Myerson’s insurance litigation team combines an exceptional knowledge of the market with a prodigious level of expertise to provide policyholders with the solution to their insurance recovery concerns.
Insurance disputes can occur in a wide variety of circumstances, but most commonly relate to an insurance company’s refusal to pay out when a claim is made against a policy.
Our Approach & Our Experience
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, an unprecedented number of businesses will seek to rely on their Business Interruption and key person policies. Whilst some businesses may have experienced relatively minor disruption to productivity and profitability, many businesses will have seen revenue come to a grinding halt.
It is therefore vital that these businesses recover any sums owed to it under these policies, in order to alleviate the inevitable financial consequences brought on by the indefinite suspension of business activity.
Our insurance litigation team will evaluate the crux of the issue and provide timely advice regarding the appropriate steps to take. We can assist policyholders with a broad range of claims and will take all necessary steps to ensure that our clients achieve maximum recovery for the minimum expense.
We will propose an initial fee estimate for carrying out this work and can be retained pursuant to alternative fee arrangements such as conditional fee arrangements, subject to each client’s individual circumstances.
If you are a policyholder and you wish to instruct us, then please do not hesitate to get in touch and our team will provide a brief, complimentary consultation regarding the merits of your claim.
Insurance litigation comprises one of many niches within Myerson’s commercial litigation team, which is ranked top-tier in the Legal 500 law firm directory. The team is one of the largest and most experienced in the North West with a real strength in depth and variety of specialisms.
Adam Maher, a Partner and Head of the Commercial Litigation team is described as an “excellent communicator and an outstanding team leader” who “harnesses the best from his team”.
“Commercially astute, incisive, positive and assured” Tim Norman, the firm’s Senior Partner, has acted for policyholders in a wide range of insurance recovery claims.
Senior Solicitor Suzanne Carr has an excellent track record in acting in a wide range of commercial disputes and is often assisted by Solicitors Sean Kinney and Lianne Allan.
Meet Our Specialists
Home-grown or recruited from national, regional or City firms. Our specialists are experts in their fields and respected by their peers.
Adam is a Partner and Head of our Commercial Litigation Team
Sven is a Legal Director in our Commercial Litigation Team
Tim is a Senior Partner in our Commercial Litigation department
Suzanne is a Senior Associate in Myerson’s Dispute Resolution Team
Gemma is a Solicitor within our Commercial Litigation Team
Insurance Disputes Expertise
Business interruption cover for loss of profits and increased costs of working can be part of a broad variety of commercial policies.
Policyholders are facing a combination of depleted revenues and increased costs as a result of the government’s containment measures. As the COVID-19 outbreak gathers momentum, they could face severe disruption to their supply chain a mass absence of employees and customers.
A standard business interruption policy is unlikely to trigger coverage for the effects of COVID-19, however there are several extensions to such a policy that might.
It may be that a policy contains restricted access cover or cover for ‘non-damage’ business interruption, such as interruption by a notifiable or infectious disease.
Our team will conduct a review of your policy and advise on the merits of recovery. We will assist you at every step in preparing your case and negotiating with insurers to ensure that you recover the maximum amount to minimise the impact of these unprecedented times.
Key Person Insurance
Also called ‘key man insurance’, these policies are designed to shield policyholders from the financial impacts of losing their key people due to death or incapacity by compensating the business with a fixed sum.
We can advise on the merits of bringing a claim if the pandemic (or indeed, any other event) has led to the mass incapacity of individuals whose skills, knowledge and experience are important to the success of the business.
Our team also has an excellent track record in professional negligence claims, including where an insurance broker fails to give appropriate advice to a policyholder.
Your broker may have incorrectly advised you not to take out a certain policy which would have covered a proportion of the losses that you suffered.
We will assess the correspondence between the parties and the circumstances surrounding the negligent act and, if appropriate, mitigate your loss by recovering an amount equal to the loss suffered as a result of the broker’s negligence.
Applications to the Financial Ombudsman
Policyholders who meet the definition of consumers or small businesses can make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman, who have statutory powers to settle disputes between insurers and policyholders for losses suffered up to a certain amount (currently £350,000).
We will assess whether you meet the application criteria and provide initial advice regarding the likelihood of the Ombudsman’s decision. If necessary, we will structure your complaint to ensure that all salient points are covered in order to maximise your chances of recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have suffered significant losses and believe that I am covered, but my insurer is refusing to pay, what should I do?
