There was a court judgement today in the Cobin & King vs AXA case, which is another part of the long running Business Interruption saga. Basically AXA lost their argument that the policy wording on exact reasons for business closure meant they were off the hook for lost revenue and other costs associated with forced closures and lockdowns.
Unsurprisingly, restaurant owner Jeremy King said he was “delighted” with the judgement. According to the FT, the estimated costs of the claim were over £4m.
Mrs Justice Cockerill ruled in Corbin & King’s favour today. According to legal trade websites, she said: “I conclude that Covid-19 is capable of being a danger within one mile of the insured premises, which, coupled with other uninsured but not excluded dangers outside, led to the regulations which caused the closure of the businesses and caused the business interruption loss.”
Will this mean that other claims might succeed, given the definition of Covid19 being a danger within one mile of business premises? Could be. And there are a queue of cases in the pipeline. You can read more on those cases at the Courts and Judiciary Tribunals Service here by the way.
Mark Pring, Partner at Reed Smith, comments:
“There is no doubt that the business interruption insurance “test case” brought by the FCA against insurers and decided by the Supreme Court last year was in many respects a blow to insurers facing a myriad of Covid-19 related claims. This latest verdict from the High Court in Corbin & King v Axa will have been met with a similar sentiment – and not just from Axa.
“A significant number of businesses will have been in a similar position to Corbin & King (which was forced into administration at the start of the recent hearing), essentially having been locked out of their premises as a result of Covid-19 restrictions but nonetheless seemingly unable to make a claim under their “denial of access” insurance cover.
This decision requires all relevant insurers to have a radical re-think. If 2021 was a bad year for them, today’s verdict suggests that 2022 will be much the same.”