Corbin & King
On 25 February 2022 the High Court handed down judgment in Corbin & King Ltd and others v Axa Insurance UK plc  EWHC 409 (Comm). That case concerned whether cover for BI loss resulting from national government action taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was available under a non-damage denial of access clause in a combined business insurance policy. You can find more detailed information about the case, including a note on the judgment, on the FCA’s website [here].
In Corbin & King the High Court considered a non-damage denial of access clause that covered Business Interruption resulting from ‘actions taken by police or any other statutory body in response to a danger or disturbance at [the insured] premises or within a 1 mile radius of [those] premises’.
The High Court decision is long and complex. However, in summary, it found that this clause provided cover for national government action, on the basis that such action was taken by a statutory body and that cases of COVID-19 in the radius were a danger or disturbance which were a cause of that action.
The High Court did not overturn the decision in respect of other non-damage denial of access clauses made by the High Court in the Test Case as set out above, because the Test Case considered clauses with a different wording.
AIG has previously informed some policyholders that the outcome of their claim under ‘danger or disturbance’ type non-damage denial of access clauses might be affected by the final outcome of the Test Case. AIG has re-reviewed those wordings in light of Corbin & King and considers that they are more similar to the clauses considered in the Test Case than to the clause considered in Corbin & King.
AIG will therefore continue to treat claims under those clauses as responding only to localised events in accordance with the High Court Test Case decision and will not therefore cover claims arising from the international pandemic. We therefore do not propose to re-open any of those policyholders’ claims or complaints.
AIG will however keep its position under review in the light of any future relevant determinations of the Courts.