General Insurance Article - Action called for against insurers deducting grant payments

The group behind the #justpayit campaign has issued a plea to the Treasury, asking them to step in and take further action against insurance companies that are still deducting government grants from payouts.

 The Government set up the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) to support small businesses through lockdown and help them meet the cost of being Covid-secure in order to re-open.

 However, some major insurance companies have been deducting the value of grants from insurance payouts made on policies taken out pre Covid-19 to cover business interruption and advanced booking cancellation, or not paying out at all.

 Since this was made public, some of the insurance companies agreed to stop this practice. However, one month on, some major insurers are still refusing to change their practice, or reverse their previous decisions.

 In September, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) wrote to insurers and told them this approach was unacceptable. In addition, Treasury wrote to insurers saying further measures will be taken if they do not stop the practice. We are now calling for the Treasury to take the further action it promised.

 The #justpayit campaign, is organised by the Professional Association of Self Caterers UK (PASC UK), who represent small, family-run self-catering accommodation businesses.

 Alistair Handyside, Executive Chairman for PASC UK said: “The tourism sector is one of the hardest hit sectors and deducting government grants from insurance payouts is a shocking practice.

 “The accommodation owners we represent are all small businesses and the Government’s Small Business Grant Fund was designed to help them survive. The grant was not intended to fund insurance company profits. We have been appalled by three main points.

 “Firstly, insurers have not contacted or refunded policy holders who have already had Government Grants deducted from payouts.

 “Secondly, insurers have not been back in contact with policyholders who were initially encouraged not to claim having been previously told the Government Grant would be deducted.

 “Finally - and worst of all - some insurers are ignoring the Treasury and the FCA and are continuing to deduct government grants from payouts. Most notably, NFU Mutual, which is the worst offender.

 “We welcome the support from Treasury and the FCA regarding this matter - we now call upon them to take further action and force the insurers to stop deductions and pay back the policyholders.”

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