FBD says 700 claims received over Covid-19 interruption

Insurer says pandemic losses not covered

Insurance company FBD said it had received more than 700 claims from customers who have had to temporarily close their business due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, seeking compensation under business interruption cover.

However, the insurance firm said its policies do not provide cover for a pandemic such as Covid-19.

The company has more than 1,300 pub customers. A test case on that matter is is set to be heard at the Commercial Court in October. FBD said it will use the case, which is being taken by the operators of Sinnotts pub and the Leopardstown Inn in Dublin and Sean's Bar in Athlone, to determine in court whether losses due to Covid19 related closure are covered by their FBD policy under the business interruption clause.

A fourth case being taken by the operator of the Lemon & Duke in Dublin has been adjourned for two weeks as mediation talks continue.

In a statement to the stock market, FBD said it was offering customers a range of support measures, including a pro-rata refund of their premium relating to business closure, maintaining full cover for unoccupied business premises without additional premium, and flexible payment arrangements for customers.

“We understand the extraordinary and unprecedented challenges our customers are experiencing as a result of the actions taken by the Government to reduce the spread of Covid-19,” it said.

“We acknowledge the disappointment and frustration of affected businesses that their business interruption insurance does not respond to cover pandemics. However, we are unable to provide cover for what we believe to be, and are advised is, an uninsured risk not covered by our policies.”

FBD said it was confident in its interpretation of policy coverage.