High end restaurant business Corbin & King, which owns restaurants across London, including Colbert in Sloane Square and The Wolseley in Mayfair, has won a £4.4m case against insurance giant Axa, after the insurer refused to cover losses incurred by the restauranter during Covid-19.
The case comes after Axa said it would not pay Corbin & King’s insurance claim, after the firm, which owns nine upmarket restaurants, claimed on its insurance for interruption to its business during the pandemic.
A High Court judge today said Axa must pay Corbin & King for claims made by eight of its restaurants during the UK’s first three lockdowns in 2020.
Mrs Justice Cockerhill said Axa is liable to pay up to £250,000 for each of Corbin & King’s claims, which together amount to sum of £4.36m.
The ruling comes after the High Court judge said disruption caused by measures aimed at slowing the spread of Covid should be covered under the policy signed by Corbin & King, which refers to “interruption and interference with the business where access to your Premises is restricted.”
Corbin & King co-founder and CEO Jeremy King, said: “Naturally I am delighted with Mrs Justice Cockerill’s Judgement. I am not a confrontational person, but I felt that the Hospitality business had been badly served by Insurers during the pandemic and was determined to fight for justice – not only for Corbin & King but for our industry as a whole.”
The ruling comes after Corbin & King was plunged into administration last month, after efforts to refinance the firm failed, following a longstanding dispute between the company and its biggest lenders.
An Axa spokesperson said: ““We note the court’s decision and will give it careful consideration. We have been working with our customers and paying claims on policies where there is valid cover since the start of the pandemic and we will continue to do so”.
“We have already paid claims totalling above £97 million to date, demonstrating that where cover is in place claims have been, and will continue to be, settled by AXA.”
Lydia Savill, counsel at Hogan Lovells, said the ruling in favour of policyholders opens the door for further claims under business disruption policies.
The ruling, which allows Corbin & King to recover claims for each of the premises they were prevented from working from during the pandemic, may also see insurance companies forced to pay out larger sums to policy holders.
“The decision that insureds with composite policies may recover policy limits per claim and per premises increases very significantly the sums that insurers will be liable to pay for covered claims,” Savill added.