THE High Court has ruled that four pubs owners are entitled to compensation from insurer FBD over losses suffered because of Covid-19.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Denis McDonald held against FBD in relation to its interpretation of the insurance policy.
“In my view, the relevant insured peril is not confined to the imposed closure of the insured premises,” Justice McDonald said.
“The relevant peril is the imposed closure following outbreaks of infectious or contagious disease (in this case Covid-19) on or within 25 miles of the premises.
“I am also of the view that cover is not lost where the closure is prompted by nationwide outbreaks of disease, provided that there is an outbreak within the 25-mile radius and that outbreak is one of the causes of the closure.”
The High Court said that a policy sold by FBD insurance covered losses sustained by the businesses after they were forced to shut their premises due to the pandemic.
Justice McDonald disagreed with the company’s interpretation of its policy.
The cases were taken by a number of bars, including Leopardstown Inn, Aberken and Lemon & Duke.
“I do not accept that it requires that the closure should be proximately caused by the outbreaks within 25 miles,” Justice McDonald said.
“On the other hand, I also hold against the argument made by the owner of Sean’s Bar that ‘following’ should be given a purely temporal meaning.
“In my view, the word ‘following’ does have a causative meaning although I believe that it envisages a lesser standard than proximate cause.
“However, even if I am wrong in that conclusion, it seems to me that the outbreaks which occurred within 25 miles of each of the plaintiffs’ premises (which are admitted by FBD) were, in any event, a proximate cause of the imposed closure of public houses announced by the government on 15th March 2020.
“The fact that outbreaks outside that 25 mile radius were also proximate causes of the government decision does not alter that conclusion.”