THE NEWLY elected MP for Meriden, Saqib Bhatti, has spoken in parliament to admonish insurance companies who are not recognising claims on business policies during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking after a £350 billion pledge to businesses affected by the pandemic from chancellor Rishi Sunak, Mr Bhatti said: “I would ask the insurance industry, who I am hearing are not recognising Covid-19 as a recognised disease, I would ask them to recognise this – because while there may be a short term cost to this, there is no point protecting those short term gains if they will lose customers and clients in the medium term.
“I would implore them to do the right thing and protect businesses as much as possible and recognise Covid-19 as a recognisable disease.”
Small businesses are facing imminent cash shortages, as a nationwide shutdown looms to prevent the coronavirus spreading.
Insurance companies have not allayed fears over cover for loss of earnings.
Published yesterday (March 17), a statement from the Associaiton of British Insurers said: ‘Irrespective of whether or not the Government orders closure of a business, the vast majority of firms won’t have purchased cover that will enable them to claim on their insurance to compensate for their business being closed by coronavirus.
“Standard business interruption cover – the type the majority of businesses purchase – does not include forced closure by the authorities as it is intended to respond to physical damage at the property which results in the business being unable to continue to trade.
“A small minority of typically larger firms might have purchased an extension to their cover for closure due to any infectious disease.
“In this instance an enforced closure could help them make the claim, but this will depend on the precise nature of the cover they have purchased so they should check with their insurer or broker to see if they are covered.”
One insurer, Direct Line, told the Observer: “We’re aware that our small business customers may have concerns in relation to the impact of Covid-19 on their business.
“Our commercial policies cover a range of specified diseases. However, we don’t provide cover for losses or interruption caused by the Coronavirus (Covid-19).”