Nothing plain about pub takings revealed in insurance case
Lemon & Duke in Dublin says it will lose €770,960 as a result of coronavirus closure
The operators of Leopardstown Inn near Stillorgan say they are suffering a loss of €56,000 per week. Photograph: Eric Luke
The amount of money being made by some Dublin pubs is the most striking aspect of the claims that have sought entry to the fast-track Commercial Court list in a dispute involving insurer FBD.
The Lemon & Duke on Royal Hibernian Way, Dublin, says it will lose €770,960 as a consequence of being closed between March 15th and August 10th – the latter date being when pubs are scheduled to reopen while applying the social-distancing rules.
The operators of the Leopardstown Inn near Stillorgan say they are suffering a loss of €56,000 per week, based on weekly turnover of €80,000, and that losses are similar for the other pubs in the group.
The pint of plain may be a humble man’s drink, but the revenues that its vendors are taking in are far from modest.
In its application, the company behind the Lemon & Duke says its cover was negotiated with FBD over the late February to early March period, with a side letter from the insurer dated March 2nd confirming that the premium covered losses linked to coronavirus.
On March 19th the company submitted a claim arising from the closure of the pub four days’ earlier, and on April 15th FBD said that, following the receipt of legal advice, the “representations” that had been made in respect of the virus being covered were withdrawn.
In its application, Sean’s Bar, of Athlone, Co Westmeath, which stakes a claim to being Ireland’s oldest pub, cited some of what FBD had been saying in resisting the claims.
A nationwide closure of businesses has never occurred before, was never anticipated “even as the remotest possibility”, and was not a risk against which publicans sought insurance, the insurer has asserted.
An international pandemic is very different from insured perils that are capable of only affecting individual, or a limited number of, insured risks at the same time.
The insurer is also raising issues of “causation”. Even if the pubs had not been closed, the pandemic would mean hardly anyone would be going to them. They wouldn’t be worth opening, it argues.
With FBD providing cover to about 1,077 public houses around the State, the arguments over these issues amount to a lot more than pub talk.