Supreme Court BI test case hearing confirmed for November

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The Supreme Court will start hearing the appeals of six insurers, the Hiscox Action Group and the Financial Conduct Authority in the ongoing Covid-19 business interruption test case on Monday 16 November, the FCA has confirmed.

The hearing is anticipated to last for four days.

The parties had been granted permission on 2 October to apply for the ‘leapfrog’ appeal in a fast-track process bypassing the Court of Appeal.

This had followed on from the 15 September ruling by High Court judges Lord Justice Flaux and Mr Justice Butcher that some insurers’ BI policies were liable to payout to businesses forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eight providers – Arch, Argenta, Ecclesiastical, Hiscox, MS Amlin, QBE, RSA and Zurich – were originally involved in the test case brought by the regulator on behalf of policyholders that ran for two weeks in July.

However, Zurich opted against lodging an appeal and Ecclesiastical has withdrawn its application to appeal. Both providers noted that the ruling meant their policies were not triggered to payout for coronavirus-related disruption.

RSA is only appealing regarding its Cottagesure and Eaton Gate Commercial Combined policies but not for its Eaton Gate Retail and Pubs & Restaurants policies nor for the Marsh/Jelf Resilience policy

Of the two original interveners in the case Hiscox Action Group remains involved but the Hospitality Insurance Group Action has confirmed that it will not be seeking to intervene in the Supreme Court appeal.

The FCA said: “As we have stated previously, we believe that this ‘leapfrog’ appeal to the Supreme Court is the fastest way to get legal clarity for all parties in the event that it is not possible to find a solution with insurers which resolves the outstanding issues, before the appeal takes place, to enable pay-outs on eligible claims.”

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