Northampton pub owner forms action group against NFU Mutual following Covid-19 supreme court judgement
Last week, the Chronicle & Echo reported on how a panel of judges ruled insurance firms were wrong to deny Business Interruption claims to customers in the wake of the pandemic and should take immediate action towards setting the record straight.
For Nathan Alexander, owner of The Red Lion Pub in Yardley Hastings, he was hopeful this meant he would not have to wait any longer to get the funding he needs to pay staff and bills.
"It's completely soul-destroying," said Nathan.
"The reason you get insurance is so you can lean on them in times of crisis.
"NFU Mutual needs to stand up and help their customers."
The landmark test case ruling last week brought by the Financial Conduct Authority against eight national insurers - not including NFU Mutual - could open insurers to an estimated £1.2bn in Business Interruption payouts.
But in a statement online published this week, NFU Mutual claimed the supreme court ruling does not affect their policy, stating that their contracts could only be triggered by "an incident".
"This clause is intended to cover local incidents, of which the typical examples are a bomb scare or a gas leak or a traffic accident," the statement reads.
"The High Court [in September 2020] found that the pandemic and the restrictions that followed could not be considered to be an “incident”, and therefore the judgment does not trigger cover for our customers.
"We understand this outcome will be disappointing for those affected."
Further, the firm claims Covid-19 is not on their list of diseases covered and, even if it was, it would have to be "on the premises" to count.
"It's insane," said Nathan.
"We've got staff we can't make redundant or put on furlough, we've got bills to pay. But still, NFU Mutual are taking their premiums.
"What's the point of paying up to £2,500 a year in premiums if it won't help you when you need it?
"NFU Mutual partnered with the Samaritans to offer mental health advice to people over Covid, but they won't help their own customers when they need it."
Now, Nathan has launched the "Stand Against NFU Mutual" Facebook page in the hopes of gathering other businesses who believe they are owed their dues.
"We've started this in the hopes of finding people who are in the exact same position," said Nathan.
"I'm not the only one who will say the payout would make such a huge difference. If it goes on much longer we will just have to hand the keys back to the brewery."
The Red Lion Pub opened in December 2020 after standing empty for nine months.
In a separate statement, a spokesperson for NFU said: "[Last week's ruling] does not alter our previous assessment that NFU Mutual policies do not respond to COVID-19 related losses.
"We understand this outcome may be disappointing for those affected. Our policy wordings are written to be as clear as possible, reflecting that cover for the cost of a pandemic is beyond our risk appetite.”