Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


MSP Asks First Minister To Tackle Insurance Companies Who've Wriggled Out Of Their Obligations

6th May 2020

The First Minster is to ask the Scottish Government Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, to have direct discussion with the insurance sector about companies who are "wriggling out of their obligations" to Scottish businesses.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart, asked Nicola Sturgeon today at First Minister's Questions about the problems firms were having claiming their business interruption insurance.

He said: “The First Minister will be well aware that thousands of small business across Scotland, from hotels to hardware stores, are trying to claim on their insurance policies because of interruption of their trading caused by the lockdown.

“However, several insurers have been accused of wriggling out of their obligations which puts the future of many businesses at risk.

“Will the First Minister meet with insurance companies and spell out that leadership and social responsibility are crucial during the pandemic so that we can still have a functioning economy when the lockdown ends?”

Nicola Sturgeon replied: “I am very clear insurance companies, like everybody else who has a responsibility right now, should play fair and should understand the difficulties that businesses are having through no fault of their own.

“I send that message without equivocation. I think anyone trying to wriggle out of obligations right now is doing a disservice to the challenge that all of us are facing and dealing with.

“Certainly, I am happy to ask the Finance Secretary to have a more direct discussion with the insurance sector just to make sure there is an understanding and to makes sure there is nothing further that we can do to in terms of guidance to provide clarity about what people should be doing and how they should be acting.”

Afterwards Mr Stewart added: “I am grateful that the First Minister recognises the problem and hope that any discussion with the insurance section can bring home how devastating it is for companies who have had their claims for business interruption insurance turned down.

““Companies who can’t claim are at risk of going under sooner and that puts the whole local economy at risk.”

Last month Mr Stewart found widespread frustration and concern from Highlands and Islands firms over delays in accessing loans and a refusal to pay out on business interruption insurance.

The MSP wrote to business groups across his area asking if banks were making it harder to get business interruption loans and if insurers were refusing to pay out for claims on business interruption insurance policies.

Among those to respond to the MSP’s request, were Chambers of Commerce in Caithness, Moray, Lochaber and Mid-Argyll.

Last month, Moray Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Executive, Sarah Medcraf, told the MSP: “I have not come across one business who has been able to claim on their insurance for this”.

She went on to give examples of responses from insurance companies including:

“Unfortunately, there is no cover in place which would allow you to claim for this particular pandemic, sorry to be the bearer of bad news.”

“To clarify, COVID-19 is not covered under our standard Business Interruption policies and, as the chancellor said, you cannot retrospectively change insurance contracts at this time without threatening the future of the insurance industry.”

“Unfortunately, there’s no cover for this type of loss on your policy. You’re right, we’ve been busy with queries, worrying times. The only cover, Liability &/or Business Interruption, for a specified disease would be if the disease originated at your premises or within a five-mile radius.”

Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce said: "We are deeply concerned that even businesses who believed they had purchased appropriate insurance cover are not having success in making claims. We are finding that either businesses are being told they are not covered as COVID-19 was not named on their policy, or because it has not been confirmed on their premises.

"While we appreciate the pressures that the insurance industry will be facing at this time, it is disheartening that many businesses have paid a premium for this kind of cover only to discover that their claims are being denied. It is incumbent on the UK and Scottish Governments to work together to find a solution to this issue and ensure that businesses can survive this crisis."

Jane MacLeod, of Mid Argyll Chamber of Commerce, had also been made aware of many businesses unable to claim business interruption insurance.

