May 1, 2020
Central Bank must follow actions of FCA and protect SMEs over COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims – Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has again called on the Central Bank to intervene in the issue of business interruption insurance cover for small businesses.

This comes as the Financial Conduct Authority in Britain has announced that it will seek a court declaration to resolve uncertainty around insurers’ refusal to pay out for business interruption cover.

Teachta Doherty said:

“This morning the Financial Conduct Authority announced that it will seek a court declaration to resolve uncertainty in business interruption insurance cover.

“As in Ireland, British insurers have refused to accept indemnity for business interruption where SMEs have been forced to close due to COVID-19.

“Despite SMEs fighting for their very survival during this crisis, insurance companies here are intent on dragging small businesses through the courts rather than pay out claims where they are due.

“While it is clear that there are policies that do not cover businesses who have had to close in the past two months, we know that there are many that guaranteed cover for closure as a result of this pandemic.

“While the British regulator has moved to intervene in this issue to advance consumer protection, again the Central Bank has been slow to respond.

“Small businesses cannot afford inaction, and should not be left to fight the giants of the insurance industry. Especially during this difficult period.

“After repeatedly calling on the Central Bank on this issue, I wrote to the Governor on April 14th  requesting they audit a sample of claims, to ensure that insurers are processing them in accordance with the Consumer Protection Code and the provisions of the contracts. They refused.

“The time for a hands-off approach from the regulator has passed. I have written to the Central Bank today to again request intervention in the issue, similar to action taken by the FCA, to protect our small businesses during this emergency.”

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