Expertise

Business interruption insurance class actions

There are many business interruption insurance policies that have been issued by insurers, with a range of different policy wordings and exclusions. 

Many business owners have had their business interruption insurance claims rejected by their insurers or have been told that their policy doesn’t apply if the loss to their revenue or profit arose because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe this is misleading and/or inaccurate.

Berrill & Watson in collaboration with Gordon Legal, and with support from one of the world’s leading litigation funders, Omni Bridgeway, have issued class actions against QBE and certain underwriters at Lloyd’s.

The QBE class action has been issued on behalf of persons who:

  • held business interruption insurance with QBE and were insured at any time during the period 19 January 2020 to 1 July 2021; and
  • had certain policy terms in their business interruption insurance policies; and
  • who suffered interruption or interference to their business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lloyd’s class action has been issued on behalf of persons who:

  • held business interruption insurance with Lloyd’s usually described as ‘Jewellers Block and Multi-Perils Insurance’ and were insured at any time during the period 19 January 2020 to 1 July 2021; and
  • had certain policy terms in their business interruption insurance policies; and
  • who suffered interruption or interference to their business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding for the class actions

Omni Bridgeway is presently providing funding for two class actions for policyholders who incurred business interruption losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Both cases are being run by Gordon Legal, who are supported by Berrill & Watson. Gordon Legal are a leading class action law firm who ran the Robodebt class action and Berrill & Watson are insurance law specialists.

Class action against QBE

If your business is insured by the QBE Insurance Group, please visit Gordon Legal’s QBE BII page for further details about the class action.

More info on the QBE Class Action

To register for the class action, please click the “Register for the QBE class action” button and you will be taken to Omni Bridgeway’s website.

Register for the QBE Business Interruption Insurance Class Action

Class action against Lloyd’s (Jewellery and Gem Merchants)

If you are in the jewellery and gem merchant industry and your business is insured by certain underwriters at Lloyd’s, please visit Gordon Legal’s Lloyd’s (Jewellery and Gem Merchants) BII page for further details about the class action.

More info on the Lloyd’s (Jewellery and Gem Merchant) Class Action

To register for the class action, please click the “Register for the Lloyd’s class action” button and you will be taken to Omni Bridgeway’s website.

Register for the Lloyd’s Business Interruption Insurance Class Action

Other insurers

Berrill & Watson and Gordon Legal are also investigating further potential class actions against other insurers.

If your circumstances are not mentioned on this page above (relative to QBE and Lloyd’s), you can provide details about your specific policy by clicking the “Expression of Interest” link below.

By providing your details and those of your insurer, we will also be able to contact you to let you know if a class action is commenced against your insurer or to obtain further information to assist in determining if you have a viable claim.

By clicking the button below, you will be taken to Omni Bridgeway’s website, where you can register your interest.

Expression of Interest

Background to these class actions

Many businesses throughout Australia held policies which typically included coverage for loss of revenue or profits as a result of outbreaks of disease, or orders by legal authorities restricting access to their premises.

Many businesses have tried to claim on these policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic but have had their claims rejected by their insurers.

The insurers ran a test case in the New South Wales Court of Appeal in an attempt to land a knockout blow to claims with exclusions for “quarantinable diseases” declared under the Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth).

On 18 November 2020, the insurers lost that case. They then attempted to appeal the decision to the High Court which was thrown out by the Court on 25 June 2021. This means insurers can no longer rely on these exclusion clauses to decline claims.

However, insurers are still refusing to pay claims and say they are awaiting the outcome of a second test case before they consider making payments. It is therefore clear that the only way to hold insurers to account and get claims decided once and for all is through a class action.

What is a class action?

A class action is a court procedure which allows people with similar claims against another party to bring their action in one court proceeding rather than requiring them to go to the cost (and take the individual risk) of commencing their own claim.

In Australia, the law provides individual members of the class the opportunity to opt-out of the proceedings if they do not wish to participate or wish to bring their own individual claim.

The benefit of a class action is that claims can be gathered together so that the costs and risks can be shared among a larger group of people with similar claims. The QBE and Lloyd’s class actions are backed by a litigation funder, so it won’t cost you anything if the case is unsuccessful.

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