A much-talked about lawsuit by the owner of The Wolseley and a range of other upmarket restaurants around London against insurance giant AXA has started in London’s High Court.
Corbin & King is brining the £6m lawsuit to AXA Insurance over Covid-related losses, in a trial that could have wider ramifications for other UK businesses with similar policies.
The case will explore the extent of ‘denial of access’ cover, which provides compensation for businesses whose venues have been closed by a statutory body because of local danger, and if it should have been paid out to companies who were forced to shut because of the pandemic and lockdowns.
The outcome of the court case is important because similar policies are held by companies across the country, Roger Franklin, the head of insurance litigation at law firm Edwin Coe, which is representing Corbin & King, told various media.
In a separate but similar case Stonegate, the owner of the Slug and Lettuce chain, is taking MS Amlin, Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe and Zurich to court.
In August of last year, the amount insurers paid out in claims to businesses that were forced shut during nationwide lockdowns hit £1bn.
The payouts followed a Supreme Court ruling in favour of policyholders in a test case on cover for business interruption which found that insurers were liable in most cases, especially when a policy offered cover for closure as a result of an outbreak of infectious disease – but it did not cover every type of insurance policy wording leading to a host of legal claims being made since.