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Business interruption insurance claims - class action investigation


Business interruption insurance claims due to COVID-19 class action investigation

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Berrill & Watson in collaboration with Gordon Legal is currently investigating the potential to make claims, including the potential for a class action claim, on behalf of business owners in relation to their business interruption insurance. 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 is a leading plaintiff superannuation and insurance law firm. We are experts in insurance claims and are recognised for our knowledge and experience in insurance that other firms don't have. Our team has worked in insurance for over 15 years and has run leading cases in insurance law.

Gordon Legal is a plaintiff law firm with extensive experience in complex class action litigation and obtaining outstanding outcomes for their clients. Working in collaboration, Berrill & Watson and Gordon Legal will offer a breadth of significant experience and knowledge to guide you through your Business Interruption Insurance claim.    

Many businesses throughout Australia held these 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 on the basis that this cover extended to loss of revenue or profits suffered as a result of outbreaks of COVID-19 within a certain distance of their premises, or closures ordered by the government which affected their premises.

A number of these policies purported to exclude insurance coverage where the disease in question was defined as a “quarantinable disease” under the Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth). However, this piece of legislation was repealed some years ago and no longer applies, leading to the question of whether the clauses exclude insurance coverage. The Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth) was replaced by the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth).

It appears that a number of insurance companies have advised businesses that they cannot claim on their business interruption insurance due to these exclusion clauses. However, in a judgment delivered on 18 November 2020 by the Court of Appeal in New South Wales, the court has found that COVID-19 is not a disease declared to be a “quarantinable disease” under the Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth). Therefore, the exclusion clause does not apply and those claims under policies that specify the Quarantine Act can go ahead. 

A summary of the judgment can be found here.

Register for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your insurance policy

If you own or operate a business which may have experienced a loss of revenue or profits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and believe that you may have held business interruption insurance cover during that time, please contact us for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your insurance policy.

Once you complete the form below, we will get in touch as soon as possible, to provide you with more details.

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