The first step would be to review the policy to assess the extent of cover and thus the merits of issuing proceedings against your insurer.
Our team will review your policy and provide comprehensive advice in a timely manner, if there is a potential claim against your insurer, we will support you every step of the way to deliver the best possible outcome.
What Might Be Covered Under My Business Interruption Policy?
Business interruption policies are usually an ‘add-on’ to commercial property insurance and generally provide cover for losses caused by damage to property or equipment by standard risks such as fire, flood, theft or accidents involving employees.
As a standard business interruption policy is designed and priced to cover such risks, it is unlikely to cover the effects of COVID-19. However, there are several extensions to such a policy that might, such as restricted access cover or non-damage business interruption caused by a notifiable or infectious disease.
What Are The Difficulties in Recovering Sums Due?
The litigation process can be a lengthy procedure and various difficulties can arise, depending on the conduct of the parties. Parties to a dispute are encouraged to set out their respective positions so they can identify, narrow and resolve their dispute. Usually, this means that parties will exchange correspondence and meet face to face - court proceedings should always be a last resort.
If the matter does proceed to court, inevitably, there will be a significant financial commitment from the policyholder. However, if you are successful, the insurer will most likely pay a significant portion of your costs.
The recovery process will be carried out pursuant to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), which are a set of guidelines for parties engaging in civil disputes. The Court will always interpret the rules so as to fulfil the overriding objective to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost. Accordingly, the Court will take a dim view if either party attempts to delay or obstruct their opponent’s case and has the power to penalise the dissenting party on costs.
We understand that the recovery process can be a challenging time for you and your business, which is why we will deal with any issues promptly and professionally, keeping you informed at every step pursuant to the Myerson Promise.
Who is Defined as a ‘Key Worker’ Under My Policy?
In a standard policy, a key worker can be any individual within the company whose skills, knowledge or experience are integral to the businesses success.
There may be a specific definition in your policy, but, as above, we can review your policy and promptly advise you whether an employee is classed as a key worker.
Aside From Legal Fees, do I Have to Pay Anything to Make a Claim?
Aside from our legal fees, there is likely to be counsel's charges, court fees and other payments that we have made on your behalf to third parties.
You will be primarily responsible for your legal costs, but if your claim is successful, you may be able to recover some of those costs from the other party.
How Long Will it Take Before I Will Know Whether I am Successful?
Each claim is different, some claims can be settled in weeks, others can last for many months.
It is therefore crucial that we keep you informed at regular intervals and we will endeavour to recover sums owed to you as promptly as possible.
If my Claim is Successful, How Long Do I Have To Wait To Receive My Insurance Settlement?
Damages are distinguishable from costs, which are the expenses incurred as a result of bringing a lawsuit and which the court may order the losing party to pay.
If judgment is entered in your favour, the insurer will be served with an order setting out the terms for payment of damages and costs.
Costs will either be subject to a “summary assessment” or a “detailed assessment”. A summary assessment takes place immediately following the end of the hearing and is usually conducted by the judge. Under this procedure, the deadline for payment is set out in CPR 44.7, which requires payment to be made within 14 days of the date of the judgment or order if it states the amount.
A detailed assessment under CPR 47 requires the judge to retire and carefully consider the costs incurred by the successful party before making an award at a later date. If a detailed assessment is made, payment must be made within 14 days of the date of the certificate which states the amount.
The court has the discretion to require payment on another date if it considers this to be appropriate.
I am Self-Employed and my Insurer is Refusing to Pay Out, I Think I Have Strong Grounds for a Claim, What Should I do?
If you are self-employed, your limited company may have the benefit of a business interruption policy. Depending on the nature of your self-employment and the value of your claim, it may be more cost-effective to make an application to the Financial Ombudsman, who can settle disputes between insurers and policyholders up to £350,000, as opposed to issuing proceedings under the CPR.
We can initially assess whether you meet the application criteria and provide initial advice regarding the likelihood of the Ombudsman’s decision, after which, we will assist you in every step of the recovery procedure.
I Have a Strong Claim and Want to Try and Issue Proceedings Against my Insurer But I Have Been Placed in Financial Difficulty Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak, What Should I Do?
At Myerson, we recognise that policyholders may need access to urgent funds to recover damages from insurers. In such circumstances, we can be retained pursuant to alternative fee arrangements, subject to each policyholder’s specific circumstances and the merits of their claim.
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