May 5, 2020 / 8:23 PM / 24 days ago

Law firms in Britain seek businesses for claim against Allianz

FILE PHOTO: The logo of insurer Allianz SE is seen on the company building in Puteaux at the financial and business district of La Defense near Paris, outside Paris, France, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

LONDON (Reuters) - Two law firms said on Tuesday they were gathering companies in Britain for a potential group lawsuit against German insurer Allianz for rejecting business interruption claims during the coronavirus pandemic.

Edwin Coe and Harris Balcombe said they wanted to challenge the British subsidiary of Allianz on behalf of businesses, such as restaurants and leisure groups, whose policies had been arranged by brokers JELF and Marsh.

Officials at Allianz were not immediately available for comment.

A government-ordered national lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus has forced many companies in Britain to temporarily suspend operations and furlough staff in an effort to survive as the economy faces a deep recession.

But many who had hoped that business interruption insurance policies would help cushion their losses have been disappointed.

Top insurers such as AXA, Hiscox, RSA, QBE and Zurich already face potential multi-million pound lawsuits from British pubs, hotels, restaurants and leisure groups that allege legitimate business interruption claims have been rejected.

Insurers have said that very few such businesses’ insurance policies extend to the pandemic, but that they were paying valid claims.

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulator said last week it would urgently ask the courts to clarify uncertainty over whether businesses can claim compensation for disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Kirstin Ridley; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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