Expert Commentary: Irish High Court ruling on COVID-19 business interruption cover

08 February 2021

Last week, the High Court ruled that several publicans are entitled to cover under FBD Insurance ‘business interruption’ policies for losses suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome is a landmark decision for pub owners that took the initial test cases, challenging the insurer’s decision to decline cover for losses incurred, following the Government’s decision to close pubs on 15 March 2020 as the pandemic reached Ireland.

The decision is not only significant for the plaintiff pubs, but also for hundreds of other publicans and tourism and hospitality businesses throughout Ireland that hold business interruption cover and have seen their business operations and income severely curtailed by the ongoing restrictions. 

While the issue of the quantum of the specific losses suffered by each of the plaintiffs is still to be heard and ruled upon, the High Court’s judgement is likely to give much hope to many of these businesses as they look to emerge from the current crisis.

BDO has a long-standing reputation as advisers of choice to the leisure, tourism and hospitality sector. With in-depth sector knowledge and a team of forensic accounting and investigations specialists, we can assist you to prepare estimates of loss and other reports for use in legal proceedings and disputes. 

If you wish to discuss the implications of the High Court decision, or how BDO can assist you and your business, please contact Austin Hickey ([email protected]), Barry Robinson ([email protected]) or Katharine Byrne ([email protected]).