In these times of uncertainty, many businesses are struggling to claim on their insurance policies in wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We can help.
What is business interruption insurance?
Business interruption insurance covers businesses for their losses when they cannot carry out business as usual, due to an event such as a natural disaster or disease outbreak.
Why are insurers rejecting claims?
Current legislation dictates that businesses are only covered for diseases listed as notifiable at the time the policy was taken out, therefore not covering Covid-19.
How can PRHS help your business?
We will check the terms and conditions of your policy to see if you are covered. If so, we will liaise with your insurers on your behalf and ensure that your claim is dealt with swiftly and efficiently.
Why choose PRHS?
We have significant experience of holding insurance companies to account.
- Each insurance policy is complicated and unique, the individual wording of each one is key - we will scrutinise your policy and determine whether you may be able to claim.
- Litigation can be slow, expensive and risky. A business in this situation is unlikely to have the funds available to bring litigation, and those that do are unlikely to survive long enough to see it completed.
- Allow our team of legal experts to get your case moving.
If we think you may have a claim, then we are prepared to act on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis and deal with the insurance company directly on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions
The short answer is yes. Where a pandemic occurs, it is entirely reasonable for business owners to decide to close in order to protect their employees, customers and suppliers. The social distancing measures implemented by the government mean it’s very difficult for any business to carry on and allow all employees or personnel on the premises to have a 2M radius around them, without coming into contact with any other people. If you have closed for the safety of your staff or customers, you will have a claim.
No, the government grants are available to all and are a short-term fix to help companies get through the immediate difficulties that they face. The government expects and fully understands that all companies will be making claims against their insurance policies. The grants and other offers from the government are simply to cover the short term gap whilst they wait for insurance companies to meet their obligations.
Any business, no matter how big or small, can make a claim. You may have seen recently in the news that the All England Tennis Club have put in a claim for the loss of the Wimbledon Championships this year. It is not the size of the business that is important but the detail of the policy.
A Damages Based Agreement is a mechanism which allows legal firms to work on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis. Whereas normally we would charge you an hourly rate for all the work that we do on your behalf, under a Damages Based Agreement we essentially agree to work for you for free, on the understanding that you will pay us a percentage of the money that you receive from your insurance company at the end of the claim. In this particular instance, that percentage is set at 20%. This means that you only ever pay us if you are successful and you will not be out of pocket.
If you have a valid claim, we will assist you in analysing your business receipts, turnover and tax liabilities. We will calculate what the true scale of your losses are and help you to claim the maximum amount of those losses in accordance with the terms of your policy.
No. When we take your initial instructions, you will be asked to give us the authority to speak to certain individuals within your organisation. We will only ever take instructions from or give updates to those specified individuals.
We will analyse your insurance policy and take full account of all the terms and conditions, the schedule, the certificate and policy wording. We will advise you of the exceptions of your policy but also the areas where you may have a valid claim.
It is unlikely that your insurance company will pay you to use us to sue them, however certain policies do contain legal expense insurance and there may be specific instances where you may be able to seek a contribution toward your legal costs from your insurance company. We will be able to advise you further about this after we have analysed your claim. However, if you wish to utilize a legal expense insurance policy to cover our fees, we would be paid on a private basis of £400 per hour and not by a Damages Based Agreement. It is highly like that you would personally be responsible for all our fees between the inception of your claim up to the issuing of court proceedings, with your insurance policy only picking up the fees incurred once proceedings have been issued. It is highly likely to be in your best interest to instruct us via a Damages Based Agreement rather than on a privately paid basis, either insured or not insured.
It is impossible to tell you at this stage how long the insurance company will take to pay your claim. What we can promise is that we will hold the insurance company to account. We will be on their case day and night, fighting on your behalf to make sure that they pay you as promptly and as efficiently as possible.
In the vast majority of instances it has to be a director or somebody with a controlling hand of the company. We can take instructions from a chief executive, a chief financial officer or a director. We cannot take instructions from an employee of the company because they do not have the requisite authority to instruct us.
If you are a sole trader you do not need to be registered with HMRC as an employer. However if you are a limited business or any other type of company, then, yes, you will need to be registered with HMRC in order to use our services.
We cannot give you any guarantees that the insurance company will definitely pay. What we can assure you of is that if your policy has the requisite coverage, we will not allow the insurance company to escape their responsibility. We will ensure they pay you a prompt, fair settlement to enable your business to get back on its feet as soon as possible.
The short answer is yes. We can assist almost any company so long as they have the relevant business insurance.
At this moment we are only assisting companies in England and Wales.
