This year’s Top 20 Cases of 2023 as chosen by The Lawyer includes the business interruption test case brought by the London International Exhibition Centre (LIEC), seeking an indemnity of £16 million from its six insurers in relation to losses caused by Covid-19. Aaron Le Marquer and James Breese act for the LIEC in the case.
The key disputed issue is the Supreme Court’s prior ruling that each and every occurrence of Covid-19 in the UK was an equal and effective cause of government action that led to loss, and whether that also applies to ‘at the premises’ clauses.
Subscribers to The Lawyer can read the full list of cases here.
What The Lawyer says
The London International Exhibition Centre, also known as ExCeL London, is demanding its six insurers – including RSA Insurance, Allianz and Zurich – fork out £16m for lockdown losses after it was temporarily transformed into an NHS Nightingale Hospital in 2020.
The East London exhibition centre, which invoked an insurance clause covering the occurrences of diseases ‘at the premises’, faced resistance from the insurers on causation grounds and on the basis that the venue was repurposed, but not closed.
The contested clause is one of the few remaining issues relating to Covid business interruption coverage left unresolved by the Supreme Court in the landmark Financial Conduct Authority test case. In its pro-policy holder ruling handed down in January 2021, the Supreme Court considered diseases clauses relating to losses caused by Covid-19 cases occurring within a specified radius and not those at the premises.
ExCeL’s victory at the Commercial Court could unlock coverage for potentially hundreds of thousands of policy holders across the insurance market whose ‘at the premises’ disease clauses remain unpaid. ExCeL’s action is the lead case among six different ‘at the premises’ business interruption lawsuits scheduled for expedited hearings in April, which includes Pizza Express’ £200m insurance claim against Liberty Mutual.
The latest test case is advanced by the legal team behind last year’s £1bn business interruption claim brought by pub group Stonegate, which featured in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2022 and is now subject to appeal.
More on business interruption litigation
On 8 December 2022, Aaron and James presented a webinar on Lexology looking at Covid-19 business interruption decisions in England and Wales following the conclusion of the FCA test case, as well as identifying upcoming litigation intended to address outstanding issues.
This session was offered to help attendees:
- Gain an understanding on the current status of Covid-19 business interruption coverage in England and Wales;
- Understand key issues affecting the quantification of Covid-19 business interruption claims;
- Be alerted to forthcoming developments that may resolve outstanding coverage issues; and
- Obtain practical insight into protecting the policyholders’ position in relation to unsettled claims.
You can watch a recording of the webinar in full here.
The concurrent rulings in Stonegate v MS Amlin, Zurich & Liberty and two other cases first tested the issues of aggregation, causation and government support. Aaron and James provided full overviews of each of these themes, also available as articles in the prior links.
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