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FAQs

Frequently asked questions about insurance claims as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

General FAQs

If your claim value is likely to be less than £350,000, you should make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman after your insurer has rejected your claim. 
 
On receipt of a rejection from your insurer, you should complain to the Financial Ombudsman using the claim number issued by your insurer (see: Should I make a claim on my insurance?). The steps to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman may be found in here: https://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/
 
You can still sign up to participate in the group claim while you are going through the complaint process with the Financial Ombudsman.

Yes, you should notify your insurer of a claim. Follow the claims procedure set out in your policy.  If you have a broker, you must go through your broker to notify your claim.
 
If your  insurer rejects your claim they should provide you with a claims number and tell you about your right to make a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.  (See: Do I need to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman)
 
You can sign up to be part of our group at any time including before or after notify your insurer.
 

The FCA has brought an action in the English Court on behalf of policyholders against eight insurers (Arch, Argenta, Ecclesiastical, Hiscox, MS Amlin, QBE, RSA and Zurich) and in relation to 20 policy wordings issued by those insurers.

The FCA has asked the Court to provide legally binding confirmation that in principle the 20 policy wordings respond to the events of COVID-19 and the related Government measures.

The test action does not consider individual policyholders' claims on their specific facts. If your policy (with any insurer, not just the eight listed above) contains wording that is the same or substantially similar to wording to the 20 wordings under consideration, then the Court ruling will provide important guidance on the way your policy should be interpreted and accordingly on the strength of your claim.

The test action is due to go to trial in late July 2020, with the Court's judgment to follow shortly afterwards. More information on the FCA test action is available on the FCA's website: link.

We are monitoring the progress of the test action with the interests of policyholder action groups who have signed up with us. You will receive regular updates if you join one of our groups by signing our Engagement Letter.

If you have an insurance policy that covers business interruption and your insurer has refused to pay out, you should contact us.  We are establishing groups of claimants with similar policies, so that we can pursue actions on behalf of many claimants in one go.

It is difficult to say.

Our aim is to achieve a settlement agreement for you as soon as possible. Realistically, it will be at least 6 to 9 months before that will happen.

If the insurance company puts up a fight, it could take 12 months or longer.

The government has temporarily relaxed insolvency rules, so it is less likely that a company will end up in liquidation than it was before the Covid19 crisis.

If your company goes into administration (a process aimed at getting the company back on track), any compensation received will be used to get the company back to normal trading. 

If you go into liquidation, the liquidator will receive the compensation and use it to pay out the company's creditors, including employees' wages and suppliers.

If we win the case and you are awarded compensation, you will pay us an agreed amount to cover the work we have done for you and the costs we have paid on your behalf along the way.

The amount could either be a share of compensation or another way of calculating our costs. Before you enter a No-win No-fee Agreement with us, we will explain how it works and how it will be calculated.

If you lose your case, you simply walk away and do not pay us anything. The court might order you to pay the insurer's legal costs, but we will put in place an insurance policy that will cover those costs. See "What is ATE?".
 

We will pay any disbursements for you, for example, court fees or barristers' fees, and we will not send you any invoices for our fees. At the end, if you are successful, you will pay us an agreed amount (usually a percentage of your compensation).  
 
However, there are two main exceptions, which are explained again when you sign our No-win No-fee Agreement:
 
a) You behave unreasonably, e.g. you lie to us, give us fake documents fail to comply with court orders or turn down a settlement that we have achieved for you. In those (very rare) cases, we are entitled to terminate the No-win No-fee Agreement and ask you to pay our costs up to that point.

b) You choose to terminate the agreement after the 14-day opt-out period and before we have finished your case. That would be your choice and, as we will have done work for you up to that point, we may ask you to pay for that work in exchange for allowing you to terminate the No-win No-fee Agreement.

We will explain how we would calculate those costs before you sign the DBA with No-win No-fee Agreement and we are happy to answer any questions you have about this before you sign our DBA. Please use the General Enquiries Form to ask your question, or contact us.

No. See "Is it really 'no win, no fee'?"

"DBA" stands for Damages Based Agreement. A DBA is a type of "no win, no fee" agreement. Instead of paying monthly legal bills as the case progresses, you agree to share your compensation at the end of the case. If you don't get any compensation, we don't get paid.

Our team is made up of experts with years of experience in insurance claims as well as group actions. You can view the teams profile at the bottom of the homepage.

Yes – we are already helping a significant numbers of companies. The more companies that come forward to join the Fieldfisher group claims, the stronger the negotiating position against the insurance company will be. 

Yes, but if you do not join the group there are some serious disadvantages:

  1. TIME: it will take you longer to pursue a claim on your own or in a second wave of claims
  2. VALUE: the larger a group of claimants, the more bargaining power they will have and the better a settlement they may be able to achieve. Joining now gives everyone the best chance. If you don't join at all, you cannot benefit from any settlement agreement we negotiate on behalf of the group, which is likely to be better than anything you are able to agree individually.
  3. COST: pursuing a single claim against an insurer can be very expensive and quickly eat up the whole value of your claim. Being in a group means that the cost is spread across a big pool of claimants, which brings economies of scale.

