Insurers must deal “fairly and honestly” with businesses and business owners who have been affected by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis a Galway TD has said.
Galway East TD Sean Canney said that he has heard that policyholders have been having difficulty with insurers over business interruption insurance policies in the ongoing pandemic.
The coronavirus crisis, and the public restrictions which have been imposed to deal with it, have caused huge numbers of businesses around the country to close to limit the virus’ spread.
The Independent TD said that insurers must not reject claims based on “their own interpretation of policies” where there are clauses covering infectious diseases.
“Whether a business owner can make a claim in relation to COVID-19 or not will depend on the specifics of their policy,” Sean Canney said.
He added that the Department of Finance have been engaging with Insurance Ireland, the Central Bank and the Alliance for Insurance Reform on this issue, and that insurers must follow the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code.
In later March the Central Bank told insurance companies that where there is ambiguity in the interpretation of policies where someone is making a claim related to the Covid-19 crisis, they must find in favour of the customer.
This covers all insurance products, not just policies for business interruption insurance.
The bank has taken the view that businesses have been ordered to close by the government, and that this is not a voluntary shutdown.
“I am pleased that the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has raised the issue with Insurance Ireland, while the Central Bank has written to the insurance industry CEOs to seek fair treatment for policyholders.