Latest News

Government extends support to stop business evictions in 2020

17 September 2020

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, announced yesterday, 16 September, that all commercial tenants will be protected from the risk of eviction until the end of this year. Read More...

New guide helps agents stay on the right side of competition law

15 September 2020

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), together with the Institute of Risk Management, has published a new edition of its short guide on competition law risk that will help agents to identify and reduce competition law risks. Read More...

More must be done to get empty homes back into use

14 September 2020

In a letter to Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State for Housing, Propertymark campaigns for action on empty homes, asking what measures the UK Government is taking to improve the situation and get more empty homes back into use. Read More...

Propertymark supports Gas Safety Week 2020

14 September 2020

Propertymark has pledged its support for Gas Safety Week, which takes place 14 -20 September 2020, and we will be raising awareness about the importance of gas safety to its members and the public. Read More...

High Court rules in favour of agents over Business Interruption Insurance

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Thousands of companies disputing their insurers' interpretations of liability under Business Interruption Insurance welcome the court ruling today, 15 September, where it found in favour of the arguments advanced for policyholders on the majority of issues brought by the Financial Complaints Authority (FCA) test case.

The FCA argued that the pandemic and its consequences, including lockdown, should be treated as a single cause of the lost income. The case opposed eight insurance companies, with a likely effect on claims by some 350,000 small and medium-sized firms, including estate and lettings agencies.

The judgment and beyond

Whilst complex and running over 150 pages, the judgment deals with many issues, a summary of which can be found here. In order to establish liability under the sample of policy wordings, the FCA argued for policyholders that the ‘disease’ and/or ‘denial of access’ clauses provide cover in the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and that the trigger for cover caused policyholders’ losses.

The judgment said that most, but not all, of the disease clauses in the sample provide cover. Additionally, certain denial of access clauses in the sample provide cover, but this depends on the detailed wording of the clause and how the business was affected by the Government’s response to the pandemic, for example, whether the business was subject to a mandatory closure order and whether the business was ordered to close completely.

Most insurers claim such policies do not cover closures forced by pandemics and could lodge an appeal, asserting the pandemic and its fallout had to be separated into components, with some not triggering payouts.

FCA announcement

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Coronavirus is causing substantial loss and distress to businesses and many are under immense financial strain to stay afloat. Our aim throughout this court action has been to get clarity for as wide a range of parties as possible, as quickly as possible and today’s judgment removes a large number of those roadblocks to successful claims, as well as clarifying those that may not be successful.

Insurers should reflect on the clarity provided here and, irrespective of any possible appeals, consider the steps they can take now to progress claims of the type that the judgment says should be paid. They should also communicate directly and quickly with policyholders who have made claims affected by the judgment to explain the next steps.

Christopher Woolard, FCA Interim Chief Executive

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Today’s result is welcome news for those who have been financially disadvantaged through no fault of their own and brings much needed clarity to policyholders and businesses suffering from financial strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that each policy is now considered rapidly as a number of livelihoods depend on this.

Mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive