Over 1,000 complaints to FSO were pandemic related with business interruption insurance dominating
The Financial Services Ombudsman said his office had to date received 1,051 complaints arising from the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
180 of them related to business interruption insurance.
Ger Deering said the Office of the FSO had dealt with 760 of the total, including 113 of the business interruption insurance complaints.
The information was contained in a document in which the Ombudsman published a summary of 21 decisions issued by his office this year and last.
Twelve of the published decisions relate to business interruption insurance.
Among the decisions was the case of a publican who received compensation of €20,000 and an advance payment of €28,500 in policy benefits after a business interruption claim had been refused.
The insurance policy stated that the business would be compensated for an imposed closure of the business by order of the local or Government Authority following outbreaks of contagious or infectious disease on the premises or within 25 miles of the premises.
The compensation directed in the Ombudsman’s decision recognised that the publican had suffered great inconvenience as a result of the insurer refusing the claim for almost a year.
“The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 related business interruption claims were exceptionally difficult for many of those businesses that brought their complaints to us, with impacts including the loss of the ability to trade, loss of stock and loss of rental income,” Mr Deering said.
“The decisions contained in this Digest highlight the crucial importance of understanding the extent of the cover provided by an insurance policy and any conditions or limitations to that cover.”
In another case, compensation of €20,000 was paid to a business owner following the refusal of a claim arising from a personal injury on the premises.
The insurer refused the claim on the basis that CCTV had to be retained.
In his decision, the Ombudsman found that it was clear that the policy did not expressly require the maintenance of a CCTV system to record or to ‘retain’ footage.
The Ombudsman also directed the insurer to pay all reasonable legal expenses already incurred by the complainant.