Business Interruption Test Case Judgement

September 2020

The High Court ruled on Tuesday 15 September 2020 that many businesses that held business interruption insurance and lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic are entitled to be compensated by their insurers.

Commenting on the landmark ruling, interim FCA chief executive Christopher Woolard said: “We are pleased that the court has substantially found in favour of the arguments we presented on the majority of the key issues. Today’s judgement is a significant step in resolving the uncertainty being faced by policyholders.”

He went on to say that insurers should reflect on the clarity provided and, irrespective of any possible appeals, consider the steps they can take now to progress claims of the type that the judgment says should be paid. They should also communicate directly and quickly with policyholders who have made claims affected by the judgment to explain next steps.

The judgment did not say that the defendant insurers are liable across all of the 21 different types of policy wording in the representative sample considered by the Court.  Each policy needs to be considered against the detailed judgment to work out what it means for that policy.

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