UK hospitality groups turn to courts as BI insurers ‘underpay’ Covid-19 claims

The UK’s largest pub group Stonegate has filed a legal suit seeking £845m from three insurers – MS Amlin, Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe and Zurich Insurance – which the company says have massively underpaid its non-damage business interruption (BI) claims for Covid-19 losses.

First reported in Law 360, Stonegate has brought a claim in London’s High Court.

Stonegate said the insurers have only accepted liability for £17.5m of its total claim and £14.5m has been paid.

Earlier this month, UK restaurant group Various Eateries disclosed that it disputes Allianz’s BI payment of £2.5m on a claim for £16m.

Stonegate, backed by private equity firm TDR Capital, said its claim is based on BI losses from three separate triggers: notifiable disease, mandatory closure and prohibition of access to premises, as ordered by the government lockdown.

The company, which acquired Ei Group in 2019, reported losses of more than £745m last year after Covid-19 closures and acquisition costs. Stonegate has not commented on its claim.

In a statement to The Times newspaper, Zurich said it is not Stonegate’s lead insurer on the BI policy but confirmed it has made an interim payment for its share of cover.

Various Eateries, which owns Strada and the Coppa Club, said it is collaborating with Allianz but has asked the court to settle issues in the wording of its Marsh Resilience policy, which were left unresolved by the Financial Conduct Authority’s Covid-19 BI test case.

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