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COVID-19

COVID-19

A Message to our Valued Clients and Trading Partners

The majority of Aspen colleagues are now working remotely in line with the advice of Governments in jurisdictions around the world. Especially during this difficult time, we value our relationships and we promise to be there when you need us. Our whole company has worked really well together to make certain our staff have the necessary tools and resources to support you, your business and your clients.

We remain ready, willing and open for business, and we continue to quote and bind new and renewal business and service in-force accounts. Please speak with your Aspen representative if you have any questions. Most importantly, stay safe, look after yourselves, and your families and communities.

Thank you for your business.

Latest information

On the 14 May 2020 the FCA confirmed its final guidance for customers facing financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19. The final rules were accompanied by a Feedback Statement. The rules came into effect on Monday 18 May and will be reviewed in three months' time. As a firm regulated by the FCA, we are required to comply with these requirements and therefore, we ask that if you are a customer who is facing any financial difficulty due to Covid-19, that you please get in touch with us to discuss your circumstances in relation to your insurance policy.

The best way to contact us is as follows:

Phone: 020 7184 8841
Writing:

Aspen Insurance UK Limited
Covid-19 enquiries
30 Fenchurch Street
Plantation Place

London

EC3M 3BD

Email: Maria.Hancock@aspen.co

Useful links

New Jersey Policyholder Notice – Aspen American Insurance Company

FCA Business Interruption Test Case

Overview

We, Aspen Insurance UK Limited (“AIUK”) and Aspen Managing Agency Limited (“AMAL”) understand that coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the Government controls imposed as a result are causing a substantial level of loss and distress for businesses, in particular for SMEs. We are aware that a large number of claims are being made to insurers under the terms of business interruption (BI) insurance policies and we recognise that there is continuing and widespread concern about the lack of a positive response of some of those BI insurance policies, and the basis on which some insurers are making decisions in relation to claims.

On 1 May 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released a statement that they intend to obtain court declarations aimed at resolving contractual uncertainty in selected BI insurance policies. Acting in the public interest, the FCA will put forward policyholders’ arguments to their best advantage. The FCA are aiming to obtain legal guidance in this way more quickly and at a lower cost to policyholders than would be the case if policyholders were to take their own court actions.

The FCA recognises that many claims will already be the subject of negotiation or other dispute resolution processes. This proposed action is not intended to impact this normal claims process, and instead it is designed to assist policyholders, and particularly SMEs, whose claims are being refused when they think the firm should respond. The intended action will not prevent individuals from pursuing issues through negotiated settlement, arbitration, court proceedings as a private party, or taking eligible complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The result of the test case will be legally binding on the insurers that are parties to the test case in respect of the representative sample considered. It will also provide persuasive guidance for the interpretation of similar policy wordings and claims, that can be taken into account in other court cases including in Scotland and Northern Ireland, by the Financial Ombudsman Service and by the FCA in looking at whether insurers are handling claims fairly.

The FCA has emphasised the importance of ensuring policyholders and insurance intermediaries are properly engaged throughout this process. Therefore we, AIUK, encourage you to read more about the FCA test case and the objectives via the following helpful website links. The FCA has also set up a functionality for policyholders to subscribe to receive updates on the High Court proceedings.

Implications for existing or potential claims
Aspen Insurance UK Limited (“AIUK”) and Aspen Managing Agency Limited underwrite BI policies on a Lead and Follow basis. The FCA requirements under the test case apply where insurers are in a Lead capacity. Therefore, we are assessing all BI policy wordings to identify the relevant coverage clauses, which will determine if claims will or will not be affected by the outcome of the test case once it reaches its final resolution. Therefore if policyholders have relevant non-damage business BI policies impacted by Covid-19, they will be contacted individually to advise that the outcome of the test case, may or may not impact the outcome of the claim.

Timetable of the test case

9 June: FCA started claim in the High Court

16 June: Case management conference, at which the court fixed the timetable for the case and other procedural matters

23 June: Insurers file Defences

26 June: Further case management conference, at which the court will deal with any outstanding procedural matters to ensure the case is ready for trial

3 July: FCA files Reply

1st half July: Skeleton arguments and replies served

20-23 July and 27-30 July: 8 day court hearing before Lord Justice Flaux and Mr Justice Butcher 


For your information:

FCA website links:
https://www.fca.org.uk/news/statements/business-interruption-insurance-during-coronavirus

https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/business-interruption-insurance

 

Sign up for business interruption (BI) insurance email updates and receive updates on the FCA High Court test case

https://www.fca.org.uk/sign-business-interruption-bi-insurance-email-updates