Friday 15 May 2020 2:58 pm

London bar group Enhanced Hospitality claims 650 jobs at risk over insurer's refusal to pay

London bar and restaurant chain Enhanced Hospitality has launched legal action against Allianz, claiming that its failure to pay out under business interruption insurance has put 650 jobs at risk. 

Enhanced Hospitality, which owns Camden live music venue Dingwalls and Soho private members club Blacks, has hired law firm Field Fisher to pursue a claim against the insurance giant. 

The company, which also owns Shaka Zulu in Camden Market, said Allianz’ refusal to pay out could result in up to 650 redundancies. 

All hospitality businesses were forced to close their venues after the government implemented a UK lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus.

However, there has been confusion over whether firms with business interruption insurance can claim for lost earnings during the shutdown. 

Chief executive Roger Payne said: “Despite Enhanced Hospitality following many other hospitality and restaurant groups in closing our doors to the public at the express instruction of the prime minister and in compliance with the UK government lockdown, our insurance company Allianz is refusing to recognise our claim or make an interim payment.” 

Simon Sloane, partner at Field Fisher, added: “By refusing to fulfil their contractual obligations in a timely manner, these insurers face legal claims from policyholders like Enhanced Hospitality, not only for recovery of the insurance indemnity but also for significant damages claims for breach of contract.”

City A.M. has contacted Allianz for comment. 

The Financial Conduct Authority said this month that it is seeking legal clarity on the inability of some customers to access compensation for disruption during the crisis.

The hospitality insurance group action (HIGA) was launched in April to bring claims against insurers that have refused to pay out. 

Separately, The Night Time Industries Association, which represents bars and clubs across the UK, has launched legal action against Hiscox over the issue.