Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Rejected insurance claims? Surbiton lead calls for sports clubs to sign up for action

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Rod Gilmour
The Hockey Paper's Editor. First covered international hockey at the 2010 Commonwealth Games - no better than a full house watching India play England - and has reported for the Daily Telegraph and other major newspapers ever since. Co-founded THP in 2016.

Surbiton Hockey Club is spearheading efforts on behalf of all community and amateur sport clubs in the UK who have been denied liability cover by insurers during the pandemic.

Surbiton, supported by solicitors Russell-Cooke, is calling for a collective action from hockey clubs, as well as many other sports it believes will be in the same position, with possible legal proceedings in the offing.

Surbiton has been insured by XL Catlin, part of the AXA Group, for the past five years and claim that business interruption insurance was included as part of the club’s policy.

With over 7,000 registered community amateur sports clubs, across all sports including hockey, cricket, rugby, sailing, squash and others, Surbiton says that “we can make a difference” if sports clubs band together.

A spokesperson said: “When Covid and the lockdowns struck, we suffered substantial revenue loss and we believe our policy covered us for these losses.

“However, notwithstanding the Supreme Court findings against insurers in the FCA test case, AXA have chosen to deny liability in respect of our policy. We have completed their disputes process without satisfactory resolution.

“We know that other non-profit clubs, societies and organisations have received similar treatment. And we want other clubs to benefit from the investment we have made into this.”

Surbiton calculate a loss of “tens of thousands of pounds” during the pandemic from lost revenue drivers such as Easter camp bookings, bar-takings, match fees and functions.

“The aim will be either to achieve either a negotiated settlement or, if necessary, pursue legal proceedings,” the club added.

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“Our solicitors, Russell-Cooke, are kindly helping us in these endeavours. They have already dealt successfully with Covid business interruption insurance disputes and achieved favourable settlements.

“The more support we receive, the greater the pressure we can exert on behalf of all of us collectively, and the more the insurance industry will recognise that denying legitimate business interruption claims to non-profit organisations will come at a financial and reputational cost.”

A spokesperson for Russell-Cooke told The Hockey Paper: “We are aware of a number of sports clubs and societies who have not had their Covid-19 business interruption insurance claims paid, despite the Supreme Court’s judgment in the FCA test case.

“The impact is particularly acute for voluntary organisations striving to support their communities and provide opportunities for young people. We are pleased to support this initiative to take collective action against insurers who are not paying voluntary organisations what they are due.”  

To register interest in participating in a potential collective action, fellow clubs should fill out this form

Surbiton added that any details will be held by Russell-Cooke and shared with Surbiton Hockey Club in accordance with current UK data protection law and will not be released to any other third party.

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