Rural TDs call on Central Bank to instruct insurers to pay on Covid disruption

The ‘Rural Independents’ group of TDs has called on the government and the Central Bank to ensure valid insurance claims on the back of Covid-19 disruption are paid out.

The group welcomed a recent High Court ruling that would allow policy holders claim compensation under their policies for closure of business resulting from Covid-19.

One of the Rural Independents, Mattie McGrath, said today (Tuesday, February 9): “Pubs and restaurants remain closed in Ireland, apart from takeaway food and delivery, under the current ‘Level 5’ lockdown and so their losses in connection with interruption to their businesses are continuing.”

However, what is regrettable is the fact that the case had to be taken by policyholders, while the government and the Central Bank remained silent on the issue, despite the grave losses being experienced.

“The Irish government and the central bank cannot continue to stand idly by. Failure to act illustrates once again, which side the government is on,” McGrath claimed.

He added: “Publicans took out business interruption cover with insurance companies, in good faith, and the decision by the insurance company to challenge that cover caused huge distress to small pub owners and their families, at a time when they were at their most vulnerable.

We encourage small business owners to review their policies and check the small print. Also, if they renewed their policy during the pandemic, compare it with their previous policy to ensure it was not made more restrictive.

The Rural Independents said they were calling on the government to address the matter, and for the Central Bank to instruct insurers to review their business interruption policies and to pay all valid claims.

“Given the disastrous impact of the pandemic on the pub trade and other small businesses, the judgement will provide hope to many publicans across the country. However, the government must now also intervene and stand with local businesses,” McGrath argued.