LONDON – There will be no judgment in an appeal over business interruption insurance this year, Britain’s markets watchdog said on Tuesday, dashing hopes of an early outcome in a case that could affect billions of pounds in claims.
Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority has been told by the UK’s Supreme Court that no judgment will be handed down before January 2021, the regulator said on its web page dedicated to the case.
The appeal by the FCA and six insurers in a test case over business interruption payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is being closely watched at home and abroad.
Thousands of small firms in Britain, from holiday cottages to restaurants and night clubs, had to shut down or restrict trading as a result of the pandemic and say they face ruin after insurers rejected claims for business interruption cover.
The FCA said in September that the lower court found in favor of policyholders’ arguments in the majority of key issues.
Both sides appealed some aspects of the original judgment in a four-day hearing last month.
The case revolves around whether 21 policy wordings, affecting potentially 700 types of policies, 60 insurers, 370,000 policyholders and billions of pounds in claims, should cover disruption caused by the virus.
The wordings cover business interruption when insured premises cannot be accessed because of public authority restrictions, in the event of a notifiable disease within a specified radius and hybrid wordings.
(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; editing by Marc Jones and Catherine Evans)
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