FBD are damaging economy and their own reputation by refusing to pay out valid claims for business interruption - Pearse Doherty TD
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has called on FBD to end their policy of denial and pay out claims to businesses that paid extortionate premiums for cover and are now fighting for survival.
Deputy Doherty was speaking after engaging with businesses who held FBD policies. Despite guidelines issued by the Central Bank on the 27th March, FBD are still refusing to pay claims to businesses that were covered by FBD for business interruption as a result of an outbreak of infectious disease.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Last Friday, the Department of Finance issued a press release announcing a set of measures taken by insurers, including FBD, that would ‘bring clarity and certainty to policyholders’ affected by COVID-19.
“The day before this announcement, FBD wrote to a number of its business customers to double down on its refusal to accept claims for business interruption due to COVID-19.
"This is despite cover for the outbreak of infectious disease, including COVID-19, being provided for in policies and side-letters written to their business customers. I have engaged with a number of these businesses and seen their policies with FBD together with other correspondence.
“These policies included cover for the imposed closure of premises by order of the Government following outbreaks of infectious disease, with side letters then being issued by FBD to customers clarifying that Coronavirus was covered under the policy.
“Since the outbreak of Coronavirus and closure of businesses throughout the country, FBD have refused claims made by these customers on spurious grounds that bend the fine print of their policies.
“It is clear that FBD plans to ride this out by dragging the businesses that manage to survive this crisis to the courts. That is totally unacceptable.
“The refusal of FBD to accept its responsibilities and pay out these claims is inflicting serious damage on its reputation. The longer it refuses to accept and process these claims, the greater the damage to FBD, and to those business customers struggling to survive.
"The Government and Central Bank have adopted a hands-off approach, instead of intervening to protect businesses.
"I have written to the Central Bank requesting an audit be carried out of claims that have been made by businesses as a result of business interruption, and the processing of these claims by the insurance industry.
"It is time for the Central Bank to intervene in this dispute to protect businesses and uphold the Consumer Protection Code."