Do business interruption insurance policies cover Covid-19-related losses?

Thrings partner Caroline Watson joined a high-profile panel of business advisors last week for Farmers Weekly’s latest live webinar panel discussion and Q&A around the impact of coronavirus on the agricultural and rural sector.

Farmers Weekly brought together the specially invited experts for the online event to assess how the outbreak has changed farming and provide guidance to businesses about operating – and succeeding – in the post-lockdown era.

Caroline offered insight and advice to farmers about how best to protect themselves and their businesses from possible economic downfall, with a particular focus on insurance and business interruption cover.

Caroline said: “Most standard business interruption insurance policies are unlikely to cover Covid-19-related losses as they have been designed to cover losses stemming from damage to property such as fire and flood.

“If policy extensions have been purchased which relate to notifiable diseases, loss of attraction or non-physical damage denial of access to property, some losses could be covered although these would always fall within the specified policy cover limits.

“The FCA is bringing a test case which aims to address major ambiguities in interpreting policy terms. This provides hope to those policyholders who have had cover declined, although the outcome of the case – which could be subject to a Supreme Court appeal – is unlikely to be known until the autumn. Meanwhile, those with policies with relevant extensions that have had cover refused should take advice on the terms and keep detailed information on their losses.”

Watch the webinar via Farmers Weekly’s OnDemand service (registration required).

The webinar – entitled ‘Coronavirus: Who will be the winners in farming?’ – received almost 400 registrations from members of the farming community and covered a diverse range of Covid-19-related issues, including Government grants, loans and support schemes, furloughing, diversification, tax and accounting.

Joining Caroline on the panel were Rob Bewes and Rachael Ball from Baldwins accountants, James Stephen from property consultants Carter Jonas, and Martin Bazeley, a Hampshire-based diversified farmer. The session was chaired by Andrew Meredith, deputy business editor at ‎Farmers Weekly.

Caroline’s participation in the webinar marks a continuation of Thrings’ long-term relationship with Farmers Weekly, with the firm having been sole designated legal contributors to the publication’s Business Clinic since 2014.

Read Caroline Watson’s article about business interruption insurance during the coronavirus pandemic.

To discuss the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the agricultural sector, please contact Thrings’ head of Agriculture, Duncan Sigournay, or another member of Thrings’ Agriculture team.

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