Only one insurance firm has so far agreed to pay out Covid-linked business interruption cover to restaurants, ahead of a deadline set for tomorrow.
Hiscox Ireland has heeded a plea from the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) to pay insurance to cover business losses brought about by the Covid crisis.
The RAI, last weekend, wrote to 12 insurers seeking pay-outs to 423 restaurants and food-serving pubs, giving the insurance firms a week to reply and to agree to make interim payments initially.
Friday is the deadline for agreement, but so far only Hiscox has replied.
Hiscox covers around 20 of the 423 restaurants and bars. Other insurers yet to reply include FBD, AIG, Aviva, RSA, Allianz and QBE.
The move by the RAI followed last week’s landmark High Court ruling that FBD must pay out business disruption insurance for Covid business damage to four pubs. That case is likely to benefit around 1,300 pubs which have policies with FBD.
The RAI has said it intends to take legal action against any insurance firms not willing to pay valid claims and bring the matter before the courts. It also wants the likes of the Central Bank, the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to intervene in some capacity.
Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has warned of business interruption becoming the insurance industry’s tracker mortgage scandal and has written to Central Bank governor Gabriel Makhlouf urging a widespread investigation of insurers.
Speaking at the European Financial Forum, Mr Makhlouf said last week’s High Court judgement was “welcome and significant”.
"We continue to expect that firms honour and pay valid claims and do so urgently," Mr Makhlouf said, adding, “any continuing failure to do the right thing by your customers is inexcusable and we won’t hesitate to take action accordingly.”