Landmark High Court ruling on Business Interruption Insurance must be followed by Government action – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has welcomed the High Court ruling that four pubs are entitled to compensation from FBD Insurance for business interruption as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Deputy Carthy said that this must be followed by action from government whom he accused of giving a free reign to the Insurance Industry. He commended his party colleague, Pearse Doherty, who has been spearheading the campaign for insurance reform and who last week wrote to the Governor of the Central Bank and the Minister for Finance requesting that the Central Bank put in place a Business Interruption Insurance Examination to ensure that claims are processed by insurers without businesses being dragged through the courts.
Teachta Carthy said:
“This High Court ruling was a victory – not only for the four pubs that took this case against FBD Insurance – but for struggling businesses throughout the State who hold similar policies with FBD and other insurance companies.
“While the FCA in Britain took a court action against eight insurers on behalf of thousands of businesses with different types of policies, the Central Bank has taken no such action.
“That must now change.
“Insurers cannot be allowed to continue dragging their heels by refusing valid claims from small businesses that are fighting for their very survival in this pandemic.
“Since March last year Sinn Féin, through Pearse Doherty, has been calling on the Central Bank to intervene in what we said risked becoming the tracker mortgage scandal of the insurance industry.
“We have now called on the Governor of the Central Bank to put in place a Business Interruption Insurance Examination, similar to the Tracker Mortgage Examination.
“This would require an audit of policies held by businesses, clear expectations set out for insurers under each type of policy, intensive engagements and intrusive supervision.
“The consequences for insurers that refuse or delay payment of valid claims for business interruption should be severe, with strict enforcement and heavy financial sanctions.
“This examination should follow the structure of the Tracker Mortgage Examination, with swift outcomes, strict enforcement and heavy sanctions for insurer malpractice.
“It is time for the Central Bank to step up to the plate and defend the interests of policyholders. And, crucially it is time for the government to stop giving a free reign to the Insurance companies. It will not be lost on struggling businesses, families and businesses, as they read statements from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael representatives welcoming the High Court judgement, that it was the inaction of those parties that forced businesses to go to court in the first place.”