Insurers cite small print in rejecting Covid-19 claims

Seen & Heard: US software group scotches Dublin plans; K Club owner offloads nursing homes

Insurance companies are rejecting claims for earnings lost due to coronavirus, even from businesses that paid extra for infectious disease cover, writes the Sunday Times. It cites claims specialist Owens McCarthy that said insurers are suing the "small print" to throw out claims for business interruption because Covid-19 was not specifically listed among the diseases covered or because the infection did not happen on the policyholder's premises.

Wix. com pulls out of Dublin deal

Nasdaq-quoted software group has pulled out of a deal to lease office space in Dublin on the back of the outbreak of Covid-19, the Sunday Times reports. It had planned to take space for up to 200 staff at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. The decision adds to concerns about the potential impact on foreign direct investment more generally.

Nursing home deal

Away from Covid-19, the new owner of the K Club, Michael Fetherston, has sold his nursing home group TLC to Orpea, one of the biggest global players in the nursing homes sector, the Sunday Times reports. Orpea operates 104,000 beds in 1,000 homes across 22 countries. No price was disclosed but Fetherston had been looking for in excess of €150 million for TLC, which has five homes in and around Dublin operating 674 beds.

Room offers

Dalata, Ireland's largest hotels group, is talking to Government about providing rooms to frontline workers during the Covid-19 crisis, writes the Sunday Independent. Dalata has 9,000 rooms across 30 hotels in the State and, like others in the sector, has seen business dramatically curtailed by the coronavirus crisis, and the Sunday Times writes that it has briefed staff on plans to close some hotels this week.


The paper also reports that the unidentified owner of five office buildings on Merchant’s Quay in Dublin bought from Nama for more than €25 million in 2018 is offering the space to State or private entities looking for space to help manage the outbreak – such as for disaster recovery or temporary call centres to process virus-related insurance claims – at a 40 per cent discount to market rates.

Financial costs

The Covid-19 outbreak could cost the Government up to €15 billion, writes the Business Post, as it weighs more support for workers and businesses and faces sharply higher health service costs. Ministers are under pressure to copy the UK government which has guaranteed 80 per cent of wages up to a limit of €2,500 a month.

The Post also reports credit ratings agency Fitch has raised the prospect that Denis O'Brien's Digicel could face default on a small $63 million portion of its debt amid market turbulence triggered by the global pandemic. The bond, due for repayment in September, carries an 8.25 per cent interest rate and, last Friday, was trading at 69 cents on the dollar.

Favourite haunt no more

Dublin's Unicorn restaurant a favourite haunt for politicians and businessmen during the Celtic Tiger – faces demolition as owner Aviva lodges plans for a six-storey block of apartments for rent, writes the Sunday Times.

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle is Deputy Business Editor of The Irish Times