Insurers must state if they accept Central Bank’s direction in relation to compensating SMEs during COVID-19 – FF
01 April 2020
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Robert Troy is calling on all insurers to state publicly if they are accepting the Central Bank of Irelands (CBI) direction on compensating businesses with disruption cover for infectious diseases.
Deputy Troy has been working hard to ensure that SMEs with business disruption cover for infectious diseases, are compensated by their Insurer during the COVID-19 shutdown.
He said, “Two weeks ago we learnt that SMEs with legitimate policies were not receiving insurance compensation as they were being told by their insurer that they were not legally forced to close but rather simply obliging the Government. Some were also told COVID-19 is not listed as an infectious disease, so they were not covered.
“After calling on the Government and Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) to step in, they have both now issued a clear view on the matter.
“We understand from the letter issues to insurers and published on the CBI website that they are of a view that where a claim can be made because a business has closed, as a result of a Government direction due to contagious or infectious disease, that the recent Government advice to close a business in the context of COVID-19 should be treated as a direction. This is the view also of the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform.
“We believe that if insurers do not respond to the direction and agree to compensate legitimate policies for infectious disease, the Government must intervene.
“The current appeal process will see SMEs in arbitration and facing delays for up to twelve months before they could take the matter to the Finance Ombudsman. The Ombudsman could then take up to twelve weeks to adjudicate on the decisions.
“Considering the current climate, no SME could withstand the financial pressure of that delay.
“Fianna Fáil are calling on the Government to first adequately resources the Ombudsman which may help address the delay and then give them the authority to act as an immediate independent adjudicator on this issue,” he concluded.