Hiscox Action Group secures expedited arbitration for Covid-19 dispute

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The Hiscox Action Group of more than 400 business interruption policyholders and their insurer Hiscox Insurance have agreed to a simplified and expedited arbitration process for the dispute over whether claims arising from Covid-19 should have been paid.

Hiscox and the policyholder group agreed to the proposal that the action will be heard as a single arbitration, with three arbitrators reviewing four categories of policy, at the High Court on 12 August. The arbitration action was brought in June.

The policyholder appointed Mishcon de Reya has legal counsel in April, in a bid to seek payment of more than £40 million for policies that were intended to trigger when access to premises were restricted following the outbreak of a “notifiable disease”.

Richard Leedham, the Mishcon de Reya partner representing the Hiscox Action Group, said: “Today’s agreement represents a significant step forward for the Hiscox Action Group in agreeing a simple arbitration process. The move will speed-up the action and provide renewed hope for so many small businesses throughout the country which continue to face financial hardship.”

The arbitration action is part of a twin track strategy being pursued by the policyholder group. 

It also joined the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) test case. That finished at the end of July and is intended to provide clarity on more than 50 insurance policies written by eight insurers.

Policyholders are also seeking additional amounts under the Insurance Act, which can penalise insurers for not settling legitimate claims swiftly.

Mark Killick, a Hiscox Action Group steering committee member, said: “Today’s agreement is an important milestone in our campaign to force Hiscox to do the right thing and honour its obligations. Hopefully the agreement on the arbitration route will bring new momentum to getting a quicker resolution and ease further financial hardship on our members.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk