Leading hospitality businesses have launched a campaign to force the insurance sector to honour business interruption policies.
Headed by Rob Atkinson, a hospitality lawyer from Black and White Hospitality, which operates the Marco Pierre White group of franchised restaurants and manages a portfolio of hotels across the UK, the crowdfunding campaign has been launched to take legal action against insurers failing to pay out.
The campaign is initially supported by Best Western Hotels, Vine Hotels and UKHospitality, with other organisations are invited to join and share the message.
The crowdfunding campaign aims to raise enough money to initiate a three-phase plan to support hospitality businesses who have had claims rejected.
Phase one: a review of policies and insurers’ reasons for declining claims, followed by the preparation of advice on coverage under each category of policy.
Phase two: a focus on pre-action representation with formal letters being sent to insurers setting out the position on coverage. Their responses will then be reviewed and reported with settlement, in principle, being attempted.
If phase two fails to bring immediate results, phase three will be implemented in the form of litigation.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls commented: “Businesses have understandably looked to the insurance sector to honour policies that have been taken out in good faith and have been flatly rejected. This is an existential crisis for many in the hospitality sector and it will be the death of businesses if they do not get the support they are due.”
Rob Atkinson added: “The response from insurers has come as a dreadful shock, but we must refuse to accept the unacceptable.
“We have held lengthy discussions with a leading law firm which specialises in policy disputes and they have confirmed that, for some policies, there would be strong grounds to challenge the insurer’s position.”
Business that wish to have their specific policy reviewed are asked to make a donation of £200 to the fund. Businesses, or anyone with an interest in hospitality, that wish to support the campaign generally are asked to donate whatever they can afford.
The crowdfunding page can be found at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/hospitality-business-interruption-action