Businesses who had paid out for insurance policies will now have their claims for coronavirus-related business interruption losses paid.
The case was taken to the Supreme Court when Insurers were refusing to pay out.
Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, David Stewart had supported local businesses who complained their insurers would not pay out on claims.
Commenting on the judgment he said:
“I’ve been fighting to support small businesses who were initially denied their business interruption insurance pay-outs since the early days of the pandemic last year.
“This decision was long overdue, but it will be of huge relief to all those businesses across the Highlands and Islands which took out business interruption insurance who have yet to receive a penny.
“The pressure businesses are under is huge, and even with these pay outs the cash crisis they face as a result of inadequate Scottish and U.K. government support threatens the future of many.
“These pay-outs will provide a lifeline to many businesses but they do not absolve the Scottish or U.K. government of their responsibility to see firms through the pandemic. Business desperately needs a long term comprehensive plan from government to tide them through lockdown and on to recovery.”
The Supreme Court judgment is complex, runs to 112 pages and deals with many issues. The Financial Conduct Authority’s legal team at Herbert Smith Freehills have published a bulletin on their website, which may be referred to for further detail.
Sheldon Mills, Executive Director, Consumers and Competition at the FCA, said:
‘Coronavirus is causing substantial loss and distress to businesses and many are under immense financial strain to stay afloat. This test case involved complex legal issues. Our aim throughout this test case has been to get clarity for as wide a range of parties as possible, as quickly as possible, and today’s judgment decisively removes many of the roadblocks to claims by policyholders.
‘We will be working with insurers to ensure that they now move quickly to pay claims that the judgment says should be paid, making interim payments wherever possible. Insurers should also communicate directly and quickly with policyholders who have made claims affected by the judgment to explain next steps.
‘As we have recognised from the start of this case, tens of thousands of small firms and potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs are relying on this. We are grateful to the Supreme Court for delivering the judgment quickly. The speed with which it was reached reflects well on all parties.’