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The COVID-19 insurance appeal went directly to the UK Supreme Court



(Reuters) – The Supreme Court of London on Friday approved a speedy appeal of an unsurpassed test case against some of the world's largest insurers, brought by the UK Market Surveillance Authority, which made it possible to jump directly into the Supreme Court.

The decision was expected but still delays further delays for thousands of struggling companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic, who had hoped that a verdict announced two weeks ago would lead to prompt payment of disputed claims.

In a webcast on Friday to hammer out how judges would formulate court decisions to reflect and distill last month's complex 160-page verdict, judges approved the necessary certificate to allow the Supreme Court to try the case. clarify whether 21

insurance formulations, which potentially affect 700 types of insurance, 60 insurers, 370,000 policyholders and billions in insurance claims, are covered by option and government-ordered closures to fight the virus.

Judges examined formulations covering business interruptions when insured premises cannot be reached due to public authority constraints, in the event of a notifiable disease within a specified radius and hybrid formulations.

The FCA said that the ruling mainly concerned the benefit of policyholders, although some insurers were more cautious, and subsequent negotiations on what policy would now be paid collapsed on Wednesday.

The FCA brought the case against QBE, Hiscox, RSA, MS Amlin, Ecclesiastical, Argenta, Zurich and Arch.

Zurich and Ecclesiastical, which previously said the court found in their favor, did not request further appeal. QIC Europe, part of the Qatar Insurance Company, failed in an eleventh hour bid to join the proceedings.

Sonia Campbell, a partner at the law firm Mishcon de Reya who leads one of two action groups of policyholders, said the decision by insurers to appeal was another "nail in the coffin for small businesses."

Small businesses – from cafes and wedding planners to event companies – have said they face ruin after attempts to claim compensation for business losses during the pandemic, which led to a three-month national shutdown in March followed by other restrictive measures, were rejected by insurance companies.

Kim Roe, CEO of Circa Group, an event group based in Tunbridge Wells in the south east of England that once ran events for London blue-chip companies. , the company said tear through reserves since it closed in March.

Ms. Roe, a 20-year-old Hiscox customer, said that event companies were "the forgotten people" because they had not been able to shop even in limited capacity.

"If I knew I was going to get some sort of settlement, I could sleep at night, she says.

Companies around the world have been locked in disputes with insurance companies over pandemic-related payments. Insurers say they pay valid claims but that many insurances rule out pandemics, require physical damage to the premises or do not apply in the event of extensive locking and that paying out all claims can be catastrophic for the industry.

More news about insurance and risk management about the coronavirus crisis here

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