Various Eateries Trading Ltd v Allianz Insurance Plc: Appeals dismissed in COVID-19 Business Interruption losses claim

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In an important judgment for insurance policyholders, the Court of Appeal recently dismissed an appeal and cross-appeal against a High Court judgment in a COVID-19 business interruption (“BI”) claim.

The restaurant operator, Various Eateries Trading Ltd (“Various Eateries”), brought a claim against its insurer, Allianz Insurance Plc (“Allianz”), following significant trading losses in the region of £16 million said to have been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (specifically, reduced trade and the closure of restaurants following the imposition of regulations). Allianz’s position was that the indemnity under Various Eateries’ policy (the “Policy”), which ran from 29 September 2019 to 28 September 2020, was limited to £2.5 million for BI losses.

One of the key issues related to the effect of an aggregation of losses clause in the Policy. The aggregating language provided that all BI loss was to be aggregated where the amounts payable “arise from, are attributable to, or are in connection with a single occurrence”.

The trial of preliminary issues took place in June 2022 with judgment handed down in October 2022. The trial focused on examining issues of causation, limits, and aggregation concerning the commonly employed ‘Marsh Resilience’ policy language, which first arose in the FCA test case addressing BI losses stemming from the pandemic.

High Court trial

Various Eateries contended that there was no aggregation under the Policy since there was/were no “single occurrence(s)” connected to the claimed loss. Additionally, Various Eateries proposed an alternative scenario, asserting that if aggregation did apply, it should be on a “per insured location” basis for each of its insured premises (i.e. restaurants) separately. A finding in favour of Various Eateries would have resulted in the £2.5 million liability cap applying separately to each of Various Eateries’ restaurants.  

Allianz argued that all BI…

Full article available on Disputes +

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