Once we have analysed your policy, the team of lawyers at Stratton Richards will be able to get to work straight away. If they need to discuss the claim with you or obtain any further information they will be in touch.
PRHS is a legal firm with over 25 years experience. You are paying us for our knowledge, experience and expertise in this area. Legal services are like any other services; plumber, electrician or dentist. They all have to be paid for the job that they do, we are no different.
Once we are on record as acting for you, all correspondence will pass between us and your insurance company, this is part of the service. We work hard so you do not have to.
If your policy has a valid business interruption clause, we will act on your behalf on a no win, no fee basis. We will liaise on your behalf with the insurance company and bring your claim to court, should that be required. We will of course be paid for this under the terms of the Damages Based Agreement, which means we will be paid a percentage of the amount that you were paid by your insurance company.
As a solicitor, PRHS is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Much of the paperwork that we sent to you and that you have to sign and return, is governed by what the Solicitors Regulation Authority require us to do in each and every case. It is essential that you are fully informed of what we are doing, why we are doing it and what it will cost you. We aim to make our paperwork as easy to understand as possible while still fulfilling the requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
At PRHS we are confident that we can present your claim in such a way that your insurance company will either pay out relatively quickly, or after a period of negotiation. However, it is always possible that your insurance company will simply refuse to pay your claim; even when we believe that they are obligated to do so. In such instances the matter will have to proceed to court and it is likely that you will have to attend at some point as a witness, simply to give evidence about the nature or extent of your policy and the type of your business and the losses that you have suffered.
No, your bank account can be registered anywhere so long as you fulfil all your obligations with the HMRC and it is properly registered against your company name.
PRHS has been at the heart of the community for over 25 years. We pride ourselves on looking after our clients’ best interests and ensuring the best possible results for them, whether that is via negotiation or at court. We get immense satisfaction from doing our job properly and of course, in the case of payment, we receive 20% of any damages that you receive from the insurance company under the terms of the Damages Based Agreement.
We have multiple offices across the north of England.
No, unfortunately all of our lawyers are busy processing the claims that we are receiving as a result of the pandemic. We are focused on providing the best possible care and support to our customers. We are not offering home visits or site visits at this time. This may be reviewed once the lockdown is lifted by the government.
We are governed by the Distance Selling Regulations. These do not apply to you if you are a business or acting on behalf of a business. If you are an individual, you can change your mind within 14 days and request a full refund. If we have carried out any work on your behalf within those 14 days, we are entitled to bill you for that work at our usual hourly rate which is £400 per hour. This will be deducted from the fee that you have paid, before anything that is left over is returned to you.
We have numerous offices throughout the country. At this stage, it is not possible for anybody to visit our offices due to the lockdown. We are acutely conscious of and aware of the risk to our staff, members of the public and suppliers, therefore we will not be opening our offices until it is safe to do so.
The short answer is no, anybody who suffers a loss has a duty to mitigate that loss. That means a person or a business that is suffering a loss has to do the best they can to minimise it so that they can get back to work as soon and as quickly as possible. Applying for government grants and using the 80% salary furlough scheme, is exactly the sort of thing that is envisaged by mitigating your loss. The insurer cannot use it against you, that is to say they cannot simply deny your claim exists at all. However, when we are calculating your losses, we will have to take into account, things that you have paid and you have not paid. You cannot claim for staff wages if you have had 80% of them paid by the government, you can only claim if you have made the 20% top up yourself.
Without seeing the exact terms and conditions of your policy, we cannot give you a guaranteed answer at this stage. However, we are confident that most policies will be worded broadly enough, that we can put forward strong and reasonable arguments to support your claim. These are arguments that we are prepared to have tested in court, should the need arise.
All claims for business interruption have to be evidenced. We will assist you in calculating the loss that your business has suffered, and we will present this in the best possible way to the insurance company. Of course, you are not able to claim for losses that you have not incurred, this is only fair and reasonable.
Possibly, it depends on the type and nature of the policy that you have. We would need to look at it for you to tell you whether you are covered.
Your business does not have to close completely in order to make a claim. Business interruption insurance is designed to compensate business owners where matters outside of their control affect their business and its profitability. That may mean reduced trading or may mean being closed down completely.
Without looking through your policy, we cannot give you a definitive answer. The wording of your policy may be broad enough to allow claims to be made for diseases which only come into existence or are only recognised after the inception of the policy. Alternatively, your policy may be drawn very narrowly with a restricted list of diseases. Upon analysis of your policy, we will be able to tell you which one of these applies to you and how that affects your potential claim.
