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Clubs and venues ally with other companies in COVID insurance dispute with Hiscox

By | Published on Monday 4 May 2020

Night Time Industries Association

The Night Time Industries Association has announced an alliance with an organisation called the Hiscox Action Group. Both are seeking to put pressure on insurance firm Hiscox to pay out on the business interruption policies held by a plethora of companies around the UK that have been affected by the COVID-19 shutdown.

The NTIA – which represents the UK’s night time sector, including clubs and venues – previously criticised various insurers that were refusing to honour business interruption policies in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Sometimes such policies may be worded to specifically exclude business interruption caused by a pandemic, but the NTIA said that, in the case of many of its members, that wasn’t the case and yet insurers were still dragging their heels.

In a statement last month the trade group declared: “Many claims are being disputed by insurers based on ambiguous policy wording to avoid sharing the financial burden during the COVID-19 crisis. We have identified a number of insurers we believe are acting unfairly in these circumstances to protect their own interests and have gathered substantial support from the sector to fight these disputed claims”.

That includes the Bermuda-incorporated, London-Stock-Exchange-listed Hiscox. Together the NTIA and Hiscox Action Group represent over 500 COVID-affected companies which have business interruption insurance from Hiscox. The two organisations say that, by collaborating, they can share information, pool resources and collaborate on legal action as they seek to pressure and force the insurance firm to pay out.

One of the lawyers representing NTIA’s members, Philip Kolvin of Cornerstone Barristers, said in a statement: “The Hiscox policies we are relying on clearly cover government closure due to the cornonavirus. I hope very much that these claims can be met soon, and in full, to avoid the need for litigation”.

Meanwhile, Richard Leedham of law firm Mishcon de Raya, working for the wider-ranging Hiscox Action Group, added: “I welcome this alliance with NTIA. Hiscox has said that it did not intend to cover what has happened. This is irrelevant. We are looking at what is in the contract. Hiscox has provided a very broad form of wording and its natural meaning would cover someone whose business was interrupted by the lockdown”.