She told Mr Stewart; “One local hotelier said ‘my policy, like many other businesses, states ‘Infectious Disease’ as a reason with the usual list. Plague is listed but it has to come from within the business and not outside in. If it came from inside I would have a personal liability in that I allowed it into the workforce.” The hotelier went on to say ‘Blatant avoidance’ “.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Futureskills Apprenticeship Grant Scheme AnnouncementThumbnail for article : Futureskills Apprenticeship Grant Scheme Announcement
The Caithness Business Fund is celebrating a substantial investment boost of £100,000 from Focus North partners NRS Dounreay and the NDA to support the launch of FutureSkills.   The apprenticeship grant scheme is designed to tackle skills shortages and drive investment in new opportunities for both businesses and young people in the North Highlands.  
Exciting New Post In Caithness To Highlight OpportunitiesThumbnail for article : Exciting New Post In Caithness To Highlight Opportunities
The Chamber is looking to recruit a Talent Attraction/Recruitment Specialist for its Recruit North Highlands initiative.  This is a new and exciting post which will see the successful candidate play a unique and pivotal role in attracting talent to the region.  
Smart Meters Are A Smart Decision For Your Business This WinterThumbnail for article : Smart Meters Are A Smart Decision For Your Business This Winter
Firms of all sizes are currently confronted by a host of challenges, from soaring energy bills, labour shortages, spiralling inflation, and climbing interest rates.  As a business owner, you need to ensure that your doors stay open and that your business can thrive no matter what the season brings.   Did you know that a smart meter could help your business this winter and beyond? Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters currently being rolled out in homes and small businesses across Great Britain by energy suppliers.  
UK Government Needs To Go Further On Energy Costs Says Caithness Chamber Of Commerce
Responding to the release of further details from the UK Government on the energy support plan for business, Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said: "Whilst it is welcome that the UK Government has finally responded and stepped up to provide an initial support package for firms by capping wholesale energy prices for six months, it is simply not enough.   We hope that the Chancellor's fiscal statement on Friday, will give more detail on support for businesses.  
Space Hub Sutherland Will Be A Launch Pad For Jobs And The EconomyThumbnail for article : Space Hub Sutherland Will Be A Launch Pad For Jobs And The Economy
A new report launched (Wednesday 29th September 2021), commissioned by Caithness Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, demonstrates the economic benefits that Space Hub Sutherland will bring to the North Highland and Moray areas.   Space Hub Sutherland - a new satellite launch site - will bring huge employment and tourism benefits to the Scottish Highlands.  
#protectnorthhighlands Launches Offering Free Test And Protect Solution Across Caithness And SutherlandThumbnail for article : #protectnorthhighlands Launches Offering Free Test And Protect Solution Across Caithness And Sutherland
Caithness Chamber of Commerce's new Test and Protect service, #ProtectNorthHighlands, goes live today (26 August) across Caithness and Sutherland.  Offering a simple, secure way for businesses to store customer data in line with Scottish Government's requirements for Test and Protect, the service is free to all businesses across the region thanks to the generous support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.  
Scottish Chamber of Commerce Respond To Scottish Government Gdp Statistics For Q2 2020
Commenting on the publication of Scottish Government GDP statistics for Q2 2020, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: "The collapse in Scotland's GDP in the second quarter sets alarm bells ringing even if the fall was expected.  The 19.7% decline from April to June makes Scotland’s and the UK’s economies among the worst performing in Europe.  
Caithness Chamber Of Commerce To Launch Free Test & Protect Service For North Highland Businesses
Caithness Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce that, thanks to the generous support of Highlands & Islands Enterprise, it will be launching a free, simple online service to allow hospitality businesses across the North Highlands to safely collect and store customer data in line with official guidelines to support the Scottish Government's Test & Protect Programme.   This new service, #ProtectNorthHighlands, will be launching on 26 August and will be free for any business in Caithness and Sutherland to access.  
Sottish Chambers Of Commerce Reacts To Mixed Results Of Holyrood Rates Vote
Scottish Chambers of Commerce reacts to mixed results of Holyrood rates vote.   Whilst welcoming the Scottish Parliament's decision to retain the Uniform Business Rate, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has urged the Scottish Parliament to reconsider what it believes is a major barrier to a more flexible, responsive rates system outside of the revaluation cycle following voting on the Non Domestic Rates Bill (Scotland) today.  
New Apprenticeship Hub to Support North Highland CommunitiesThumbnail for article : New Apprenticeship Hub to Support North Highland Communities
North Highland College UHI and Developing the Young Workforce North Highland (DYW) initiative, led by Caithness Chamber of Commerce, have signed a partnership agreement to formalise their new initiative, The Apprenticeship Hub.   The initiative aims to create a collaborative approach between North Highland College UHI and Developing the Young Workforce North Highland to support growth in the apprenticeship family to benefit the Caithness and Sutherland economy.