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Insurers win key aspects of UK pub group’s COVID lockdown case



(Reuters) – Insurers have won key parts of a complex legal battle with British pub group Stonegate, MS Amlin said after Monday’s ruling on the 1 billion pound ($1.13 billion) lawsuit against three top insurers over losses related to the shutdown of coronavirus.

Stonegate sued MS Amlin, Zurich and Liberty Mutual, alleging that government-ordered closures and restrictions related to the pandemic that triggered business interruptions include multiple times and that the interruption and disruptions would continue until April 2023.

MS Amlin led the Stonegate policy with 55% of the exposure. Other insurance companies had 22.5% each.

“We welcome the High Court̵

7;s judgment and believe it brings some clarity to a very complex business interruption case,” said Johan Slabbert, CEO of MS Amlin Underwriting Ltd.

“This is a positive result for us and is of significance to the entire insurance industry … as issues around holiday pay and aggregation in particular have the potential to have a huge financial impact on insurers across the UK.”

Stonegate will appeal certain aspects of the case, a Stonegate spokesperson said in an emailed statement, adding that the ruling was “far from final.”

Stonegate’s lawyers argued at the trial in June that the company’s 760 insured pubs, bars and nightclubs in the case had each faced separate challenges, opening and closing at different times according to regional rules and seeing business decline by up to 90% under projections.

The insurers accepted that Stonegate’s operations were covered by their policies, but said the policy was limited to a £2.5m break payment, which had been paid.


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