decided by the Supreme Court last year was in many respects a blow to insurers facing a myriad of Covid-19 related claims. This latest verdict from the High Court in Corbin & King v Axa will have been met with a similar sentiment – and not just from Axa," says Mark Pring, a partner at law firm Reed Smith. 

 “A significant number of businesses will have been in a similar position to Corbin & King, essentially having been locked out of their premises as a result of Covid-19 restrictions but nonetheless seemingly unable to make a claim under their “denial of access” insurance cover. This decision requires all relevant insurers to have a radical re-think. If 2021 was a bad year for them, today’s verdict suggests that 2022 will be much the same.”

A spokesperson for Axa said: “We note the court’s decision and will give it careful consideration. We have been working with our customers and paying claims on policies where there is valid cover since the start of the pandemic and we will continue to do so. We have already paid claims totalling above £97 million to date, demonstrating that where cover is in place claims have been, and will continue to be, settled by AXA.”

The ruling comes after Corbin & King was forced into administration following a dispute between the company and its biggest investor Minor International. 

Earlier this month, Corbin & King fought off a High Court challenge to a proposed multimillion rescue package,​ leaving it free to pursue funding from US investment firm Knighthead. 

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Restaurant

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