Business Interruption Insurance

This is the moment that UK businesses have been waiting for – the final ruling on the appeal of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s business interruption insurance case.

For many months now the Courts have been debating the questions as to whether policyholders should benefit from business interruption insurance cover, when seeking losses caused by the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday 15th January 2021, the Supreme Court handed down its judgement which dismissed the insurers’ appeals. The Supreme Court considered the appeal launched by the FCA, which had failed before the High Court in the summer of 2020.

The Supreme Court addressed 6 issues regarding business interruption insurance policies:

  1. The interpretation of “disease clauses”
  2. The interpretation of “prevention of access” clauses
  3. The question of what causal link must be shown between business interruption losses and the occurrence of a notifiable disease
  4. The effect of “trends clauses”
  5. The significance in quantifying business interruption losses of effects of the pandemic on the business which occurred before the cover was triggered
  6. In relation to causation and the interpretation of trends clauses, the status of the decision of the Commercial Court in Orient-Express Hotels Ltd v Assicurazioni GeneraliSpA (trading as Generali Global Risk)

The Supreme Court found that many policyholders who have business interruption cover within their policy, will have protection for their business interruption losses caused by the Government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Supreme Court has in effect stated that when this cover was really needed by UK businesses, the insurers did not have the right to argue that coverage was only applicable where narrow local restrictions were in place.

Further, insurers should not deny claims because the cover had allegedly not been intended to be provided in circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This judgment will hopefully be a big boost to all businesses suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they can now demand that their policy cover is paid without further undue delay.

If you would like assistance with this or any advice on whether your policy benefits from business interruption insurance, please do not hesitate to contact our expert litigation team at James Legal Solicitors, specifically, Simon Young via email at or Rebecca Latus via email at

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