Top Premier League clubs to pursue BI claim against major insurers

A number of top competitive football clubs in England have come together and commissioned law firm Clifford Chance to launch a class action lawsuit against some of the country’s biggest insurers.

The clubs – including Arsenal, Aston Villa, West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion – have decided to pursue a pandemic-related business interruption claim against Allianz, Aviva, CNA Insurance, Zurich and Liberty.

The January 2021 Supreme Court judgment in the pandemic-related business interruption test case, which was originally brought by the FCA in 2020, formed the basis of the football clubs’ claim.

Following proceedings in the High Court in 2020, the Supreme Court rejected appeals by insurers and ruled that where the Covid-19 pandemic created an inability to use insured premises, businesses could apply for a business interruption, where policies permit.

Stephen Netherway, a partner in the commercial litigation group at Devonshires law firm, explained: “I’m not too surprised by the timing of this – if you look at what’s happened since the case of the Supreme Court, you see that was the beginning, not the end.

New test case

Netherway continued: “Overall the courts have been quite supportive of policyholders over the past 12 months, starting with the Supreme Court case.

“There have been a few instances of policyholders where, in my opinion, they have never withstood a snowball in hell [but they] ended up being successful.

Netherway added that the Premier League clubs had most likely found a common interest between them to motivate a common claim.

He said, “If they do [have a common interest]so I think the courts will be fine with trying to move the litigation forward quickly because then it would become a test case itself.

He added that because multiple insurers are involved in the clubs’ claim, it means the wordings of the policies are likely to be different, demonstrating a “common theme that football clubs have brought to the table”.

insurance time has contacted Clifford Chance for comment.

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