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Dentists - is your insurer refusing to pay out?

The Covid-19 lockdown has forced dental practices to shut their doors, with all routine care being suspended nationwide. In a letter to the Chancellor, Labour MP Fleur Anderson highlighted evidence suggesting that more than three-quarters of dentists will receive no support from the Government’s Covid-19 support schemes. With many dentists facing an insurer refusing to pay out for business interruptions relating to the global pandemic coupled with being unable to rely on the Government, many are wondering where to turn next.  

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has previously confirmed that the majority of business interruption policies don't make provisions for disruptions caused by a pandemic, meaning insurers won't pay out to most businesses affected by Covid-19. However, the FCA is seeking a Court declaration to clarify which claims should be honoured, which will certainly provide clarity, but this is not expected to begin until July 2020. Furthermore, a clear declaration from the Courts could take even longer. The lack of cash flow dentists are currently experiencing is causing concern throughout the industry and whilst some will be able to rely on support from the NHS, many are at the peril of their insurer. 

Like all insurance products, the small print of business interruption policies carries a list of exclusions, with infectious diseases typically being one of them. According to an article in The Times, the majority of insurance policies do not provide cover for the impact of Covid-19, but industry experts have said that some insurers have left themselves vulnerable to claims because their policies are poorly drafted. Whether your insurer is truly capable of denying your claim will depend on the specific wording of your business interruption insurance policy. 

In a previous article, we highlighted the alarming statistic that 70% of practices say that they can only maintain financial viability for a maximum of three months. It is therefore of the utmost importance that any assistance you seek will be dealt with as a matter of urgency. Whether you’re looking to bring a claim against your insurer, or simply seeking clarity as to your position under your insurance policy, our team of specialist dental lawyers are able to assist by combining sector-specific knowledge with insurance law and regulatory expertise.

For further information on how we can support you and your business please contact your regular contact at Charles Russell Speechlys.

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