Allianz battling Covid BI claim with West End theatre group

By 8th February 2023 May 16th, 2023 Claims Litigation

International Entertainment Holdings Limited (IEH), the theatre company behind venues including Savoy Theatre and The Ambassador Theatre in London’s West End, has joined a growing number of companies suing their insurers over their failure to pay out for losses suffered as a result of the Covid lockdowns.

IEH is pursuing Allianz Insurance on behalf of itself and 14 subsidiaries/venues owned and managed by the group. The claim form states: “…the Defendant is bound to indemnify each Claimant in respect of the interference and/or interruption of each of the Claimants’ businesses carried on at each of the premises specified in Schedule 1 up to a maximum amount of £500,000 with an Indemnity Period of 3 months in respect of each separate interruption and/or interference with each of the Claimants’ businesses.”

The theatre group states that its policy with Allianz was a “composite” policy which would mean there were separate contracts in place for each venue.

The claim form states that Allianz is in breach of contract for refusing to provide the indemnity sought by AEH “or indeed any indemnity…”. This position was communicated to AEH by Allianz via email on 14 July 2021, according to the claimant.

The claim against Allianz is one of an increasing list of cases being pursued against insurers in the High Court over their alleged failure to pay out on Business Interruption policies in relation to Covid BI claims. Cases have been brought by major retailers such as Liberty, the company behind the London ExCel conference centre as well as a handful of smaller companies, including hairdressing salons and gyms. The claims are having to be litigated as they fall outside the legal perimeter of the insurance contracts which were ruled on in the Supreme Court case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority. The case looked into a dozen Business Insurance contracts to decide how they should respond to Covid claims. The test case was largely settled in favour of companies pursuing business insurance claims.

The defence to the claim has yet to be been filed, meaning it is not possible to know precisely why Allianz declined the IEH claim, however aggregation is likely to be one area of dispute. A number of claims are being disputed in the High Court in respect of whether each lockdown should constitute a separate, actionable claim, or whether they should all be classed as one event. Similarly with subsidiary companies, it is possible that Allianz is examining whether the subsidiaries should be grouped as one, or dealt with separately under the claim.

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