Clarence Hotel operator loses Covid business disruption case against insurer Axa     

Clarence Hotel operator loses Covid business disruption case against insurer Axa     

Brushfield, trading as the Clarence Hotel, claimed it was entitled to be compensated for losses due to the lockdowns under its insurance policy.

The operator of Dublin's Clarence Hotel has lost a High Court action against Axa claiming it was entitled to cover under business-interruption insurance as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Brushfield, trading as the Clarence Hotel, claimed it was entitled to be compensated for losses due to the lockdowns under its insurance policy.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald said he had not been persuaded that cover is available under the specific terms of the Axa policy for losses as a result of the closure of the hotel and its Octagon bar in the wake of government advice on Covid. 

Despite the best efforts of  Brushfield's legal team, the facts cannot be brought within any of the relevant clauses of the Axa policy so as to secure cover, he said.

Brushfield, part of the Press Up Entertainment Group, sued Axa Insurance and the broker, Arachas Corporate Brokers. The defendants denied the claims.

Mr Justice McDonald said the policy covers non-damage business interruption under a 'murder, suicide or disease' clause and a 'denial of access' to the premises clause.

The diseases to which the clause refers includes acute encephalitis, though not Covid. When Brushfield submitted a claim, it was refused by Axa.

As part of its argument, Brushfield sought to rely on the reference in the disease clause to acute encephalitis on the basis that it is the cause of a possible incident of Covid and thus could be said to trigger cover under the murder, suicide, disease clause.

Brusfield claimed the cover for loss was triggered where access to the Clarence was restricted or hindered for more than 24 hours by the actions of the gardaí or a statutory body.

Mr Justice McDonald found that cover under the clause was limited to certain conditions.

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