Latest News

Winter weather precautions

20 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, Gallagher offers practical steps that can help agents and their clients reduce the risk of damage to property as areas of the nation are set to see further warnings of more inclement weather to come. Damage caused by the escape of water from frozen pipes and other equipment can be extremely costly in repairs and disruption. Read More...

Concerns raised over new energy efficiency proposals

20 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on Improving the Energy Performance of Privately Rented Homes in England and Wales by highlighting a number of concerns. These relate to affordability and the need to look beyond a one-size fits all policy and develop proposals that work with the different age, condition, and size of properties in the private rented sector. Read More...

Change smoke and carbon rules for earlier checks

19 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on extending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations in England, arguing that the rules should be amended so that landlords and agents must make sure the alarms are tested prior to the start of the tenancy and not on the first day of each new tenancy. Read More...

High Court rules in favour of agents over Business Interruption Insurance

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Thousands of companies disputing their insurers' interpretations of liability under Business Interruption Insurance welcome the court ruling today, 15 September, where it found in favour of the arguments advanced for policyholders on the majority of issues brought by the Financial Complaints Authority (FCA) test case.

The FCA argued that the pandemic and its consequences, including lockdown, should be treated as a single cause of the lost income. The case opposed eight insurance companies, with a likely effect on claims by some 350,000 small and medium-sized firms, including estate and lettings agencies.

The judgment and beyond

Whilst complex and running over 150 pages, the judgment deals with many issues, a summary of which can be found here. In order to establish liability under the sample of policy wordings, the FCA argued for policyholders that the ‘disease’ and/or ‘denial of access’ clauses provide cover in the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and that the trigger for cover caused policyholders’ losses.

The judgment said that most, but not all, of the disease clauses in the sample provide cover. Additionally, certain denial of access clauses in the sample provide cover, but this depends on the detailed wording of the clause and how the business was affected by the Government’s response to the pandemic, for example, whether the business was subject to a mandatory closure order and whether the business was ordered to close completely.

Most insurers claim such policies do not cover closures forced by pandemics and could lodge an appeal, asserting the pandemic and its fallout had to be separated into components, with some not triggering payouts.

FCA announcement

Quote mark

Coronavirus is causing substantial loss and distress to businesses and many are under immense financial strain to stay afloat. Our aim throughout this court action has been to get clarity for as wide a range of parties as possible, as quickly as possible and today’s judgment removes a large number of those roadblocks to successful claims, as well as clarifying those that may not be successful.

Insurers should reflect on the clarity provided here and, irrespective of any possible appeals, consider the steps they can take now to progress claims of the type that the judgment says should be paid. They should also communicate directly and quickly with policyholders who have made claims affected by the judgment to explain the next steps.

Christopher Woolard, FCA Interim Chief Executive