Hospitality group sues over alleged failure to honour insurance

Press Up group suing over business interruption insurance arising out of lockdown

The Clarence Hotel, Dublin. Its parent company is in dispute with Axa over an insurance payout related to the Covid-19 interruption to its business. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The Clarence Hotel, Dublin. Its parent company is in dispute with Axa over an insurance payout related to the Covid-19 interruption to its business. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

The Press Up Entertainment hospitality group is suing two insurers and a broker over an alleged refusal to honour business interruption insurance arising out of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Press Up is the parent company for the Workman’s Club trading as Mary’s Bar/Wowburger in Wicklow Street, and of Brushfield Ltd trading as the Clarence Hotel on Wellington Quay, both in Dublin.

The Workman’s Club is suing FBD Insurance and Brushfield is suing Axa. Both are also suing the broker who provided advice on the insurance policy, Arachas Corporate Brokers Ltd.

The case was admitted on consent between the parties to the High Court’s fast-track commercial list on Monday by Mr Justice David Barniville.

In relation to the Workman’s Club case, the judge adjourned the making of directions on how the case should proceed pending an application next month for a stay on the case pending arbitration.

Affidavits

Press Up’s chief financial officer Patrick Donovan said in affidavits that the Workman’s Club is entitled to be indemnified for financial losses not exceeding just over €1 million arising from its business interruption insurance.

Brushfield was similarly entitled to be indemnified for €1.3 million, he said.

Press Up, which employs 1,700 people, is seeking a declaration that it is entitled to those indemnities or alternatively is seeking damages in lieu of such indemnities.

Mr Donovan said Press Up was suffering “massive and mounting losses” and having to manage cash flows without being able to access insurance funds to which it says it was entitled.

It is particularly concerned about the impact that the Covid-19 emergency orders, requiring mandatory closure of premises, are having on employees. The earlier the dispute is resolved the better its chances of maximising the preservation of jobs in a uniquely challenging business environment, Mr Donovan said.