The door has been opened for dental practices and other small businesses to make or resubmit an insurance claim for loss of income arising from Covid-19 restrictions last year. At an appeal hearing last week the Supreme Court ruled largely in favour of small businesses which had initially been denied a pay-out by their insurers.
Nathan Poole of specialist dental accountants Ross-Brooke Dental, welcomes the news. “We recommend dentists check their policies, and liaise with their insurance brokers if they think there may be grounds for a claim. Dentists may have been told that no claim was possible previously but this new ruling may open the door.”
The Supreme Court ruling comes after a test case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) acting on behalf of policy holders who had made a claim and been denied a pay-out. The case was fast-tracked to the Supreme Court resulting in a detailed and complex ruling.
Poole said most commercial insurance policies prioritise property and equipment damage and business interruption cover associated with closure of business due to fire and flood. However, some also cover interruption from disease or public authority closures or restrictions. While a number of insurers accepted liability under such policies, others disputed liability, leading to a lack of clarity and the FCA’s test case.
He continued: “We have been working with clients to quantify and substantiate their losses which we are finding start from £50k, so substantial sums. Some dentists have already been contacted by their insurer to quantify their claim should this ruling go against them. Now the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of policyholders, we expect to see those claims settled.”
He said: “A number of our dentist clients have already had pay-outs. Obviously every policy has limitations and clauses specifying the insurers liability, but I believe there will be more dentists who find that the door which had previously been closed to them has been opened and a claim is now possible.”
His colleague Linda Giles said: “We don’t advise on insurance policies as we are not authorised to do so but we encourage our clients to use specialist brokers to get the best and most appropriate cover for a dental business. We also encourage clients to review their levels of cover regularly and make sure they understand what’s on offer, so they choose a policy to suit their needs.”