"ATE" stands for After The Event insurance. This insurance covers your so-called "adverse costs" risk, i.e., the risk that the court might order you to pay your insurer's (the Defendant's) legal costs if you lose your claim. If that happens, the ATE insurer will pay those costs and you do not have to pay anything.

Yes and yes. Normally the court will order the insurer to pay a reasonable proportion of our costs, usually around 60% of the fees we actually incur.

Any costs paid by the insurer will be added to your total compensation and we will take our share out of that total.

Our share reflects not only the work we have done for you over the course of the case, but also the risk we take of not making any money if you lose and the fact that we fund our own fees and quite substantial costs along the way (court fees, barristers' fees etc.) for you. This means there is zero litigation risk for you and zero impact on your cashflow. 

There are lots of ways of funding a claim, including Conditional Fee Arrangements (a form of "no win, no fee" agreement where you pay hourly rates plus a bonus if we win), third party funding (where a third party funds your legal costs in exchange for a slice of your compensation) or traditional hourly rates which are payable monthly.

Funding these claims on a DBA basis is the option likely to give you the best return while taking on no risk to your business. However, there may be claims where third party funding or a Conditional Fee Arrangement are better suited, e.g. because they allow you to retain more of your compensation. We will explain this to you, if it applies in your case.

Once we have reviewed your policy, we will send you an Engagement Letter if we have a group of claimants ready to go.

The Engagement Letter allows us to represent you.

Our next steps are then to get you fully on-boarded as a client, obtain funding for a compensation claim and also to represent your interests more widely, e.g. by making submissions to the FCA.

The more claimants that sign our Engagement Letter, the bigger our group, which in turn improves the group's position in obtaining more favourable funding and gives more weight to any submissions we make.

Once we have funding, we will offer you a DBA (Damages Based Agreement). At that point, you have the opportunity to review it and to choose whether to proceed with us.

In the Engagement Letter, you promise not to approach any other law firm or funder without telling us first. This is so we have certainty of the size of our group. If you wish to terminate our Engagement Letter, and go elsewhere, you can do so by telling us in writing (email to Covid19insruanceclaims@fieldfisher.com). There will be no charge if you follow this process.

QBE FAQs

We are aware that some Policyholders have received a letter from QBE with an update regarding the test case, which provides a short summary in respect of the "Notifiable Disease", "Denial of Access" and "Trends" clauses.

QBE, along with certain other defendant insurers and the FCA, has indicated it intends to appeal certain aspects of the judgment. It is likely that this appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court before the end of 2020, and will provide a further update in due course. We understand your frustration with this delay and the impact it is having on your business.

Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to assist the FCA to ensure that a positive outcome is achieved for all policyholders.

On 2 October 2020, the High Court granted permission to the FCA and several of the defendant insurers (including QBE) to seek permission from the Supreme Court to appeal the judgment handed down on 15 September 2020 (without first being heard by the Court of Appeal). This is intended to speed up the process and help ensure eligible policyholders are paid out as soon as possible. Assuming permission to appeal is granted, the Supreme Court is expected to hear the appeals by the end of 2020.

The decision of the Supreme Court will be final and therefore if the Supreme Court upholds the High Court's judgment, insurers will be required to pay out on any valid claims where the policyholder has proved their loss. If the Supreme Court finds in favour of the defendant insurers on any or all of the issues they intend to appeal, we will then review the merits of the QBE group action in light of the judgment of the Supreme Court and advise you further at that stage.

Pound Gates FAQs

  • The FCA test case is not considering potential professional negligence claims against Pound Gates, or any other insurance brokers. The FCA test case is looking at many policies, including the Ecclesiastical policy, to determine whether there is cover under the policy.
  • We anticipate that the FCA judgment will establish that the Ecclesiastical policy does not respond to Covid-19. Therefore, the professional negligence claim against Pound Gates will proceed (assuming we retain a sufficiently large class) and the only other opportunity to recover some of the losses is to claim against Pound Gates for failure to advise on the availability and coverage of BI extensions. 
  • The test case must be determined before the professional negligence action can be commenced, as we hope it will establish that there were policies on the market that would have responded to Covid-19.  

We hope this helps you understand the impact of the FCA test case, and why it is important that we wait for a the decision before taking substantive steps in the group professional negligence action against Pound Gates.

No, the potential group action is against Pound Gates, not Ecclesiastical.

Our potential professional negligence group claim is against the broker (Pound Gates), not Ecclesiastical. The claim is based on Pound Gates alleged failure to advise on the availability and coverage of the BI extensions.

The FCA decision is helpful because it shows that there were policies available in the market that could have covered Covid-19 losses; policies that Pound Gates should have recommended to you.

You can complain to the Financial Ombudsman however, this is not relevant to broker claims as they will only deal with Ecclesiastical. It is therefore not essential that you take this step. 

The potential professional negligence group claim is against Pound Gates, because Pound Gates failed to advise you properly on the availability and cover for Covid-19 situations.