(Reuters) – Murray Pulman says he's as tough as they get, but fights with his insurer have left him close to tears after a coronavirus stop forced his family-run café The Posh Partridge to close.
Mr. Pulman considered himself one of the lucky ones on Tuesday, but after a verdict in a London test case against eight insurance companies, including his insurer QBE Insurance Group Ltd., the promise of a payout was kept on his business interruption policy.
He is among hundreds of thousands of mainly small British companies who are now waiting to hear if their insurers will pay out immediately or keep them hanging while they appeal.
"This has had me close to the edge," Mr. Pulman told Reuters by telephone from Dorchester, south-west England, where the café reopened on July 4 after closing at the end of March.
QBE said in a statement on Wednesday that the court had ruled in its favor for two of the three politicians. the wording was examined and it considered its possibilities to appeal the decision in favor of the policyholders.
The café, which the 56-year-old started with his 29-year-old daughter Emily four years ago, is now running at half speed to enable social distancing before venting the spread of COVID-1
"I will get paid one day … (but) I expect them to drive me crazy having to prove this and prove it, prove the other," he said.
Posh Partridge was profitable from the start, said Pulman, who paid QBE about £ 1,350 ($ 1,736) a year for business interruption insurance for the business.
The terms of the QBE policy stated that it would be worthwhile if the premises were closed by a local authority as a result of an outbreak of a contagious human disease within a radius of 40 km.
But when the coronavirus pandemic struck and the café was forced to close, QBE told him he had no valid claim.
The High Court ruling allows Pulman to qualify for a payout pending appeal, although he is likely to rely on volatile stakes, which one day dropped as low as £ 22 ($ 28), as long as the coronavirus pandemic remains.
"The insurer completely abandoned us and tried to mitigate their losses to zero," he said.
"This judgment will not make it disappear."
Dentist Laith Abbas also received a sudden no from QBE when he tried to claim that the government's suspension in March closed his north London operation.
When he found that his policy did not expire, he led a campaign group of 2,000 dentists with business interruptions to seek redress.
Mr. Abbas said on Tuesday they had given their members hope.
"Many dentists have suffered in shutdown, and there is no light in the tunnel with a potential second wave," he added.
"Business interruption insurance is potentially the only one that can keep dental care afloat."
More insurance and risk management news about the coronavirus crisis here . Catalog