A law firm has called on hospitality operators who held Allianz insurance policies during the Covid-19 pandemic to join them in pursuing a group action business interruption claim.
The proposed action comes after Corbin & King, now named the Wolseley Hospitality Group, won a multi-million-pound High Court battle against insurer Axa for Covid-19 business interruption losses in February.
The restaurant group had argued that it should receive business interruption cover from Axa under a ‘non-damage denial of access' clause, a type of insurance that protects companies from being closed by a statutory body in response to a danger within a one-mile radius.
Axa argued that the clause did not cover losses stemming from a nationwide pandemic, but the judge ruled in Corbin & King's favour.
Partners at the law firm Mishcon de Reya, who successfully represented a number of hospitality businesses in a 2021 test case against insurers, said they have "secured litigation funding to pursue a claim against Allianz following the judgment in Corbin & King".
Sonia Campbell and Richard Leedham, both partners at Mishcon de Reya, told The Caterer that in their view the ‘denial of access' clause was "wide enough to cover the various government restrictions which impacted hospitality businesses".
The law firm is asking Allianz policyholders who wish to be a part of the group action to contact them.
They added: "The insurance industry has spent months telling businesses they don't have cover and many policyholders have simply accepted that at face value. It is now clear that many insureds, post the decision in Corbin & King, do have cover in principle under ‘denial of access' clauses, which after the FCA test case, many thought would not respond.
"We will be convening a policyholder meeting at our office in Holborn in the next few weeks to discuss the claim in more detail, so any policyholders who are interested in being a part of the group should get in touch as soon as possible."
Any hospitality businesses insured by Allianz with a Denial of Access clause, particularly clause "Z/561/1", have been advised to reach out to the firm.
The "Z/561/1 Denial of Access" clause reads: "Any claim resulting from interruption of or interference with the Business as a direct result of an incident likely to endanger human life or property within [X] miles radius of the Premises in consequence of which access to or the use of the Premises is prevented or hindered by any policing authority, but excluding any occurrence where the duration of such prevention or hinderance of use is less than [X] hours, shall be understood to be loss resulting from damage to property used by the Insured..."
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