Black and White Hospitality launches legal action against insurers

01 April 2021 by
Black and White Hospitality launches legal action against insurers

Black and White Hospitality has launched further group action against its insurance company as part of an ongoing fight to secure a payout through its business interruption policies.

It follows a refusal by insurer Tokio Marine Kiln to cover costs incurred during the pandemic by Black and White, which operates the Marco Pierre White group of franchised restaurants and a portfolio of UK hotels.

In January a Supreme Court ruling found that certain types of insurance policy should pay out for coronavirus disruption, although this was only estimated to affect less than 10%of impacted businesses in the UK.

Rob Atkinson, legal director at Black and White, said: "Our policy wording is very clear. If there is a closure by a statutory body, then the policy should provide coverage. Given that the government ordered us to close down, it's hard to see how there can be any ambiguity around this.

"Yet despite rulings from the Supreme Court and the [Financial Conduct Authority] our insurers continue to play games. We are left with no other choice but to press on with legal action. We have grouped together with other policy holders across this UK and are ready to take this as far as we need to."

Last year Black and White led a campaign to take legal action against insurers refusing to pay out.

Now it has appointed insurance solicitor Fenchurch Law to lead its fight and has issued a letter before action, which could lead to court proceedings if an agreement is not reached.

Earlier this year a number of other hospitality operators told The Caterer they were also considering legal action against insurers after struggling to secure payouts.

Atkinson added: "The response from Tokio Marine Kiln has come as a dreadful shock, but we will refuse to accept the unacceptable. We are aware of other groups of policy holders getting together to take similar action against other insurers.

"One thing is patently clear, the hospitality industry as a whole will not take this lying down and will continue to fight until the insurance companies honour the policies which they were happy to collect premiums under for all those years."

One legal expert involved in the Supreme Court case told The Caterer hospitality businesses should seek damages for late payment following the ruling in January.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published further guidance on business interruption insurance claims on its website, which can be viewed here.

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