FCA and BI insurers file “precautionary” Supreme Court appeals

Supreme Court: Appeal deadline

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and seven insurers have filed ‘leapfrog’ applications to appeal the High Court’s recent ruling in the business interruption insurance test case to the Supreme Court.

However, the FCA said this was a “precautionary” measure as yesterday marked the deadline to appeal.

The widely expected move follows the High Court finding in favour of the arguments advanced for policyholders by the FCA on the majority of the key issues.

The FCA and defendant insurers agreed that they would seek to have any appeal heard on an expedited basis following the outcome earlier this month.

In a statement today, the regulator said: “The FCA’s intention has, throughout the process, been to achieve clarity on affected BI policies at speed. The FCA believes that clarity was provided in the initial judgment handed down on 15 September.

“The FCA therefore continues to work closely and at speed with the eight insurers and two intervenors that participated in the test case to reach an agreement in principle on a range of issues whereby an appeal process would not be required, and payments would be made on eligible claims as soon as possible.

“Positive discussions continue with all parties.”

Meanwhile, Mishcon de Reya, which acted for both of the intervenors in the case – the Hospitality Insurance Group Action against Aviva and QBE and the Hiscox Action Group – has expanded its group action against QBE to include dental businesses that have lost out in the pandemic.

It said many dental practices have business interruption policies with identical wording to the QBE policy which the High Court ruled should pay out, despite policyholders having been told that their policies were not valid.

The group action is supported by third-party litigation funder Harbour.

Mishcon partner Sonia Campbell said: “We know that dentists represent a significant category of policyholders whose claims are not being paid by insurers.”

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