A popular North East hotel’s claim against its insurers for business interruption losses resulting from COVID-19 has been struck out and summarily dismissed by Newcastle’s Circuit Commercial Court. Rockcliffe Hall Limited tried to claim for losses as a result of COVID-19 from Travelers Insurance Company Limited, but the court found that the claim was not covered by the hotel’s policy. While the policy provided cover for “Infectious Disease”, COVID-19 was not specifically defined in the exhaustive list of what an Infectious Disease could be.
The policy provided cover for business interruption loss in consequence of, and among other things:
1. Infectious Disease manifested by any person whilst at the Business Premises which results in closure of the whole or part of the Business Premises by the order of an appropriate competent authority.
2. An outbreak of Infectious Disease within 10 miles of the Business Premises.
However, the judge held that the clause only covered loss resulting from one of the diseases expressly listed in the policy under the definition of Infectious Disease.
The hotel tried to argue that the list did include Covid-19 because “plague” was included, which could mean either an infectious or bacterial disease.
The decision will be seen as unfair by the majority of those in the hospitality industry, who have been unable to rely on business interruption insurance.
Case: Rockliffe Hall Ltd v Travelers Insurance Company Ltd  EWHC 412 (Comm)
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