Covid-19 only became a notifiable disease in March 2020 therefore nobody has yet brought any claims in respect of that particular disease. However, with over 25 years experience of holding the insurance industry to account, we have a long and proven track record of ensuring that insurers comply with their obligations under the policies that they provide.
Initially, we will seek to negotiate with your insurance company to ensure a fair settlement for you. If your insurance company fails to negotiate with us, we will take them to court. Ultimately, a judge will be asked to decide what a fair amount of compensation in all the circumstances would be, in accordance with the terms of your policy.
You will not pay us any additional fees. We will simply take 20% of any damages that you receive from your insurance company. This is what is known as a Damages Based Agreement. If you do not win, we are paid nothing. If you do win, we are paid 20% of what you recover.
If we believe that you have a valid claim, we will assist you in calculating all of your losses. As experienced lawyers in the area of insurance law, we have over 25 years experience of carrying out detailed forensic analysis to ensure that the correct amount of damages can be claimed.
Your insurance company may increase your premiums. However, premiums are only usually increased when a policyholder is held at fault for any pay out that has been made under the policy.
It is open for everyone to run their own claim. The option is there for anyone to simply contact their insurers and try and deal with the matter themselves. You must remember that there will be hundreds and thousands of people making these types of claims at the moment. That means that insurers are inundated and are processing claims as quickly as they can. Using our expertise, we can ensure that your claim is presented in such a manner that it is dealt with quickly and efficiently by the insurer. We can ensure that you will be at the front of the queue when the insurers come to settle these claims.
We cannot say at this stage whether the insurer will dispute your claim simply as a matter of principal or whether they will accept they are liable to pay some policies in certain instances. What we do know is that insurers look after their shareholders first and policyholders second. We will work on your behalf to make sure that the insurance company has your best interests at heart. After the initial fee, all of our work is carried out on a No Win No Fee basis. You will not have to pay us any further fees, however, you may have to pay disbursements such as courts fees or expert fees if those are required at any stage during proceedings.
We cannot tell you at this stage how likely it is that your claim will be successful. What we can say is that we will only take your claim on if we think that your policy gives you a better chance than not of making a claim. Once we take your claim on we will be working on a no win, no fee basis, therefore, we are only taking claims on where we think there is more than a 50% prospect of success.
It is impossible to tell you how long an insurer will take to pay out a claim. The reality is, the insurers will be dealing with hundreds and thousands of claims from business interruption insurance. They simply do not have the resources to deal with these quickly and efficiently. By using specialist services provided by PRHS, we can ensure your claim is presented in the best possible manner, in a format that is easy for your insurance company to understand and set out in a way which will make it difficult for them to maintain an unreasonable denial. By using PRHS, we can make sure that you are at the head of a very long queue.
Once we have had sight of all of your documents and we have been authorised by you to start work on your case, we should be able to tell you within 7-14 days whether or not you have a valid claim. We then take your instructions and liaise with your insurance company on your behalf to ensure that your claim is presented in the best possible light and dealt with in the most efficient manner.
There is no inherent risk in bringing the claim. If your insurance company refuses to pay out and refuses to negotiate with you, you may decide that you have to bring a legal claim against them. All claims carry an inherent element of risk. In every legal claim there is a winner and a loser. Often but not always, the person who loses a legal claim has to bear all the costs; that is the cost of their own solicitors and the cost of the victorious side’s solicitors. There is a risk therefore, that were you to bring a claim against your insurance company in court and lose, they may seek a contribution towards their costs from you. As your claim progresses, we will keep you notified of any risk and as and when the risk changes, we will inform you and take your instructions as to how you wish to proceed.
In accordance with the Public Health Act 1984 and the Health Protection Regulations 2010, there is an obligation to report certain diseases to the government. These diseases are known colloquially as notifiable diseases. The government keeps a register of such diseases for the protection of public health. Covid-19 or coronavirus was added to this list earlier on in 2020.
Business interruption insurance can cover many different things, it depends on the terms and conditions of your policy and the coverage which you opted for at inception. Business interruption can cover loss of trade, loss of business and loss to profit. Again, it depends on the terms and conditions contained within your policy.
You know if you have business interruption insurance by checking the terms and conditions of your policy. This means you have to check not just the insurance certificate, but also the schedule and the policy booklet. It is not uncommon for policy booklets to run to several hundred pages.
You should contact your insurance company immediately and ask them for copies of your policy documents; schedule, certificate and booklet. They are duty bound to provide these to you. As soon as you receive these documents forward them on to us and we will do all of the hard work for you. If you have any issues recovering these documents we will endeavour to recover them on your behalf.