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Published on Friday, January 15, 2021

Insurance victory the 'best news in months', agents say

A supreme court ruling that insurers must pay out to small businesses decimated by Covid has been heralded as the 'best news for months' for the travel sector.

The ruling, delivered earlier today, means travel retailers - and many thousands of other small UK businesses who took out business interruption insurance - will receive payouts.

Insurers had tried to wriggle out of the policy by arguing it was not designed to cover a government-imposed lockdown.

Judges dismissed the argument leaving insurers liable for payouts estimated to be worth more than £1b. 

It is thought 370,000 business are affected by the ruling. 

The Scottish Passenger Agents' Association (SPAA) said a survey in March, and again in August, showed 35% of its members had made a claim on their business interruption policies. None had been successful.

"Today's news that the Supreme Court has ruled that insurers must pay out to small businesses is some of the best news which our industry has received in many, many months," SPAA President Joanne Dooey said.

"Travel agents paid their insurance premiums for years expecting that, when they needed it, their insurers would pay out. Instead, they found that they were, in effect, told that the most significant interruption to business ever 'didn't count' as business interruption because it was 'unprecedented'.

"We hope that the relevant insurers will now ensure smooth and swift settlement of our members' claims."

The ruling could provide many small businesses, which have been forced to close because of Covid, with a desperately-needed financially lifeline.

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