In a breach of accepted protocol, the Supreme Court judges at the centre of a magnificent match in the Lords yesterday (Friday 15 January) were mobbed outside the courts, taking part in Covidly unacceptable celebrations, contrary to FA guidelines.
Tony and Sandra of Berkhamstead who run a small cake shop, and Kathryn of Kent who books adventurous Brits onto safari holidays in Namibia and Botswana said to reporters:
”How can we be expected to contain ourselves in such an important moment of a closely fought match with the league leaders from Hiscox and other nasty insurers?”
”We can understand that,” said Billy from the NTI newsroom, “but dragging down his Lordship and smothering him as he lay on the ground goes a little too far, don’t you think?
The ruling means that businesses can now claim under business interruption insurance, following a class action taken by the FCA on their behalf reaching the highest court in this fine, fair land of ours. The role of the Financial Conduct Authority was to put forward policyholders’ arguments to their best advantage in the public interest. 370,000 policyholders were identified as holding 700 types of policies issued by 60 insurers that may be affected by the outcome of the test case.
The case turned on whether Covid-19 could be contained within policy wording describing 'an unexpected event' and all of you reading this report could have helped the FCA and insurance companies save a huge amounts of lawyers' fees and wasted time by answering, "... of course it bloody can".
Their lordships ruled that compensation should be paid in multiple situations that had been in dispute. These included when businesses were closed by Government guidance and not only as a legal requirement. After VAR and good old-fashioned common sense intervened it was decided that the Coronavirus should be counted as the cause in each case brought before insurers by way of a claim.
Huw Evans, director-general of the Association of British Insurers, said: “We recognise this has been a particularly difficult time for many small businesses and naturally regret the Covid-19 restrictions have led to disputes with some customers." What Huw Evans, director-general of the Association of British Insurers didn't say is: "We have been complete nobs about this, trying to slide out of our legal obligations to pay out under perfectly acceptable claims. We should be ashamed of ourselves."
But it was implied.
It is going to cost insurers about £1.8 billion in pay-outs, but no numbers have been revealed about the amount of premiums that have been taken from people and businesses who have paid for insurance to have their security ripped from them upon claims being made.
Some lawyer said: “It is still incumbent on businesses to demonstrate the losses suffered were caused (broadly, and subject to policy language) by the pandemic. This is no easy task, even if the FCA and Supreme Court have sought to make the burden of proof easier.” Nevertheless, there is a sense of equity about their lordships' judgment, and we in the NTI newsroom think they have earned their time under a pile of bodies, who punch the air and mime the cradling of babies to mimic the birth of justice.