On 2 November 2020, the Supreme Court granted permission to the FCA, six defendant insurers and one intervening policyholder action group to appeal the recent High Court decision which largely ruled in favour of policyholders hit by the pandemic.
The High Court’s decision on 15 September 2020 found that the majority of the 21 policy wordings should be interpreted in favour of policyholders. This potentially paved the way for payouts to an estimated 370,000 small businesses forced to close during lockdown.
However, following that decision, six of the eight insurers whose policy wordings were considered applied for permission to appeal as did the FCA. Permission has now been granted and the appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court on 16 November 2020 and is expected to run for four days.
The FCA’s appeal is focused on the so-called trends clauses, aspects of the prevention of access wordings, and certain disease wordings where, exceptionally, the High Court limited cover under some policies to local-only outbreaks of Covid-19. The insurers’ appeal is also concerned with the disease and prevention of access clauses found in the business interruption sections of policies.
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