FBD Holdings said it has received over 700 claims under the business interruption extensions of its business insurance policies.

This follows Government action to stop the spread of Covid-19, which resulted in the temporary closure of many businesses.

"FBD is strongly of the view that our business insurance policies do not provide cover for a pandemic of this nature and we have addressed all claims accordingly," the company said in a business update today.

In today's update, FBD said it understands the "extraordinary and unprecedented challenges" its customers are experiencing as a result of the forced closures, adding that it was committed to helping its customers through this difficult time. 

"To this end, we have introduced a range of support measures for our business customers who have temporarily closed their premises such as a pro-rata refund of premium relating to the business closure, maintaining full cover for unoccupied business premises without any additional premium and offering flexible premium payment arrangements for customers who are experiencing financial challenges at this time," the company said.

Litigation between FBD and three publicans claiming cover for business interruption as a consequence of Covid-19 public health measures has been scheduled for hearing in the Commercial Court in October.

FBD has about 1,300 pub customers.

The company said it intends using the three cases to seek a determination in court of the overall question of whether losses due to Covid-19 related closure are covered by the pubs' policy under the business interruption clause. 

"The three cases in question will allow the issue of cover to be decided in a set of court proceedings, therefore avoiding each pub owner concerned having to take their own legal actions and incurring the related costs. We await the courts determination in due course," FBD said. 

"We acknowledge the disappointment and frustration of affected businesses that their business interruption insurance does not respond to cover pandemics," FBD said. 

"However, we are unable to provide cover for what we believe to be, and are advised is, an uninsured risk not covered by our policies," the company said.

"FBD is confident in our interpretation of policy coverage and are of the view that this approach will provide clarity in an expedient manner to the customers concerned," it added.